Keepers' Diaries, June 2014

Umani Springs Reintegration Unit

On the 25th of July Murera and Sonje made the journey to Kibwezi Forest, the first two orphans introduced to our brand new rehabilitation unit purpose built to accommodate their needs. They both suffer from poaching injuries which have left them permanently lame and we felt Umani Spings in Kibwezi Forest would be an ideal gentle environment for them. They were later joined by their dear friends and poaching victims Zongoloni, Quanza and Lima Lima.

26 June 2014

The day began for the relocation of Murera and Sonje to move from Nairobi nursery to Umani at our new release site in the Kibwezi forest. The elephants were very tired on arrival and Murera at first refused her milk bottle. Sonje took her milk before enjoying a dustbath as the water was rather cold. In the evening, Sonje didn’t know her new room and had to be shown where to go as did Murera and they both followed their keepers.

27 June 2014

In the morning Murera browsed in the bushes near the stockade while Sonje enjoyed a Lucerne handout. Lima Lima, Quanza and Zongoloni were scheduled to arrive by midday. Murera and Sonje were really excited to see the three girls exiting the truck and received them at the mud bath, after which Murera took them out to browse.

28 June 2014

Murera led her group out to browse this morning and they all enjoyed the lush vegetation before heading to the mudbath. On the way they smelled the dung of the wild elephants that had roamed around the previous night. Lima Lima, who is rather greedy, rushed to the waterhole where they enjoyed soil dusting. After an afternoon spent browsing it was time to return to the stockades for the night.

29 June 2014

Murera and her team invaded the hay store and grabbed some bales before heading out to the bush. Sonje and Murera led the group to the picnic site with their keepers to see the wonderful Ficus tree. After a short walk they headed for their milk bottles with Zongoloni stopping on the way for a scratch. The journey ended at the salt lick area where they had a mud bath next to Umani lodge.

30 June 2014

After a long walk the elephants came for their noon milk feed looking very thirsty. Lima Lima tried to grab Zongoloni’s bottle but was prevented from doing so by a keeper. Baboons and vervet monkeys were shouting loudly which scared both Zongoloni and Lima Lima who ran to their keepers.