The rains have broken and in Voi this month the landscape was slowly transformed. With the transformation the Voi Orphans’ mood changed too and much of the month has been about play and mud wallowing! Wasessa has been shifting her attentions to little Bada who recently came into our care and this has created confusion for Mudanda who has enjoyed that privileged position for a long while. Thankfully the ever hopefuls in the wings are always quick to step in, Kihari, Ndii, Ishaq B, Kenia, Naipoki, Lesanju, Lempaute, Sinya, are all eager to shower love and attention on the little ones, Mudanda and Bada.
This month’s highlight was the return of Emily’s group of independent ex orphans who had been absent for six months, so seeing them again, all well and healthy was a great relief. The group comprised of Emily and her calf Eve, Edie and her wild born baby Ella, big bull Laikipia, Icholta, Lolokwe, Mweya, Sweet Sally, Thoma, Ndara, Seraa, Morani, Irima and Siria. A number of the ex orphans are pregnant and it seems a baby boom is to come with Emily, Edie, Mweya, Sweet Sally and Icholta all showing very definite signs. Ndara was a victim of a poisoned arrow in April 2012 and had to undergo a couple of operations and a lengthy stay in the stockades while she recuperated. It was a particularly tricky wound having penetrated her joint and the veterinarians were guarded about her chances. To see her now very much part of Emily’s group having made a full recovery without even a limp is heart warming indeed. Absent were a number of the big bulls, but that is to be expected as they have long been independent of Emily’s group. Laikipia, the biggest bull, has however chosen to remain close to his dear friends and it was lovely to see him again. He returned alone again this month to the stockades and caused quite a stir amidst our dependent bulls who were all in awe of him.
Emily’s return did unnerve Lesanju, the matriarch of the dependent Voi Orphans, the potential baby snatchers return was not lost on her. She and Lempaute are both determined to keep their lovely unit of orphan friends intact and they are very aware that the allure of the bigger independent orphans can be appealing to some. She expertly navigates her herd to avoid excessive contact with Emily’s group if they are in the area wherever possible.
Another exciting episode that unfolded on the 9th of the month was when the Voi team received a report about a baby elephant trapped in a mud hole and immediately went to investigate. This story had a very happy ending as the calf’s family were still close when our team arrived. They were able to quickly manoeuvre themselves so as to extract the calf and guide the baby back to its rightful mother who thankfully was eager to retrieve her baby. For everyone involved this was an extremely gratifying outcome.
Sinya remains averse to water and very seldom does she resort to a mud bath. This trend has not changed despite the mud and abundance of waterholes after the rains. The boys Tassia, Mzima, Layoni, Rombo, Taveta on the other hand spend endless hours playing, slipping and sliding and thrashing around in the mud, and of course the mounting games whenever possible. Mzima has been tempted to join a number of wild bulls this month, but has thought better of it.
Our orphaned Zebra Ngulia who is being raised in Voi is doing well, and had a playful encounter this month with some tortoises, but all the details for this month are chronicled by the Keepers in the Voi daily entries for November.