Keepers' Diaries, November 2011

Voi Reintegration Unit

A very heavy rainstorm on the l0th greened the vegetation and filled the waterholes frequented by the Voi Keeper Dependent Junior orphans who have weathered another very tough drought season when food in the area was in short supply, necessitating supplementation at the Stockades. The friendship of Shimba and Taveta has blossomed further this month. They have become inseparable, with seldom a day passing without them playing wrestling games with one another. Whereas Shimba always used to be laid back and quiet, he is now very active stimulated by the strong bond with playful Taveta. Occasionally the two join forces to challenge Siria who is stronger and bigger. Meanwhile the long antipathy between Taveta and Tassia also endures, Tassia now having to play second fiddle to newcomer Emsaya whom Wasessa has chosen as her new favourite, putting Tassia’s nose badly out of joint. He is extremely resentful of Emsaya, even foregoing his second bottle of milk one day to target her before Wasessa was out of the Night Stockade to protect her. Lempaute also vyes with Wasessa to monopolize Emsaya, who, being the smallest, is a hot favourite with all the Junior females. Another is weakling Dida on whom all lavish a great deal of extra care and attention, especially Kenia and Sinya.

01 November 2011

The orphans left early to browse, quenching their thirst at a rain filled pool out in the bush. Being an amazing time-keeper, Lesanju gauges the time perfectly and ahead of the others, began the journey to the mudbath and milk venue, standing behind Dida as she took her milk to prevent any of the others barging into her as they came in a hurry. Dida and newcomers Kivuko and Emsaya sprayed their bodies with water taken up in their trunks rather than go in with the others, who can be a bit too boisterous.

02 November 2011

Siria, being taller than the others, enjoyed plucking green shoots from the top of the Acacia trees around the waterhole, enviously watched by his shorter peers. Mzima then shifted attention by rushing into the waterhole and initiating wallowing games. The orphans fed close to the waterhole for the rest of the day.

03 November 2011

Kivuko was left behind as the others headed out to browse having taken water from the Stockade trough. She was confused, searching for them in their Stockades, so the Keepers led her to join the others out in the field. Wasessa, who had noticed her absence, was already returning to retrieve her, and welcomed her warmly back into the herd. They browsed the Northern side of Mazinga Hill today, reaching the waterhole at noon where they took a brief bath before resuming browsing for the rest of the day.

04 November 2011

As the orphans left their Night Stockades in the morning, Wasessa paid a lot of attention to Emsaya for whom she has developed a soft spot. This made Tassia very jealous who tried to push Emsaya away using his bottom, watched by his rival Taveta, who literally had a smile on his face seeing Tassia’s discomfort as Wasessa continued to focus on Emsaya.

05 November 2011

Today Tassia’s jealousy of Emsaya became more evident when he stopped taking his second bottle of milk to confront Emsaya head on as soon as she emerged from the Stockade. Emsaya began screaming for help, so the Keepers moved in since Wasessa was not yet out. However, as soon as she was out she came running to Emsaya, but by then the situation had calmed.

06 November 2011

All the orphan concentrated on browsing today until noon when Lempaute began playing with a tree trunk, soon joined by Tassia and Shimba. The others lay down for a dust bath, tossing huge lumps of earth into the air, happy trumpeting filling the air. All enjoyed the mudbath games today, after which they browsed their way gradually back to the Stockades in the evening.

07 November 2011

Siria and Lempaute had a serious difference to sort out having taken their morning milk, the cause of which was not obvious. Meanwhile Shimba and Taveta had a friendlier match after which Taveta lay down hoping that Kivuko would clamber on him, but no such luck! Sinya had a soft spot for Dida, browsing close to her for the better half of the day. Today the mudbath and noon milk feed took place at the Stockades, because some school children had arranged to come and see the orphans.

08 November 2011

Today Shimba and Taveta combined forces to take on Siria who had interrupted their Pushing Bout. Siria took them on and a tough fight took place until the Keepers called the Orphans leading them to the main Park to feed.

09 November 2011

Kivuko is now much stronger and is joining the others in the wallow while Emsaya and Dida prefer to remain on the periphery. Siria wanted to take Kivuko on in a Pushing Match but the Keepers intervened, since Kivuko is no match for him. After this she decided to exit the wallow. In the evening Lempaute and Wasessa both paid Emsaya special attention, stroking her on the back. Mzima engaged Taveta in a wrestling match before setting off back to the Stockades in the evening.

10 November 2011

There was a heavy downpour of water overnight which filled a large waterhole. The orphans had a lot of fun in it, Lempaute initiating a new game, tossing a piece of wood around in the pool while Sinya tossed her trunk skywards in a gesture of joy. Even Dida went in for a quick bathe before having a dustbath while Kenia and Ndii scratched themselves against the banks, joined by Wasessa who then took Emsaya to teach her some tips. All fed around this waterhole for the rest of the day.

11 November 2011

On a sunny morning the orphans were led out by Lempaute and Lesanju. Priority focused on browsing until the noon mudbath when Lesanju had a tender moment resting her head softly on Ndii’s back which made her feel happy. Mzima caused commotion when he almost drowned Tassia in the middle of the waterhole, prompting Wasessa to take immediate action, running in to rescue Tassia, grabbing Mzima’s tail and biting it as a punishment as he fled for dear life! His bellows resulted in all the other orphans exiting the water en masse!

12 November 2011

The orphans indulged in Stockade games today before heading out, Wasessa inspecting Emsaya as she was lying down. Wasessa has taken on Emsaya as her special baby, much to Tassia’s irritation. Only Mzima decided to swim in the Middle waterhole at noon, so enjoying himself that he failed to notice the others moving off. He ran to join them, warmly welcomed by Siria.

13 November 2011

On their way to the Middle Waterhole at noon, the Juniors met up with all the Ex Orphans – Emily’s group as well as Edie’s group which resulted in a highly charged Greeting Ceremony. The Ex Orphans did not pay any special attention to the newcomers Emsaya and Kivuko but enjoyed a wallow with the established Juniors, Mweya and Sweet Sally shielding Emily’s calf, “Eve” and Edie’s calf “Ella” from playing with the Youngsters. After the other Ex Orphans left the wallow, Thoma remained behind, playing with Siria and browsing comfortably with the Juniors for the next 2 hours before moving off to rejoin her Ex Orphaned group.

14 November 2011

The Juniors met up with Emily’s group on the Eastern side of Mazinga hill, in the morning, included amongst whom was a wild boy. Emily’s group was heading towards the Stockades and the Juniors in the opposite direction. There was a brief greeting session, Thoma and Seraa pausing to socialize with the babies, but also anxious not to miss out on the possibility of a handout back at the Stockade where they spent a good half hour.

15 November 2011

Siria and Mzima had a wonderful wrestling match before joining the others for a drink at the Stockade water trough in the morning, arriving at the trough in high spirits and spraying water over all the others. This took them by surprise and sent them running in all directions! They settled in to browse half way up the Northern side of Mazinga hill for the first half of the day, before heading to the flat land near the Middle waterhole.

16 November 2011

After downing their milk, and playing Stockade games, the orphans headed to the western side of Mazinga hill, Shimba leading. Siria, Wasessa and Shimba were so engrossed curling their trunks round to pluck bundles of fresh grass that they did not notice the others heading for the mudbath venue, and had to run to catch up. In the evening Ndii led the herd back.

17 November 2011

Lesanju led the herd to the Western side of Mazinga hill today, enjoying their noon mudbath at the old Baobab tree waterhole. Lempaute sat on Kenia’s head, but Kenia intervened to turn it into a fun game. Later they sheltered beneath the Baobab and browsed that area for the rest of the day.

18 November 2011

The Juniors joined a friendly large wild herd of elephants on the northern side of the hill who greeted the Juniors warmly and allowed them to freely mingle. Wasessa and Lesanju were allowed by the mother to pay a lot of attention to a small wild calf. The Juniors browsed, and mingled with the wild herd for two hours before it was time for the orphans to return to the Stockades for the night.

19 November 2011

Today it was Lempaute who had a soft spot for Emsaya in the morning, but Wasessa moved in rapidly to commandeer Emsaya for herself. However, once the Juniors arrived at the browsing area, Lempaute focused on Emsaya again and the two fed close together for the rest of the day. Shimba, who used to be a very laid back and calm individual is becoming a very active playmate for Taveta. As soon as they arrived at the browsing grounds, the two were wrestling with each other, Lesanju moving in to separate them believing it to be a fight rather than a friendly match. The two bulls then moved off to began the bout again and avoid Lesanju’s intervention once she was otherwise occupied.

20 November 2011

Wasessa led the orphans out this morning, pausing on the eastern side of Mazinga hill to scratch her body against the rocks, prompting her colleagues to do the same. En route to the noon mudbath a large puff adder was lying beside the path which fortunately was spotted by the Keepers just before Taveta was about to step on it. Since the snake posed a threat to both the elephants and the Keepers, it was dispatched.

21 November 2011

Shimba and Taveta were so engrossed in their usual pushing match that they did not notice the others moving off in the morning. When they found themselves alone, they ran as fast as they could to catch up with the herd some distance away. All enjoyed a good mudbath at the waterhole at noon after which they browsed the afternoon away. It was a great surprise to see Lissa with her 4th wild born calf, a little boy whom we named Lazima. Since Lissa was absent yesterday, when her calves visited the stockades we assume that she might of been giving birth that day.

22 November 2011

Tassia and Taveta paused at the base of Mazinga hill to settle an old score. The fight went on for sometime until Shimba intervened on the side of his friend, Taveta, sending Tassia running to shelter behind Wasessa. In the evening Emily’s group came to the Stockade, Sweet Sally keeping a close eye on baby Eve and Eve keeping closer to Sally than her own mother! The Ex Orphans left before the Juniors returned in the evening.

23 November 2011

Siria and Mzima had a wrestling match at the Stockades in the morning, chasing each other around and engaging head on. Taveta and Shimba followed suit until the surrounds were filled with excited happy trumpeting, ending only when Wasessa took Emsaya and began heading off to browse. Once in the bush Wasessa included Kivuko in her group. In the evening Dida teamed up with Lesanju and Shimba to scratch her body against a fallen tree.

24 November 2011

It was a cool morning as the orphans moved off today, Dida and Kivuko bringing up the rear as usual. However, when it came to time to head for the mudbath and milk venue, these two were front-runners! At the mudbath Shimba and Taveta included Mzima in their wallowing games. In the evening Sinya led the herd back.

25 November 2011

It was raining when the orphans left their Stockades this morning, leaving Siria behind playing with a log which he was rolling around. Later Lesanju ad Kenia investigated a hole in a tree trunk which prompted Mzima to challenge Siria making use of the tree trunk to shield himself! By so doing he won the contest.

26 November 2011

Lesanju led the orphans to the Northern side of the hill where the grass is tall and lush. Surprisingly, Kivuko’s ear, which has always been flopped, stood erect today as she downed her milk, indicating that her strength is returning rapidly. The mudbath took place at the Baobab waterhole, after which the orphans browsed that area until it was time to return in the evening.

27 November 2011

After enjoying playing in an erosion gully near the large Enclosure, the orphans browsed above the KWS Headquarters today and went to the large waterhole at noon. All went into the water except Taveta, who enjoyed lying on the banks, making himself the centre of attention surrounded by the others. Sinya sat on his head, which upset the situation. In the evening Aruba (the Ex Orphan kudu female) came to the Stockades with her four wild kudu female friends, Mkuki being absent today.

28 November 2011

Emily’s group came to the Stockades early this morning just as the Juniors were emerging, and all enjoyed socializing, Edie taking on Siria for a wrestling match while Sweet Sally, Ndara and Mweya keeping a close watch on the two wild-born babies of the group, not allowing the Juniors close contact with them. Later the Ex Orphans left. In the afternoon Siria joined a wild herd where he enjoyed wrestling with two wild age-mates, refusing to heed the Keepers when they called him to return with the others to the Stockades in the evening. The Keepers followed him and the wild herd deep into the Park, Siria enjoying contact with a tiny wild calf. Eventually the Keepers managed to recall him and reunite him with his colleagues.

29 November 2011

Taveta and Shimba have become inseparable with Lesanju unable to break up their regular Pushing Games. Taveta enjoyed mounting onto Shimba’s back today. Sinya escorted Dida to a good scratching rock away from the exuberant boys. The orphans settled into feeding above the Malaika House today.

30 November 2011

All was well this morning until Siria bit Mzima’s tail, hanging onto it even as Mzima fled bellowing. The Keepers, who were taking their morning tea, had to come to Mzima’s rescue and reprimand Siria. The rest of the day passed uneventfully.