Keepers' Diaries, November 2007

Voi Reintegration Unit

This month, Burra has been assigned “Mweiga-sitting duty” ands this he has carried out extremely proficiently without a break. The November Diary is very interesting because it illustrates clearly that all the orphans keep in touch with one another, and that the composition of the various Matriarchal groupings constantly changes, with comings and goings between Emily’s unit, Natumi’s unit, and the new satellite grouping formed by Edie. Edie, who is close in age to Natumi, has long been aspiring to Matiarchal leadership but that said, her and those with her often join up with Natumi and all the others, and then travel together as one large family again. To begin with Edie’s satellite group comprised Lolokwe, Mukwaju and Mweya, but later on in the month Mukwaju went back into Natumi’s group, and on the 20th Edie had Loisaba and Morani with her, as well as Lolokwe and Mweya. This is interesting, since Loisaba is normally in Emily’s group. Similarly, Ndara, who is also normally with Emily, was spotted in amongst Natumi’s group on the 22nd, but later there was no sign of either Loisaba or Ndara in Natumi’s group, so they must have rejoined that of Emily!

01 November 2007

Burra still on Mweiga duty, so he and Mweiga left the Stockades early, and went foraging in the main Park. They enjoyed the noon waterhole, and then made their way to the base of Mazinga Hill, before returning for the night. Natumi’s group did not turn up today.

02 November 2007

Burra and Mweiga woke up in a happy mood, despite not having seen the others for a couple of days. Burra was very caring of Mweiga, patiently keeping pace with her, and if ahead, waiting for her to catch up. There were light rain showers throughout the afternoon, and plenty of green browse brought on by recent rains, so they had a good day.

03 November 2007

Burra and Mweiga came out in a joyful mood in the morning, and enjoyed playing around the Stockade, Burra rolling around on the ground, and Mweiga lifting her foot, trumpeting and swaying her trunk indication that she, too, was having fun. Edie, Lolokwe, Mweya and Mukwaju paid a visit to the Stockades in the evening, and were happy to see Burra and Mweiga. Later on they moved off to feed on the southern side of Mazinga Hill for the night.

04 November 2007

Burra and Mweiga had an enjoyable day feasting on the lush growth and soft green creepers at the base of Mazinga Hill. In the evening Lissa came to the Stockade with her two younger calves, the first calf, now 8 years old, was missing today. They played around the Stockade compound for a long time, before moving off towards the Eastern side of Mazinga Hill.

05 November 2007

The early visitor this morning was Laikipia, who came for a drink at the Stockade trough just after Burra and Mweiga had left. He met up with them afterwards, and after a highly charged greeting, moved with them to the field. At 3 p.m. Natumi’s group emerged from the grasslands on the northern side of Mazinga Hill to join them. They remained with Burra and Mweiga briefly before moving off towards the Voi river, leaving Burra and Mweiga to return to the Stockades.

06 November 2007

Today, Edie, Lolokwe, Mukwaju and Mweya arrived to join Burra and Mweiga and spent the morning feeding with them. The Keepers believe that Edie is determined to become the Matriarch of her own independent group, and has persuaded the other three to be with her. They had a wonderful mudbath together, and returned with Burra and Mweiga to the Stockade, after which they left to go up Mazinga Hill.

07 November 2007

Burra and Mweiga went to feed at the base of Mazinga Hill, and later met up with Natumi’s group at the mudbath, where they had a wonderful mudbath together. Later they all headed back to the hill, Burra and Mweiga managing to get half way up, leaving Natumi to take the others to the top. Burra and Mweiga then returned to the Stockades in the evening, and Natumi’s group, accompanied by Uaso, arrived later at l0 p.m.

08 November 2007

It was a wonderful morning for Burra and Mweiga, who left in a very happy mood, Mweiga swinging her trunk from side to side, and Burra taking the lead today. They joined up with a wild cow and two small calves, who were being followed by a big bull. Burra and Mweiga fed together with the wild group, until it was time to move to the mudbath. Natumi’s group joined them there, and remained with them for an hour before leaving heading towards the airstrip. Burra and Mweiga then returned to the Stockades for the night.

09 November 2007

Today, Edie, Mukwaju, Lolokwe and Mweya were at the Stockades first thing in the morning to greet Burra and Mweiga. They had a happy time feeding together until 3 p.m. when Edie led her small group to feed between Mazinga and Lion hill, known to be Emilys’ favourite haunt.

10 November 2007

Burra had fun with Serena, the Zebra orphan today, doing his best to ambush her as she moved along close to him and Mweiga. Serena was brave, and didn’t fall into Burra’s trap. At noon Edie and her small group came to drink at the Stockades, and returned at 2 p.m. later along with Natumi’s group. Meanwhile a wild group of elephants with 3 tiny calves met up with Mweiga and Burra at 3.45 p.m. A wild boy would have liked to play with Mweiga, but she ignored him, and later she and Burra headed back to the Stockades.

11 November 2007

Today was a quiet day for Burra and Mweiga, without contact with the other orphans. They simply spent the day morning stuffing themselves with soft green grass and returned to the Stockades in the evening, well satisfied

12 November 2007

Nyiro came alone today to the Stockade, and having taken a drink, happily joined Burra and Mweiga, accompanying them throughout the morning, and enjoying the mudbath with Burra at noon when Mweiga decided to be a spectator only. Nyiro accompanied Burra and Mweiga back to the Stockades in the evening, where he met up with Edie and her trio. He left with them once Burra and Mweiga were inside their Stockade for the night.

13 November 2007

Burra and Mweiga enjoyed another quiet day feeding, without making contact with the others or any wild groups. However, in the evening Natumi’s group plus that of Edie turned up, and fed around the Stockades for a long time before heading off for the hill.

14 November 2007

Burra and Mweya left early and were joined at l0 a.m. by Edie, Mweya and Lolokwe. Today Mukwaju was not with them. They all fed together and at the waterhole met up with a wallowing warthog, which Mweya enjoyed chasing away. She did her best to try and chase him back, but the warthog was having none of it. All these antics were watched by two interest giraffes. In the evening Natumi arrived at the Stockades with all the other orphans.

15 November 2007

Edie, Mweya and Lolokwe arrived early in the morning to join Burra and Mweiga. After a moment of happy socializing, Edie led the group out to feed, and they spent the entire day together, returning as a group to the stockades in the evening. Edie, Mweya and Lolokwe hung around the Stockade until 8 p.m. when Natumi’s group came to drink and later took them off. They all fed just above the offices before heading off towards the Mombasa pipeline just before dawn.

16 November 2007

Today only Edie and Lolokwe turned up to escort Mweiga and Burra out to feed. Edie and Lolokwe then left Burra and Mweiga and returned to the Stockade for a drink, after which they left, but returned again with Natumi and all in her group at 8.15 p.m. Having taken a drink, they then left again.

17 November 2007

Today Natumi’s group joined Burra and Mweiga at the noon mudbath where they all had loads of fun and after which they enjoyed feeding together as a group. When it was time to return to the Stockades in the evening, Burra and Mweiga left the others, who came to drink later on during the night before leaving to feed up Mazinga Hill.

18 November 2007

Burra and Mweiga were alone all day, without the others, although Edie, Mweya and Lolokwe came to the Stockades at 4.40 p.m. The three fed around the Stockades until joined by Natumi’s group who came to drink water at 8.30 p.m. they then all left together. Mukwaju seems to be back in Natumi’s group now.

19 November 2007

Natumi’s group were spotted feeding high up the hill, and did not come down today. There were light showers throughout the day.

20 November 2007

Burra and Mweiga again spent a quiet day feeding alone. Loisaba (who is normally in Emily’s group) came to the Stockades with Morani, Edie and Lolokwe but missed meeting up with Burra and Mweiga.

21 November 2007

Light showers fell throughout the day, so Mweiga and Burra had a quiet time feeding, without making contact with any of the others.

22 November 2007

Serena, the orphaned zebra, had a nice time accompanying and feeding with Burra and Mweiga. Burra did not mind her presence today.

23 November 2007

Burra and Mweiga enjoyed compound games today, Burra putting on a good display for Mweiga, who approvingly kept touching him with her trunk. They spent a quiet and peaceful day feeding without making contact with any wild groups or their orphaned peers.

24 November 2007

Again, a quiet feeding day for Burra and Mweiga. Natumi’s group came to the Stockades during the night, but didn’t stay long.

25 November 2007

Burra and Mweiga enjoyed feeding on the far northern side of Mazinga hill, where there are beautiful pools of rainwater. For them it was another quiet day without contact with their friends.

26 November 2007

Mweiga and Burra emerged from the Stockades early, and were joined by Natumi’s group, who approached in a long line single file, according to the Keepers “like politicians selling their manifestos on a road show!” The orphans greeted Burra and Mweiga cheerfully, Natumi taking time to pay close attention to Mweiga. Soon they headed out moving too rapidly for Mweiga to keep up, so Burra remained behind with Mweiga, keeping pace with her and the two lost contact with the others who had headed for the Voi river. Burra and Mweiga fed on their own throughout the rest of the day, but Natumi’s group returned to the Stockade in the evening, but soon left heading towards the western side of Mazinga Hill.

27 November 2007

Burra and Mweiga spent the day alone, although Natumi’s group came to drink at the stockades at 5.30 p.m. Loisaba was missing from the group today, having probably returned to Emily’s group, and Ndara, who is also usually with Emily’s group, was fraternizing closely with Natumi.

28 November 2007

Today, Natumi’s group turned up at the mudbath, but missed meeting up with Burra and Mweiga, who had already left. However, they had fun at the mudbath, and then left heading towards the Voi river. Meanwhile Burra and Mweiga fed alone and returned in the evening to the Stockades without making contact with their friends.