Keepers' Diaries, June 2008

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Voi Reintegration Unit

By June, in Tsavo one can be sure that there will be no more rain until October or November, so the long dry season has now taken hold, with the orphans, like their wild counterparts, having to travel further afield in search of food. The two orphan groups, (that of Emily and that of Natumi) have now joined up, and this month were spotted on 11th June feeding near a small hill on the Southern Side of Mazinga hill, again on the 17th and l9th drinking from leakage on the main Mombasa pipeline when they had a teenaged wild bull with them, the size of Emily. The orphans have not been back to the Voi Stockades for the entire month.

By June, in Tsavo one can be sure that there will be no more rain until October or November, so the long dry season has now taken hold, with the orphans, like their wild counterparts, having to travel further afield in search of food. The two orphan groups, (that of Emily and that of Natumi) have now joined up, and this month were spotted on 11th June feeding near a small hill on the Southern Side of Mazinga hill, again on the 17th and l9th drinking from leakage on the main Mombasa pipeline when they had a teenaged wild bull with them, the size of Emily. The orphans have not been back to the Voi Stockades for the entire month.

On the l0th an orphaned elephant calf was spotted by tourists near Lake Jipe. The next day a search succeeded in locating the calf, whose rear end had been eaten away, probably by hyaenas. The calf was sedated by our Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit to determine the seriousness of its wounds, which were pronounced too serious for the calf to be able to recover, the urethra having been eaten away so that urine was pouring into the stomach cavity. She was therefore euthenazed in situ.

Uaso, who is now 12 years old, was spotted on the 15th June accompanied by a wild bull friend a little older than himself, both moving towards a waterhole to drink.

The 22nd brought the rescue of a 2 year old calf near a place called Ikanga, on the plains near Irima Hill. This calf had attached itself to a passing bull, who kept pushing it away, an event being closely monitored by a pride of lions nearby. Since the calf would have been at risk from the lions during the night, it was rescued that evening and taken to the Voi Stockades. It was very wild. The next morning, the rescue plane that came to collect the calf (since named “Wasessa) brought us little “Rongai”, the baby zebra that was currently being reared at the Nairobi Nursery. “Serena”, the Voi Unit’s orphaned zebra was feeding in the bush at the time, and when she returned to the Stockades was delighted to welcome the new arrival, taking him for an orientation walk around the Stockades. The next morning Serena was waiting outside his stable for him, and they now both enjoy being together, little Rongai eager to suckle Serena’s tiny teats, something which she will not allow. However, they are inseparable during the hours of daylight traveling together out in the bush attended by a Keeper.

On 20th June, “Bahati” our orphaned buffalo calf was taken to Sagalla Ranch where arrangements had been made for his arrival following consultation with the Sheldrick management and KWS. There he was greeted by an orphaned Oryx calf whose mother was one of several translocated from Bamburi farm in Mombasa and who had rejected her baby when it was born soon afternwards.

This month has been marked by Cliff Springers and dikdik feeding close to the Stockades, all of whom have become very tame. Unhappily, one of the dikdik was bitten by a puff-adder and died within minutes. The Keepers killed the snake which posed a threat to the Keepers.

The orphaned Kudu, “Rukinga” was spotted along with his wild adopted family on the 11th, and would have liked to come and greet his erstwhile Keepers, but was scared off when his wild friends fled. He decided to follow them instead.

A wild elephant cow who is suspected of having twins was spotted in amongst a wild herd, who was too aggressive to allow closer inspection. However, the two tiny babies seemed to be attached to the same mother, which is why we suspected that they might be twins.

The watering troughs at all the Trust’s three Windmills in Tsavo were repaired, the one at Aruba involving a lot of work bringing in murrum to fill the trench dug by the elephants. All our now holding water pumped from the Windmills, in preparation for the long dry season.

June 2008 day to day

01 Jun

See the Voi Orphans Overview for June 2008

Natumi and Emily's groups together

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