Keepers' Diaries, May 2011

Voi Reintegration Unit

Since the only explanation available to us after the postmortem on Kudup seemed to be an absorption malfunction, and since Dida also shows signs of being somewhat fragile, we decided to remove the Replacer Milk from her diet, and concentrate instead on Coconut which contains the correct type of fat for an elephant, plus other supplements such as Horsemeal, Dairy Cubes and Lucerne. Dida is now 3 years old but still somewhat stunted for her age. However, she loves her Coconut “milk” diet and according to Joseph Sauni, the Head Voi Keeper, seems to be a better shape, losing the bloated stomach look she had before.

01 May 2011

As the Juniors were enjoying their daily ration of supplements, Ex Orphan Bulls Burra and Lolokwe turned up unexpectedly and un-noticed behind them, scaring Ndii and Dida, who were calmed by a “trunk kiss” from the Mini Matriarch, Lesanju. The two Senior Bulls remained with the Juniors throughout the morning, but eventually parted, heading towards the airfield, presumably to meet up with the rest of Emily’s Ex Orphan unit. Siria headed off with them, but the call of milk brought him back to rejoin the Junior set.

02 May 2011

Today, the orphaned baby ostrich decided to become part of the Junior set, following the elephants and their Keepers, something about which Lesanju was not too happy! To begin with Lesanju attempted to expel the ostrich, but finally all the orphans warmed to her, enjoying the chasing games which the ostrich easily won! Whilst out in the bush the little ostrich joined a wild male ostrich for a while, before returning to the Keepers and joining the elephants as they headed back to the Stockades in the evening.

03 May 2011

The Juniors had an uneventful day browsing, taking a bath at the large waterhole at noon where Shimba and Mzima enjoyed a game of trumpeting and charging around before scratching their buttocks against the banks. Lempaute joined them briefly. In the evening Ndii led the orphans back to the Stockades.

04 May 2011

Today the Juniors browsed all round Mazinga Hill, beginning at the Southern Side and ending up at the eastern end, with a break for the mudbath in between. Mzima and Siria enjoyed a friendly Pushing Game, which was easily won by Siria, who has had a lot of practice with members of Emily’s Senior set.

05 May 2011

During a shower of rain, Wasessa and Lesanju led their unit high up the Southern side of Mazinga hill to browse. Taveta moved higher still and began bellowing when he thought he was lost and alone. The Keepers retrieved him and escorted the Juniors to the Stockades for a noon mudbath and their milk, after which they returned to the hill, on this occasion Taveta making sure he was with the others at all times!

06 May 2011

Today the Juniors met up with a troupe of baboons which they enjoyed chasing on their way out to browse. In the evening Ex orphaned kudus, Mkuki and Aruba came back to the Stockades to greet the Keepers. Mkuki’s horns have grown huge.

07 May 2011

Today as the orphans were browsing the Northern side of the hill, they became visibly nervous, continually raising their trunks and remaining very close to the Keepers. Eventually the Keepers went to investigate ahead and discovered 4 large lions feeding on a buffalo they had killed. The Keepers took the elephants to a different browsing area on the eastern side of the hill.

08 May 2011

Emily’s group came to the Stockades early this morning to enjoy the Juniors’ supplements. Burra engaged Siria in a wrestling match during which Mzima chased after Tassia, hoping to be able to mount him. However, Tassia ran straight to Wasessa who warned Mzima off! Emily’s group accompanied the Juniors as they headed out to browse, but branched off midway to go elsewhere.

09 May 2011

The orphans enjoyed a game of hide and seek at the compound, Lempaute and Sinya tossing huge chunks of dust into the air with their trunks. Wasessa and Lesanju then led the group up Mazinga hill to browse, Lesanju alerting them when it was time to return for their noon milk feed and a mudbath.

10 May 2011

Emily’s group came to the Stockades, but just missed the Juniors who had already left. With Emily was Tsavo, who came once last month with a wild friend, but on this occasion the wild friend was not with him. Tsavo was a little shy at first, but soon interacted comfortably with all the others. He has huge tusks now, by far the biggest tusker in Emily’s unit.

11 May 2011

Solango came alone to join the Juniors after their noon mudbath. Solango spent the rest of the day with the Juniors, with them when they returned in the evening. He hung around the Stockades until midnight.

12 May 2011

Today Lesanju was focused on Dida, spending most of the day by her side, something that made Sinya and Lempaute a little jealous since they wanted to be close to Dida as well. All enjoyed the mudbath today and it was Kenia who led the group back in the evening.

13 May 2011

Today, unusually, the orphans skipped their usual Stockade games, but instead headed straight out to browse, led by Shimba and Mzima. After the noon mudbath, they went to an erosion gully where they all had a lot of fun playing with each other, sliding down the banks and rolling in the earth.

14 May 2011

Mzima led the group to the northern side of Mazinga hill, where they rested under shade during the heat of the day. All had a wonderful noon mudbath, Tassia climbing onto Taveta, Lesanju playing with Sinya and Siria challenging Mzima.

15 May 2011

Today saw amazing Stockade games before the orphans headed out to browse, Dida enjoying a dustbath before noticing that Mzima was sneaking up on her, alerted to this fact by her friend, Ndii. Just before the noon mudbath, Siria tried to entice Tassia into a Pushing Game, but Wasessa would have none of it!

16 May 2011

Emily’s group came to the Stockades at 4 p.m. in the afternoon, and then went to meet up with the Juniors who were browsing on the eastern side of Mazinga hill where a very highly charged greeting took place, with trumpeting, rumbling and urinating. Solango was with them and took the opportunity to have a wrestling match with Siria, with whom he forged a strong bond of friendship during the convalescence of his leg. The two groups socialized for half an hour before the Juniors began heading back home.

17 May 2011

The orphans woke early for their morning milk feed after which they went off to browse, taking a break to play, Tassia, Taveta and Ndii throwing loose soil over their backs, soon joined by Dida and Kenia. Lesanju moved in to take control of the game from Mzima. After the mudbath, the orphans browsed the northern side of the hill.

18 May 2011

Emily’s group joined the Juniors as they were playing the usual Stockade games, forming a very large group of orphans. Burra and Siria enjoyed a lengthy wrestling match, Burra remaining behind with the Juniors when Emily’s group moved off. However, he later rejoined them out in the bush.

19 May 2011

The weather turned cool today, heralding the end of the rains, but there is still green vegetation around on which the orphans can browse. Due to the weather, none of the orphans opted for a mudbath today, but instead Shimba played a game of hide and seek with Dida and Ndii while Siria showed Taveta how to dig up soil using his toenails and spraying it over their backs.

20 May 2011

Emily’s group was sited on the southern side of Mazinga hill. Eve was enjoying the company of her Nanny, Sweet Sally. Later in the evening, there was a light shower of rain when Lempaute enjoyed playing in the erosion trench.

21 May 2011

Today, Wasessa, Ndii and Kenia overtook Lesanju who was leading the group out in the morning. Once at the browsing area Mzima and Siria began a mounting game while Taveta and Tassia sorted out a disagreement by head-butting each other. All enjoyed the waterhole today and fed near the lower Spring Gate before returning in the evening.

22 May 2011

Emily and her group linked up with the Juniors on the Eastern side of Mazinga Hill and brought them back to the Stockades at 3.40 p.m. where all enjoyed a hand-out of Copra Cake. They all played around the Stockades for about half an hour before moving to the southern side of Mazinga Hill. Kenia, Ndii and Dida were very interested in Edie’s baby (Ella) who was kept from them by Nannies Mweya and Vita. Emily’s group separated from the Juniors during their walk back in the evening.

23 May 2011

Icholta, Burra, Mpala and Solango came to the Stockades without the rest of Emily’s group and greatly enjoyed interacting with the Juniors. Icholta and Mpala cornered Siria in a Pushing Game, Siria overpowered and backing out but then trying to mount onto Kenia to hide his shame, Mzima also trying to take advantage of Kenia. The Keepers warned the two off!

24 May 2011

It was a hot day, so the Juniors enjoyed a cool dip in the large waterhole during the morning browsing session, led by Lesanju to enjoy another briefer one at noon and spending the remainder of the day browsing.

25 May 2011

Today Ndara and Icholta came on their own to greet the Youngsters without the rest of Emily’s unit. Icholta was surrounded by all the Youngsters like a Queen, enjoying the tender touch of their trunks while Ndara engaged Siria in a wrestling match. Later Icholta approached Wasessa for a wrestling game, but Wasessa declined and remained close to Lesanju. The orphans later met up with a wild herd at the eastern side of Mazinga hill when Wasessa took a great interest in a wild calf, following it around, but later returned to rejoin her group.

26 May 2011

The day turned very hot so Dida, escorted by Lesanju, went to take a bath in the Big Waterhole. Sinya attempted to join them, but was deterred by Lesanju. Later the orphans browsed around the waterhole, waiting for their noon bottle of milk.

27 May 2011

Kenia led the Juniors out today. En route Mzima hid behind a bush, Taveta and Tassia searching for him, soon joined by Siria who became frustrated and pushed Taveta, thus ending the search. Mzima then emerged, and all focused on feeding for the remainder of the day.

28 May 2011

Today Seraa, from Emily’s group, came alone to escort the Juniors out to browse, taking them half way up Mazinga Hill. She returned to the Stockades with them at noon to take their milk and a mudbath, stretching her trunk out to touch the Keepers’ faces as though asking for a bottle of milk as well! After a Pushing Game with Siria, later leaving the Juniors as they headed for the Big Waterhole at noon.

29 May 2011

It was a hot day, so Siria joined a herd of impala under the shade of an Acacia tree, not bothering about them at all. Later the impalas mingled with the orphans as they all browsed together.

30 May 2011

The Juniors found a large herd of elephants at the Big Waterhole today, who had already finished off all the water in the bins. The Juniors joined the wild herd in the waterhole, Siria and Wasessa choosing wild friends with whom to play while Tassia and Mzima focused on a small wild calf, but were warned off by the mother. The wild group eventually left, leaving the orphans feeding around the Waterhole. In the evening another small wild family came to drink at the Stockade trough, after the orphans had already entered their Night Stockades. The group comprised a large cow and her calf and a middle-aged bull.

31 May 2011

Icholta, Mweya and Seraa came to join the Juniors at the Stockade in the early morning. Icholta and Mweya had to combine effort to take on Siria while Lesanju encouraged her group to leave. However, the others caught up with them, making Lesanju very uneasy, obviously fearful that the Big Girls might entice away members of her unit. She was very relieved when the three Ex Orphans decided to separate!