Keepers' Diaries, March 2001

Voi Reintegration Unit

This month has seen more of Lewa and Uaso, who seem to have joined forces again, Uaso having been absent and alone with wild elephants for a long time. Dika, Edo and Ndume have again often been in attendance, usually at the mudbath venue, but occasionally at the Stockades, sometimes with Lewa and Uaso, and sometimes without them. We see Emily being very protective and possessive of little Tsavo, making sure that he stays close beside her ever since she had to go and retrieve him from a wild herd who tried to abduct him. Tsavo has definitely usurped the previous place of Mweiga as "favourite" calf. Aitong remains ever a diligent "Nannie" to all the orphans, especially during the mudbath and is still obsessed with little Nyiro.

01 March 2001

All the elephants left the Stockades together in the morning, Nyiro playing with Salama, with Laikipia joining in. They all enjoyed the mudwallow after which Kinna played with Edie in the afternoon and Salama with Mweiga. After the orphans had taken their mudbath, Lisa with her baby, Lara, Uaso, Lewa and Dika turned up and took their dip. In the afternoon Emily's group met up with the wild herd led by an elephant named "Naomi" by the Researchers and they spent some time together feeding.

02 March 2001

Today, it was very hot. In the morning Natumi, Salama and Laikipia spent time charging about in play, something that they repeated during the mudbath, when Nyiro and Edie had a pushing match. Ilingwezi had a tussle with Salama which lasted for 5 minutes without a winner. After mudbath Natumi played with Imenti. Emily's group spent the entire day with the smaller orphans, and in the afternoon they were joined by Edo and Lewa

03 March 2001

Natumi's group charged some antelope in the morning, and were in a very "jovial" mood. Natumi played with Imenti. Icholta showed jealousy whenever any of the others sought close contact with a Keeper. Natumi and Imenti played a lot together today. Emily was very possessive of Tsavo, keeping him close beside her when feeding out in the bush.

04 March 2001

Natumi walked with Yatta, Kinna and Mukwaju out to the bush in the morning, accompanied by Nyiro who fed near them. The day was chilly, so most of the orphans declined the mudbath, although Emily, Loisaba and Tsavo went in. At 3 p.m. they joined up with a wild group with whom they spent l hour. When the wild elephants left, Imenti and Aitong went with them for a short distance, but then returned.

05 March 2001

After leaving the Stockades, Natumi's group was frightened by a herd of antelopes and Emily, Aitong and Imenti charged the antelopes, sending them away. Salama played with Laikipia for 10 minutes and then Nyiro and Lolokwe joined in. Today, Emily's group mingled with some wild elephants, spending a short time with them.

06 March 2001

This morning Salama and Laikipia fed far from the others, until they became scared and came running back. Lewa and Edo were with the orphans when they left the Stockades and at l0 a.m. were joined by Dika and Ndume, who were warmly welcomed by Emily's group. Our orphans were joined by the wild herd led by "Naomi", who then accompanied them and remained with them until time to return to the Stockades in the evening.

07 March 2001

Upon leaving the Stockades, Natumi, Ilingwezi, Salama and Laikipia joined Emily and Imenti in despatching a herd of impala. Today the orphans enjoyed a "wonderful" mudwallow, spending 25 minutes in the water. Nyiro, Kinna, Yatta and Mukwaju ran to meet the milk tractor, and afterwards charged towards the rest of Natumi's group who were waiting for their milk. In the afternoon the orphans were joined by a wild herd with whom they spent time.

08 March 2001

The orphans left the Stockades at 6.10 a.m. At l0 a.m. a plane load of Samburu elders from Il Ngwezi Group Ranch in the North, plus the man who actually rescued our orphan named Ilingwezi, joined the orphans out in the bush and spent time with them, along with Dr. Sheldrick and Jill Woodley. The group was joined by Dika and were very impressed by his size, at first a little apprehensive about approaching him. Dika came to the mudbath ahead of the other orphans and then went off on his own. The other orphans were held back because the K.W.S. Director and Headquarter personnel were bringing the Minister to see the mudbath and meet the Il Ngwezi people. When the K.W.S. party finally arrived, they saw the babies taking their milk from bottles at the tractor, and then watched them enjoy themselves in the mud. Meanwhile, Emily kept a close watch on the interaction between the visitors and her orphans, making sure that none were harmed. The visitors then left for lunch, and in the afternoon Dika again joined the other orphans out in the bush.

09 March 2001

Dika, Edo and Lewa accompanied the orphans from the Stockades in the morning, but then left to go off by themselves, joining up again with the orphans at their mudbath where they were joined by Naomi's wild herd. Imenti battled a wild bull of his size and Aitong was as busy as usual lifting up those that got stuck in the mud. Back at the Stockades Imenti tried to mount Aitong, and then began to play.

10 March 2001

All the orphans spent the morning together, with Natumi, Salama and Laikipia taking their cue to play from Emily who was having a great game with Aitong and Imenti. They all enjoyed a "spectacular" mudbath, joined by Dika and Ndume. In the afternoon Mweiga and Loisaba fed close together, and Emily kept Tsavo close to her side.

11 March 2001

At 9 a.m. a group of wild elephants joined the orphans and spent two hours with them. Dika joined the orphans at the mudbath, after which they enjoyed a soil bath, when Imenti lay down so that Natumi, Ilingwezi, Edie and Nyiro could climb on him. Nyiro joined Yatta's group meeting the tractor for milk. Back at the Stockade, Nyiro pushed Edie and then mounted Yatta.

12 March 2001

Edo, Lewa, Dika, Ndume and Edo were with the orphans when they left the Stockades, but then left them to join a wild group, all heading in a westerly direction. Nyiro kept nudging the Keepers wanting to suck their fingers, whilst Aitong kept coming to try and take him away with her. Dika's group joined our orphans at the mudbath, and in the afternoon Emily with her group, left the babies to feed further afield.

13 March 2001

Today it was very hot, and by 10 a.m. all the orphans went under shade. They enjoyed their mudbath at noon. As usual Yatta, Kinna, Nyiro and Mukwajo ran from the others to intercept the tractor bringing their milk feed. In the afternoon Emily's group met up with Edo, Ndume, Lewa and Uaso, out in the bush, Aitong making the first approach. They were together all afternoon and returned together to the Stockades in the evening.

14 March 2001

The youngsters started their day in play, Salama and Laikipia tackling each other with Natumi, Edie and Ilingwezi as spectators. At 10 a.m. Edie tackled and beat Nyiro. They all enjoyed the mudbath. In the afternoon Natumi, Ilingwezi, Nyiro and Salama had an interesting game, running here and there charging. Meanwhile, Emily joined up with a wild group near Daniel's house in the morning, moving with them in an Easterly direction and playing together as they went. Imenti went with the wild elephants for a short distance, when Emily left them, but returned later with Lewa and Uaso, joining the others at the mudbath. At the Stockades, Edo and Ndume joined Lewa and Uaso for the Copra cakes.

15 March 2001

Edie was frightened by an impala in the morning, and came running to the Keepers for protection. Lewa, Uaso and Edo joined the orphans at their mudbath after which Imenti had a game with Mweiga. At 2 p.m. the orphans joined a wild group. They grazed and played together until time to return to the Stockades in the evening.

16 March 2001

Lewa and Uaso were with the orphans when they left in the morning. Nyiro tried to mount Lolokwe. Then Edo joined them and accompanied them to the mudbath where Aitong monitored events closely. Afterwards, the orphans joined a wild herd, left them briefly for their milk, and then joined up with them again, spending time with them until 3 p.m.

17 March 2001

Natumi initiated a game with her group, enticing them towards the bushes, then charging out to frighten them so that they ran back to the Keepers! At the mudwallow Nyiro toppled all the water drums. Natumi pushed Imenti, who lay down and allowed Nyiro to climb on him. At 2 p.m. Emily's group met up with the wild herd led by the cow called "Catherine". Tsavo played with a calf of his size for almost 20 minutes, before the wild herd left.

18 March 2001

Whilst feeding in the morning, Mukwaju found himself alone in the bushes as the others had moved back towards the Keepers. He screamed and the Keepers plus Aitong came running to his rescue. During the morning Emily and Imenti chased off two buffalo. The orphans all had a wonderful mudbath, after which Emily and her group left the youngsters to go off on their own and feed further afield.

19 March 2001

At 9 a.m. a swarm of weaver birds scared the orphans. Just before the mudbath, the orphans joined a wild herd. Salama had an interesting game with a wild calf of his size. The afternoon was spent feeding together.

20 March 2001

Today Mweiga decided to spend the day with the baby group, even coming with them to meet the milk tractor and beg for a bottle. As the milk tractor departed, Emily and Imenti put on a show charging it as it moved away. At the Stockade in the evening Imenti played with Aitong.

21 March 2001

All the orphans went out into the bush as a group, where they met up with Lewa, Uaso and Edo. During the morning they were frightened by a running hyaena, after which they hung around close to the Keepers, obviously a bit scared to move away. Natumi pushed Edie hard, causing a scratch on her skin. The orphans wallowed with Edo, Lewa and Uaso at 11.30 a.m. In the afternoon, Emily and Aitong were very possessive of Tsavo, keeping him close to them.

22 March 2001

All the orphans were together feeding during the morning, with Salama, Mukwaju and Laikipia feeding together apart from the others. The wallow took place at 11.30 a.m. In the afternoon Emily took her group off. Salama played with Laikipia, whilst Nyiro played with Kinna up at the Stockade.

23 March 2001

The day was cool, so there was not much activity at the mudbath. Just before mudwallow, the orphans joined a wild herd, who accompanied them to the mudbath. Yatta, Kinna, Mukwaju and Nyiro ran to meet the milk tractor, joined by Mweiga who also wanted milk.

24 March 2001

The orphans were all together in the morning with Salama and Laikipia were testing each other's strength. The mudbath was filled with activity today when a wild bull elephant also turned up, wallowing on the far side, and then left. Aitong was very vigilant at the mudbath. Afterwards, Emily chased away two buffaloes. Back at the Stockades Imenti tried to mount Aitong, and then played with her.

25 March 2001

Uaso and Lewa left the Stockades with the other orphans, and spent time feeding with them before leaving together. At the mudbath Lolokwe and Nyiro played, Lolokwe lying down so that Nyiro could climb on him. Mweiga tried to play with Aitong, who was not interested, so she played with Imenti instead.

26 March 2001

Today, Yatta has diarrhoea, so a phone report was made to Nairobi, who gave instructions as to what to do. Again, the orphans were scared by the flock of weaver birds, causing Nyiro to scream and Aitong to rush to his rescue. After the mud, they all enjoyed a sand bath. In the afternoon Emily spent time close to Yatta who was not well, whilst Mweiga chased the butterflies.

27 March 2001

The morning went as usual. At mudbath Imenti lay down so that Nyiro, Salama and Laikipia could climb over him. Later Nyiro played with Yatta. Edie was pushed hard by Salama but did not retaliate. Tsavo spent the day resting on his side next to Emily whilst in the shade.

28 March 2001

The orphans spent some time together in the morning, but then Emily departed. At mudbath, Mukwaju got stuck in the mud, so Laikipia and Kinna came to his rescue and helped him out. Then Emily turned up and she and Imenti had a great pushing game for 30 minutes. On the way to the stockades in the evening, the orphans met up with Lewa and Uaso. Dika was at the stockades, having arrived there at 4.30 p.m.

29 March 2001

Today, it is Mukwaju who has diarrhoea, so a report was made to Nairobi, and instructions received. Kinna and Nyiro enjoyed a great game in the morning, pushing each other and then inter-twining trunks. At mudbath Kinna pulled Mukwaju from the mud when he fell down. Afterwards Mweiga took Tsavo to the Milk Tractor, who took his milk with Yatta, Mukwaju, Kinna and Nyiro. At 3 p.m. Emily's group met up with some wild elephants, and each group tried to chase the other away, charging. It was the wild group that departed.

30 March 2001

Today, Kinna has diarrhoea. All the orphans went out together into the bush, but then Emily separated to feed further afield. The others met up with Lissa and her calf Lara and our orphans joined that herd. Kinna played with Lara until it was time for the mudwallow when they separated. It was a very excited mudbath, with Nyiro again toppling all the water drums. After the milk session, the babies came charging at full speed down the hill towards the Keepers. In the afternoon Tsavo walked close to his adopted mother Emily, leaning on her whenever they took a rest.

31 March 2001

All the orphans left together in the morning, and spent time together until 10 o'clock, when Emily separated, but joined the youngsters again at the mudbath. There was less activity today. In the afternoon there was a tussle between Mukwaju and Kinna when Yatta intervened to help her friend, Kinna. In the afternoon Emily and her group fed far removed from the others, and Imenti went off on his own for a while, but returned later. At the Stockades he tried to mount Aitong.