Keepers' Diaries, November 2001

Voi Reintegration Unit

Overview - Nursery:- This month, it has been "Seraa" and "Solango" that have caused us concern, both teething soon after the trauma of rescue plus the loss of their elephant family and finding themselves in strange new surroundings. We anticipate diarrhoea in calves of this age, brought on by teething and also psychological grieving for the lost elephant family. This combination always brings on physical problems such as diarrhoea when there is always a danger of dehydration and the possibility of bacteria invading other vital organs. I am happy to say, that after injectable anti-biotics, and in Seraa's case, oral medication as well, both are now recovering, although Seraa took a little longer to pick up. The good news is that they are now playing, which is always an important milestone to recovery. Solango's sunburnt ears have needed a lot of attention, but are healing slowly, shaded at all times by an umbrella held aloft by a Keeper.

01 November 2001

The baby set, Yatta, Kinna, Mukwaju (and Nyiro, who has injected himself into this group) had a wonderful game rolling in the sand upon leaving the Night Stockade in the morning, Mukwaju and Nyiro climbing on each other. These two then took to charging the bushes, which went on for some time. They enjoyed a wonderful mudbath before lining up for their milk, Nyiro now able to hold his own bottle in his trunk. Natumi's group of older orphans left the Stockades along with that of Emily, with Edo in tow, who peeled off shortly afterwards. Salama decided to be with Emily's group most of the day. Meanwhile, who should appear walking along the pipeline cutline road towards home, but Ndume, who, along with Imenti and Lewa, was translocated, sedated and in a crate to the Ngulia Valley in Tsavo West last month, 100 miles away. He turned up at the Stockades in the afternoon, and was greeted with enormous excitement and joy by Emily and the others, who all crowded around him, reching out to touch him with their trunks. It has taken Ndume 3 days short of a month to walk back home!

02 November 2001

The baby group enjoyed chasing two squirrels today. Later Kinna bit Mukwaju's tail, which sent him off screaming. All enjoyed the mudbath and had a long rest later in the shade. Emily left the Night Stockades with Natumi's group as usual, but then peeled off, keeping Tsavo close. They returned to join Natumi's group at the mudbath, when Aitong helped to lift Lolokwe up, who had become stuck. Emily, Aitong and Loisaba escorted the others to their milk venue and later Emily's group was joined by Lissa and her calf, along with Edo, who came back to the Stockades with them in the evening. Lara (Lissa's baby) was very friendly with Mweiga. Back at the Stockades Ndume, Edo and Dika turned up together briefly in the morning, but then left again. They reappeared in the evening to join up with Lissa and her family, Ndume repeatedly climbing on Edo just to establish who is biggest and best!

03 November 2001

The morning was very humid, so the babies spent a long time in the mud today. In the afternoon it rained heavily, and the orphans had a wonderful time playing in the puddles and smearing their bodies with mud. Natumi's group separated from that of Emily in the morning, because Emily's family joined a wild group at 9.30 a.m. with whom they spent more than an hour. Emily rejoined the others at the mudbath, and all the orphans loved the rain, trying to catch the raindrops in their raised trunks. Ndara's wound was again treated by the Vets.

04 November 2001

It was cool today. Mukwaju and Kinna enjoyed a game together in the morning, which Kinna won. Emily enjoyed a quiet day. In the afternoon Mweiga and Tsavo rested their heads against Emily as they dozed.

05 November 2001

The babies enjoyed digging in the wet soil and rolling around in it. Nyiro chased squirrels, joined by Yatta. During the milk feed, Kinna tried to grab Nyiro's share, but met with strong resistance. The afternoon rains prompted more rolling in the mud. Emily intervened to prevent Salama from jumping on Lolokwe. In the afternoon, Emily took her group apart to feed separately.

06 November 2001

Yatta lagged behind the others to escort Maungu and Ndara out for a walk today. All enjoyed a great mudbath, after which Kinna and Nyiro chased two squirrels whilst the Keepers took their lunch under a tree. Natumi's group left the Stockades as usual along with Emily, but then Emily went separately. Icholta was scared by 4 warthogs, and ran back to Natumi, who led the field chasing them away. Edie continued the chase long after the warthogs had disappeared from view. Lolokwe and Salama tried to mount Icholta and Edie, but Edie punished Lolokwe, forcing him to run away. Emily joined them at the mudbath.

07 November 2001

The babies were scared by a flock of birds, running back to their Keepers. Nyiro wrestled with the water drums after mudbath. The day was uneventful and peaceful. On the way back to the Stockades in the evening, Aitong lagged back to escort Mweiga, who is always rather slow.

08 November 2001

In the morning, Mvita shoved Ndara against the wall, causing her wound to bleed. The day was hot, so a lot of the time was spent in mud. An antelope scared the babies on their way out into the bush, sending them hurrying back to the Keepers for protection.

09 November 2001

Laikipia and Salama tested their strength by wrestling with each other and after mudbath Emily and Laikipia enjoyed a roll in the mud. Emily's group was joined by Dika today when Ilingwezi, Natumi and Icholta relished being close to him, touching him with their trunks. Meanwhile Emily kept Tsavo close. Salama and Laikipia enjoyed their usual game climbing on the others during the mudbath.

10 November 2001

Maungu, Ndara and Mvita joined Yatta's baby group on an outing into the bush today, which caused great excitement, Kinna, Nyiro and Mukwaju wanting to stay close to them. Mvita pushed Kinna hard, causing her to cry. All kept touching Ndara's wound whilst she kept throwing earth over it. Emily and the others became very excited when an antelope crossed their path, after which they indulged in some bush bashing. Aitong helped Mweiga and Salama up during the mudbath, and when they returned to the Night Stockades in the evening, Lolokwe and Icholta entered the babies' Stockade, whilst the others returned with Emily's group.

11 November 2001

Ndara, Maungu and Mvita joined Yatta and the others for the second day. They all got on well together and enjoyed the mudbath immensely, when Ndara threw mud over her sore back. During the morning a flock of birds scared Icholta, Natumi and Lolokwe, who rushed back to their Keepers. All enjoyed a wonderful mudbath along with Emily and her group, and they all fed along the base of the hill in the afternoon.

12 November 2001

Nyiro took advantage of the new girls by jumping on Mvita and Maungu, but Kinna intervened and chased Nyiro off. Nyiro and Yatta chased the water bowser, which interested all the others, who joined in the fun. Emily and the others had a quiet day feeding, but were joined back at the Stockades by Lissa and her calf, Lara. Aitong played briefly with Emily before they all settled down for the night.

13 November 2001

The milk tractor was somewhat delayed today, and the babies became very restless, pushing each other. When the tractor did appear, they all scrambled for their bottles. Emily's and Natumi's group spent the day feeding together. Loisaba and Ilingwezi had a quarrel whilst resting in the shade, so Ilingwezi took herself off to rest elsewhere.

14 November 2001

Emily intervened to break up a tug of war between Mukwaju and Nyiro, before the babies separated. During their mudbath Yatta climbed on Kinna, making her cry, after which Kinna retaliated. Whilst the older orphans were feeding, Lolokwe decided to take a nap, but was disturbed by Edie, who climbed on him

15 November 2001

The babies enjoyed feeding on the new grass shoots brought on by the rains. Whilst the Keepers enjoyed lunch, the squirrels turned up as usual, to feed on tidbits, and Yatta and the babies enjoyed a chase. Emily's and Natumi's groups enjoyed the mudbath together, and remained together for the afternoon.

16 November 2001

All the orphans left together today. Emily tried very hard to win Maungu whilst Aitong followed Ndara to try and persuade her to come with them. Natumi's group was also interested, constantly sniffing Maungu and Ndara. Just before mudbath time, Emily's group and Natumi's group went to rescue Mukwaju who was left behind in a thicket and yelled when he was scared by some guineafowl. Later Emily and Edie chased off some antelopes, joined later by the others. Tsavo and Nyiro had a wonderful romp, whilst Emily kept a close watch.

17 November 2001

Natumi's group was overjoyed to have the babies with them today, especially the newcomers, Maungu, Ndara and Mvita. Every member of Natumi's group wanted to be close to these three and display motherly responsibility, except Mukwaju who showed little interest, busy feeding apart. When Natumi and Ilingwezi surrounded Maungu, she cried for help, which brought Emily to the rescue in a rush to calm her down.

18 November 2001

Kinna loves Ndara and Maungu, but does not much care for Mvita (who pushed her a few days ago). Ndara and Maungu were kept behind in the Stockade today so that Ndara's wound could be attended. Mvita remained close to the Keepers, scared of being pushed by Kinna. Meanwhile, Emily was very agitated, running here and there, looking for Ndara. Later Natumi and Emily enjoyed a play, Emily allowing Natumi to win, whilst Tsavo and Nyiro enjoyed a game.

19 November 2001

Emily followed the little ones upon leaving the Stockades, whilst Aitong chased off a waterbuck, before returning to join the others. Kinna repeatedly pushed Mvita throughout the day, to punish her, whilst Ndara enjoyed hiding in the thickets.

20 November 2001

All the orphans left together today, with Emily and Aitong paying special attention to the new babies. Mvita took her milk today, and then started screaming for more, watched by all the others, until Ndara led her back to Emily. Mvita hung around the Keepers in the afternoon, hoping for more milk. When the babies left ahead of the others for the Stockades in the evening, Emily escorted them trying to persuade Ndara to remain with her.

21 November 2001

All the orphans spent the day together, Ndara and Maungu staying close to Emily and Aitong, who were startled by a flock of birds, running back towards the Keepers. Emily turned and charged towards the birds, breaking down bushes and trumpetting. They were joined by a wild group at the mudbath, but did not interact. In the afternoon the babies were scared by thunder, and refused to leave the Keepers.

22 November 2001

It was a good day for Emily and Aitong, because Ndara and Maungu are becoming more fond of them. Ndara tried to suckle Emily a lot of the time. Mweiga, feeling left out, began to scream, which brought Emily and Aitong to her. In the evening Emily and Aitong tried to prevent the babies from leaving early for the Stockades.

23 November 2001

Tsavo welcome Ndara and Maungu to Emily today, but refused to allow Nyiro close, kicking him whenever he approached. Ndara, Maungu, Salama and Nyiro were most active in the mudbath today. In the afternoon, Emily took the group quite far from the Keepers to feed. Back at the Stockades, Ndara and Maungu had a pushing match.

24 November 2001

All the orphans left together, Emily and Aitong taking Ndara and Maungu with them, which made Kinna and Yatta very jealous, because they wanted the two babies with them! They did their best to grab them, but Ndara and Maungu preferred the company of the two big elephants. Emily and Aitong chased off a waterbuck during the morning, joined by Natumi and Edie, who continued charging and kicking the bushes long after the antelope had left. Nyiro and Tsavo enjoyed a game during mudbath.

26 November 2001

Emily led the others in a squirrel chase this morning, which all enjoyed. At noon, all the babies scrambled for their bottles. Maungu was not satisfied and followed the Keepers, begging for more. The afternoon was spent rolling in the cool soil and rain puddles.

27 November 2001

Icholta shoved Mvita today, causing her to cry, which brought Aitong to the rescue. Throughout the day Aitong followed Ndara, but Ndara did not seem interested in her. Yatta and Kinna were startled by a flock of birds, running towards the Keepers for protection. Emily enjoyed digging up damp soil, throwing it over her back, and then played by running around, and through, the bushes.

28 November 2001

The morning was spent all together feeding peacefully until the arrival of the water bowser, which Emily chased, followed by Ndara and Maungu! During mudbath Salama mounted on Lolokwe, whilst Nyiro rubbed himself against a drum, trying to mount on it. Later Mweiga pushed Natumi causing her to fall down with a scream which brought Aitong immediately to lift her up again. Emily and Aitong escorted the babies to the Milk Venue, and stood by them whilst they took their bottles at noon.

29 November 2001

The orphans separated into their various groups this morning, although Yatta's baby group joined up with Natumi's group later. The day was hot, so they indulged in many mudbaths in all the puddles. Kinna discovered a new game - swinging her trunk round and round and Edie, Nyiro and Icholta took the cue, and did the same, forming a semi circle around a little pool. Salama spoiled the game by pushing Nyiro to the ground. All had a wonderful wallow at noon.

30 November 2001

Nyiro and Yatta, whilst playing, inadvertently touched the electric fence, which made them scream in pain and run in different directions. When it began to rain in the afternoon, the babies became very excited, charging the bushes and running hither and thither. Mukwaju refused to join in. Aitong kept lovingly resting her trunk on Ndara's back, whilst Ndara kept throwing soil on the wound.