Keepers' Diaries, September 2003

Voi Reintegration Unit

Nursery Elephants:- September has been a happy, playful and peaceful time for all six Nursery elephants. All have now successfully cut their first molars without problems, which is unusual because the eruption of the first molars is usually accompanied by fevers and stomach upsets. Even little Sunyei has managed to cut her first teeth without difficulty. Being a very sensitive little elephant, Olmalo usually likes to remain close to Napasha, who prefers to feed apart from the others. She obviously thinks he should not be all alone. Selengai and Sunyei, the two smallest calves, enjoy playing together and have formed a strong bond of friendship that will undoubtedly last a lifetime, whilst Wendi keeps a motherly eye on them all, happy to allow Olmalo and Napasha more independence. Tomboi is the most exuberant and mischievous little elephant, the elephant equivalent of “David Beckham” when it comes to games of football which the orphans enjoy playing with their Keepers. He kicks the ball with any of his four feet very accurately! Every day the Nursery elephants enjoy a running race with their Keepers, lining up at one end of a clearing in the forest, and when everyone is in place, tearing off at speed with ears out like saucers and trunks waggling! This usually ends in little Sunyei bringing up the rear with Tomboi as the winner.

01 September 2003

Today Kinna and Salama played together in the noon mudbath, mounting on each other. Lissa’s group joined the orphans at 2 p.m. Her elder daughter Lara helped Ndara charge a nearby tortoise.

02 September 2003

Edie spent the entire day browsing next to Morani, pulling him to her side with her trunk whenever he looked like detaching himself!

03 September 2003

All the orphans ran to their Keepers for protection at 8 a.m. when a wild bull who was amongst three others bellowed loudly. Later the orphans joined this wild group, parting on their way to the noon mudbath. Nyiro and Seraa had a wonderful dustbath today after the noon mudbath. Their fascinating game was interrupted by Mukwaju.

04 September 2003

At 7 a.m. Lissa’s group joined the orphans. Ilingwezi played pushing games with Lara (Lissa’s first calf). Emily was pushed aside by Lissa when she came to join Ilingwezi in the game. At l0 a.m. Laikipia mounted onto Sally’s back, but fell off like an empty sack. All the other orphans surrounded him to help him up. He came up limping,but recovered later in the day.

05 September 2003

Thoma and Mpala had an altercation when both wanted to scratch their tummies on the same anthill. The Keepers intervened to restore the peace. The orphans charged and tried to scare off a group of about 2,000 buffaloes who past close by at noon. However, upon realising that the buffaloes were undaunted, the orphans pulled back.

06 September 2003

The orphans joined a wild group of 8 elephants at 8.30 a.m. Sosian, Laikipia and Mweya played pushing games with wild agemates, but the game ended when Mweya was pushed down by the wild friend. After this the orphans left the group and proceeeded to the mudbath. Edie escorted the small babies to the milk tractor at nopon, standing beside Mpala, and then taking him back to join the others.

07 September 2003

Sally browsed close to Aitong all day, suckling Aitong’s ears from time to time. She remained behind with Aitong when the other babies left for the Stockades in the evening, returning with Aitong in Emily’s group.

08 September 2003

After a wonderful mudbath, Nyiro, Lolokwe, Salama and Burra played a game of hide and seek. The game ended when Loisaba joined in and began pushing Nyiro. In the afternoon, the orphans harassed an old buffalo they found browsing at the base of Mazinga Hill. They engaged him in a running battle.

09 September 2003

Sosian had a tummy ache today, lying down in distress. Emily kept a close watch on him, and browsed near him all day. We gave him colloidal silver, and he improved later in the day. Today the orphans joined a group of 10 wild elephants at noon. Natumi, Sally, Icholta and Tsavo paid great attention to a wild baby of about 4 months, wanting to entice him away, but his mother recovered him.

10 September 2003

Sosian was very happy today, playing pushing games with Nuiro. His happiness was interrupted when Loisaba gave him a hard shove.

11 September 2003

At 4 p.m., Emily took Loisaba, Tsavo, Ndara and Mukwaju from the other orphans and browsed with them alone apart from the rest. They joined the other orphans later. Sweet Sally charged and chased off an ostrich, but retreated rapidly when she realised that she had no back-up from the others!

12 September 2003

Kinna bellowed loudly during the noon mudbath when Mvita mounted her and pinned her down. The Keepers went in to rescue Kinna and Emily also went in and threatened to kick Mvita.

13 September 2003

Light showers of rain this morning made the orphans very happy. They ran here and there excitedly, rolling in the damp earth. The wild group led by Eleanor’s friend, Catherine joined the orphans at 9 a.m. Laikipia and Salama greeted Catherine by “kissing” her mouth with their trunks. Morani and Tsavo enjoyed playing with wild age-mates within the wild group.

14 September 2003

Edie and Loisaba ran to take Morani immediately after coming out of their Night Stockade in the morning. Their efforts were fruitless when Morani went instead straight to Aitong! Aitong and Morani joined a wild group of 6 at 9 a.m. leaving them to join the others at the noon mudbath.

15 September 2003

Burra and Morani enjoyed a wonderful mudbath, rolling about together. Their game ended when Nasalot stepped on Burra’s damaged ear, causing him to scream loudly, and bring Emily to the rescue.

16 September 2003

Today, it was very hot, so the orphans took an extensive mudbath. Seraa, Tsavo, Mulika and Ilingwezi chased off 2 warthogs that wanted to join them and take a drink at the mudbath.

17 September 2003

Aitong ran back to keep Mweiga company, when she was left behind when the other orphans went for the noon mudbath. The two joined the others, running and trumpeting excitedly.

18 September 2003

At 8.20 a.m. Icholta played a game of hide and seek with Aitong. The game ended when Aitong broke a dry tree which fell on Icholta’s back. She screamed so loudly that Aitong had to calm her by holding her with her trunk. Today the orphans joined a group of 7 wild elephants. Emily played a pushing match with a wild friend of her age, whom she pushed down. This brought the wild Matriarch along, who chased Emily off.

19 September 2003

Edie was not amused when Sosian splashed water on her at the mudbath. She wanted to take revenge, and the Keepers had to intervene to rescue Sosian!

20 September 2003

After a wonderful and extensive noon mudbath, Loisaba placed her trunk on Mulika’s back and dozed with closed eyes. When Mulika moved, she almost fell down. Laikipia and Salama broke up a fight between two male waterbucks.

21 September 2003

Lissa and her two children, along with Uaso and Mpenzi, joined the orphans today. Aitong enjoyed testing her strength against Uaso, but Uaso proved stronger. The orphans were very happy today, taking dustbaths whilst out feeding, and rolling a dry tree trunk around on the ground.

22 September 2003

The orphans loved their mudbath today. Ndara, Loisaba, Salama and Laikipia ran in and out, splashing water around and trumpeting. At 1 p.m. the orphans joined a wild group of 8 elephants, and spent the rest of the day with them, leaving them only to return to their Night Stockades.

23 September 2003

Natumi and Aitong were in competition today about who should have Morani, a tussle that Aitong won.

24 September 2003

It was hot today, so the orphans went to the mudbath at l0 a.m. where they joined a wild group of 12 elephants who were already there. Ndara and Sosian enjoyed pushing matches with their wild age-mates.

25 September 2003

At 8.20 a.m. Nyiro and Seraa enjoyed a game of hide and seek, spoilt by Nyiro when he tried to mount Seraa. Lissa and her two babies, Mpenzi and Uaso turned up at the Stockades at 5 p.m. They greeted the other orphans happily when they returned, stretching out their trunks to caress them.

26 September 2003

Tsavo and Sosian were so engrossed in a test of strength that they found themselves left behind when the others left for the mudbath. They came rushing along trumpeting to join the others. Emily took her favourites, Loisaba, Tsavo and Ndara to join a group of 6 wild elephants at 4.30 p.m. The other orphans were unwilling to join them but Emily and her three favourites joined the orphan group at 5 p.m. when they were on their way back to the Night Stockades.

27 September 2003

The orphans cornered, and chased, 2 waterbucks that ran towards their waterhole at l0 a.m. They chased the antelope for about 2 kms but stopped at the mudbath, where they wallowed extensively.

28 September 2003

Sally’s left leg was entangled by a dry branch this morning, and when she went to join the others, dragging the branch, they all fled to the Keepers! They stood calm beside the Keepers, watching them untangle Sally’s leg.

29 September 2003

At l0 a.m. the orphans joined a herd of 6 zebra, and fed peacefully amongst them, not attempting to chase them off. The day was partly cloudy so the orphans only took a drink of water at noon, and did not want to go into the mudbath.

30 September 2003

After a wonderful mudbath, Natumi lay down to allow Mpala to climb onto her tummy. However, she got up rapidly when Lolokwe wanted to do the same! At 2 p.m., the orphans joined a wild group of 12 elephants when Natumi and Edie showed great interest in a wild baby, touching it gently with their trunks. Meanwhile, Laikipia, Salama and Icholta were busy playing pushing games with their wild friends. The interaction came to an end when Aitong got punished by a wild cow for attempting to take her baby away from her.