Earlier this year, Tahri suddenly reappeared after spending more than a year living wild. She seems very happy to be at home — but no one is happier about her return than her best friend, Embu. Some days, they just stand side by side and hug each other with their trunks.
We have rescued an unprecedented number of new orphans this year, including several who have gone directly to Voi. Mbegu, Lemeki, and Sagala are the most welcoming out of the herd and like escorting the new babies around. Juni, who was rescued in May, has settled in beautifully. She is a great favourite of Tagwa, Sagala, and Mbegu.
On 6th September, new rescues Hildama and Dabida had their first day out with the Voi herd. Mbegu, Arruba and Sagala oversaw the welcoming committee and escorted them around, introducing them to everyone and everything.
Two days later, a SWT pilot reported a female orphan along the Voi River. She was rescued and brought directly to the Voi stockades. Although we cannot be sure what happened to her family, we suspect she is a victim of drought or human-wildlife conflict. We named her Akina.
On 12th September, poor Ndotto had a nosey ordeal. The Keepers noticed he was really fussing with his trunk, and upon closer investigation, discovered he had gotten a large stone lodged up one of his nostrils! Dr Limo came to the stockades, sedated Ndotto, and successfully removed the stone. As soon as he woke up, he reunited with his friends, who were calmly waiting nearby. No one was alarmed by the treatment, as they clearly understood that Ndotto was receiving help.
The Voi herd is full of mud bath personalities. One afternoon, Pika Pika, Embu, Rorogoi, Arruba and Suswa teamed up for an eventful session. Pika Pika rolled and slid down Embu’s tummy, while the others splashed around and displayed themselves. Rorogoi, as usual, waited for the rest of the herd to leave the water before going in, so she could enjoy her own solo mud bath!
After one noon milk feed, Tamiyoi was among the first to get to the water trough. She proceeded to pose with one foot perched aloft as she drank. Emoli came around and mimicked her, posing with his back foot up while he drank. Next in line was Sagala, who followed the trend and put one foot up while drinking. She was joined by Rorogoi, who did the same. Perhaps all the orphans had weary legs after a morning of browsing and wanted to relax!
With the new rescues comes an inevitable shift in herd dynamics. Pika Pika watches Hildama and Dabida, lest they get too close to ‘her’ adopted mother, Arruba. Godoma, meanwhile, adopted some dramatic measures to catch the attention of the new babies. She climbed up the terrace wall and pulled all these funny poses, which we believe was all in an effort to show off to Hildama and Dabida. Sagala and Tagwa, meanwhile, are happy to devote themselves to little Juni, leaving their more senior friends to vie over the affection of Hildama and Dadiba!
On the 26th, just before the noon milk feed, we received a call from the SWT/KWS Tsavo Veterinary team about an elephant mother who had succumbed to an internal injury. She left behind a 2-year-old, milk-dependent female who was now an orphan. The Voi Keepers organised everything within the shortest time possible and drove to Manyani to rescue the baby elephant. Upon arriving, they found her standing next to her mother’s body. The Keepers then linked up with the Nairobi Nursery team, who had arrived to airlift the baby to the Nairobi Nursery.
On the last day of September, we received a call from Lualeni Ranch about an orphaned elephant. The Voi keepers left immediately for a rescue operation. After an hour’s drive, they found the young baby, who was alone, dehydrated, and very skinny. The Keepers quickly embarked on a rescue mission and secured the baby, loading him into the stockade pick-up and driving him to the Voi stockade, where his healing process has begun.