Emily’s ex orphan herd remained in the area throughout March visiting the stockades most days and often with wild bulls for company. On one occasion a huge bull joined the herd and came all the way up the hill to where the Voi rehabilitation unit is situated with commanding views down to the Voi River, to drink, but then the real reason for his presence became clear. He was in hot pursuit of Thoma who appeared equally as interested in him.
Lesanju is determined to steer our dependent orphans away from Emily and the big ex orphans herd, paranoid in case she should to lose any one of her cherished herd to the older orphans. When the ex orphans visit Lesanju chooses not to linger for long in case of any disruption. There was an exception one day this month when even Lesanju was tempted to stay having the lure of spending time and greeting little Emma, with the ex orphans finally allowing the dependent juniors some access to Emily’s tiny little calf. This was a real treat and hugely appreciated by the juniors.
This month there was more joy for the Voi orphan community when a second baby was born to our ex orphan herd, just three months after Emma, Emily’s second calf. This time it was a baby for Edie, her second calf, and a tiny treasure that we have named Eden. Mweya is very much the Nanny in charge, stands patiently the baby fiddles with her teats. Edie is an extremely relaxed Mum and leaves the fussing to the Nannies, the main ones being Thoma and Mweya.
Since the arrival of Eden we have been keeping a close eye on the ex orphans and their two wild born babies, and thankfully they continue to return to the stockades most days and remain close to home. Once or twice the Keepers have spotted the herd down on the Voi river circuit in close proximity to lions and despite appearing well in control, and the lions seemingly totally disinterested, the Keepers encouraged the ex orphans to return to the stockades for a fill of Lucerne just to be on the safe side, aware that the Tsavo lions are formidable.
Our ex orphan big bulls Lolokwe and Laikipia have been having fun with wild bull friends, but certainly know their place when in the company of huge much older dominant bulls, choosing to keep a low profile in these situations. The preoccupation with the babies has seen these two bulls become more independent on the group. Our younger still dependent bulls have enjoyed wild company too this month.
Mbirikani has enjoyed walking the dependent babies home to their night stockades most evenings, this is a huge treat for her, and a role she relishes. Having been so injured due to a cable snare cutting her foot to the bone she was unable to walk for months, and we wondered if she ever would again. To see her so well now, able to set the pace, and lead a completely normal life is significant, and certainly not lost on the others who know full well that leading the group is important to Mbirikani as she discovers her confidence once more.
The boisterous dependent bulls have been having fun in the mudwallow this month, despite some chilly days which have resulted in most of the orphans refusing to venture into the water. On the hot days however this provides a wonderful respite from the hot midday sun, and the mudwallow games in the red wallow with its slippery embankments provides endless hours of enjoyment. The orphans love to scratch and slip and slide and fall about as they play. This Lempaute has been giving Mudanda special treatment, singling little Mudanda out for some precious time alone with her. Ndoria and Panda are the other two pampered babies being the youngest in the juniors midst.
Towards the end of the month some much needed showers of rain fell, with pregnant skies threatening bigger storms on their way. On these days with the fresh scent of rain fallen on the parched earth the orphans celebrate in the knowledge that carefree times are ahead, where food is abundant, the waterholes filled, and a celebration of life surrounds them as the dry season breaks.