The month of May has seen some interesting dynamics play out between our dependent orphans at Voi and some of our much older fully independent ex orphans. The beginning of the month started slowly with no visits from the ex orphans until the 10th of the month, and in that time Wasessa was predictably playing mummy to her favourite babies, Bada and Mudanda, with Ndoria enjoying some attention too. Lesanju and Lempaute and Sinya have taken newcomers Tundani, Nelion and Lentili under their wing making sure they have completely settled with other dependent young females like Kenia, Ndii, Ishaq - B quick to babysit at any given opportunity.
After the ex orphans visited the stockades on the 10th there was a tendency for the dependent orphans to feel the need to meet up with the ex orphans out in the Park, sometimes fraternizing with the wild elephants in their company too. This month Wasessa and Mzima and later Tassia have spent days out with the ex orphans, and have chosen not to return the dependent babies and their Keepers. Some days have been challenging for the Keepers to round the dependent babies given how immersed in the 'herd' they were. Even Tundani, Nelion and Lentili seem to be feeling the pull of the wild enjoying the interaction they have recently enjoyed with the older orphans and their wild friends. Another of the attractions and a great lure has been the wild born babies belonging to ex orphans Emily and Edie named Emma and Eden. None of the dependent orphans can resist the opportunity to play and interact with these adorable tiny tots. They are fiercely guarded by ex orphan nannies, Thoma, Sweet Sally and Mweya, but recently the nannies have become more relaxed and accepting and have welcomed the dependent orphan’s attentions.
Dependent herd Matriarch Lesanju has been disturbed by the interaction with the ex orphans, but even she has been susceptible to Emma and Eden baby time falling for the temptation more than once. There have been days however where she has artfully extracted her herd from the stockades early enough to avoid contact with the ex orphans and has been able to relax in the knowledge that her dependent herd remains present and correct. On the days when Wasessa, Mzima and Tassia are missing from her herd she has been visibly anxious, painfully aware of their absence.
With Wasessa spending time out with the big ex orphans and away from the dependent group Ishaq-B has snapped up Bada and over this month these two have formed a very strong bond. Wasessa is torn by this friendship and on some days has opted to remain back with the dependent orphans just so that she can reunite with her babies Bada and Mudanda.
Tassia and Taveta and Mzima are big boys beginning to feel the call of independence and have wondered away and separated themselves from the juniors joining the others much later in the day, and they have done some night outs with the ex orphans too. Since the 10th of the month the ex orphans have been returning almost daily sensing that many of the dependent orphans are becoming more confident and independent.
There is now plenty of lovely long grass thanks to some heavy rain showers and the orphans have been enjoying the plentiful food around Msinga hill, also the erosion gulleys formed with the recent rains provide endless entertainment as they slip slide and enjoy themselves against the steep embankments and mud. There are some fun escapades recounted throughout the Keepers daily entries for the Voi Unit with many more details about individual elephants.