Keepers' Diaries, October 2011

Voi Reintegration Unit

The Voi Keepers had two Orphan Elephant rescues to deal with this month – the first on the 4th from Taita Ranch where the poaching of Elephants has been particularly serious. The rescued calf was a 2 year old female who was named “Kivuko” and who occupied one of the two new Taming Stockades. The second rescue came on the 8th, another 2 year old orphaned female from the Galana Ranch beyond the Park’s Eastern boundary who was given the name “Emsaya” and who occupied the second adjoining Taming Stockade to that housing Kivuko. Since the Nursery was coping with an overload of 2 year old orphans, these two newcomers remained at the Voi Stockades where they were given their prophylactic Nuroclav course to guard against pneumonia, and where they calmed down rapidly with the input of the established group. Lesanju and Wasessa were especially competitive each wanting ownership of the new babies, and rushing to comfort them with trunk touching and rumbled reassurance at every possible opportunity. All the established orphans at the Voi Stockades were more than eager to welcome the new babies into the fold, so the two were soon taking their milk from a hand-held bottle and comfortable with a Keeper actually in with them standing on the ground. Kivuko arrived in a more advanced state of emaciation and was weaker than Emsaya, with one flopped ear, but both new calves have settled well and were soon out and about with the others, initially remaining close to the Stockades but eventually venturing further afield to browse. By month end both newcomers were even beginning to play - always a good indicator of recovery.

01 October 2011

Lesanju and Lempaute led their herd out happily in the morning. It was a cloudy morning as the orphans browsed until time for the mudbath when they took their milk, but decided against wallowing. Instead they rested under shade for a while until they resumed feeding again.

02 October 2011

Kenia escorted Dida and Ndii to their morning milk feed while Taveta and Tassia indulged in a Pushing Game. Shimba, Mzima and Siria took their time as the orphans headed out to feed. All enjoyed the mudbath today.

03 October 2011

Wasessa intervened to prevent Mzima from mounting onto Kenia. It was a very hot day as the orphans searched for browse, Lempaute and Lesanju snatching tidbits from each other’s mouth. All were flapping their ears continuously because it was very hot. Eventually they were forced under shade.

04 October 2011

Kenia monitored Ndii and Dida as they took their milk. The Keepers then got news that there was a Rescue needed for an orphan on Taita Ranch abutting the Park, so the team set out to find the orphan and bring it to the Stockades where there are two new Taming Enclosures. The baby was named “Kivuko” and when the orphans returned in the evening, all greeted the newcomer very warmly, especially the Big Girls, Lesanju, Lempaute, Wasessa, Sinya and Kenia. The calf was very emaciated with one flopped ear.

05 October 2011

Lesanju ran to the newcomer’s enclosure first thing in the morning, closely followed by Wasessa, both struggling to touch the new baby with their trunks. They browsed around the base of Mazinga hill today, and in the evening Shimba returned with a full stomach that resembled a round ball!

06 October 2011

Having taken their milk, Ndii and Dida joined Kenia and Lesanju, as all began to head out into the Park to browse. On the way they were scared by a group of zebras who were running from the buffalo herd, so the Keepers had to calm them all down before proceeding.

07 October 2011

The orphans woke up in a jovial mood, Tassia and Ndii trumpeting while the others all enjoyed a dust bath. After the orphans had left the compound, a herd of wild elephants came to drink at the Stockade trough. The orphans enjoyed the mudbath, and returned happily in the evening. Meanwhile “Kivuko” is settling down and taking her milk well. There was another Elephant Rescue alert today, this time from Kulalu Ranch, so the Voi Keepers headed off to collect this new orphan and drive her back to the Voi Stockades, there to join Kivuko in the adjoining Taming Stockade. She was named “Emsaya” which is the name of the area in which she was found, believed to be another poaching casualty.

08 October 2011

All the Orphans hurried round to greet the two newcomers in their Taming Stockades, rumbling to them and reaching out their trunks to touch them. A light shower in the morning was a welcome relief for the orphans, who have had to cope with another extremely dry year. Kenia escorted Ndii and Dida to the Lucerne pile, until Lesanju took them over, much to Kenia’s displeasure! As it rained intermittently throughout the day, the orphans had a wonderful time playing in the puddles and wallowing in wet mud, so there was no need for a mudbath today.

09 October 2011

Lesanju and Wasessa are competing with one another to take charge of the two new babies, “Kivuko” and “Emsaya” both of whom are settling down well and now taking milk from a hand-held bottle. They should be out with the others very soon.

10 October 2011

The day began well for all the elephants, including the new arrivals, Kivuko and Emsaya, who again were greeted eagerly in the morning by Lesanju and Wasessa. Kenia led the orphans out to browse today, where they enjoyed picking new shoots which are beginning to appear after rain.

11 October 2011

It was a cloudy, cold morning for a change, which made the orphans happy and very playful. Siria did his best to mount onto Kenia but Mzima intervened to take him for a Pushing Game instead. The mudbath took place at the Stockade pool today, Tassia rolling down the slippery sides while Shimba challenged Taveta. All fed well until it was time to return to their Stockades for the night, as usual first going to check on the two newcomers and ensure that they were still alright.

12 October 2011

A group of Ex Orphans turned up today. Tassia and Taveta were engrossed in a Pushing match, until Tassia broke off to join the Ex Orphans who greeted him warmly. The orphans browsed the base of Mazinga hill, Lesanju, Lempaute and Sinya feeding together apart from the others for 20 minutes before rejoining them. Lesanju led the herd to the Stockade mudbath, after which they all resumed feeding again.

13 October 2011

Kivuko and Emsaya were allowed out to initially join Kenia, Ndii and Dida who were first out and began introducing them to the usual morning Stockade games. Lesanju, Lempaute, Sinya, and Wasessa then came running to join them trumpeting with excitement and touching the new babies with their trunks. The Keepers kept a close eye on the Boys to ensure that they did not push the new arrivals who are not yet strong.

14 October 2011

As soon as their Stockade was opened, Lesanju, Wasessa, Kenia and Lempaute rushed to the new arrivals, again trumpeting with excitement, which seemed to overwhelm Kivuko, unlike Emsaya who enjoyed all the attention. The orphans then spent some time playing around the compound until the Keepers led them out to browse. At the mudbath Siria demonstrated bathing techniques to Taveta, but Mzima intervened by mounting onto Taveta as he was lying down in the pool. Tassia and Shimba joined them in the water until Lesanju began to head out, when the boys lined up behind her for the afternoon’s browsing session.

15 October 2011

The orphans enjoyed playing around the compound as usual. Today, Ex Orphan Mpala was a visitor to the Stockades along with Ex Orphan Mpenzi and her wild-born calf, “Asante”, all of whom enjoyed a handout of Dairy Cubes and Lucerne. Mpala attempted to mount Siria as Taveta and Tassia played a Pushing Game. The mudbath now had more water, so Tassia, Mzima, Siria and Kenia enjoyed splashing around playfully in it before all resumed feeding before returning in the evening.

16 October 2011

Emsaya and Kivuko enjoyed playing with Ndii and Dida today which made the Keepers very happy.

17 October 2011

Kivuko and Emsaya fed around the base of Mazinga hill with the other orphans. Kivuko was reluctant to venture far from the Stockades, but eventually followed Ndii, Dida and Kenia while Emsaya chose to follow Lesanju, Lempaute and Wasessa who had Taveta, Tassia, Mzima and Siria with them. At the mudbath Taveta and Shimba gave the newcomers a wallowing demonstration. All fed well during the afternoon, returning to the Stockades in the evening.

18 October 2011

Kivuko, who is more emaciated than Emsaya, is taking milk well, as is Emsaya who is stronger. Lesanju and Wasessa are competing with each other to take possession of the two newcomers. In this Wasessa seems to have the edge over Lesanju. On the way home in the evening Emsaya walked close to Wasessa and Lempaute.

19 October 2011

It was a hot day, which prompted Kenia to lie down on some damp soil before the mudbath. While browsing Lesanju pushed Shimba away from Emsaya in order to be closer to the new baby, which brought Wasessa at the run to lay claim! All returned happily in the evening.

20 October 2011

The orphans left their Stockades early, pushing each other and playing happily before heading out to browse. At the mudbath all enjoyed wallowing with Siria and Mzima rolling side by side while Tassia, Taveta joined Lesanju, Lempaute and Dida who were splashing water over their bodies. Later the orphans browsed the Eastern side of Mazinga hill near a herd of Impala. Sinya and Kenia led the group back in the evening.

21 October 2011

In the morning Lesanju and Wasessa rushed to take possession of Kivuko and Emsaya. All enjoyed the mudbath together and in the evening Kenia and Ndii led the herd back home.

22 October 2011

Ex Orphan Mpala again joined the Juniors at the Stockades this morning after they were let out in the morning. He took on Tassia and Shimba in a Pushing Game which was interrupted by Siria and Mzima. At the mudbath Tassia, Kivuko, Taveta and Wasessa enjoyed rolling in the mud. Wasessa and Shimba led the way back in the evening.

23 October 2011

Sinya and Lesanju led the group out to browse today. It was a cool day, so the orphans decided against wallowing, but all took their milk happily, Shimba giving the others a demonstration of how to hold the bottle wrapped in his trunk.

24 October 2011

Today the orphans enjoyed playing at the compound before heading out, chasing each other around happily before heading out to feed along the Northern side of Mazinga hill. All enjoyed the wallow, Taveta, Mzima and Siria splashing water around while Ndii, Tassia and Dida immersed their heads in the pool to blow bubbles.

25 October 2011

Whilst browsing the base of Mazinga hill, Lesanju and Wasessa were taking great care of Kivuko and Emsaya, watched by Tassia. Only Siria and Mzima decided to wallow today while the others played Pushing Games. Lesanju led the herd back in the evening.

26 October 2011

The orphans were led by Wasessa and Sinya to browse the foot of Mazinga hill. Tassia reminding Wasessa that he, too, was still a baby by sucking Wasessa’s ear! The orphans were joined by a wild herd amongst whom Kivuko and Emsaya were quite relaxed. The Keepers then called the orphans away fearing that the two newcomers might go off with the wild elephants, but Wasessa walked back to round them both up and lead them back to the Keepers. On the way home in the evening Dida and Ndii competed with Kenia to lead the group, but Kenia overtook them.

27 October 2011

All fed up the hill today during light rain, which made the orphans very happy. The waterhole has filled with water from some recent rainstorms, so the orphans had a wonderful time in it, Siria, Mzima and Tassia putting on a spectacular display for the others to emulate.

28 October 2011

Emsaya and Kivuko screamed loudly when their milk ration was finished, which brought Lesanju to them, who touched them gently with her trunk to calm them down. Out in the bush Siria and Mzima spent a long time pushing one another. In the evening all enjoyed more milk, Dida, Ndii and Kenia shaking their trunks from side to side to show their appreciation. All then enjoyed some Dairy Cubes.

29 October 2011

It was wonderful to see Kivuko being very active and happy out in the bush today, overseen by Sinya and Kenia while Wasessa and Lesanju were taking care of Emsaya. At the mudbath Kivuko thoroughly enjoyed herself and was in no hurry to come out.

30 October 2011

As soon as the milk had been downed, Lesanju and Lempaute went to take care of the new babies, Kivuko and Emsaya. At the mudbath Lesanju escorted Emsaya to wallow and watched over her while the boys indulged in their favourite sport of Pushing. During the afternoon Kivuko fed close to Lempaute and Wasessa while Lesanju kept Emsaya close until it was time to return in the evening.

31 October 2011

The orphans met up with a wild herd on the slopes of Mazinga hill today. Wasessa kept a close eye on Emsaya and Kivuko to ensure that they did not go away with the wild elephants. All spent an hour browsing together until it was time to return in the evening, the orphans l returned to their Keepers to return to the Stockades for their evening milk ration.