Keepers' Diaries, October 2001

Voi Reintegration Unit

Nursery Orphans Overview:- This month saw the arrival of 2 new Nursery inmates, both rescued by Ian Craig of Lewa Downs, both flown in by Helicopter from the far North, one on 12th October and the other on 23rd October. Both were victims of the same rock catchment well in a place called "Kisima Hamisi" about 20 miles Northeast of Shaba National Reserve. The first, a baby female named "Seraa", (the name of the group Ranch) was estimated to be 6 weeks old, her ears still slightly tinged with pink behind, but sporting one molar through the gum; the other, a little bull named "Solango" (meaning "pit") was younger, only about 4 weeks old, with pinker hind ears and no molars through the gum. So far, having had their prophylactic anti-biotic jabs plus the usual colloidal silver in their milk, both are doing very well, sleeping peacefully at night and feeding well, albeit with quite a lot of shoving and pushing, which is normal until a baby settles on a place to rest the trunk.

01 October 2001

Within the youngest set, the interaction was dominated by Yatta and Mukwaju who indulged in wrestling, pushing each other and teasing with trunks. The bout went on intermittently all day, but after the mudbath, Yatta emerged the victor, and Mukwaju had to concede defeat. Within the older set, Icholta and Tsavo did the same, with Tsavo being defeated following which Emily was very loving towards him. Returning to the Stockades in the evening Aitong patiently lagged behind to be with Mweiga, towards whom both the older elephants are very attentive since the is generally not as robust as she should be.

02 October 2001

Kinna tussled with Nyiro today because he tried to mount her without consent. Nyiro emerged victorious. Later Kinna and Yatta enjoyed chasing the water bowser after it had delivered the water. Soon after leaving the Stockades, the older set met up with some wild elephants with whom they mixed freely and fed all together for about an hour. Salama had a wonderful game with a young boy slightly bigger than him, whilst Emily and Aitong kept Tsavo close, obviously fearful that he might be tempted to follow the wild herd. Later Mweiga shoved Natumi catching her unawares so that she fell down and screamed, which brought Aitong along to the

03 October 2001

The youngsters enjoyed a game with a squirrel today, who ran in circles stopping now and then to stand on two legs. Loisaba had an altercation with Edie this morning and then ran to join Emily's group. After the noon feed Natumi's group left that of Emily, but joined up again later. In the afternoon Emily played with Natumi for about 15 minutes.

04 October 2001

The latest calf, Ndara, had a large swelling on her back from which pus was oozing. KWS Vets, who happened to be in the area, cleaned out the wound. Kinna and Mukwaju challenged each other after the noon feed, but the battle was interrupted by a dwarf mongoose, whom Mukwaju chased instead. Upon leaving the Stockade, Tsavo lagged behind, something that Emily and Aitong did not at first notice. However, as soon as they did, they both rushed back to collect him. Once out in the bush, Emily and all the orphans, except Mweiga, enjoyed a game chasing guineafowl. Finding herself alone, Mweiga screamed and this brought Aitong to her side at the double.

05 October 2001

Within the baby set, Kinna and Mukwaju tussled with each other as did Nyiro and Yatta. Mukwaju refused to wallow today. At 7 a.m., soon after leaving the Night Stockades, Emily followed a wild herd led by the Matriarch Naom, who had a tiny calf of about 2 days old. Loisaba and Tsavo were very restless until Emily finally returned a long time later. Meanwhile Icholta and Salama gave a flock of ostriches a hard time, charging them and trumpeting.

06 October 2001

Another squirrel chasing game today for the young set in the morning, and later Kinna, Nyiro and Yatta turned their attention to a dikdik whom they chased. There was drama amongst the older elephants when both Emily and Aitong joined forces to try and snatch a tiny calf from its mother. They had almost succeeded by overpowering the mother when another wild female suddenly appeared and chased them both away. Salama dominated the mudbath today, encouraging all the others to lie down so that he could climb on them. In the evening, back at the Stockades, Kinna went up to Ndara to comfort her, laying her trunk gently across Ndara's back.

07 October 2001

As the group left the Night Stockades, Icholta pushed little Ndara against the wire, causing her wound to bleed. The baby group was adventurous today, feeding some distance from the Keepers until a lesser kudu appeared which sent them running back. Mukwaju was tail end Charlie, and yelled for help. In the afternoon Ilingwezi and Salama left Natumi's group to join Emily's family, but returned later.

08 October 2001

Kinna was reluctant to leave today because she wanted to remain behind in the Stockades with Ndara and Maungu. Kinna, Nyiro and Mukwaju practiced their bush kicking skills today, which ended in Kinna and Mukwaju having a fight. At 9 a.m. Emily initiated a bush kicking game, in which all the others took part until Lolokwe fell down. His bellow brought Aitong along in a rush to lift him up. Icholta enjoyed rolling the water drums. Later Tsavo rested his head against Emily as they dozed in the shade whilst Lolokwe and Edie lay down to sleep.

09 October 2001

Aitong was reluctant to leave the Stockades today because she wanted to remain behind to nurse little Ndara. During mudbath Natumi and Edie led the others in a game of climbing and sliding on the mudbath banks. Kinna yelled at a waterbuck this morning and then set about the bushes. The waterbuck stopped to watch in astonishment! In the evening, Kinna rested her trunk on Maungu to comfort her. Ndara seemed very happy to meet up with all the others again.

10 October 2001

Nyiro spent the morning pleading to suck the Keepers' fingers. Kinna had a tussle with Nyiro in the mudbath whilst Mukwaju played with Yatta. In the afternoon Tsavo pushed Mweiga down as they scrambled for the milk. Emily rushed to help Mweiga to her feet, lifting her up with her trunk. Back at the Stockades Icholta and Lolokwe irritated Salama by scattering the Copra until Salama punished Lolokwe making him cry for help.

11 October 2001

Kinna chased a baboon this morning. Yatta played with Mukwaju. Natumi's group spent the day with that of Emily today having been scared by some running monkeys. Later Aitong proved her strength, breaking down an Acacia branch, which everyone enjoyed eating.

12 October 2001

Emily blocked the path of the water bowser today until a Keeper came to persuade her otherwise. Upon arrival at the mudbath, the orphans found a group of zebras drinking from their water drums so they gave chase and tried to surround the zebra. However, the game ended when Salama got kicked by one! Whilst the Keepers were eating their lunch today out in the bush, Kinna, Nyiro and Mukwaju surrounded a group of squirrels who had gathered around for the pickings and initiated a chasing game with them.

13 October 2001

Kinna indulged in another squirrel chasing game whilst Mukwaju, Yatta and Nyiro joined forces to take on a baboon. Emily left her group to join the wild herd led by Naom this morning, and again she tried hard to entice the little calf to come with her, but was thwarted by its real mother. After two hours of "hard labour" Emily returned to her group. The little calf is about a week old now. Returning in the evening Aitong lagged behind in order to keep Mweiga company.

14 October 2001

Mukwaju stepped on Kinna's trunk today and this started a fight that lasted for 20 minutes until Mukwaju ran off crying. Emily's group joined Lissa, Mpenzi (Lissa's Nannie) and little Lara (Lissa's calf) and spent a long time together. Salama and Laikipia enjoyed a tussling match at the mudwallow. At 3 p.m. Natumi's gang enjoyed a zebra chasing game, which the zebra seemed also to enjoy.

15 October 2001

Kinna and Nyiro were in a playful mood this morning, spanking the others with their trunks to try and get them to join in. Natumi, Salama, Edie and Laikipia joined forces to chase a lesser kudu, trumpeting loudly. At the mudwallow, Mweiga got stuck. Aitong quickly pulled her up, using a front foot and her trunk. Today two new orphans, both females, were brought into the Stockades, having been rescued near Tsavo bridge. The younger one was very weak. After a brief confrontation, Maungu and Ndara (who are still in the Stockades due to Ndara's wound) welcomed them. In the evening, when the others returned, Emily and Aitong trumpeted with excitement, noting that two new babies were in the top Stockade. Kinna, who shared the Stockade with them, "cuddled" them, laying her trunk across their backs.

16 October 2001

Kinna tried to take the two new elephants out with the others, but we could not let them go. Later Kinna, Mukwaju and Yatta chased after the water bowser whilst Nyiro tried to block its path. Emily and Aitong interacted with a wild group just before the mudbath. Back at the mudbath, they met a warthog, which Laikipia joined Aitong and Emily in chasing off. Salama had a battle with Edie, which Edie lost. Back at the Stockades Icholta and Salama extended their trunks to greet the two new elephants, who are called Mvita and Salaita, since they were found near a First World War battle ground. Mvita means "War" and "Salaita" is the name of a famous battle which yielded two Victoria Crosses for bravery.

17 October 2001

The Vets returned today to clean out Ndara's wound. Nyiro spent the morning "nagging" the Keepers' for a finger to suck. During the young set's mudbath Nyiro climbed on Kinna while Yatta climbed on Mukwaju. Later Yatta and Kinna chased a baboon and screamed at it when it climbed a tree. Emily took the others up the hill. Tsavo and Salama had a tussle later at the mudbath, when Tsavo lost his temper and became aggressive. He lost the fight.

18 October 2001

Kinna was reluctant to leave the new orphans today. Nyiro and Mukwaju went off, swinging their trunks from side to side in happiness and facing to tease each other as they went along. At one time Mukwaju took Nuiro by surprise, catching him off balance. The Vets returned to attend to small "Salaita" who is very unwell and was diagnosed with pneumonia. In the evening Yatta played with Maungu for a short time. Emily and Edie tried to chase a visitor's car in fun as it left, trumpeting loudly, after which Edie did a bit of bush bashing.

19 October 2001

Salaita is very ill today, too weak to stand. Kinna tried hard to lift her up. Having left, the babies were scared by something today, and came running back to the Keepers for reassurance. Later Nyiro dominated the mudbath as usual and Mukwaju and Kinna chased some guineafowl. Emily took her group to graze elsewhere, away from that of Natumi, but returned to take them all to the mudbath. Edie rolled the water drums whilst Laikipia and Salama had a tussle during which Laikipia got pinched hard and ran away crying.

20 October 2001

Salaita passed away this morning. She had difficulty in breathing. At the mudbath the older orphans met a lone buffalo. Emily tried to chase him off, but the buffalo remained unmoved. Aitong, on observing this, joined Emily to try and scare the buffalo, reinforced by Natumi and Edie. They went very close, almost kicking the buffalo, but then the buffalo retaliated, chasing the entire group away so that he could take a drink from the drums. Edie was very excitable, charging around for a long time after he had left.

21 October 2001

On the way out this morning, Kinna and Mukwaju were left behind playing with each other and later, at the mudbath, with squirrels. Amongst the older set Salama and Laikipia had their usual battle, Ilingwezi joining in on the side of Laikipia. Eventually Aitong stepped in to restore peace.

22 October 2001

On their way out, Kinna, Nuyiro and Yatta were scared by a baboon and ran to the Keepers. Natumi's group spent the morning with that of Emily. Tsavo tried to jump on Icholta, which she didn't appreciate. Emily was very motherly towards Loisaba and Tsavo and Aitong towards Mweiga. Back at the Stockades Emily and Aitong went to greet Edo who had turned up. Emily spent more than 10 minutes playing with Edo.

23 October 2001

Yatta lagged behind to nurse little Ndara before joining the others when a swarm of birds startled the group. Laikipia and Salama spent a long time with Emily's family today. In the afternoon they had their usual shoving match. Emily then took her family to feed away from that of Natumi. As usual, on the way home in the evening Aitong lagged behind to be with Mweiga.

24 October 2001

Today Yatta and Mukwaju played together as did Salama and Lolokwe at the mudbath. Mweiga took her milk before the others and then tried to grab Icholta's share. Emily intervened to end the struggle.

25 October 2001

Today it was some monkeys that scared the babies. Nyiro and Yatta enjoyed sliding up and down the mudbath bank. Aitong lifted Lolokwe up at the other orphans' mudbath whilst Loisaba pushed Ilingwezi, causing Ilingwezi to leave the group and feed alone.

26 October 2001

Ndara's wound was cleaned out again today. Otherwise the day was peaceful and uneventful apart from Mukwaju and Nyiro mounting each other.

27 October 2001

Yatta became irritated with Mukwaju today when the orphans went to rest under shade. She chased him off and he had to find another tree. Natumi's group chased some zebra. Aitong rested her trunk across Tsavo in a motherly fasion, and later, on the way back to the Night Stockades, she lagged behind with Mweiga. Lissa, Lara, Mpenzi and Uaso reported back at the Stockades, whilst Edo and Dika turned up just after 4 p.m.

28 October 2001

Yatta and Nyiro started the morning by chasing each other. During their mudbath Mukwaju stepped on Yatta's trunk which made her cry in pain, after which she chased Mukwaju far away. (He came back later). Nyiro tried to block the tractor bringing the milk. In the older group, Edie and Natumi chased a lesser kudu whilst Lolokwe and Icholta spent time playing. They all had a wonderful long mudwallow. Emily's group fed apart from the others, with Loisaba feeding on her own separate from the rest. Back at the Stockades in the evening the babies played with Maungu and Mvita.

29 October 2001

Kinna did her best to grab Mukwaju's share of milk today, which angered him. He shoved her hard and mounted her before resuming his feeding. Salama and Lolokwe had the usual dominance tussle whilst Natumi and Edie chased a dikdik before Edie indulged in bush bashing. The mudbath was filled with activity - Lolokwe, Salama, Edie and Ilingwezi on one side and Tsavo and Laikipa on the other side having fun. Mweiga copied Emily, splashing water on her back, and Aitong spent time trying to lift the others up. Later Emily enjoyed trying to block the path of the tractor. The afternoon was spent under shade, Mweiga and Loisaba fraternising closely.

30 October 2001

For both groups the day was uneventful, Edie chasing butterflies and Nyiro up to his usual trick of toppling the water drums. In the afternoon Emily led her group away from the others to fraternise with some wild elephants for a short time.

31 October 2001

At the Stockades, the orphans all enjoyed a sand bath whilst the Vets attended to Ndara's wound. Later it turned out to be another squirrel chasing day for the babies. Emily and Aitong started their day playing with Edo. Back at the Stockades in the evening a Baboon inside caused a commotion, sending all the orphans, including Emily, scurrying off.