On the 25th of June Murera and Sonje made the journey to Kibwezi Forest, the first two orphans introduced to our brand new rehabilitation unit purpose built to accommodate their needs. They both suffer from poaching injuries which have left them permanently lame and we felt Umani Springs in Kibwezi Forest would be an ideal gentle environment for them. They were later joined by their dear friends and poaching victims Zongoloni, Quanza and Lima Lima.
We are happy to report that our Umani herd are exploring and fast getting to grips with their new home. Their days are incredibly varied as they discover the many hidden secrets. There is such an abundance of food available and they are relishing all the new tastes. With numerous waterholes, some mud wallows with red earth and some with grey clay, they are spoilt for choice.
Our orphans have found the bushbabies' cries unnerving, a sound they have not been used to in the Nairobi Nursery. With evidence of wild elephants everywhere by day under the cover of darkness they visit, and communicate from outside the perimeter fence in low rumbles to the five orphans. Sonje and Murera were a little frightened to begin with and required their Keepers close for comfort, but now they are becoming more settled they are actually seeking the wild elephants out during the day by following their scent. Routines are being established, milk followed by lucerne (also known as alfalfa) in the morning together with dust bathing, browsing until midday which is then punctuated with a mud bath. Exploring and feeding in the afternoon with a return to the stockades in the evening for their second milk feed and bum scratching on the scratching rock to dislodge ticks, before safely being led to bed in their night stockades with freshly cut greens, dairy cubes and some more Lucerne.
They have all settled and all seem to be thriving with the brief exception of Zongoloni who went off her milk, and this coincided with worms appearing in her stools. We de-wormed her, and changed her milk, and now she seems to be much improved and happy. They are a wonderfully cohesive unit, all females who were firmly bonded long before ever heading to Kibwezi Forest together. These pictures say it all.