Keepers' Diaries, March 2015

Voi Reintegration Unit

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.

01 March 2015

It was a beautiful morning and the orphans made the most of it by enjoying themselves with some games before heading out to browse. Out in the field, Bada and Ndoria followed Wassesa while they were browsing and Lempaute watched closely over Mudanda. Tassia and Mzima later separated themselves from the rest of the orphans and explored far into the Northern side of Msinga hill, but rejoined the group at the waterhole in the afternoon. Upon arriving at the waterhole they found the other orphans having a lovely bathing party with the sound of happy trumpeting filling the air. Kenia and Ndii were having an especially lovely time as they tossed huge chunks of red soil into the air and painted the whole area a beautiful red colour. Dabassa and Mbirikani took the opportunity to compete with each other in a mud bathing competition for a while before joining the rest of the group for a final browsing session around the pool.

02 March 2015

It was another beautiful morning and the orphans in Panda’s herd arrived full of energy to enjoy their morning milk bottles before joining the orphans in Kenia’s and Lesanju’s herd to feed on copra cake. After 10 minutes of feeding, Lesanju noticed the arrival of Emily’s herd and took off quickly from the stockade. The other orphans hurried to follow her unsure about what had caused her to leave in such a big hurry. After arriving at the stockades, Emily’s herd first assembled at the water trough to get a drink of clean water, with even Emma managing to have a drink. Thoma stuck close to Emma, causing Eva to feel jealous and she squeezed in to get close to her little sister. Laikipia, who has become independent of the females in the ex-orphan herd was not with them at the stockade, but was seen browsing alone in the eastern area of the park. Later, Emily’s herd moved out into the main park, passing by the middle water pool for a bath but didn’t link up with Lesanju and her herd at any point during the day.

03 March 2015

In the morning the orphans come out to feed and play before leaving the stockades to head out to browse. Emily’s herd arrived at the stockade half an hour after the orphans had left and were joined by two friendly wild boys who settled in to drink water from the stockade water trough with the ex-orphan herd. One of the wild boys was seen to have a soft spot for Thoma and the other appeared to have developed a friendship with Lolokwe and was seen interlocking his tusks with Lolokwe to determine who would have dominance over the females in the ex-orphan herd. The rest of Emily’s herd had nice games playing on the rocks. These games attracted Emma who joined the rock games. The herd remained in the stockade for 20 minutes before leaving for the browsing grounds.

04 March 2015

The day began well with the orphans in high spirits as they engaged in a game chasing a troop of baboons who were being a menace at the stockade before their morning copra feed. Once the baboons had left the stockade the orphans settled down to peacefully enjoy their copra cake. After finishing they moved off into the browsing grounds with Mudanda sticking close to Wasessa. At noon the orphans visited the middle water hole with the younger orphans having their milk feed. All the orphans drank the clean water from the half drum barrel troughs, but due to the cold weather none of the orphans entered the water hole. A few minutes before the arrival of the small ones back at the stockades, the ex-orphans arrived with Laikipia in tow. The two wild boys that were with the herd yesterday were nowhere to be seen and it was thought that Laikipia may have chased them away and asserted his dominance in the ex-orphan herd. Laikipia spent some time watching Emma who was drinking comfortably from the stockade water trough. The ex-orphan herd didn’t spend long at the stockade and moved off into the main park before the orphan’s arrived back.

05 March 2015

It was a cold morning and the orphans, led by Sinya, left the stockade early to head out to browse. Once in the browsing grounds the orphans spread out and scattered over a large area venturing further north. In the late morning Mweya was seen arriving at the middle water hole by herself to look for the small ones, however the orphans were nowhere to be found as they were still exploring the northern area of the park. Despite not finding the young orphans at the water hole, Mweya took the opportunity to wallow. However her enjoyment was short lived as a wild herd led by a cow with huge long tusks arrived shortly after and Mweya decided to leave the water hole. A bull that had arrived with the wild herd followed Mweya for a while, but eventually turned back to join the wild herd at the water hole. Lesanju and the orphan herd arrived at the water hole much later after all the wild activity had past. They stayed around the mudbath in the afternoon to browse and Ishaq-B led them back to the stockade in the evening. Late in the evening, the Amboseli Mobile Vet Unit brought a young female zebra foal to the stockade. This orphan had been found in a primary school that morning and the fate of her mother was not known. The foal may have been alone for some time as she was dull when she arrived and despite the efforts of the keepers, she died two days later.

06 March 2015

The orphans were out early in morning to begin a busy day of browsing. Layoni and Dabassa had a wonderful pushing game in the stockade before charging out to join the others browsing out in the field. In an unusual move, Lempaute separated Mudanda from the rest of the herd and they browsed together for the better half of the day. Lempaute later brought Mudanda to join the other younger orphans for her noon milk feeding at the middle water pool. Bada joined Rombo to watch him having a dust and soil bath, however his audience was disrupted when Rombo tossed large chunks of soil skywards, one of which caught Bada in his eye causing him to retreat to safety and seek refuge with her close friend Ndoria. Emily’s herd visited the stockade at 9am and drank briefly before heading out again into the browsing grounds. They didn’t meet up with the small ones that day.

07 March 2015

It was another beautiful day and the orphans welcomed it in with a game of hide and seek before heading out to browse. The drought is starting to bite in Tsavo and the orphans were moving slowly as they browsed deliberately trying to grab as much food as they could. They browsed intensively until noon when they returned to the middle water hole. Once at the water hole, Bada took a leaf out of Rombo’s book and perfectly copied Rombo’s soil and dust bathing technique by taking the soil into his trunk and blowing it skywards. However, Bada’s dusting became too much for Dabassa, who was nearby. Tassia enjoyed some time in the water and scratched his buttocks on the walls of the water hole, Ishaq-B and Kihari saw the fun that Tassia was having and joined in the game. Lesanju and Panda also had a mud bathing game and competed to find out who was the best swimmer. The game finished with Lesanju lying on Panda’s stomach, before Panda rose up and scratched her head on Lesanju’s buttocks. Bada saw the fun that Lesanju and Panda were having and started his own game by scratching his head against Wasessa. The orphans browsed peacefully for the rest of the day before they headed back to the stockade for feeding and bed. Ndii sneaked into the stockade with the small ones in the evening and enjoyed her milk so much that she demanded a second serving when Kenia’s herd arrived for their milk bottles.

08 March 2015

After a peaceful night, the orphans assembled in the morning to take advantage of the several piles of copra cake that had been laid out for them. Layoni became a little naughty during the feeding and gave Mudanda a shove, which pushed her off the pile of copra that she was feeding on. This behaviour was not acceptable to Wasessa, who stopped feeding and chased Layoni away. Layoni ran as fast as he could and hid in the stockade, regretting his actions as he watched the other orphans enjoy the delicious copra cake. Aware that he would not be getting any more copra cake that day, Layoni took the initiative and led the group out into the browsing grounds, being sure to maintain a safe distance from Wasessa. By mud bath time Wasessa had still not forgiven Layoni’s unprovoked attack on Mudanda in the morning and despite the other orphans enjoying a wonderful bath Layoni decided it was best to stay out of the water hole and Wasessa’s way. The rest of the day was peaceful and all the orphans returned happily to the stockade.

09 March 2015

Emily’s herd visited the stockade a few minutes after the juniors had left for the feeding grounds. Today they were joined by a big wild bull elephant that came to the stockade for a drink. Laikipia was also with the herd, but seemed respectful of the wild bull as he was older and stronger than him. The wild bull mixed freely with the ladies at the water trough and Laikipia and Lolokwe gave him a wide birth. Finally the reason for the bull’s presence became apparent when he mounted and mated with Thoma. This behaviour surprised Emma and she ran off to hide under Edie and her sister Eve. The herd eventually left the stockade with Laikipia and Lolokwe tailing a safe distance behind, not wanting to incur the wrath of the impressive bull in their midst.

10 March 2015

The day started well with Sweet Sally being seen coming alone to look for the juniors at the middle water pool. However, she arrived at the pool at 9am, two hours earlier than the orphans routines arrive there. She stayed for a while but left without bathing as it was still too cold for a bath. The juniors arrived at the middle water hole at their usual time and by this time it was hot enough for them to greatly enjoy their time by playing in the mud. Tassia, Taveta and Rombo had good fun scratching their buttocks on the water hole embankment and Dabassa and Panda competed in a strength testing game that attracted the attention of the other orphans. Ishaq-B also took the time to enjoy a soil and dust bath. Mzima, who was out of the water, decided to play his own game and he went under the water bowser tap to take a shower. This, once again, attracted the attention of the younger orphans who watched for a while, but quickly ran away when they attempted to join Mzima and were struck by the high pressure of the water that was coming out of the bowser. The orphans spent the remainder of the afternoon browsing close to the water hole before Mbirikani lead them back to the stockade for the evening.

11 March 2015

It was a cool morning and the orphans came out of their stables full of energy and in good spirits. They quickly drank their morning milk and their supplemental feeding before heading out to the browsing grounds. The orphans stopped briefly at the foot of Msinga hill where Taveta and Tassia had a wonderful time scratching their buttocks on the rocks and boulders around the base of the hill. They enjoyed themselves so much that they decided not to follow the rest of the orphans but instead browsed on the hill for the rest of the morning, only joining the others at the waterhole in the afternoon. The weather remained cool in the afternoon and most of the orphans decided not to take a dip into the water hole. However, eventually Kihari broke ranks and went to lie down in the water alone. Rombo soon became jealous and joined her. Rombo disrupted her enjoyment by mounting and riding on her back so Kihari reluctantly left the water, however Rombo kept close to make sure that Kihari wouldn’t have a fun without him. The orphans remained close to the water hole for the rest of the afternoon before being led back to the stockade by Mbirikani.

12 March 2015

The orphans awoke to another beautiful morning and Emily’s herd visited the stockade in the company of a teenage wild bull elephant. Lesanju, Wasessa and Lempaute took it upon themselves to usher the young ones quickly out of the stockade in order to avoid any interaction with the older ex-orphans. Once at the stockade the wild boy spent some time calmly drinking from the water trough together with the ex-orphan herd. He was seen to be following Thoma closely, but no mating was witnessed during their time at the stockade. Emily’s herd stayed at the stockade for about an hour before leaving in the same direction that Lesanju’s herd had gone. However the two herds didn’t meet up as Lesanju had taken her herd a good distance away from the stockade. The dependent herd visited the middle water hole later in the afternoon and enjoyed a good mud bath. The orphans spent the rest of the day browsing peacefully before returning to the stockade for the night.

13 March 2015

It was a grey morning and Emily’s herd didn’t visit the stockade this morning and Lesanju, Wasessa, Lempaute and Sinya seemed relieved at their absence. They had a relaxed and leisurely morning feeding on supplements and socializing before heading out to browse. The orphans spent the morning browsing quietly in single file before turning their attention towards the water hole in the early afternoon. The sedate nature of the day continued at the watering hole, with a distinct absence of activity and after drinking the orphans left and headed towards the northern area around the hill to browse some more. In the afternoon, the clouds cleared up and the orphans sought shelter under the shade of a big tree. Here they were joined by a wild boy who was looking for somewhere to rest. Mzima, Taveta and Tassia took the opportunity of the presence of a wild boy to try and engage him in pushing games, however the wild boy was content to rest and was not interested in playing with them. The afternoon passed quickly and the orphans began their journey back to the stockade leaving the wild boy to make his way towards the river.

14 March 2015

It was a glorious morning and Mweya and Icholta visited the stockades early to catch up with the orphans as they enjoyed their lucerne. However, Lensanju, on noticing the presence of Mweya and Icholta, took off at high speed, which caused Ndoria great concern. Bada, however, remained brave in the presence of the bigger ex-orphans and placed some of his spare lucerne ontop of his head and, in a calm manner, removed one straw after another away from Mweya and Icholta. Eventually Lesanju was successful in rounding up her orphan herd and moving them away from the stockades leaving the two ex-orphans alone. Mweya and Icholta were the only members of Emily’s herd to visit the stockade and they both enjoyed the huge piles of lucerne for 3 hours before marching off to look for the juniors. However, by this stage, Lesanju’s herd had gone far north and Mweya and Icholta failed to link up with them. Lesanju’s paranoia of losing her herd to the baby snatcher manifests itself time and time again. She is determined to keep her flock intact.

15 March 2015

For the second morning in a row, Mweya and Icholta arrived early at the stockade in the hope of coming across another lucerne feast. Lesanju was busy drinking at the stockade water trough when they arrived, and seeing that she could find no quick escape route she reluctantly joined Wasessa and Ishaq-B in welcoming them. Soon after the arrival of Mweya and Icholta and Lesanju’s reluctant welcome, the rest of Emily’s herd arrived at the stockade and spent 10 minutes enjoying the lucerne. After a short while, Naipoki and Ishaq-B approached Emily’s family to request permission to greet little Emma, this was granted but under the close supervision of Mweya and Eve. This meeting was cause for great celebration which resulted in Naipoki running around and rolling in the dust with happiness. The celebratory atmosphere was contagious and even Lesanju expressed her pleasure by playing on the rocks after being awarded the chance to play with this little treasure. After the games were over, it became clear that the real reason behind the ex-orphans visit was to escort Edie to the stockade as she had a wire snare around her hind leg. The snare was composed of a thin wire designed to trap small animals, not elephants, but it could have resulted in a nasty injury nonetheless if left in place for some. It was Emma, who drew the keepers attention to the snare as she was seen occasionally playing with the wire by holding it and biting it. The keepers removed the wire snare off Edie’s leg and Emma showed her happiness at their actions by heading off for a rock scratching game. Later in the evening Edie was lieing down a lot and we wondered why she was so exhausted.

16 March 2015

The orphans left the stockades in good time this morning and browsed slowly throughout the morning arriving at the middle water hole in the early afternoon. The day was cold and cloudy so the orphans surrounded the water hole, but were reluctant to go for a bath, with only Ishaq-B being bold enough to enter the water hole and lie down and partly submerge herself. Later in the evening, the Keepers were attracted by some members of the ex-orphan herd huddled and happily moving together and trumpeting. It was discovered, to their joy and amazement, that Edie had given birth the night before and the ex-orphans were celebrating the birth of the newest member of their herd. Thoma was already taking on her role as the senior maid and was in charge of the new calf. In addition to Thoma, Edie was with Seraa, Icholta, Ella, Mweya and Lolokwe and were moving from the northern side of the park towards the south. Soon they met up with Emily and the other members of the herd and there was a highly charged celebration. The newly born treasure was welcomed into the herd with Emma taking a keen interest in the new born.

17 March 2015

This morning the Keepers were very keen to check up on the progress of Eden, Edie’s new calf. They conducted a normal monitoring patrol early in the morning and the ex-orphan herd was sighted at the southern side of the park a few miles from the Voi gate. Eden was still not sure who her real mother was and was sometimes seen attempting to suckle from the male ex-orphans, which caused them to move away from her. Eden also attempted to suckle from Emily, which made Emma jealous. Emma grabbed Eden’s tail and attempted to give her a disciplinary bite, but Edie intervened and pushed Emma away with her rear leg. Emma was also quick to notice that Eden was now the centre of attention and spent some time ignoring and pushing Eden away. However, she soon realised that Eden wasn’t absolutely certain about the position of her mother’s teats and suckled Emily while Eden was close by to show Eden the correct way to do it. Despite her earlier jealousy of Eden, Emma warmed to her again in the afternoon and was keen to play with her, sometime waking Eden up so they could have a game. Emily’s and Edie and the rest of the ex orphans remained together for the day.

18 March 2015

The orphans spent a quiet morning browsing before visiting the middle water pool at around midday. They only stayed for a brief shower before returning to spend the afternoon browsing. In the evening Kivuko and Dabassa spent some time scratching their buttocks on the same tree trunk. They enjoyed themselves so much that they were left behind by the rest of the orphans when the time came to return to the stockade and they had to run to catch up. Later, when the orphans were back in their respective stables, Emily’s herd arrived at the stockade in the absence of Edie, Ella, Seraa, Thoma and Icholta. Concerned for Eden, the keepers retraced the path taken by Emily’s herd and found Edie attempting to bring Eden to the stockade for the first time. Edie with Eden were struggling to get over a large boulder that was obstructing the path as Eden kept slipping on the rocks. Meanwhile at the stockade, Emma was playing a wrestling game with her sister Eve; however their game and visit were cut short as Emily’s herd moved off after a quick drink to join up with Edie.

19 March 2015

It was a tiring day for little Eden as the ex-orphan herd decided to cross the park through the porous Ngutuni lodge fence and moved into the community land. They spent their time browsing outside the park but when they came to re-enter the park, they found themselves up against an elephant proof electric fence that prevented them from accessing one of their favourite dry season browsing grounds and one of the few remaining green areas of the park. Thankfully the Keepers were able to temporarily disable the elephant proofing to allow them to walk back into the park along one of the roads. Eden was very tired after the long walk and spent some time sleeping under a tree that the ex-orphans had chosen to rest under. In the afternoon they drank at one of the leakage points on the Mzima – Mombasa water pipeline and spent the remainder of the day in the southern end of the park.

20 March 2015

The ex-orphans spent the night along the Voi river and in the morning were found enjoying the green grass and browsing on the bushes. The herd were a few hundred metres from two lions, but the herd was well defended against them. Eden suckled from Mweya in the morning, a scenario that made Seraa very jealous so she approached Eden to see if she would also like to suckle from her. However, Eden was content to suckle from Mweya only, despite Seraa’s attempts to hold onto her and pull her away from Mweya. The ex-orphans had a lovely time browsing and there were lots of big trees to shelter under, much to the relief of little Eden. There was a lovely breeze to keep them cool and lots of browse for them to feast on.

21 March 2015

The morning began well with Lesanju moving out with her herd to their usual browsing grounds. The priority today was to find the ex-orphans and establish how Edie and Eden were progressing. After a day of intensive searching, they were eventually sighted emerging from thick bush on the Voi river circuit. Upon finding the ex-orphans it became clear that Mweya had turned her attentions away from Emma and towards Eden who she stuck close to and showered with love and tenderness. Eden was very trusting of Mweya and followed her more than she did her mother Edie and even attempted to suckle from her occasionally, but to no effect. The closeness between Mweya and Edie caused Seraa to become jealous as her advances towards Eden were not reciprocated as Eden was very happy staying close and being mothered by Mweya. Even Ella, was surprised by the closeness between Mweya and Eden and she attempted, a few times, to take her sister away from Mweya. Edie, however, was very relaxed and was happy to take time to recover from the birthing process while her maids practiced their mini-matriarchal roles with her young calf.

22 March 2015

The morning started routinely with Lesanju’s herd finishing their milk bottles and supplemental feeds before heading to browse. On the way out, the herd split with Lesanju taking Wasessa, Ndoria, Sinya, Bada, Tassia and Taveta in one direction and Lempaute taking Mudanda, Dabassa, Kenia, Ndii, Ishaq-B, Kihari, Mbirikani, Panda and Layoni in another direction to a separate browsing ground. The two herds reunited later in the morning at the middle water hole, where Lempaute took the opportunity of Wasessa’s absence from her group to spend time with Mudanda in the water before they browsed together close to the water hole for the rest of the day. Edie, Eden, Ella, Seraa, Mweya and Thoma separated themselves from Emily’s herd and visited the stockade at around noon. Mweya was still besotted with little Eden. This was Eden’s first visit to the stockade and she spent her time playing around the water trough in the mud caused by the water that orphans had spilled on the ground while they drank. The Keepers provided the ex-orphans with a large amount of lucerne grass in order to boost Edie’s milk production, which they enjoyed for an hour or so before moving off to join the rest of Emily’s herd.

23 March 2015

It was a lovely morning and the orphans headed out to Msinga hill. Tassia took the initiative and began to climb the hill with Ndii and Layoni following him, but the rest of the orphans decided to remain at the base of the hill. Upon seeing this, Ndii decided to head back down the hill to join the others. Layoni, who was closely following Tassia, was torn between returning to join the rest of the group, who were heading off to browse elsewhere, or continuing with Tassia up the hill. After much time spent sucking on his trunk Layoni eventually decided to head back down the hill leaving Tassia browsing on the hill, where he remained all day, not even bothering to join the others at the water hole in the afternoon. Tassia finally returned to the base of the hill in time to join the rest of the orphans as they headed back to the stockade. Once back at the stockade, Tassia took the opportunity to have a big drink; drinking so much that his stomach bulged out in such a way that he looked like he was pregnant.

24 March 2015

The orphans began the day with the usual games in the stockade compound before they headed out to the browsing grounds. After two hours of browsing together, Rombo and Panda decided that they had a score to settle and engaged each other in a tough strength testing game. The game continued longer than usual as none of the other orphans were willing to sacrifice their browsing time to intervene. However, Rombo and Panda eventually agreed to settle their differences in a peaceful manner and returned to browse with the others. The rest of the day passed peacefully. Emily’s herd, along with Edie, was sighted browsing on the far northern side of the hill where they remained for the whole day.

25 March 2015

The day heralded the first signs of the much anticipated rains and there were showers throughout the night, which continued into the morning when the orphans left the stockade for the browsing grounds. Lempaute stopped at the base of Msinga hill and took the opportunity to scratch her itchy leg on one of the rocks at the base. The other orphans continued slowly and deliberately, wary of the slippery rocks and eager to avoid slipping. The orphans enjoyed feeding on the wet grass and bush throughout the day and drank their noon milk bottle at the far northern side of the park where they were browsing. They remained there for the rest of the day before Naipoki lead the herd back to the stockades. Emily and Edie’s herd were not sighted during the day and the wet weather meant that searching for them was impossible.

26 March 2015

After the rain the day before, the day began beautifully and out in the browsing grounds Tassia was finally able to fulfil his dream to taking the orphan herd up Msinga Hill. Upon arriving at the base of the hill he wasted no time in quickly climbing up the hill with Panda and the rest of the herd in pursuit. The orphans soon realised why Tassia had been so keen to climb up the hill as the top of the hill was still green with untouched browse, in stark contrast to the well utilized lower slopes which had been depleted by the many herds of wild elephants and buffalos that pass through. After a good morning browsing on Msinga Hill the orphans moved on to the middle water pool. Once at the water hole, Dabassa and Rombo spent some time standing on an island in the middle of the pool trying to contemplating whether or not to take a bath in the cold water or not. They eventually decided to give the bath a miss, as did the rest of the orphans, with the exception of Ndii who took a very quick dip in the water. The orphans spent the afternoon browsing around the waterhole before Kihari lead them back to the stockade for the evening.

27 March 2015

The orphans woke this morning keen to get out into the bush to browse. It was a hot day so the orphans arrived at the middle water hole much earlier than usual and had a wonderful time bathing before spending the afternoon browsing close to the water hole and having a second bath in the later afternoon before heading back to the stockade for the night. During a normal monitoring patrol Emily and most of her herd were sighted browsing close to the air strip; however Edie, Eden, Ella, Seraa and Thoma were found to have separated themselves from Emily’s herd and were browsing alone in the bushy area around the Voi river circuit. Two big lions were spotted resting under a tree not far from the Edie’s herd. The Keepers felt uncomfortable leaving Edie and little Eden so close to danger for the night and managed to coax the small ex-orphan group back to the safety of the stockade where they were given plenty of lucerne. Edie and the others left the stockade later that night and headed away from the danger of the lions.

28 March 2015

The morning passed routinely, with the orphans quickly emptying their milk bottles before settling down to feed on their supplemental fodder. There were some socializing games before they left the stockade and headed out to browse. As the passed Msinga Hill, Mzima, Tassia and Taveta stopped briefly to feed around the hill’s base before catching up with the others half an hour later. Emily’s herd was found to have separated from Edie, Eden, Ella, Seraa, Mweya, Thoma, Irima and Morani. Edie and her group spent the day browsing separately from Emily’s herd and the two didn’t meet up during the day.

29 March 2015

After the orphans had left for the morning Edie visited the stockade with a large number of members from Emily’s herd, only Emily and a couple of others were missing from the group. The group had brief drink before heading off towards the eastern side of the park to catch up with the orphan herd. Edie’s group caught up with the orphans before too long and quickly paced passed the group leaving Lesanju and the young ones desperately trying to catch a glimpse of Eden as she passed by, but she was hidden by a forest of legs. Emily passed through the stockade later in the day, drinking briefly before heading off to find Edie, who she joined up with later in the afternoon.

30 March 2015

A big group of impala spent the previous night in safety within the confines of the stockade and they were still present in the morning and they escorted the orphans out as they left for the browsing grounds. The groups interacted very peacefully with none of the orphans charging the impala and they even spent some time grazing together with Dabassa spending time close to the impala throughout the morning. The two groups finally separated when the orphans headed towards the water hole in the afternoon. The impala also visited the water hole in the afternoon, but not until the orphans had already left. Edie and Emily’s herd were not sighted for the whole day, they were thought to be browsing in the thick forested area along the Voi river circuit.

31 March 2015

The day started as usual with the orphans leaving the stockade in time to catch the first light of day out in the browsing grounds. After the life giving rain of the last few days, the grasses were sending out green shoots and the shrubs and bushes were turning green. Lesanju, Sinya, Lempaute, Mzima, Taveta, Tassia and Layoni were seen lifting their trunks and smelling the air as they moved down the hill towards the airstrip, where they were later joined by Emily and her herd. The remainder of the orphan herd browsed close to the middle water hole in the morning and visited the pool for their noon milk bottle and a drink of water, however it was cold and cloudy at noon, so the orphans weren’t interested in bathing. Lesanju, Sinya, Lempaute, Mzima, Taveta, Tassia and Layoni joined up with the remainder of the orphan herd at the water hole in the afternoon for a browse before Mbirikani took the lead as the orphans returned to the stockade. Naipoki jostled with Mbirikani for position at the front, but Mbirikani picked up the pace and arrived at the stockade first.