Published on the 24th of January, 2016
Joseph Sauni, Head Keeper of the Voi Reintegration Unit, was delivering the midday milk feed for the dependent Voi elephant orphans on the 22nd January when he spotted a group of elephants resting under the shade of a tree on the slopes of Mzinga Hill.
Suspecting that this could be Emily’s herd who had been at the Stockades the day before, of some of the other Ex Orphans, he drove to where they were and to his surprise found that they were clustered around a newly born baby who was slumbering in the grass. It was Ex Orphan Icholta who had given birth to a perfect little boy in the early hours of the morning of the 21st January whom we have named "Inca" - a little boy who was basking in the midday warmth surrounded by so much love and protection from the very proud Ex Orphan herd.
What is so satisfying for us all is that Icholta came to the Nursery not much bigger than her baby. In her case this baby has come later than others born to our Voi Ex Orphans, since Icholta is 16 years old, but it is a great joy that she is now blessed with a family of her very own. The gift of a newborn baby is celebrated by all the Ex Orphans, who are eager to share their joy with their beloved Keepers and choose to stay close to home when they have tiny ones in their midst.
Little Inca was brought to the Stockades by Emily's herd on the 23rd - the day after he was born, attended by Nannies Mweya, Thoma and Seraa and all milled around totally at ease for a couple of hours, happy to share their baby with the Keepers. Inca is spoilt for playmates. He has little Safi, Sweet Sally’s baby born in November, and slightly older Eve and Emma, born to Emily, and then Edie’s little girls Ella and Eden, all wild born.
With the birth of Inca we are now grandparents 18 times over and there can be nothing more rewarding than watching the new generation born to our Ex Orphans grow up, always mindful that this could not have come about without your support.
Icholta was rescued from Marsabit National Park in 1999 as a newborn calf found bogged in a drying waterhole. She grew up in the Nursery with friends Lolokwe, Edie and Laikipia and and they have remained by her side to this day, living a totally free and wild life. Together these friends were translocated to our Voi Relocation Unit in 2000 and slowly went wild after many years, with Emily as their able Matriach. Emily's herd disappear for long periods of time without visiting the stockades, but they have always returned to share their wild born babies with the Keepers, their human family, and this was no different in Icholta's case.