Keepers' Diaries, June 2017

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Voi Reintegration Unit

This month we have seen 10 year old Kenia and 8 year old Ndii really step up their attempts to vie for the young Araba’s attention and be the sole ‘mother’ for her whilst out in the bush during the day. It seems a constant tussle between these two for these matriarchal duties. They don’t like any of the other females spending time with little Araba either and come charging over if they see her wandering off with any of the others to browse. In this respect they continue to dislike the arrival of female Ex Orphans Lempaute, Kivuko, along with bulls Dabassa and Layoni. They are not always successful of moving their orphan herd away before they come however, and some of the orphans like Panda like to greet their older friends like Dabassa. Lempaute, Kivuko, Dabassa and Layoni have frequently showed up at the stockades throughout the month, almost every day, in order to greet the young dependent orphans, drink some water and eat some of the lucerne and grewia branches placed for them. Voi went without good rain and this will be a harsh drought year.

This month we have seen 10 year old Kenia and 8 year old Ndii really step up their attempts to vie for the young Araba’s attention and be the sole ‘mother’ for her whilst out in the bush during the day. It seems a constant tussle between these two for these matriarchal duties. They don’t like any of the other females spending time with little Araba either and come charging over if they see her wandering off with any of the others to browse. In this respect they continue to dislike the arrival of female Ex Orphans Lempaute, Kivuko, along with bulls Dabassa and Layoni. They are not always successful of moving their orphan herd away before they come however, and some of the orphans like Panda like to greet their older friends like Dabassa. Lempaute, Kivuko, Dabassa and Layoni have frequently showed up at the stockades throughout the month, almost every day, in order to greet the young dependent orphans, drink some water and eat some of the lucerne and grewia branches placed for them. Voi went without good rain and this will be a harsh drought year.

Ndoria still has her jealous tendencies and was not very nice to new arrival Pasaka this month. Pasaka was given the opportunity to lead one day which made Ndoria very jealous and she ran past Ndii and Kenia to grab Pasaka’s tail to bite it. This scared Pasaka who ran up Msinga Hill to seek refuge in thick bush at the top of the hill and it took three keepers, some milk bottles and some help from Mashariki, Kihari and Naipoki to convince him to come down. Despite that experience we often saw him trying to lead, albeit far ahead so as to avoid the tail-biting Ndoria! Ajali also seems to have a soft spot for him and they like to browse together; Panda and Embu are also nurturing elephants who stayed close to Pasaka to give him the care and attention he needed to feel a sense of belonging. With all the attention Ajali was giving Pasaka. Ndii began to develop a bit of dislike for him, as she considers herself the mother for all the young and new ones in the nursery, and did not appreciate Ajali’s involvement. One day when she saw him leading she ran to the front to bring a halt to the entire herd so as to mix up the leadership roles.

A few splashes of rain fell this month after which the orphans always enjoy playing in the wet soil. One day Ndii and Rorogoi were having enormous fun rolling around in the wet and cool earth that Ndii almost fell into an erosion gulley! On hot days the mud bath was a huge source of entertainment for the orphans especially for those like Mbirikani who enjoy sliding down the wet sides into the water below and encouraging others to follow suit. Tundani stayed to watch Ex Orphan Layoni’s bathing tactics once after the others has already left in order to gain some valuable experience as to how a big bull should bathe. Since the arrival of new and older bulls Nguvu and Ajali, little Bada has become quite mellow and quiet, unsure of his rank in the herd now since their arrival and having been one of only three bulls in the herd with Tundani and Nelion prior to that. Sometimes he engages Tundani in short play fights in order to keep his spirits up however. Nelion and Tundani have more serious jousting sessions and sometimes they turn into real fights and the Keepers intervene to restore the peace.

June 2017 day to day

01 Jun

Bird songs welcomed the orphan elephants as they exited their stockades in the morning. The orphans lined up behind Kihari and Naipoki as they headed out to the browsing grounds after the milk and supplement feeding. Once the orphan elephants had left, eland Tawi decided to ride onto Kore who was busy munching on some Lucerne grass. Kore was not too happy about what Tawi was doing and decided to engage in a head butting game being sure to be careful to avoid Tawi’s long sharp horns. Since Nguvu and Ajali joined the orphan herd at Voi Bada has been quite quiet and mellow as he has been unsure of his ranking as the other two bulls are both older than him. Today however, he decided to engage Tundani in a pushing game as the group were making their way to the waterhole. The game did not last long as the orphans were in a rush to get to their noon milk bottle.

Kihari browsing on Msinga hill

Nguvu enjoy browsing onto the Msinga hill

Ajali

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