Keepers' Diaries, March 2014

Voi Reintegration Unit

Emily’s group of ex-orphans continue to visit the orphans at the stockades or the mud bath, which always causes much excitement. Both Wasessa and Lesanju are not entirely happy with the older elephant’s visits as they repeatedly try to kidnap some of the smaller orphans. Wasessa on one occasion even resorted to hiding in a stockade with Mudanda, who she is very protective of! The others however, love the ex-orphan group visits and enjoy pushing and strength testing games with the older elephants. Laikipia joined them on the 1st and Mudanda, Naipoki, Kihari and Rombo relished having him around and kept touching him with their trunks in greeting.

01 March 2014

Laikipia and the rest of Emily’s group came and joined the orphans this morning as they left their stockades for the milk feed and Lucerne. Mudanda, Naipoki, Kihari and Rombo enjoyed his presence and kept touching him. Wasessa pulled Mudanda into a stockade to prevent her being taken by Emily’s group who, despite Lesanju’s protests were enjoying strength testing games with the younger orphans. Mzima ran the show today engaging Seraa, Laipkia and Ndara turns.

02 March 2014

Emily’s group came from the southern foot of Masinga hill for some copra cake and Lucerne before heading out to find Lesanju’s group. The youngsters came to the mudbath at noon for their milk feed before enjoying a wallow. Wasessa stayed close to Mudanda, pushing and shoving Sinya who was attempting to commandeer her. Ishaq-B led the way home in the evening.

03 March 2014

Following their morning bottle the orphans enjoyed a fantastic game of hide and seek before heading out for the day. As it was a warm day they all enjoyed going into the water trumpeting in excitement. They were joined at the mudbath by Seraa who was engaged in pushing games by Mzima both inside and outside of the water. Wasessa and Lesanju kept Mudanda between them in an effort to keep her away from Seraa.

04 March 2014

The orphans left the stockade very early to browse on the eastern side of the Masinga hill before heading to the waterhole at noon. Rombo and Taveta who were enjoying a wallow tried to entice Ndii and Kenia into the mudbath. Mzima sat comfortable on the banks of the water hole before mounting Dabassa who was standing nearby.

05 March 2014

The stockade games were very brief this morning as the orphans were intent on browsing. Icholta joined the group in the fields where she made a bee line for Mudanda before escorting the youngsters to the mudbath. Layoni and Rombo had an amazing bathing game, with Icholta lying in the mudwallow enticing the youngsters to play with her.

06 March 2014

The orphans left the stockade amid rain showers. Out in the field Sinya and Kihari played a hide and seek game, before settling to browse. As it was a little chilly only Taveta had a quick dip in the water. The rest of the day was spent browsing before returning to the stockades for the night.

07 March 2014

The orphans had a grand time chasing some baboons around the stockade before settling to have their milk and copra handout. Wasessa and Mudanda took the centre stage in at the mudbath showing off their bathing skills. Lesanju chose to take on Rombo for some rolling games in the water something that they both enjoyed before Rombo left to have a scratch against the rocks.

08 March 2014

The orphans were in a jovial mood this morning trumpeting loudly and getting the attention of all the keepers who came to see what the ruckuss was about. They found Kenia lying down as Ndii and Sinya sprayed her with soil. The fun was brought to an end when Lesanju trumpeted that it was time to go. In the evening Layoni and Rombo fought over a tree that they both wanted to scratch against. Lesanju, Lempaute and Sinya came in to separate the two. Taveta tried to push over a big tree as a show of strength but was unsuccessful in doing so.

09 March 2014

The orphans were led out of the stockade by Lesanju and Lempaute who led them to the northern foot of Masinga hill. Lesanju taught Kihari, Naipoki and Ishaq-B some unique techniques of lying and rolling while twisting their trunks. As the orphans headed home in the evening the keepers noticed that Mbirikani was missing from the group and was found hidden in a thick bush browsing.

10 March 2014

It was a nice browsing day with the orphans arriving at the water hole where they gulped down their milk before going for a wallow. Sinya took Ishaq-B and Dabassa for a dustbath while the rest enjoyed a mudbath before they left her to join in the bathing games.

11 March 2014

It was a nice day with the orphans leaving the stockade early for the browsing fields where they separated into two groups with Kenia taking Ndii, Taveta, Naipoki, Kihari, Dabassa and Layoni browsing with her meeting up with the rest of the orphans on the way to the noon mud bath. Rombo had a quick wallow while Wasessa, Mudanda, Taveta and Kivuko stood on the edge of the water watching him. Mbirikani enjoyed leading the way home in the evening.

12 March 2014

As soon as the orphans entered the browsing fields, Mudanda went straight to Wasessa where she proceeded to suck on her ear before Mbirikani managed to steal Wasessa away to browse together. A very big wild elephant bull and a giraffe were at the orphan’s water hole a few minutes before the orphans arrived. They took it in turns to have a drink and a wallow. This day was one that ended in drama as Mbirikani went missing with two older bull elephants. Mbirikani was rescued older than usual due to a horrendous cable snare around her leg. However, she was still far to young to be out alone without a mother to protect her and her leg is not fully healed which makes her very vulnerable. Unfortunately the keepers could not find her before dark.

13 March 2014

It was another beautiful day as the orphans ran out of their stockade to get a milk bottle. Dabassa enjoyed a buttock scratch on a rock builder close to the water hole as the others watched. Tassia decided to engage Dabassa in a wrestling match before they ran to join the rest who were headed to the fields. However, little Mbirikani was still missing somewhere and the hunt was on to find her. At 11am there was still no sign of her so the Trust pilot was called. After hours of searching, with storms brewing all around, Julius the head keeper and Nick spotted her, but so had a hungry pair of lions. The ground team was mobilised to try to get to Mbirikani before the lions did. Thankfully the team caught up with her and managed to encourage Mbirikani back to the stockades. The day ended well, though it could have been a very different story.

14 March 2014

On reaching the water hole at noon, Kihari and Ishaq-B dove in rolling around and submerging themselves completely in the water. Their games attracted Ndii and Kenia who were quick to join them. Ndii later introduced a game of scratching on the banks of the water hole. In the evening Emily’s group visited the stockades for a drink at the water trough. Mweya and Morani enjoyed lying and rolling on the ground together followed by Morani trying to mount her which brought the game to an abrupt halt.

15 March 2014

Icholta and Lolokwe arrived at the stockade just as the orphans were finishing their morning bottle of milk. The young ones in Lesanju and Kenia’s groups got excited and joined them for some games. Icholta played a wrestling match with Lempaute while Lolokwe settled for Mzima and Taveta together. The two ex-orphans joined the youngsters for a morning session before parting ways.

16 March 2014

While the orphans were having a morning drink at the water tough Taveta decided to mount Kihari forcing the keepers to intervene and drive Taveta away. Throughout the day he continued with his antics and was reprimanded by Wasessa who was having none of his mischievousness. Naipoki enjoying a lead of them back to the stockade in the evening.

17 March 2014

Mzima and Tassia today took one another to task at the stockade on what was seen as a bid to ascertain their position and hierarchy among the prominent few bulls we have in the stockade. This attracted the attention of all the orphans with Taveta acting as a referee. The day was spent browsing peacefully in the fields.

18 March 2014

The orphans had a lovely time playing in the water hole at noon. As soon as they had finished their bath, Emily and her crew arrived for some bathing games. Lesanju and Mzima noticed their presence with Mzima moving back to meet them. Lesanju concentrated her energies on taking her group away from the mudbath while Mzima stayed behind and got some mud bathing tips from Lolokwe. She rejoined her herd a few hours before they returned to the stockades.

19 March 2014

The morning was cool with signs of rain. The orphans were focused on browsing and were quick to head out. Sinya successfully snatched little Mudanda from Wasessa who had quickly charged knocking several orphans in an effort to get Mudanda back.

20 March 2014

In the morning the babies welcomed Emily’s group who had come to the stockades for some water and Lucerne. Mzima was quick to engage Lolokwe in strength testing games. There was drama when Seraa successfully took little Mudanda from Wasessa who was all set to fight Seraa but decided against it as she is much bigger than her. After getting Mudanda back Lesanju lead her group out to browse leaving Emily’s group at the stockades.

21 March 2014

Emily’s group visited the stockade this morning to meet up with the youngsters. Lesanju and Lempaute were quick to lead their group out for the day with Mzima staying behind for a spell with her older friends. On reaching the field, Panda, Wasessa, Mudanda and Mbirikani separated themselves from the others with Mbirikani leading them up the hill to browse. They rejoined the rest of the group on the way to the mudbath.

22 March 2014

The orphans grabbed a milk bottle before heading out for the day. They reached the mudbath in the afternoon where Panda, Ishaq-B and Mudanda were the masters of the wallowing games which were watched closely by Lesanju, Mzima and Kenia.

23 March 2014

The orphans browsed peacefully for the better half of the day. In the afternoon Rombo played a rolling and sliding game in the water with Lempaute and Ndii. He became very excited and climbed onto Lempaute who screamed for help. Sinya was quick to jump in and help her.

24 March 2014

It was a nice day today with Sinya and Taveta scratching against the same rock and eventually each other causing them to being a pushing game with Sinya winning. She then enjoyed having the rock all to herself.

25 March 2014

The morning was spent browsing on the northern side of Mazinga hill before going to the mudbath. Mzima showed his strength by pushing and breaking a dry tree as the females in the group watched.

26 March 2014

This morning Tassia tried to pull a dry branch from a tree outside the stables causing it to fall and hit him on the head. The others were quick to respond to his cries running to see what had happened and offer comfort. Mweya and Lolokwe came to the stockades for a drink at noon before heading off to look for the youngsters.

27 March 2014

It was extremely hot in the morning left the stockade and they spent the better half of the day browsing on Masinga hill. Panda, Naipoki, Kihari and Ishaq-B had been led higher up by Mbirikani, forcing the keepers to bring them down for a noon milk feed. The entire group enjoyed a wallow at the mudbath.

28 March 2014

In the morning Tassia and Taveta had a small fight which was brought to an end by Kenia who intervened and separated the two. They then followed the others to the browsing field where they settled in for the morning. During the mud bath time, the orphans enjoyed wallowing, rolling and splashing the water before heading back out to feed.

29 March 2014

The orphans exited their stockades and enjoyed a morning bottle of milk and as well as a handout of Lucerne before heading out to browse. They went to the water hole at noon and had a very brief bath before coming out. On the way to the stockade in the evening, Panda, Mudanda and Ishaq-B were leading and were given a fright by the orphan zebra Lualeni who ran past suddenly and stepped on Msinga’s foot causing him and the others to jump.

30 March 2014

Laikipia came to the stockades without the rest of Emily’s group this morning. Mzima and Taveta gave him a warm welcome and were quick to engage him in pushing games. Laikipia stayed with the youngsters for the better half of the day, before heading towards the Voi river. The orphans followed him for some time, but parted ways when they reached the mudbath.

31 March 2014

Lempaute today snatched Mudanda from her adopted mother Wasessa and took her to a different browsing area. It was not long before Wasessa noticed what had happened and was quick you take back her “baby”. The afternoon found Wasessa and Lempaute browsing together.