Keepers' Diaries, November 2016

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Voi Reintegration Unit

The rain was delayed reaching the Voi area of Tsavo and as such many of the Ex Orphans continued to frequent the stockade to share the lucerne supplement with the juniors, as well as the water trough and mudwallow as well. There was just a sprinkling of a few light showers throughout the month until the weather changed around the 23rd when the real rains broke. Lesanju’s group, consisting of Dabassa, Sinya and Kivuko, Mzima, Layoni, Lempaute and occasionally Taveta and Tassia, chose to often interact with the dependent orphans, much to the disappointment of Kenia, who, despite being only 9 years old, still chooses to lead the dependent herd as their mini-matriarch. She especially wants to keep her adopted babies Araba and Mudanda to herself, but Lesanju adores Mudanda, and vice versa, and often spirits her away from Kenia’s group whenever she can, bringing her back to the stockades in the afternoon. Nelion and Tundani are two dependent orphans that are particularly partial to the company of the Ex Orphans, and despite Kenia’s efforts, they will try and propel the others towards them to browse whenever they can. Mbirikani can often be seen leading the other orphans alongside Nelion and these two in fact spend a lot of time together during the day. We were very relieved to have Lesanju and her Ex Orphan group stay close to home in the difficult drought months when the conditions were taking its toll with a number of wild elephants dying as a result.

The rain was delayed reaching the Voi area of Tsavo and as such many of the Ex Orphans continued to frequent the stockade to share the lucerne supplement with the juniors, as well as the water trough and mudwallow as well. There was just a sprinkling of a few light showers throughout the month until the weather changed around the 23rd when the real rains broke. Lesanju’s group, consisting of Dabassa, Sinya and Kivuko, Mzima, Layoni, Lempaute and occasionally Taveta and Tassia, chose to often interact with the dependent orphans, much to the disappointment of Kenia, who, despite being only 9 years old, still chooses to lead the dependent herd as their mini-matriarch. She especially wants to keep her adopted babies Araba and Mudanda to herself, but Lesanju adores Mudanda, and vice versa, and often spirits her away from Kenia’s group whenever she can, bringing her back to the stockades in the afternoon. Nelion and Tundani are two dependent orphans that are particularly partial to the company of the Ex Orphans, and despite Kenia’s efforts, they will try and propel the others towards them to browse whenever they can. Mbirikani can often be seen leading the other orphans alongside Nelion and these two in fact spend a lot of time together during the day. We were very relieved to have Lesanju and her Ex Orphan group stay close to home in the difficult drought months when the conditions were taking its toll with a number of wild elephants dying as a result.

Because it was raining elsewhere in Tsavo, on the 14th we noticed that Lempaute, Sinya, Mzima and Layoni had separated from Lesanju’s Ex Orphan herd, and moved back towards the Ngutuni Sanctuary to enjoy feeding on the fresh grewia leaves there, having now received some rain. The Keepers also noticed this month that Kivuko, our 7 year old girl, was beginning to become more independent of the Ex Orphan herd, on occasions returning alone either to the stockades or the mud bath area. We are not sure why she is choosing to sometimes be on her own, for she often reunites with the Ex Orphan herd over the following days, or joins Tassia and Taveta instead.

Unfortunately the long, drawn out dry season meant that our ground teams continued to have to rescue orphans who had fallen victim to the drought having lost a mother, leaving them susceptible to predators. On the 2nd we rescued a calf from the thick mud of a drying water hole, whose family were still around and who had been trying in vain to rescue their young baby. Following their arrival The Vet attached to our Mobile Veterinary Unit and a ground team managed to extract and successfully reunite the calf with its exhausted mother and family which was a reason for celebration relieving us of the burden of having to raise yet another orphan.
That same day we received a call regarding a young juvenile elephant that had been hit by a car on the main Mombasa Road, and had become separated from its family. Although able to survive in the wild on her own, she was in bad shape with several broken ribs, immobile and unable to feed and required urgent treatment. For this reason she was captured by our Voi Keepers who drove her 60kms to the Voi Stockades where she was treated for her injuries and has since continued to recover next door to orphan “Nguvu”. We are delighted to have been able to offer this young girl, who has been named “Ajali”, a second chance at life, and despite a very guarded prognosis from the Vet she had defied the odds and is doing very well indeed.

On the 11th we rescued another drought victim calf aged about 4 months who was airlifted to the Nairobi Nursery. The following day we received yet another report of an injured calf on its own in Tsavo but having rushed to the location our teams could not locate the orphan before dark. However, the next day, with assistance from the DSWT aerial team, we located the calf, who appeared to be over 3 years of age with a spear wound to her leg and lacerations on her back from a predator attack. She was captured, treated and transported to the Voi stockades but very sadly succumbed to her injuries during the afternoon of the 29th from what the Vets suspected was an infection in her knee from the spear injury.

Naipoki, who loves her milk, on one occasion this month sneaked away from her group half an hour too early in order to secure prime position at milk feeding time. Due to the hot weather, all the orphans have been relishing their time in the mud bath, Ndii still being one of the Water Babies along with Ishaq-B and Bada. One day Bada completely submerged himself, which turned out to be unwise as Ndoria nearly stepped on his head! Ndoria was over the moon when Lesanju took Mudanda so that she could browse alone with Taveta since she does not have many close friends among the dependant group, due to her tail biting tendency! Towards the end of the month we noticed that Embu seemed dejected and rather quiet and we suspected that she could be still plagued by memories of the lion attack she suffered a few months ago, or have an infection from the wounds she suffered in that attack. They sought instructions from the Nairobi HQ as to the best form of treatment, which will be prescribed to her daily until the 5th of December 2016.

November 2016 day to day

01 Nov

The morning was cloudy with light rain touching the ground as the stockade dependant orphans assembled for their delicious milk bottle before proceeding for the special Lucerne pellets, dairy cubes and copra cake. A short while later Lesanju, Taveta, Tassia, Dabassa, Sinya and Kivuko arrived and joined them for the supplement feeding. Lempaute, Mzima and Layoni were missing from Lesanju’s herd. After feeding, Mudanda moved closer to her adopted mother Lesanju. Lesanju’s gentleness and her character are what made Mudanda choose her to browse with today. Once out in the browsing fields Kenia separated her herd from the Ex Orphans who headed further afield to browse. The two herds did not meet up again for the rest of the day.

Lentili enjoying bath time

Bada and Ndii scatching competition

Panda Dusting games

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