Keepers' Diaries, October 2003

Voi Reintegration Unit

Nursery Orphans:-

01 October 2003

The orphans chased a group of 6 zebra that came to drink at their noon mudbath, Mweya heading the chase. It was cold so they avoided going into the mud, instead enjoying trying to mount one another during a dust-bath.

02 October 2003

Natumi tried to scratch her belly on Icholta who was lying down after a wonderful mudbath. Icholta screamed, which brought the Keepers to her rescue.

03 October 2003

After the noon mudbath, Emily was very happy, and showed off by kneeling with her back legs and standing on her forelegs as she threw her trunk in the air playfully, facing all the Keepers who were laughing. The orphans joined a group of 7 wild elephants at 3 p.m. One wild cow took little Morani between her forelegs, which Morani greatly enjoyed, closing his eyes as he leaned against her.

04 October 2003

At 2 p.m. the orphans joined the wild group led by the cow named “Catherine: who was Eleanor’s best friend. Laikipia and Salama played pushing games with wild friends of their size, whilst Aitong tried to prevent Morani joining the wild group, pulling him away. In the evening Nasalot shoved Kinna hard when Kinna tried to steal the branch she was eating in the Night Stockade. This brought Aitong to the rescue.

05 October 2003

Burra, Mpala, Solango and Thoma ran to the Keepers for protection when they were highly scared by two running waterbucks. Later, they all gave chase, which made them very happy. Emily joined a group of 4 bachelor bulls at l0 a.m. followed by Natumi who also joined the wild group. The other orphans kept their distance. Emily and Natumi remained all morning with this bull group, rejoining the other orphans only at the mudbath hour.

06 October 2003

Solango was enjoying a wonderful mudbath when Thoma climbed on his head. He bellowed loudly, and the Keepers ran to his rescue. A wild group of 12 elephants with a tiny baby of about 4 months old joined the orphans at 8 a.m. Natumi, Yatta and Edie kept following the wild baby, touching it tenderly with their trunks. They separated later when it was time for the mudbath.

07 October 2003

Ndara ran to gulp down some Copra cake before returning for her evening milk ration, which Burra thought he might be allowed to have. However, Ndara finished it all, as he looked on in an envious way.

08 October 2003

During the mudbath, Sosian and Mulika were enjoying a pushing game, which was broken up by Loisaba who came in to separate them, sending them both off running in different directions. Mweya, Sosian and Sweet Sally took on 2 warthogs, who came to drink at the mudbath, in a running battle. The orphans greatly enjoyed this interlude, and returned trumpeting happily.

09 October 2003

A lone male calf of just over 2 years of age was captured near the Voi Safari Lodge and brought to the Night Stockades in the evening. Little Morani was very sweet to this new orphan, standing close to him all night, and touching him gently with his trunk to reassure him. The baby was named “Irima”, the name of a hill nearby where he was found. He was kept in the Stockade when the others left the next morning. The orphans joined a group of l0 wild elephants at 2.30 p.m. today. Emily played pushing games with a wild boy of her age, and remained with the group until the evening. Meanwhile, Ilingwezi, Sally, Tsavo, Mukwaju and the others kept a safe distance from the group which had a wild cow with very long tusks!

10 October 2003

There was a tussle between Seraa and Thoma, and between Burra and Mpala during the noon milk session. Later, they all browsed peacefully together, the disagreement forgotten.

11 October 2003

Emily took Ndara from the main group at 9 a.m. and together they browsed alone for about l hour before rejoining the others. Tsavo, Sally and Nyiro were leading the group as they approached the mudbath, but came rushing back when they encountered two displaying ostriches. Aitong led the charge to chase off the ostriches, after which she comforted the youngsters.

12 October 2003

Mweya insisted on leading the younger elephants towards their grazing area, blocking Burra he tried to overtake her. Mpala, Seraa and Solango enjoyed a game chasing guinea fowl, trumpeting happily and running hither and thither in amongst the birds.

13 October 2003

Morani wanted to remain with the newcomer, “Irima” in the Night Stockades, and not come out with the others in the morning. Aitong came to collect him.

14 October 2003

At l0.20 a.m. Aitong and Seraa left the other orphans to join a group of 4 wild elephants who had a small baby of about 3 months. They rejoined the other orphans at the mudbath. Seraa remained behind with Mweiga, who was trailing the group as they approached the mudbath.

15 October 2003

Thoma knocked down Morani at the noon milk session. The Keepers gave her a stern warning. At 1 p.m. the orphans met up with a wild group of 5 elephants. Burra was left behind with them playing pushing matches with a wild friend, whilst the others left for the Stockades in the evening. Natumi noticed that Burra was missing and screamed loudly, until Aitong ran back to fetch him.

16 October 2003

Burra and Solango were enjoying a game of hide and seek at 7 a.m., which ended abruptly when Burra accidentally pushed Solango into a thorn bush.

18 October 2003

The newly rescued baby, Irima, took three bottles of milk today having refused it for 4 previous days. Morani was very happy to join Irima when he came into the Stockade in the evening. He trumpeted and rumbled happily as he came to join him.

19 October 2003

Angela and Robert came to the mudbath today, and Mweya and Emily put on a good show for the visitors, rolling on the ground and showing off. At 3 p.m. our orphans joined a wild group. Sosian, Salama, and Mukwaju played pushing matches with wild friends of their age. They later left in a hurry when Sosian pushed down a wild calf, and the wild cow ran to rescue her baby.

20 October 2003

Irima came out of the Stockade today, and wallowed happily at mudbath with Burra and Mpala. They rolled and mounted each other happily. Ilingwezi, Icholta and Irima charged and chased off 2 warthogs that came to drink at the mudbath. Irima flapped his ears happily as he came back to join the other orphans, happy to be one of the group.

21 October 2003

Burra and Sosian played a game of hide and seek at 7 a.m. which was broken up when Mweiga parted them. Irima was afraid of the milk tractor as it approached, and ran off into the bush, but later returned when he saw the other orphans taking their milk comfortably.

22 October 2003

A tussle broke out between Thoma and Burra over the noon milk. Yatta intervened to restore order. Mpala, Sally, Ndara and Irima chased a group of baboons who passed close by, but were thwarted when the baboons climbed up a tree! They rushed around trumpeting and downing bushes.

23 October 2003

It was cloudy with light showers today. The orphans were very scared when a dust devil blew close to them, crowding around Emily and Aitong for protection.

24 October 2003

Sosian wanted to spend time browsing away from the others today. The orphans tried, without success, to join a group of 10 wild elephants, who ran past them at speed at 3 p.m., obviously having been scared by something that the Keepers could not see.

25 October 2003

In the evening, Tsavo was happily feeding on some browse, with one leg resting against the other. His happiness ended when Laikipia gave him a shove and he lost balance!

26 October 2003

Today, Mweiga, Irima, Mpala and Thoma had a terrible fright at the mudbath when Solango suddenly appeared from behind a bush. They ran, screaming, to the Keepers. At 4 p.m. Emily left the orphans to join a group of 5 wild elephants. She re-joined the orphans on their way back to the Stockade in the evening.

27 October 2003

At 8 a.m. Aitong took Sweet Sally and little Irima to browse with her away from the other orphans, spending two hours on their own. At 2 p.m. the orphans joined a wild group of 9 elephants. Mweya watched a young calf suckling her mother, coming very close to the calf, and trying to pull it away. The mother kicked Mweya with a foot to warn her off.

28 October 2003

Salama mounted Irima after the mudbath, but Aitong pushed him down as soon as she noticed this. At 3 p.m. the orphans joined a wild group of 7, and Aitong and Emily joined forces to try and take a wild baby of about 4 months old, pulling it to their side. This drew the attention of the mother who came running to rescue her calf.

29 October 2003

Natumi escorted Sally, Mweya and Sosian to their milk venue, but Sosian decided to fight her when he saw her standing close by, thinking she might take his milk. Emily intervened to put him in line.

30 October 2003

Burra made himself unpopular with Mweiga when he tried to mount her. She chased him off, and he kept his distance for the rest of the day. At the mudbath, all the orphans teamed up to block two buffalo who wanted to drink. They trumpeted loudly and charged the two buffalo, who ran off, but returned later to take a drink once the orphans had left.

31 October 2003

The orphans had a wonderful mudbath today, testing their strength in competition with one another. Ilingwezi took on Edie and Sosian challenged Thoma. In the evening Lissa, her two babies and her group came to drink at the Stockade. They greeted the orphans very fondly, stretching out their trunks to touch them all in turn. Emily went back into the bush with Lissa and her family, and enjoyed playing with Uaso. Later, after half an hour, she returned to the Night Stockade.