Keepers' Diaries, September 2010

Voi Reintegration Unit

As another very challenging dry season tightens its grip, the Voi orphans have had to concentrate on feeding to fill their bellies each day. However, all have coped admirably to date, although little Kimana is still weak and looking thinner than he should, not having fully recovered from being unwell some months ago. However, he has been taking his milk as usual, and being weak, has been careful to keep out of the way of the others whenever they are indulging in boisterous games at the mudbath and during the morning Stockade romp. Wasessa and Kenia keep a carful watch over him to protect him from being knocked down accidentally.

01 September 2010

After the usual Stockade games, the orphans browsed their way towards the Southern side of Mazinga Hill. After feeding during the morning, they came to take their milk and take a mudbath at the Stockades, Kenia, Kimana, Tassia and Dida came first followed by the older elephants. Lesanju and Mzima enjoyed a very active dusting game, rolling around each other. They then all returned to serious browsing for the rest of the day.

02 September 2010

Lesanju and Ndii led the orphans down into the main Park to feed today, where they fed seriously, searching for every available food plant during this dry season. At the mudbath Mzima and Siria enjoyed an amazing Pushing Game in which the others joined, filled with trumpeting and dashing in and out of the water. The afternoon feeding session took place around the mudbath venue, until it was time for the orphans to make their way back to the Night Stockades in the evening.

03 September 2010

After the morning milk feed, the orphans enjoyed socializing with one another, Mzima and Siria intertwining trunks as they shoved one another backwards and forwards. During the game they accidentally knocked down little Kimana, who has been showing signs of weakness now for some months. Just before they arrived to take their milk and mudbath at the Stockades, a group of wild elephants turned up, draining the trough. The afternoon browsing took place on Mazinga Hill above the KWS offices.

04 September 2010

After enjoying fun at a pile of loose red earth brought for them, the orphans returned to feed above the KWS offices on the hill. After the noon mudbath, Siria mounted onto Lempaute, watched by Lesanju, Mzima and Dida. Later they returned to feed around the eastern side of Mazinga hill, before being led by Sinya back to the Stockades in the evening.

05 September 2010

The day turned very hot, so the orphans were anxious for their mudbath having taken their noon milk feed. They splashed themselves with the water to cool down, and took a long drink from the water drums before wallowing Two warthogs were also anxious to take a mudbath, but the orphans saw them off. All had a wonderful mudbath after which Kimana went to watch Mzima’s dusting technique, until Siria arrived to pin down Mzima with his stubby tusks, prompting him to get up rapidly! The rest of the day was spent round the northern side of the hill.

06 September 2010

After a wonderful mudbath, Mzima and Tassia enjoyed rolling around in the pile of soil. Wasessa, Lesanju and Lempaute stood next to little Kimana admiring the boys’ game. Taveta and Shimba tried to match them, but became frustrated when Taveta’s play turned into a fight between him and Tassia. Wasessa and Mzima intervened to broker the peace. The afternoon was spent browsing until it was time to return in the evening.

07 September 2010

On the way out to feed Lesanju enjoyed scratching her body against a tree trunk. Kenia, Shimba and Kimana browsed very close to one another during the morning session before heading to the mudbath, where they encountered a wild herd who were in the middle of the mudbath. Wasessa and Siria engaged wild age mates, but the others were reluctant to mingle with the wild elephants. After the wild herd had departed, all the orphans enjoyed the mudbath.

08 September 2010

Having arrived at the feeding grounds, Taveta, Tassia and Dida enjoyed a game of hide and seek. After a wonderful noon mudbath, and an afternoon browsing, Ndii led the orphans back in the evening.

09 September 2010

Once out in the main Park to feed, Shimba and Tassia engaged one another in a Pushing Match, keenly watched by Wasessa and Lesanju. Kimana opted to keep well away from the game for fear of being pushed where he was joined by Kenia. During the mudbath Siria climbed onto Lempaute while Shimba did the same to Taveta. It was a fun time, with slipping and sliding until Lesanju decided it was time to resume browsing. All the others then followed suit.

10 September 2010

Siria, Mzima and Sinya separated from the others to browse apart today until it was time to move towards the Stockades for the noon milk feed and a mudbath. As it was a cool day, the orphans decided against going into the mudbath and resumed feeding. In the evening they were in a hurry to return, their minds focused on the milk, Copra cake handout and the delicious cut grewia branches stacked up inside the Stockades for them.

11 September 2010

Having emerged in the morning, the orphans enjoyed some Copra cake and Dairy cubes before moving off to browse. At noon Kimana came ahead of the others to take his milk, after which, he plunged into the mudbath, which was not usual for him. However, once the others were in it, and becoming more boisterous, he came out. Shimba and Taveta enjoyed a soil bath until Lesanju led them back to the bush to finalize their browsing day before the evening.

12 September 2010

There was a surprise in store for the Keepers today, because Lolokwe and Nyiro turned up without the other members of Emily’s group. They feasted on the Copra cake along with the Juniors, and went into the Stockades to finish off what was left of the Grewia branches, scaring Kimana, who screamed loudly, not having noticed their presence earlier! The two big boys touched little Kimana tenderly with their trunks to reassure him. Kimana then rejoined his group, who then headed off to feed, leaving the Big Boys at the Stockades. Today the Youngsters climbed high up the hill to feed, and returned to the Stockades for the mudbath.

13 September 2010

Lolokwe and Nyiro again came to the Stockades, but after the Youngsters had already left. They took water and enjoyed a hand-out of Copra cake before going back into the Stockades to see whether any Grewia branches were left. Unfortunately, the Keepers had already cleared the Stockades, so they missed out. The two then headed towards the Northern side of the hill, Lesanju’s group meanwhile feeding on the southern side.

14 September 2010

Tassia and Taveta seemed to have an old score to settle. They took on one another head on, so Kimana planted himself in the midst of the big girls in order not to become embroiled. Wasessa intervened between the boys, while Lesanju encouraged the others to the mudbath, where they all had a lot of fun. After the bush mudbath, they browsed their way back to the Stockades in the evening.

15 September 2010

Kimana appeared weaker than usual today, walking very slowly, so Lesanju slowed the pace of the others so that he could keep up with them. Kimana’s condition improved as the day progressed, and by the evening he was his old self.

16 September 2010

Kimana was more active today as the orphans went out to browse, returning to the mudbath at noon, where they all had a lot of fun. Mzima ignored Siria today, and instead focused on Shimba, which made Siria very jealous. He charged towards Mzima and Shimba to illustrate his disapproval. Ndii led the orphans back to the Stockades in the evening.

17 September 2010

The orphans arrived at the main Park early in the morning and settled down to feed when they heard an unfamiliar sound and ran to their Keepers for protection. The Keepers could not identify the sound, so went ahead cautiously to investigate. They found two waterbucks in a mating ritual, but the Keepers had a difficult time reassuring the orphans, all of whom were very scared and fed close to the Keepers for the rest of the day. A small family unit comprised of an adult cow and her three calves came to drink at the Stockades in the evening after all the orphans were inside. This family frequented the Stockades last month.

18 September 2010

The orphans had an enjoyable day, and as they approached the mudbath, they noticed about l0 wild elephants with three young calves in the middle of the waterhole. The wild elephants were in the process of leaving, so Siria approached them as they were leaving the waterhole, and spent a short time with them before rejoining the orphans. All had a wonderful mudbath.

19 September 2010

Nyiro and Lolokwe again turned up at the Stockades just as the Keepers were feeding the Youngsters their milk. They stood calmly behind the younger elephants before sharing the Copra cake with them. The Keepers suspect that these two boys are deciding to separate themselves from Emily’s Group. Siria engaged them in a wrestling game, but Lesanju was anxious to lead the Youngsters out to avoid any “snatching”. After that the two Big Boys feasted on the remains of the Grewia Branches before leaving later on in the day. They did not meet up with the Youngsters again today.

20 September 2010

During the morning browsing session Lesanju and Kenia were very aware of little Kimana, extending their trunks to touch him frequently. Taveta and Shimba had an amazing wrestling match just before the mudbath, watched closely by Dida, who came to help Taveta. After the mudbath Lempaute enjoyed scratching against a tree. Kimana followed the others slowly back to the Stockades in the evening.

21 September 2010

It was a cool day when the orphans reached their noon mudbath venue. They stood around looking at the waterhole and testing the temperature with their trunks. Mzima decided on a sliding game on the banks while Tassia and Taveta embarked on a Pushing Match which was broken up by Mzima. Wasessa wanted Tassia to go into the mudbath, but he decided against it. Later they browsed at the foot of Mazinga Hill until it was time to return in the evening.

22 September 2010

After the water Bowser had taken water to the middle artificial mudbath venue out in the bush, a huge herd of buffalo in their thousands, raising an enormous dust cloud began to approach. This scared the orphans who were reluctant to approach. The buffaloes finished almost all the water, so the Keepers had to send for a refill for the orphans’ wallow.

23 September 2010

The orphans browsed intently today, until the mudbath, when it was games as usual. Mzima rubbed his buttocks on Shimba who was lying down. Siria then came and pushed Mzima’s head beneath the water, so the Keepers had to come to the rescue of poor Shimba, sending Siria hurriedly out of the pool. In the evening Dida led the orphans back home.

24 September 2010

At the mudbath, Mzima, Shimba, Dida and Ndii rushed to enjoy a cool soil bath before going into the wallow, but most of the action was focused on the pile of red soil today. Lesanju led the group back to browse after the mudbath hour.

25 September 2010

The orphans emerged in a jovial mood, chasing each other around the Stockade compound, Kimana keeping well away from the action. At noon Ndii and Kenia had a race towards their milk bottles, won by Ndii. Lempaute showed Dida, Ndii and Taveta how to submerge their heads completely in the water with just their trunks out as a snorkel. All enjoyed that new game. In the evening Sinya led the orphans back.

26 September 2010

As the others headed out to browse, Siria and Mzima were left behind engaged in a Pushing Match and did not notice that the others had left. They rushed to join them, kicking bushes and trumpeting as they went. Wasessa rushed to receive them, obviously anxious that little Kimana did not accidentally get pushed by them.

27 September 2010

Little Kimana was first to take his milk at noon and immediately afterwards jumped into the mudbath ahead of all the others. Later Lempaute lay on top of Siria while Shimba and Sinya wrestled sitting down in the pool. As Mzima was leaving the pool, Siria grabbed his leg, hoping to entice him back, but Mzima escaped and went to join the others.

28 September 2010

The orphans left early. Later on the Keepers noticed that Ndii had a loose stool, but it stabilized later on in the day. She didn’t display any other signs of being unwell, and took all her milk as usual.

29 September 2010

Ndii’s condition was normal today. Ten minutes after the youngsters had entered their Stockades in the evening, Emily’s group turned up, minus Edie and 8 others. With Emily was Sweet Sally, Ndara, Mvita, Loisaba, Morani, Laikipia, Icholta and a wild boy they had recruited in their group a few months ago. This wild boy is permanently with them. Lolokwe and Nyiro were not with them, and appear to have separated from the group. Along with Edie, missing from the group was Seraa, Burra, Thoma, Mweya, Mpala, Solango and Irima. We hope they are safe and well. The wild cow and her 3 calves, who have frequented the Stockades, showed up today as well when Laikipia blocked them from taking a drink at the Stockade trough. The Keepers pushed Laikipia off to allow the wild family to drink and they later joined the Ex Orphans feeding off the Acacias nearby. Emily’s baby, Eve, moved to the wild group to greet one of wild calves who was her age. Ndara came to check what Eve was up to, perhaps suspecting that the wild cow might hijack her! The two groups then separated, each going in a different direction.

30 September 2010

Emily’s group, still accompanied by the wild boy, turned up at the Stockades at 3 p.m. The wild boy enjoyed the Copra cake immensely, but Laikipia tried to chase him off. However, the wild boy held his ground and all having had their share of Copra, they moved off. They did not meet up with the Juniors. Kimana is browsing and taking all his milk, but still looks thin and is weaker than the others. We hope that when the rains break and bring on fresh greens, his condition will improve.