Keepers' Diaries, May 2001

Voi Reintegration Unit

Nursery:- The three little Nursery elephants, Nasalot from Lake Turkana, Mulika from Meru and tiny Mweya from Uganda all thrive, and couldn't be healthier and happier. In the past Mulika has caused us anxiety, coming as she does from an area where drinking places are shared by hordes of livestock, and in view of the sudden death without warning from Klebsiella pneumonia of several previous Nursery inmates from this area. Like them, she has often suffered bouts of being unwell, though with no obvious symptoms other than listlessness and loss of appetite, and this in spite of several courses of injectable antibiotics during her first year of life. In the end, we decided to give her a 3 day course of huge doses of Colloidal Silver, which resulted in some temporary oedema of the legs for a day or two, but which seems to have done the trick. Since then, she has been fine. Both she and Nasalot are now past their first infant year.

01 May 2001

Today Ndume was with the orphans when they all left in the morning, but then decided to go his own way. Emily's group left the babies shortly after 7.30 a.m. The yhoungsters then met a group of wild elephants that scared them, and they went hurrying back to their Keepers. All the orphans had a "spectacular" mudbath after which Lolokwe and Kinna vied with each other to get their milk first. Dika turned up at the Stockade at 5 p.m. and Emily brought her family back just before 6 p.m.

02 May 2001

Today Lewa and Uaso were at the Stockades first thing in the morning, and joined our orphans as they went off out into the bush, peeling off with Emily's group soon afterwards. The day was spent feeding as usual and all were present at the mudbath at 11.30 a.m. Before returning to the Stockades, Dika again turned up at the Stockades at 5 p.m.

03 May 2001

Soon after leaving the Stockades, Tsavo shoved Natumi, who retaliated. At 10 a.m. Emily's group joined a wild herd, bringing them along to join the babies at the mudbath. All the orphans except Imenti and Mukwaju enjoyed the mud, rolling around. After the milk session, Lolokwe and Salama had the battle for the first bottle, and later Lolokwe begged for more, moving from one Keeper to another. When the smaller orphans left to return to the Stockades, Natumi, Edie and Ilingwezi, who now share the lower Stockades with Emily's group in order to relieve congestion at the top, were persuaded to join Emily's group for the return journey.

04 May 2001

Imenti spent last night outside the Stockade but was waiting to join the others when they left in the morning. The day was uneventful with our elephants following their usual routine.

05 May 2001

Emily's group decided to remain with the others throughout the morning. After mudbath, there was a brief scuffle after Nyiro, Lolokwe, Mukwaju and Yatta had taken their milk and then Nyiro tried to hijack Salama's bottle. Salama did not appreciate this, and pushed Nyiro down, causing him to bellow. Loisaba who is always on guard when another orphan approaches, then knocked Natumi down, but Natumi did not retaliate.

06 May 2001

Both groups were together all morning, during which time Salama "demonstrated his masculinity" by defeating Laikipia in a game that deteriorating into a fight.. Nyiro kept begging to be able to suck the Keepers' fingers and twice Aitong came to try and persuade him to come away with her, but he refused. Lewa, Uaso and Imenti arrived during the course of the morning to join the group. Uaso and Imenti spent time playing together, after which Uaso and Lewa left, leaving Imenti behind with Emily's group. However, Uaso and Lewa reappeard with Dika at the Stockades at 6 p.m.

07 May 2001

Today it was very hot and dry, so the orphans had a marvellous mudbath. At 2 p.m. Tsavo played a mounting game on Icholta, who did not want to partake, so she ran to Aitong who separated them. Mweiga who was feeding in the bush with Natumi suddenly screamed and this brought Aitong, Emily and Imenti at the run, whilst Natumi's group ran to the Keepers for protection. In the evening all the boys appeared, i.e. Dika, Ndume, Edo, Lewa and Uaso.

08 May 2001

Imenti joined the others during the course of the morning. At the noon milk feed again Lolokwe begged for more, but there was none. At the Stockade in the evening Imenti tried to mount Uaso¸ who ran away, pursued by Imenti with Ndume, Edo and Lewa following.

09 May 2001

At 9 a.m. Aitong left with a herd of wild elephants, returning after having been away half an hour. At wallowing time today, Salama and Laikipia had an argument about who should drink first from the same drum, a tussle that was won by Salama with Laikipia having to go to another drum where he was welcomed. For the first time ever Imenti was absent all day, never appearing at all. Ndume came to the Stockades in the evening.

10 May 2001

Still no sign of Imenti in the morning, but he appeared at the Stockades with Lewa at about 10 a.m. and then joined up with the others later out in the bush. All enjoyed a very exciting mudbath. In the afternoon something scared the babies who were feeding about 50 metres away from the Keepers, so they came rushing back towards the Keepers, Natumi leading. Once with the Keepers, Nyiro found this a good excuse to suckle on fingers. At noon, Lissa and her baby Lara appeared at the Stockade with a young wild bull the size of Imenti, whilst Dika and Ndume came back to the Stockades at 7 p.m.

11 May 2001

The morning was spent as usual, all the orphans leaving together in a large convoy. At mudbath Salama and Laikipia took centre stage, Salama defeating Laikipia. Dika joined Emily's group at the mudbath, and spent time with them later before leaving with a wild group.

12 May 2001

The morning was spent as usual, and the mudbath was "spectacular". In the afternoon Nyiro jumped on Kinna and then Salama and Edie enjoyed a pushing game. Emily's group spent the afternoon with the babies and then returned with Natumi, Edie and Ilingwezi as usual. At the Stockades Dika and Ndume appeared in the evening.

13 May 2001

the morning was spent as usual. After mudbath Icholta and Mukwaju had a disagreement over the milk ration, whilst Aitong displayed gentleness towards Mweiga and Tsavo, resting her trunk on Mweiga during the afternoon sheltering time. Lissa, Lara and the wild bull Imenti size appeared at the Stockades in the evening, as did Uaso, Dika and Ndume.

14 May 2001

After leaving the Stockades in the morning, Natumi startled the others in her group by dashing hither and thither. Emily parted from the babies at 8 a.m. to join a wild group amongst whom was Uaso. She then brought the wild elephants to he mudbath, and they all wallowed together. Then Emily and Uaso left the rest of the orphans to go with this wild herd, but in the afternoon Emily was seen charging around in a state of agitation. She turned up at the Stockade with Uaso at 2 p.m. but soon left again, returning with all the others in the evening as usual.

15 May 2001

All the orphans met up at the mudbath. As usual Lolokwe wanted more than his share of milk. Mweiga spent the day with Aitong, whilst Tsavo stayed close to Emily. In the evening, Lissa, Lara and the wild male Imenti size turned up along with Dika, Ndume, Lewa and Uaso.

16 May 2001

Imenti, Uaso and Lewa joined the others in the morning, but later left, returning to meet up with them again at the mudbath. The morning activity was dominated by Nyiro who tried to jump first on Kinna and then on Icholta. During the mudbath he climbed on Imenti who was rolling around in the mud. Salama and Lolokwe had their usual tussle after which Lolokwe took a sand bath and when he had difficulty in getting up, Aitong immediately came to the rescue. Dika and Ndume came to the Stockades at 4.30 p.m.

17 May 2001

The morning was spent as usual, with Emily's group leaving the others to join a wild group with whom they played happily in between feeding. Salama and Laikipia indulged in their usual tussle for dominance. Emily brought her wild friends along to meet the Keepers, but they ran away when they got close. During mudbath Imenti put on a big show playing with a tyre. Dika, Ndume, Edo, Lissa and Lara turned up at the Stockades in the evening.

18 May 2001

Natumi, who is a "big coward" was scared by the whistling sound of the wind, alarming all the others, who joined her running back to the Keepers. Imenti saw a lone buffalo off in the afternoon, keenly watched by Loisaba whilst all the others were busy feeding. Lissa and Lara arrived at the Stockades at 4 p.m. and Edo and Ndume at 5 p.m.

19 May 2001

All the orphans spent the morning together when Edie spent time chasing butterflies, and Nyiro tried to mount Kinna. Emily's group joined a wild herd, spending over an hour with them. At the mudbath, as usual Mukwaju refused to go in, standing at the edge watching all the others in the pool. The orphans rested under shade during the heat of the afternoon. In the evening all the boys were present, as well as Catherine and her family amongst whom were Mpenzi, Lissa and Lara.

20 May 2001

Natumi's group were joined by a wild herd in the morning, and spent time with them. Salama played with a young wild bull of his size. Emily's group joined the younger set at the mudbath, when Salama pushed Mweiga down on two occasions and Aitong ran to help Mweiga get up. Catherine's group came down from the hill to take water at the Stockade today.

21 May 2001

Lewa joined Emily's group out in the bush at 8 a.m. and spent the day with them. Imenti tried to play with Lewa in the afternoon, but this lasted only a short time. Catherine's group, along with Lissa, Lara and Mpenzi came to the Stockades at 4.30 p.m. joined later by all the boys, including Uaso and Edo.

22 May 2001

Soon after leaving the Stockades in the morning, Catherine's group joined the babies. Laikipia played with one of Catherine's youngsters. They all came together to the mudbath, when Tsavo enjoyed playing with the young wild calves but Emily and Imenti remained at the far end of the pool, away from Catherine's group. After mudbath Catherine's group left and our orphans went to take a rest under the shade of a tree.

23 May 2001

Once out in the bush Edie indulged in her game of chasing the butterflies, joined by Natumi who took to charging the bushes. At 10 a.m. Imenti and Lewa had a prolonged pushing game during which Imenti gave the impression that Lewa was winning, in order to prolong the encounter. The orphans had a marvellous mudbath, followed by a sandbath when Laikipia lay down and allowed Nyiro to climb on him. At 4 p.m. Dika, Ndume and Lissa and her baby came to the Stockades and spent the rest of the afternoon there.

24 May 2001

All the orphans spent the morning together today, and enjoyed a "remarkable" mudbath when Tsavo played with Yatta. Meanwhile at 11 a.m. Edo came to the Stockades, and left having taken water. At 4.30 p.m. Icholta bit Kinna's tail, causing her to cry and run away. Edo joined Emily's group in the afternoon, and came back to the Stockades with them.

25 May 2001

The orphans had a very "gentle" morning, joined by Emily's group at the mudbath. After the milk feed Tsavo took Nyiro by surprise, forcing him to surrender, but later Nyiro got his own back, forcing Tsavo to run to Emily for protection. When Natumi, Ilingwezi and Edie were taken to join Emily's group for the return to the Stockades, Edie resisted, but eventually capitulated.

26 May 2001

The morning was spent with the usual routine, and Nyiro coming to suck the Keepers' fingers periodically. At the mudbath Aitong assisted Icholta who was having difficulty getting up. Then Salama pushed Mweiga down, and Aitong again came to the rescue. A little later Salama again pushed Mweiga down, and when Aitong rushed to the rescue, he ran away back to his group.

27 May 2001

Today it was dull and cold, so the orphans were in no mood to play or mudwallow. There was the usual tussle over the milk. In the evening Edie, Ilingwezi and Natumi joined Emily's group for the return to the Stockades, during which Edie became a little nervous when she heard a distant noise, lifting her trunk and putting out her ears.

28 May 2001

Again the day was cold, so the orphans had only a sand bath. Imenti fed separately from the others in the afternoon. In the evening Ndume, Lewa and Edo came back to the Stockades at 4 p.m. and Catherine and her herd came to drink after 6 p.m.

29 May 2001

During the morning Ilingwezi joined Emily's group for about 2 hours and Lewa turned up at 7.30 a.m., with them for the mudbath. He then left, reappearing again in the evening. Salama played with Icholta during the morning and at 3.30 p.m. Lissa and her calf visited the Stockades accompanied by Edo.

30 May 2001

Nyiro and Edie enjoyed chasing butterflies this morning. The youngsters were joined again by Emily's group at the mudbath. Afterwards Salama and Icholta had a difference over the milk feed, but Icholta took herself off to another Keeper. Back at the Stockades Mweiga played with Ilingwezi briefly, whilst Lissa and her calf appeared with a wild bull the size of Imenti at 4 p.m.

31 May 2001

Leaving the Stockades, Nyiro led the cavalcade, swinging his trunk from side to side happily showing off. The morning was spent feeding as usual, and all enjoyed an exciting mudbath. After this Tsavo joined the first sitting for milk with the three youngest orphans, Yatta, Kinna and Mukwaju, whilst Lolokwe tried to usurp Mweiga's rations, but was thwarted by the Keepers. Edo and Lewa arrived at the Stockade at 5 p.m.