Keepers' Diaries, March 2011

Voi Reintegration Unit

We continue receive encouraging news about Solango’s progress from the Voi Rehabilitation Centre. Solango showed up at stockades dragging his back leg two months ago and has since been recovering under the care of the keepers and loving attention of the Voi orphans. He enjoys the company of the youngsters particularly Siria whom he loves engaging in strength testing games. He has taken to leaving the stockades on a daily basis and spends his days browsing nearby on the slopes of Mazinga Hill.

01 March 2011

After taking their morning bottle of milk the orphans headed to the southern side of Mazinga Hill where they spent the morning browsing before heading to the noon mudbath. Siria went in search of Mzima who was happily lying in the water and promptly began to climb onto his stomach which caused Mzima to cry out for help, thus ending the mudbath. Ndii led the orphans home in the evening.

02 March 2011

Kenia and Tassia were the first to leave the stockades in the morning and headed straight for their milk bottles downing them quickly before trying to steal Dida and Ndii’s share. Lesanju led the orphans out for the day where they browsed and had a dustbath before heading back for the night.

03 March 2011

The orphans headed out to browse while charging around and chasing one another. Shimba and Taveta flushed two waterbucks out from behind a bush and all the orphans stopped their game and gave chase. The youngsters had a lovely mudbath before seeking the shade of the acacia trees.

04 March 2011

Upon leaving their stockades the orphans went to Solango where they all shared some supplemental Lucerne and dairy cubes. Solango engaged Siria in their usual strength testing games before Siria ran off to join the others as they headed out for the day. Lesanju and Taveta had a lovely time in the mudbath while Mzima clambered over Siria who was lying in the water.

05 March 2011

The orphans spent the morning browsing on the southern side of Mazinga Hill. Lempaute, Mzima and Siria had a scratching session against the rocks before they all headed to the mudbath where they had a mudbathing competition won by Siria who scared the others out of the water by striking the water with his trunk and foot.

06 March 2011

Dida was happy to lead the orphans out to browse for the morning before they went to the mudwallow for their noon milk feed. Siria and Mzima had a wrestling match before joining the others for a mudbath before enjoying a dustbath. Taveta led the group back to the stockades in the evening.

07 March 2011

While the rest of the group greeted Solango, Lesanju and Sinya had fun playing a game of hide and seek. After youngsters headed out to browse Solango did the same and went off to browse taking care not to go too far from the stockades. It was an extremely hot day and the orphans spent the morning browsing under the shade of the acacias before heading to the mudwallow where Wasessa made sure to keep Sinya away from Tassia who was having a lovely bath.

08 March 2011

Ndii took the lead as the orphans headed out to the field where Siria took over and headed half way up the hill where they all settled to browse until noon when they came down to the mudbath. Lesanju initiated a session of scratching games whereby the orphans took turns sitting on the walls of the waterhole to scratch their backsides.

09 March 2011

Mzima tried to prevent Sinya from reaching his milk bottles this morning and as such the keepers moved his share to the far end so that he could drink his milk in peace. The morning and afternoon was spent browsing close to Solango on the southern side of Mazinga hill.

10 March 2011

As the day was boiling hot the orphans arrived at the mudbath early. Shimba was the center of attention as he played with a big tractor tire. The mudbath was followed by dust bathing games where Sinya watched over Mzima and Dida while Wasessa kept an eye on Tassia who is her favourite. Emily’s group came to the stockades at 8pm. Irima was among them and the keepers were happy to see that his arrow wound had healed completely. The group remained at the stockades for an hour before heading back to the park.

11 March 2011

Some of Emily’s group visited the stockades this morning led by Edie. Burra and Thoma headed straight to Solango to greet him and to share his copra cake supplement. Lesanju led the youngsters out to the bush for the day.

12 March 2011

The day was uneventful and Sinya had a fun time at the mudbath. She lay in the shallow water and sat on the muddy banks. Dida spent her time in the deeper waters where she could completely submerge herself. Late in the afternoon while the rest of the group finished browsing, Tassia and Taveta engaged each other in a head butting game watched by Wasessa.

13 March 2011

The orphans had an active morning. Kenia, Ndii and Dida started a game of lying on the ground and climbing over each other. The three were soon joined by the rest of the orphans. Shimba took the central role at the mudbath where he had a lovely time swimming around. He was soon joined but Dida who also wanted to show of her wallowing skills. Kenia led the group back to the stockades for the night.

14 March 2011

Solango had a head butting game with Siria in the morning before following the youngsters out to the field. He remained browsing on the southern foot of Mazinga hill as the orphans headed to the western side browsing their way to the noon mudbath. Wasessa who was enjoying the mudbath became angry when Siria tried to take a ride on Tassia’s back making him cry out for help. Wasessa was quick to charge at Siria and chase him out of the water.

15 March 2011

The orphans spent the morning browsing on the Northern side of Mazinga Hill before heading to the mudbath where they found some Impalas having a drink and chased them off. Shimba lay down in the water inviting Ndii and Taveta to come and sit on him. Aruba, our ex orphaned kudu visited the stockades, spending the night before leaving again the following morning.

16 March 2011

The orphans were busy browsing on the southern side of Mazinga Hill when they were joined by Burra, Seraa and Vita who were on their way to the stockades to visit Solango. Burra and Seraa engaged Siria in strength testing games and as he was outnumbered he was bested by the two ex orphans. The three returned to the stockades in the evening with Loisaba who is looking rather thin.

17 March 2011

Sinya and Dida had a lovely mudbath choosing to bathe in the company of Kenia and Ndii. The four left the mudbath when Siria approached them and chose to round off their bathing session with a dustbath. The afternoon was spent browsing before Taveta led them home for the night.

18 March 2011

On the way to the mudwallow Taveta stopped to scratch against a rock and was knocked down by the rest of the group who were in a hurry to reach their milk bottles. Tassia took advantage of the fact that Taveta was on the ground to climb onto his back. Mkuki, Nchia and a wild male friend visited the stockades in the evening and grazing around the compound for a few hours before leaving.

19 March 2011

Rain was falling as the orphans headed out for the day with Solango in tow. Their pace was slow and they settled to browse on the northern side of Mazinga Hill. As the youngsters headed to the mudwallow for their milk they stopped to splash around in the many rain water pools that they found on the way.

20 March 2011

The orphans were busy browsing this morning stuffing trunkfuls of vegetation into their mouths so as to eat as much as possible. After the mudbath Siria and Mzima enjoyed a strength testing game. Mzima ambushed Siria pinning him down and the battle commenced. It ended when the two realized that the rest of the group had moved off and they ran to catch up.

21 March 2011

Emily’s group met up with the orphans on the southern foot of Mazinga Hill. They quickly greeted one another before Emily and her group headed for the stockade for a drink and some supplements. They were surprised to not find Solango who had headed out to browse for the day.

22 March 2011

Emily and her group came to the stockades at dawn and spent some time with the youngsters before Lesanju led them out to browse. Lolokwe and Morani went to greet Solango who was not in the least bit interested in seeing them. Emily’s group joined the orphans at the mudbath where Shimba admired Eve’s soil dusting techniques.

23 March 2011

Morani joined the youngsters in the morning as they browsed on Mazinga Hill. He played with Shimba and Siria before they left for the noon milk feed at which time he rejoined Emily’s group who were browsing a few miles away. Solango who had spent the day browsing near the pipeline returned to the compound at midnight and headed straight for the Lucerne and Grewia branches that had been put in his stockade.

24 March 2011

Emily’s group visited the stockades after the youngsters and Solango had already left for the day. They had some water before leaving in the same direction taken by the younger group.

25 March 2011

The orphans had a lovely time playing mudbathing games. Siria tried to engage Taveta in a game by holding him with his trunk and tusks. Taveta did not like this and started to bellow for the keepers to come and help him.

26 March 2011

The orphans spent the morning browsing before going to the waterhole for their milk. While in the mudbath Shimba was able to climb onto Tassia’s back. Siria wanted to do the same but was prevented from doing so by Wasessa. He instead turned his attention on Mzima and Lempaute who were happily lying in a small pool of water. Solango once again spent the day browsing on Mazinga Hill, returning to the stockade late at night.

27 March 2011

It rained heavily during the night and the orphans were having a lovely time playing around the compound before Lesanju led them out for the day. During the course of the day the stockades were visited by the ex orphans Mkuki and Aruba as well as by Emily’s group who had Ex orphan Tsavo and a wild bull in their midst. It was lovely to see Tsavo again following an absence of several years.

28 March 2011

Lempaute took time to entertain the keepers this morning. She began by scratching against a dry tree stump before picking up a stick and tossing it onto her back which elicited laughter from the keepers who were watching her antics with interest. Mweya, Burra and Lolokwe were seen at the big waterhole after the youngsters had left.

29 March 2011

The orphans quenched their thirst at the stockade water trough before they headed out for the day. Shimba and Siria were so busy drinking that they got left behind with Solango and the two left Solango behind as they ran to catch up with the rest of the group. The youngsters returned to the stockades in the evening to find Solango already enjoying his share of Grewia branches.

30 March 2011

Taveta and Mzima were engaged in a strength testing game which was interrupted by Siria who wanted to have a pushing game with Mzima. A lot of fun was had by the orphans at the waterhole which due to the recent rains was full to the brim. The afternoon was spent quietly browsing before returning to the stockades.

31 March 2011

Solango who is still recovering from a damaged leg is now well on the mend. He has taken to leaving the stockade compound and spending hours on end out in the bush browsing before returning to the stockade for the night. We feel it will not be long before he rejoins Emily’s group who walk several miles a day.