Keepers' Diaries, November 2006

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Voi Reintegration Unit

The Voi orphans have also had a wonderful month, the drought conditions relieved at last by plentiful rain which has brought on a green banquet for this unit, which has had to search for every edible shoot for so long, having endured 3 years of drought. However, the vegetation is nothing like as plentiful as that in the North which has not endured such heavy browsing pressure from wild herds. Yet again, Mazinga Hill seems to be the place of choice when it comes to feeding, run-off from the hill obviously promoting better growth. Mukwaju remains the mountaineer of the group, always anxious to head up the hill, and be first at the top.

The Voi orphans have also had a wonderful month, the drought conditions relieved at last by plentiful rain which has brought on a green banquet for this unit, which has had to search for every edible shoot for so long, having endured 3 years of drought. However, the vegetation is nothing like as plentiful as that in the North which has not endured such heavy browsing pressure from wild herds. Yet again, Mazinga Hill seems to be the place of choice when it comes to feeding, run-off from the hill obviously promoting better growth. Mukwaju remains the mountaineer of the group, always anxious to head up the hill, and be first at the top.

It is heart-warming to read that Mweiga was the one who initiated contact with a wild herd on the 4th when Ndara and Nyiro enjoyed playing with wild age-mates, and when the orphans spent two hours feeding amongst this wild unit. The orphans again joined a wild herd on the 16th, with whom they spent time, and on they were joined by Uaso who accompanied them to the mudbath where Laikipia engaged him in a pushing match and as usual was defeated. Uaso turned up again on the 27th joining the orphans at the noon mudbath, where they all enjoyed his company. Burra, as usual, is anxious always to head the column back and forth from the feeding grounds to the Stockades, sometimes sharing this privilege with his friend, Solango and at other times having to make way for Laikipia, who is the Big Boy of the group.

This month, Emily or any members of her group have not made contact with the orphans, obviously because they have chosen to go elsewhere where the vegetation is more abundant, because normally they, too, are never far from Mazinga Hill. In all, therefore, it has been a feeding month for the Voi Orphans, who like those at Ithumba, have enjoyed the rains very much indeed, wallowing at will in the mud and the puddles, but above all spending most of their time feeding.

November 2006 day to day

01 Nov

Green vegetation is at last plentiful for the Voi Orphans following rain in October and more in November, which has come as a treat following two previous years of drought. Hence, the Voi Unit has been concentrating on browsing, heading out early in the morning, having a joyful mudbath in any of the natural waterholes that have filled with rainwater, and today, again heading up Mazinga Hill, led by the group’s mountaineer, Mukwaju, on this occasion facing competition from Vita. In the evening, as usual, Laikipia led “the majestic march” back to the Stockades.

Mukwaju and Vita foraging together

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