Keepers' Diaries, October 2010

Voi Reintegration Unit

“Kimana”, was transferred to Voi from the Nairobi Nursery on the 12th May 2010, having become progressively weaker for some weeks, obviously suffering from a chronic condition that needed further investigation. He died suddenly on the l7th October, seemingly having given up the will to live. He obviously missed Kenia and Ndii sorely, and at the other end they, and all the other orphans, missed him sorely as well, especially as during the night following his departure, the lions were roaring close by, leaving the orphans even more unsettled the next day.

01 October 2010

The orphans left, keeping a slow pace in order to remain with Kimana, who has been unwell for some time now, and seems weak. Mzima and Sinya had an altercation when Mzima tried to take a branch from Sinya’s mouth. At the noon mudbath Dida had a wonderful time with Mzima, Mzima allowing her to mount onto his stomach as he lay in the water. This incurred the jealousy of Siria who strode in and drove Dida out so that he could take over Mzima. Meanwhile the others left to browse, but Mzima and Siria emerged in charging mode, and soon joined them. In the evening, Kenia kept pace slowly with Kimana.

02 October 2010

During the usual Stockade compound games, Taveta and Tassia obviously had a score to settle before joining the others on the way out. All browsed peacefully until Lesanju signaled that it was time to head for the mudbath. Siria and Mzima set the ball rolling there, soon joined by all the others, except Kimana. Later they browsed along the Northern side of Mazinga hill, and in the evening Ndii and Dida were in competition as to who should lead the column back home.

03 October 2010

The orphans left in a joyful mood on a sunny morning, Kenia remaining behind in order to keep Kimana company. During an exuberant game Sinya accidentally collided with Tassia which made him scream. Instantly Wasessa came to the rescue, engaging Sinya in a fierce fight until Lesanju acted as peacemaker and separated the two. They enjoyed the noon mudbath, thereafter browsing close by before returning home in the evening.

04 October 2010

The orphans concentrated on finding sufficient browse, interrupted only when Siria and Mzima began a wrestling match before moving to the mudbath, led by Dida. However, Dida, like her colleague Sinya, is not overly fond of water. They often just splash themselves and end up as spectators to the others or enjoy a dustbath instead. Taveta led the way back to the stockades in the evening.

05 October 2010

Lesanju browsed very close to Kimana during the morning, alternating Kimana shifts with Kenia. In the afternoon Lempaute moved in close to Kimana, occasionally tossing her trunk to reassure him. Later in the evening the orphans joined a wild group near the Middle waterhole, Siria and Kenia first to introduce themselves. The orphans browsed in amongst the wild elephants for about half an hour before the wild group headed to the northern side of Mazinga hill, followed by Siria, who peeled off to rejoin the orphans at the Spring Gate near the Stockades.

06 October 2010

Kimana was very slow this morning so Lesanju and Kenia checked the pace of the others in order not to leave him on his own. Since the day was cool, none of the orphans wallowed today. Having taken their milk, they resumed browsing until Lesanju began to lead them back home.

07 October 2010

The orphans went to play in a pile of loose earth having left their Night Stockade. Tassia wanted to engaged Taveta in a pushing match, but Taveta was having none of it, so he took on Dida instead. Wasessa thought they were fighting, so she moved in to separate them. After the mudbath, the Keepers took the orphans into the Headquarter fence to browse, where the vegetation is more plentiful, there being no elephant competition there.

08 October 2010

Kenia and Ndii remained close to Kimana during the morning browsing session while the others went inside the fenceline. They attended the Middle waterhole at noon. When the orphans returned in the evening, Kimana was put in a partition on his own with special greens that had been gathered for him. Kenia and Tassia tried to reach through the bars to steal some of his food, but the Keepers put it out of their reach so that he could enjoy it all himself.

09 October 2010

It was a hot day forcing the orphans to browse under shade whenever they could. Mzima heard the milk tractor and ran to the milk venue, arriving before the bottles had even been unloaded. The others arrived a few minutes later. All enjoyed the mudbath before the afternoon feeding session, and return in the evening.

10 October 2010

Dida joined the older orphans today, leaving Ndii and Kenia with Kimana. However, she missed her two friends and screamed loudly several times, reassured by both Lesanju and Lempaute, but she was overjoyed to be reunited with Ndii and Kenia and little Kimana back in the Stockade in the evening.

11 October 2010

It was a fine day. The orphans enjoyed the noon mudbath, Siria and Wasessa going in first, soon joined by Mzima and Siria, Siria grabbing Mzima by the trunk to pull him in. Shimba played with Taveta in the pool while Sinya and Dida scooped water out with their trunks to throw over their bodies. All went well for the rest of the day.

12 October 2010

Since Kimana’s health was deteriorating visibly, it was decided that he return to the Nairobi Nursery for intensive care and further monitoring. All preparations were complete, and we made our way slowly to the airstrip to await the arrival of the plane. The Keepers managed to separate Kimana from the others, and loaded him into the plane without the others noticing. However, they missed his presence that afternoon, Lesanju and Kenia rumbling and screaming, especially when they discovered that he was not amongst them in the stockade that evening.

13 October 2010

Lions had been roaring close by the Stockades during the previous night, and that coupled with Kimana’s absence left the orphans extremely unsettled. Occasionally they gathered together as a group, as though discussing Kimana’s absence, but at other times remained very close to the Keepers, bellowing a lot. The Keepers wondered whether they thought Kimana had been killed by the lions!

14 October 2010

Today, as Lempaute was leading the group out, she was scared by a Hyrax. She and all the others ran back to the Keepers for protection, and remained close to them for the rest of the day.

15 October 2010

Browsing took priority today until Mzima led the way to the waterhole. Taveta took centre stage there, his friend Tassia rivaling him, soon joined by Wasessa while Sinya joined Tassia. It was really a beautiful bathing moment. Taveta lead the group back in the evening.

16 October 2010

It was a cold day, so the orphans browsed their way slowly to the milk and mudbath venue. Only Tassia, Siria and Mzima went in for a wallow, followed by a wresting game, but the others opting for a soil bath instead. That evening, after the orphans were in their stockades, a wild cow and her family who are frequent visitors to the Stockade trough, came to drink at 6 p.m. The orphans all lifted their trunks to greet her. She and her family hung around for about an hour before leaving.

17 October 2010

The orphans browsed inside the fenceline and had their mudbath at the Middle waterhole at noon. Tassia jumped in joyfully, but ended badly when Lempaute and Kenia lay on top of him. He screamed which brought Wasessa to his aid, who drove them all out. Shimba led the way back in the evening.

18 October 2010

It was a lovely morning. The orphans played Hide and Seek around the Stockade compound until Lesanju decided that it was time to move off to feed. After the mudbath at noon, the orphans returned to browse within the fenceline.

19 October 2010

Shimba decided to try climbing the hill today, leading the others up. There they found plenty of food to enjoy and were stuffing their mouths with it and not in a hurry to come down until Mzima decided it was milk time! Afterwards they returned to the hill until Ndii led them down, and back home in the evening.

20 October 2010

The orphans moved to the main Park browsing as they went. Tassia somehow got left behind, and was confused as to the direction taken by the others. Wasessa ran to get him, and together both ran to the waterhole, where all the orphans enjoyed a wonderful wallow. Later they browsed their way back home.

21 October 2010

Our Ex orphaned Kudus, Aruba and Mkuki visited the Stockades in the evening, both looking in prime condition. Mkuki has beautiful spiral horns now.

22 October 2010

Local School Pupils came to see the orphans at noon. Ndii and Lesanju put on a good show, which made the pupils fall in love with them. Siria noticed the attention they attracted and put on a side show near the waterhole. The orphans then enjoyed a soil bath, Sinya grabbing Dida by the leg to get her to indulge. When the orphans headed back out to feed, the pupils all had a smile on their faces!

23 October 2010

Lesanju and Ndii remained very close today. Lempaute, who went to scratch her body against a tree, found herself left way behind, and ran charging to join the others. There was dissention at the mudbath when Siria pushed Mzima out of the pool. The orphans fed close to the waterhole for the remainder of the day, and Dida led the way back in the evening.

24 October 2010

Before heading out, the orphans enjoyed some Copra Cake and Dairy cubes. Kenia, missing Kimana, remains very close to Ndii and Dida. It was a cool day, so the orphans took a dustbath instead, Dida and Ndii running around tossing huge chunks of dust into the air. After the afternoon feeding session, they headed back home.

25 October 2010

After the usual hand-out of Dairy Cubes and Copra, the orphans headed out to browse. It was warm when they reached the mudbath, so all enjoyed a wallow. Mzima teamed up with Taveta, but Siria interrupted to take over his friend, Mzima. Later they rested under shade waiting for temperatures to drop, before browsing their way back in the evening.

26 October 2010

The orphans enjoyed foraging within the fenceline. It was an exuberant mudbath today, the elephants chasing each other in and out of the water. Lempaute, Sinya and Lesanju scratched their bellies on the banks while Tassia, Ndii, Taveta and Shimba were rolling around like fishes in the water. Wasessa called a halt to the games, leading the orphans back to browse. Sinya led the way back in the evening.

27 October 2010

A wild herd came to drink at the Orphans’ Middle Waterhole, as the orphans were leaving. Siria noticed them and tried to follow them, but gave up when he noticed he was left behind his group.

28 October 2010

It was a cool morning so the orphans enjoyed playing around the Stockade compound before moving off. They paused to play at an erosion gully on the way to the noon milk and mudbath venue. After an active wallowing session, Lesanju demonstrated a scratching session against the trunk of a tree, and all took turns in doing the same. Lesanju led the orphans back in the evening today.

29 October 2010

The orphans fed quietly during the morning, enjoyed a lot of fun at the mudbath when Shimba tried to ride on Tassia’s back. This angered Wasessa who ran in to drive them all out of the water. They browsed their way back home in the afternoon.

30 October 2010

After their Dairy Cubes and Copra Cake, the orphans moved off to feed within the fenceline. They came to the Stockade to drink and bathe at noon when Mzima and Tassia tested their strength against one another, closely watched by Wasessa.

31 October 2010

Against the backdrop of birdsong, the orphans added their trumpeting as they played within the Compound. Mzima, Taveta and Dida lagged behind the others who moved off to browse, but caught up later. All enjoyed the mudbath together today at the Middle Waterhole. OTHERS:- Emily’s group visited the Stockades just once earlier this month, but have not been back since. The Windmills were all repaired this month, worn out unions and wood bushes replaced. A middle aged elephant was knocked down by a train near Ngutuni ranch, and died on the spot.