Keepers' Diaries, October 2015

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Voi Reintegration Unit

Although there has been a threat of rain around Voi, to date only a few light showers have brought some relief, sadly insufficient to promote much re-growth or fill the dried waterholes. The three waterholes around Msinga Hill which are frequented by our orphans (and wild herds) have been kept topped up by our water bowser which has become known to the wild herds, who can often be seen patiently awaiting its arrival in order to enjoy the fresh water placed in drums for the orphans, and partake of the mudbath that is topped up by any surplus. The wild elephants have often intermingled with the orphans this month – wild babies always being a great draw for the orphans. Wasessa, Lesanju and Lempaute continue to monitor such interactions closely, anxious to try and avoid losing a member of their group to the wild herds. Our Voi dependent orphans are thriving and their individual tales are recounted through the pages of the Keepers daily entries.

Although there has been a threat of rain around Voi, to date only a few light showers have brought some relief, sadly insufficient to promote much re-growth or fill the dried waterholes. The three waterholes around Msinga Hill which are frequented by our orphans (and wild herds) have been kept topped up by our water bowser which has become known to the wild herds, who can often be seen patiently awaiting its arrival in order to enjoy the fresh water placed in drums for the orphans, and partake of the mudbath that is topped up by any surplus. The wild elephants have often intermingled with the orphans this month – wild babies always being a great draw for the orphans. Wasessa, Lesanju and Lempaute continue to monitor such interactions closely, anxious to try and avoid losing a member of their group to the wild herds. Our Voi dependent orphans are thriving and their individual tales are recounted through the pages of the Keepers daily entries.

Other significant happenings this month saw the arrival of a female newcomer aged approximately two years old, whose mother tragically died of septicaemia caused by poisoned arrows whom despite treatment from our Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit, was unable to be saved. The calf had remained by her mother’s side as she was dying and was still with her when the Mobile Vet Unit came to treat the ailing cow. Sadly, however, she was too weak to survive the operation, so the orphaned calf was captured by our Voi Elephant Keepers, and given her age, was taken to the Voi stockades and will be raised not far from where she was born. We have called her Araba and she has settled in and is doing well thankfully.

On the 26th a male calf was extracted from the treacherous waterhole formed from a leakage on the Mzima/Mombasa pipeline and airlifted to the Nairobi Nursery where he was given the name “Kwama” meaning “to be stuck” in Swahili. Whilst arrangements were in hand for the K.W.S. Grader to come and make this treacherous mud trap safe, sadly the very next day (the 27th) a second calf found itself in the same predicament, and also had to be airlifted to the Nairobi Nursery. This baby was named “Kawaida” which in Swahili means “the same”. Mercifully the offending mud trap has since been made safe but there are often leakages springing up on the ageing Pipeline, which was laid in the 1950’s and stretches hundreds of miles and with the continued daily use by elephants they become deepened and dangerous for ones so tiny.

Towards the end of the month our Keepers were busy again saving an orphaned older calf around the Satao area in Tsavo East. The calf of about three years old had obviously been without Mum for a good long time as he was incredibly weak and put up little resistance when our team captured him with the help of the Satao Camp staff. He was taken to the Voi stockades to be raised alongside Araba.

Our Voi dependent orphans are thriving and their individual tales are recounted through the pages of the Keepers daily entries.

October 2015 day to day

01 Oct

It was a wonderful morning filled with a lot of baby games in the stockade compound after drinking a bottle of milk and feeding on the routine supplements. The journey towards the browsing grounds then begun under the careful leadership of Lesanju and Sinya. The browsing day went on around the northern side of the stockade, in a slow browsing motion arriving at the middle water pool later that afternoon. The sun was bright and the orphans had a wonderful time bathing in a bid to try and cool their warm bodies. Ndoria enjoyed some fun games, rolling in the water like a long time swimming expert, a game that attracted Mudanda’s attention to come and watch as well. Mudanda decided to challenge Ndoria in the game, lying down and performing some beautiful rolls and swimming strokes. She was not lucky to attract any spectators though, as everyone was exiting from the water at that time including Ndoria. Nelion went back to cheer her up and stayed with her until she finished her games, and then they both went together to join their friends for the final browsing session of the day.

Orphans moving towards the water hole

Orphans enjoying the mud bath

Nelion, right, admiring Mudanda's game

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