October has been a month of tragedy and sadness at the Voi Unit as well, the deaths of many new arrivals exacerbated by an extremely dry and hot season and large swathes of the Park burnt. Most animals were forced to leave the area around Mazinga Hill and the Voi Stockades to seek greener pastures further afield and on neighbouring ranches.
Poachers took advantage of the situation, laying wire snares along the boundary fence, one of which trapped an eland which was reported by Voi Safari Lodge personnel. The Mobile Veterinary team and Keepers responded rapidly, and were able to dart the Eland and remove the wire snare which would otherwise have strangled it. Having been freed from the snare the eland went off happily.
The month saw the rescue of many orphans all of whom subsequently died, either too wounded or too far gone to save. First to come in was a 2 year old with bullet wounds in his legs who was given the name “Askari” (meaning soldier). There followed another 2 year old calf brought in suffering from the affects of a poisoned arrow, whom we named “Mashale” (the Swahili word for arrow) and who died just a day later. Then yet another orphan fell victim to lions at Satao Camp before the rescue team could get to it and 2 days later yet another calf collapsed at the Satao waterhole, and was dead upon arrival at the Stockades. We then lost “Askari” who needed intensive treatment from our Mobile Veterinary Unit for his gunshot wounds, who died on the 27th, the pain and the sepsis proving too much for him to bear. Yet another orphan rescued from the Ziwani area aged over 2 years died en route to the Voi Stockades having been sedated for the journey.
Aside from the death of so many new orphans, came the unexpected death of our dear little zebra foal “Rongai”, who had been thriving for the past 6 months at the Voi Stockades, and who was embraced and adored by the other zebra orphan named “Serena”. Rongai died very suddenly of bloat having obviously ingested something that did not agree with him. Nor did it end there, for just two days later the lions killed “Serena” at a time when she was obviously distracted by being grief stricken at the loss of her little friend Rongai, whom she adored. An early morning search for Serena found her body at the Eastern side of Mazinga hill being devoured by the lions, who dashed off at the approach of the Keepers.
Lissa and her two smallest calves were the only ex orphan visitors to the Stockade this month. They turned up for a drink on the 2nd . Her oldest calf had been left behind with the wild group whom Lissa joined later and who did not accompany her to the Stockades.
Emily and Natumi and all our other orphans are still with the wild herds at Ngutuni Ranch and have not returned this month. Field monitoring of them has been curtailed because of being preoccupied by the rescue of so many other orphans who have needed us.