Keepers' Diaries, September 2001

Voi Reintegration Unit


01 September 2001

Yatta's little group, who usually remain closer than the others due to Maungu's 4 hourly milk requirements, enjoyed a wonderful wallow today within the fenced area. After their noon milk ration they chased the squirrels, a game initiated by Kinna. Meanwhile, having left the Stockades in the morning, Natumi's group wandered apart from Emily's, and upon noticing their absence, Aitong came over to satisfy herself that they were all safe. At the mudbath Aitong, Natumi, Icholta and Salama enjoyed chasing a warthog. Laikipia and Salama had a great sparring game before entering the Stockade in the evening. Meanwhile, at 3 p.m. Lewa, Uaso and Edo turned up at the Stockade and we were able to dress the spear wound on Lewa's back. Dika, looking impressively handsome, stately and huge, reported in later at 5 p.m.

02 September 2001

Today Nyiro and Mukwaju challenged each other, and Mukwaju emerged the winner. At l0 a.m. Salama, Laikipia and Natumi ran here and there, trumpeting and breaking branches, focusing the attention of all the others. At mudbath Salama, Loisaba, Lolokwe and Ilingwezi enjoyed rolling in the mud, but Emily took just a dustbath having been doused with water. After the noon milk feed Icholta chased Tsavo and in the afternoon Aitong and Emily joined and spent time with a wild group, feeding happily in amongst them for a while.

03 September 2001

During the morning Kinna initiated an interesting game, having found an old tube in the bushes which she kicked around. Then Nyiro and Yatta joined in, throwing the tube in the air, and trumpeting with excitement. The other older orphans met up with Lewa, Edo and Uaso having left the Stockades, and later with a wild group when Emily, Aitong and Imenti chased off a young female of their age. Just before the mudbath "The Boys" left to go their way, and later, after the mudbath, Lolokwe tried to hijack Mweiga's ration of milk. In the afternoon Nyiro played with a tiny dwarf mongoose, chasing him around the bushes, and whenever the mongoose tried to hide, Nyiro disturbed the bush until he reappeared.

04 September 2001

Edo, Lewa and Uaso turned up at the Stockades at 7 a.m., then climbed the hill where they remained all day. A Vet was flown in from Nairobi by the Trust to immobilize Lewa and clean out the wound on his back, which was becoming very sceptic and oozing pus. This was accomplished satisfactorily after which Lewa was woken up. Yatta, Nyiro, Mukwaju and Kinna left with Maungu after the others today, and were frightened by a running waterbuck. Thereafter they kept close to their Keepers. During a sandbath Nyiro climbed over Yatta, who was lying down, and then after having had their milk they, along with Mukwaju, chased the tractor, dashing behind bushes and charging out as it passed. During the morning Imenti crouched down in order to appear smaller so that Natumi could play with him, watched by all the others. At the noon mudwallow our orphans were joined by some wild elephants who shared the wallow with them, but Imenti kept his distance, whilst Aitong got chased off by a wild mature female.

05 September 2001

The baby group spent a peaceful morning, but at the mudbath ganged up to douse Mukwaju with water, throwing it over him until he was drenched. (Mukwaju doesn't much like getting into the mud). In the afternoon Mukwaju again managed to find a dwarf mongoose, and enjoyed a game of chase with it. The older orphans met up with Edo, Lewa and Uaso soon after leaving the Stockades in the morning, and spent the day with them up until time for the mudbath, when the boys left. They were joined in the mudbath by a wild group that was resting under a tree nearby, and once the wild herd left, Emily returned her group to the mudbath so that they could enjoy it without interruption. Hence Tsavo and Mweiga were late for their milk.

06 September 2001

The younger set mingled in with a group of impala this morning feeding in amongst them until it was time for the mudbath. In the afternoon they took a rest in the shade. Emily and Imenti had a long tussle today, which was won by Emily. At the mudbath Aitong chased off a waterbuck, and in the evening Edie had an altercation with Tsavo over the Copra cakes. Imenti went off with Lewa, Uaso and Edo in the evening after the others had retired to their respective sleeping Stockades.

07 September 2001

The small set were scared by a flock of birds this morning, and ran bellowing to their Keepers. Kinna, who is very protective of Maungu, punished Mukwaju for pushing Maungu. Edie was left behind when the others left, because she was looking for Yatta and the babies. She joined up with the rest later when Ilingwezi and Salama were involved in a bush-bashing game. Emily's group met up with a wild group led by a Matriarch called Noum, who is a friend of our orphans. When our orphans left the wild herd for the mudbath venue, Imenti remained behind with them, but joined the our herd later. Edo, Uaso and Lewa spent the day up the hill at the back of the Stockades.

08 September 2001

Mukwaju, Kinna and Yatta initiated a game breaking trees, and were soon joined by Nyiro and Maungu. After their noon milk feed they all ran back to have another mudwallow. Amongst the older set Salama and Laikipia pretended to be very independent, grazing apart from the others on their own. At the milk feed Natumi chased Tsavo away after Tsavo came too close to her milk, sending him scampering off to a Keeper. In the afternoon Emily, Aitong and Imenti chased off a waterbuck.

09 September 2001

Mukwaju again spent time playing with a squirrel, chasing it around, and whenever it stopped to stand up and look back, he too came to a halt with ears out like saucers. The day was very hot, so most of the afternoon was spent under shade. The older elephants also spent a lot of time under shade, but at 9.30 a.m. Emily's group along with Laikpia and Salama joined a wild group. Aitong and Imenti had a wonderful play with a young bull their size. Later Aitong rested her trunk on the back of Tsavo, whilst Mweiga rested her head on Aitong, in a gesture of love.

10 September 2001

Today the small orphans had a very wonderful mudbath and later Kinna played with Nyiro, soon joined by Mukwaju. Amongst the older set Edie and Salama had a pushing game with Ilingwezi as an onlooker. After mudbath all the orphans put on a display running after the milk tractor, trumpeting when it passed. At the mudbath Ilingwezi screamed when Edie stepped on her, and this brought Aitong at the double to comfort and lift Ilingwezi up.

11 September 2001

The baby group had a wonderful mudbath today, after which Nyiro toppled the drum of water, rolling it along with his trunk and kicking it with his hind legs. The older orphans met up with the wild Matriarch, Noum's group, when Loisaba enjoyed playing with Noum's baby for a long time whilst the mother browsed quietly beside them. Natumi then approached Noum, sniffing her from behind, but Noum turned and pushed Natumi away. Near the edge of the hill our orphans were joined by Dika, who joined them and accompanied them to the wallow. In the afternoon Emily's group fed separately to the rest.

12 September 2001

As usual, Kinna was very "motherly" towards little Maungu whilst Mukwaju indulged in his favourite "squirrel chasing" game. Back at the Stockades in the evening he tried to mount Maungu, but then Yatta persuaded him to take her on instead, which he did. Within the bigger group Tsavo tried his luck trying to mount Icholta, but she ran off. In the afternoon they rested under shade when Tsavo and Lolokwe rested their heads on Emily.

13 September 2001

The morning was cool. Nyiro and Yatta charged the tractor, yelling at it whilst Nyiro and Mukwaju had an altercation over the milk, won by Nyiro. Emily's and Natumi's group left together, enjoying a "charging round bush" game in the morning when, for a change, Mweiga succeeded in pushing Tsavo down. In the evening Imenti joined a wild group, and was late reporting back to the Stockades.

14 September 2001

The babies spent the day as usual, resting under shade in the afternoon. Emily's group joined a wild group during the morning with whom they spent time, joining Natumi and the others at the mudbath, when Ilingwezi rubbed her body against that of Aitong.

15 September 2001

Yatta was angry with Mukwaju because he pushed Maungu. She sent him off yelling to hide in the bushes. Emily's group left Natumi's unit early on. Icholta, Salama and Laikipia decided to pretend to be grown up, gazing far from the keepers, but then Icholta, who is not that brave, lost her nerve and came to get the Keepers with her tail raised. Natumi ran to calm her. Emily's group, who had been feeding separately, joined the others at the wallow.

16 September 2001

Today, at milk time, Kinna took her share faster than the others and then begged for more, but Nyiro objected, shoving her away. Emily escorted Tsavo and Mweiga to the milk tractor after their mudbath and stood beside them whilst they drank, after which they all rested under shade, when Emily and Imenti rolled in the dirt so that the youngsters could climb on them.

17 September 2001

Nyiro was the one who gulped down his share of the milk today, and then begged for more. In the afternoon the youngsters were scared by an antelope and they all ran to the Keepers for protection, Kinna in the lead with Nyiro and Mukwaju following. Emily's group left the others during the morning but joined them at the mudbath when Laikipia and Salama had their usual sparring match after the milk. At 4.30 p.m. Imenti joined a wild group and returned late at the Stockades.

18 September 2001

The babies spent the morning feeding as usual until they came across some squirrels and this occupied them for some time. Maungu remained close to the Keepers during all this because she is scared of squirrels. Emily separated from Natumi's group during the morning, but joined them again at the mudbath. In the evening Laikipia tried to mount Icholta.

19 September 2001

Today was humid, so the babies enjoyed their mudbath. Mukwaju and Nyiro played together in the afternoon, teasing each other and practising their skills on the bushes before each encounter. Emily's and Natumi's group left together and spent the morning on the edge of the hill. Salama rubbed himself against a rock and then tried to climb on it and then Natumi became scared by an antelope, and ran to the Keepers for protection. In the evening Ndume, Lewa, Edo and Uaso turned up at the Stockades and then left with Imenti.

20 September 2001

The babies spent an unusual day. Maungu spent more time in the mudbath than the others and back at the Stockades Nyiro tried to hijack Maungu's milk having downed his own. Laikipia cunningly circled the milk tractor at noon in order to be on the other side and get his share before the others. Later Tsavo and Icholta had a disagreement over a piece of grass Icholta was trying to uproot, which brought Salama along, who separated them, uprooted the grass himself and promptly ate it! At 3 p.m. Emily and Imenti had their usual game, after which Imenti tried to mount Emily but was roundly rebuffed.

21 September 2001

The youngsters spent the morning looking for, and playing with, the squirrels. Kinna thoroughly enjoyed the mudbath, sliding down the slippery walls repeatedly. In the afternoon she had a disagreement with Mukwaju. Emily's group and Natumi's unit spent the morning together, Laikipia and Salama pretending to be part of Emily's family rather than with Natumi's. Two buffaloes turned up at the mudbath and were chased off by Emily and Aitong.

22 September 2001

Yatta and Mukwaju had a tussle that was won by Mukwaju who then tried to jump on Yatta. The babies spent the morning chasing squirrels, but were scared by a flock of weavers. Back at the Stockades Nyiro tried to feed on the Copra, which the others were doing their best to scatter. The older orphans met up with Dika soon after leaving the Stockades and enjoyed his company for two hours. Imenti and Natumi had a wonderful game, watched by the others and all had a good mudbath during which Laikipia interacted with Icholta. Back at the Stockades Ndume turned up limping badly with a spear wound in his left hind thigh, obviously having been out of the Park with wild bulls. We alerted Nairobi. Report by Isaac Maina, Supervisor of the Orphans' Project in Tsavo. "The month was a busy one characterised by many events, one of which was the frequent visits of Ndume to the outside community land. This led to additional extra duties in order for two Keepers to monitor and try and control his movements. A litter hole near the Red Elephant Lodge and green vegetation in a neighbouring smallholding were his hot spots. The route of his exit is at the end of the fence, but he also uses the main grid to return.

23 September 2001

The small calves were accompanied by a limping Ndume today, and they basked in being in the company of a Big Boy, crowding around him. However, he soon lost interest in them and went off to feed alone. Emily left Natumi's group in the morning and joined up with the wild herd led by Noum. All went to the mudbath together when Imenti enjoyed the company of a wild bull his size. Mweiga screamed with fright when she found herself surrounded by the wild elephants, and this brought Aitong immediately to her side. The wild elephants left when the Milk Tractor arrived. Meanwhile, a Vet was flown in to attend to Ndume, who was tranquilized so that his wounds could be cleaned. Before being awoken he was injected with antibiotic.

24 September 2001

Kinna and Yatta had a playful morning, Kinna chasing the squirrels after the mudbath. Mukwaju and Yatta played during the afternoon. The older orphans left with Emily in the morning. Tsavo and Salama enjoyed a game, Aitong keeping a watchful eye. They all then met up with a wild group and spent time with them until mudbath hour when the orphans left. After the mudbath, which they enjoyed immensely, they took a rest in the shade of a tree.

25 September 2001

Nyiro took on Mukwaju today, and won the tussle. Kinna downed her milk quickly and then tried to get Nyiro's share, but met with resistance. In the afternoon some impala scared the group. Kinna and Nyiro were very brave, charging and trumpeting and kicking the bushes. Within the older group Loisaba and Natumi competed for the same grass stem, which was won by Loisaba. During mudwallow Lolokwe mounted Mweiga who had to be helped up by Aitong. Meanwhile, another young female elephant, who was named "Ndara" was rescued from a manhole on the Mombasa pipeline near Maungu. Maungu immediately became her friend, but to begin with the others tried to challenge her, although she knew how to take care of herself. Very soon, they were all friends. Later, when Emily arrived, she and Aitong were wildly excited and pleased to find another baby

26 September 2001

Maungu was kept behind as company for Ndara when the others left. Maungu coped very well with Ndara. The others were startled by two young waterbucks on their way out, but when they ran away Nyiro, Kinna and Mukwaju became braver and chased after the antelopes with their ears out. When the youngsters returned in the evening, they greeted Maungu and Ndara happily, laying their trunks on them and sniffing them all over. Ndume, still limping, accompanied the older orphans today, but parted from them after a while. Salama and Laikipia had their usual sparring match and later they all enjoyed the mudbath when Lolokwe toppled the water drums and Imenti rolled them around with his trunk. Later Emily lay down in the shade of a tree so that Tsavo could climb on her.

27 September 2001

It was cool today, so there was no mudbath for the young set. Nyiro tried to snatch a bottle of milk from the tractor. On the way back to the Stockade in the evening Nyiro and Kinna chased a baboon they encountered. Emily's and Natumi's groups spent the day together. In the afternoon Laikipia and Salama had a fight which was interrupted by Emily, who came between them. Meanwhile, back at the Stockades another orphaned elephant was brought in by the Rangers, but it was already very sick and weak and could not stand. It died during the night.

28 September 2001

When the babies were going out this morning, some lesser kudu scared them, causing them to run to their Keepers for protection. They had a wonderful mudbath today, Mukwaju and Nyiro climbing over one another, and remaining in the mud until the arrival of the milk Tractor. The larger group spent a quiet morning. Later Tsavo shoved Mweiga, causing her to fall down and bellow, which brought both Emily and Aitong at the run to lift her up and comfort her.

29 September 2001

Today, it was a dikdik that scared the babies on their way out, but they plucked up the courage when close to the Keepers to turn round and charge. Later they enjoyed battling the bushes. Lolokwe decided to accompany Tsavo and Mweiga within Emily's group today and spent the day with them, joining the others at the mudbath. There Natumi and Ilingwezi enjoyed scratching their bodies against the water drums. Later Tsavo tried to mount Icholta, which infuriated her, and she retaliated strongly, sending him running to Aitong for protection. Emily and Imenti chased a warthog away at 2.30 p.m. and Edie and Salama enjoyed joining in the chase.

30 September 2001

Ndara and Maungu have become great friends and now Ndara is taking milk from the Keepers, and approaching them confidently when hungry. Nyiro indulged in his usual mounting game on all the others, and back at the Stockades tried to do the same to Ndara, but she ran off. Emily left with all the other orphans, and once out in the bush, joined up with Dika, spending time with him. They wallowed as usual and later Salama and Laikipia enjoyed a sparring match.