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Please be sure to take the time to look through the daily entries which can be accessed by clicking the calendar days, as this is the section the photographs are placed, wonderful candid shots taken monthly from each of the Units, captured by the Keepers.

Print this Page - Sheldrick Wildlife TrustDiary Summaries Shown Below:  | Ithumba Unit |  (Print This Page)

Monthly Summary for: Ithumba Unit - 6  /  2017

The stockade compound was a hive of activity this month as the dependent orphans woke up almost every morning to at least one group of visiting Ex Orphans. Mutara’s group including Sities, Suguta, Kanjoro, Turkwel and Kainuk returned in June after a few months away, exploring further afield with the benefit of plentiful water in the Park. They returned in high spirits and good health and then stayed around Ithumba for the rest of the month. The missing orphans Dupotto, Kelelari and Karisa were not with them, as we had so hoped, and the search continues for these naughty orphans. Given the extensive aerial coverage, the ground teams hard at work, we are confident they are alive and well, but we have so many wild elephants in the north, literally thousands, it is very challenging finding three little truants in amongst them. Comforting is the amount of food and water in the north thanks to good rains in that part of the Park which is a relief, because huge swathes of Tsavo remain without hardly any water.

Narok’s herd is normally one that stays overnight around the compound, together with Olare and Mutara’s groups this month. Narok’s newly semi-independent group is comprised of Orwa, Bongo, Teleki, Bomani, Vuria and sometimes Laragai, who is torn between staying a dependent orphan and becoming more independent in Narok’s herd. Laragai has developed a new naughty habit of staying overnight in the compound and opening the gates at night letting Kithaka, Garzi, Lemoyian and Barsilinga out! She did this a couple of times this month and last month as well. Barsilinga has been trying to establish himself as the most dominant bull in the dependent herd and frequently challenges Orwa, Narok, Vuria and Garzi; he doesn’t normally win though and needs some experience still. Sometimes he tries to take on older orphans like Sities but these no-nonsense girls don’t have time for Barsilinga’s games and abruptly push him away.

Whilst conditions in the north were at their best in Tsavo after the rains, we took the advantage and moved three more orphans from the Nairobi Nursery down to our Ithumba Stockades at the beginning of this month – Ukame, Galla and Wanjala. Galla and Wanjala settled in very well whilst Ukame was a bit slower to feel completely at home, but every day she looks more at ease. She also seems to like older Ex Orphan Narok and her company. On the moving day there was a slight delay due to a problem with the lorry but they arrived just after 12.30pm safe and sound and disembarked to some refreshing milk bottles. They were greeted by Boromoko, Lemoyian and Sirimon first and later the rest of the dependent orphans, then Narok’s herd, then Mutara’s herd. Ex Orphan and big boy Rapsu was present too and the wild orphans accompanied the newcomers into the bush. This was all pretty overwhelming for these three new orphans, but at the same time mesmerising to watch all the interaction and interest. In the evening, Wanjala, Galla and Ukame joined Kamok, Naseku, Tusuja and Roi as they returned to the stockades for their milk and already appeared to know the ropes, obviously communicated by the others; they seemed to enjoy their first taste of life in the wild.

The next morning all the Ex Orphans arrived, engulfing the babies with greetings and welcoming rumbles. The stockades were alive with action, with more elephants than one could count! After the vanishing act of our missing trio, the Keepers have been paranoid with these new arrivals, especially given the level of activity everywhere, so they are ever alert keeping a diligent eye on the babies and never let them wander too far, taking no chances for these older babies to wander off like their play-mates last month. It must be emphasised that in our 40 years of doing this work this is the first time this has happened, and we cannot help but think that it was influenced by the much older Kelelari who had known a fully wild life for a number of years before coming into our care. The search continues and in the meantime we are ever hopeful they will turn up one day at the waterholes at Ithumba, accompanied by wild friends.

This month Kilaguni and Chaimu, who have been absent for quite some time, showed up at the stockade in the company of a wild herd and they spent the rest of the month bouncing around the other Ex Orphan herds such as Olare’s and Mutara’s. Ex Orphan Sidai is in season and being pursued by various males; often she likes to hide amongst the dependent group at the mud bath when she is tired. Nasalot is in season as well so some very big bulls have been spotted around the area recently. There was hardly an Ex Orphan we did not see this month; Galana and her baby Gawa were here with the Nannies; Loijuk, Kenze, Kainuk, Suguta, Turkwel, Lualeni, Sidai, Lenana and Naserian, and Kinna with her baby Kama and their entourage too. It is lovely to watch little Gawa growing and becoming more independent, wanting to play with the dependent orphans more but still being very much shepherded by her Nannies. With Zurura, Melia and Tumaren came the wild bull Half Trunk who had been away for so long and also the wild bull known to us as Limpy who we were able to save last year from a ghastly cable snare which had cut deep to the bone. He was looking in fine health, healed and well, and loving his time back on familiar turf, tame and welcoming, understanding full well that his life was saved by the team in green. 14 year old Ex Orphan bull Taita only showed up at the beginning of the month and seemed quite taken with the new arrivals from Nairobi, taking Galla, Wanjala and Ukame to a shady spot to relax at the mud bath area. Big bull Madiba has been drifting around too, looking increasingly handsome as he grows. With full waterholes surrounding Ithumba, huge aggregations of Ex Orphans along with their wild friends have been spotted most days at the various water points, and June has very much had an elephant carnival feel to the month.


Photos Taken During this Month for the Ithumba Unit

Sokotei and Oltaiyoni 6/1/2017

Laragai leading 6/1/2017

Barsilinga plays with Vuria 6/1/2017

Lemoyian, Tusuja and Roi 6/1/2017

Orok with the juniors 6/2/2017

Sokotei playing with Lemoyian 6/2/2017

Orok teaching Barsilinga some wrestling tactics 6/2/2017

Mutara's group 6/2/2017

Mutara 6/2/2017

Suguta in Mutara's group 6/3/2017

Kalama playing with Barsilinga 6/3/2017

Kitirua playing with Garzi 6/3/2017

Kilaguni arriving 6/3/2017

Kamok playing in the soil 6/3/2017

Narok and Kithaka 6/4/2017

Orphans leaving for browsing 6/4/2017

Galana and her herd in the stockades 6/4/2017

Wanjala, Galla and Ukame drinking milk 6/4/2017

Galla feeding on nice grass 6/4/2017

Sities being a nanny to baby Kama 6/5/2017

Wanjala greets Kibo 6/5/2017

Ukame and Galla in their new environment 6/5/2017

Barsilinga playing with Orwa 6/5/2017

Garzi, Vuria and Barsilinga in the mud bath 6/5/2017

Lemoyian playing with Olsekki 6/6/2017

Baby Gawa, Lenana and Galana 6/6/2017

Ex Orphans wallowing 6/6/2017

Galla browsing with Sirimon 6/6/2017

Siangiki coming out of the mud bath 6/7/2017

Barsilinga tackling Suguta 6/7/2017

Zurura with 3 wild bulls 6/7/2017

Orwa plays with Olare  6/7/2017

Galla, Barsilinga and Wanjala 6/7/2017

Tusuja having a chat with Galla 6/8/2017

Barsilinga rolling on the ground 6/8/2017

Kithaka playing with Barsilinga 6/8/2017

Garzi rolling on the ground 6/8/2017

Boromoko taking food from Kamok 6/8/2017

Naseku walked the new arrivals away 6/9/2017

Sokotei playing with Lemoyian 6/9/2017

Lemoyian climbs on Sokotei 6/9/2017

Ex Orphans and wild elephants arriving 6/9/2017

Taita with the new arrivals 6/9/2017

Kanjoro scratching on Suguta 6/10/2017

Ukame soil dusting 6/10/2017

Chemi Chemi at the mud bath 6/10/2017

Wild bulls at the mud bath 6/10/2017

Chemi Chemi scratching on Kalama 6/11/2017

Wanjala going out to browse 6/11/2017

Sirimon, Sities and Orwa 6/11/2017

Galla browsing with Boromoko 6/12/2017

Narok sharing a branch with Ukame 6/12/2017

Barsilinga soil dusting 6/12/2017

Rapsu with the juniors 6/12/2017

Lemoyian and Barsilinga playing in the wet soil 6/12/2017

Enkikwe and Roi feeding 6/13/2017

Lemoyian and Wanjala browsing 6/13/2017

Shukuru feeding with Garzi 6/13/2017

Enkikwe playing with Sities 6/13/2017

Orphans feeding in the morning 6/14/2017

Ukame wallowing in the mud bath 6/14/2017

Orphans walking back out to the bush 6/14/2017

Wanjala says hello to Gawa 6/15/2017

Zurura with Mutara's group 6/15/2017

Kamok relaxing with Nasalot in the shade 6/15/2017

Tumaren playing with Orwa 6/15/2017

Garzi playing with Chemi Chemi 6/16/2017

Ex Orphans led by Kinna 6/16/2017

Bongo and a wild orphan 6/16/2017

Barsilinga playing with Garzi 6/16/2017

Sidai joins the orphans 6/16/2017

Barsilinga feeds with Enkikwe 6/17/2017

Kamok, Wanjala and Galla 6/17/2017

Olsekki soil dusting 6/17/2017

Baby Gawa threatening Wanjala 6/17/2017

Wanjala playing with Gawa 6/17/2017

Mutara's group sleeping 6/18/2017

Galla and Naseku saying hello to Sities 6/18/2017

Galla playing with Siangiki 6/18/2017

Roi scratching  6/18/2017

Shukuru playing with Enkikwe 6/19/2017

Olsekki playing with Sokotei 6/19/2017

Kalama, Kibo and Kilaguni 6/19/2017

Chemi Chemi and Chaimu 6/19/2017

Sities playing with Galla 6/19/2017

Ishanga, Wiva and Chyulu 6/20/2017

Olsekki playing with Enkikwe 6/20/2017

Wanjala greets Teleki 6/20/2017

Wanjala saying hi 6/20/2017

Wanjala soil dusting 6/20/2017

Kithaka plays with Garzi in the early morning 6/21/2017

Shukuru soil dusting 6/21/2017

Galla soil dusting 6/21/2017

Ukame scratching 6/22/2017

Ukame, Olsekki and Boromoko 6/22/2017

Olsekki and Roi feeding 6/22/2017

Meibai playing with Kasigau 6/22/2017

Kinna and Kama 6/22/2017

Roi scratching 6/23/2017

Laragai browsing 6/23/2017

Mud bath with lots of Ex Orphans and wild eles 6/23/2017

Two wild bulls relaxing 6/23/2017

Bomani soil dusting 6/24/2017

Orphans soil dusting 6/24/2017

Barsilinga playing with Orwa 6/24/2017

Lualeni coming to join the orphans 6/25/2017

Mutara's group 6/25/2017

Kinna and baby Kama leading 6/25/2017

Ololoo rides on Naisula 6/25/2017

Chaimu charging out of the water 6/25/2017

Lemoyian playing with Boromoko 6/26/2017

Sokotei browsing 6/26/2017

Enkikwe in the bush 6/26/2017

Kithaka browsing with Galla 6/27/2017

Sities trying to play with Sirimon 6/27/2017

Kitirua plays with Olsekki 6/27/2017

Buchuma arriving 6/27/2017

Murka playing with Sirimon 6/28/2017

Olare soil dusting 6/28/2017

Orphans at mud bath 6/28/2017

Sirimon and Naseku relaxing under shade 6/28/2017

Zurura playing with Barsilinga 6/29/2017

Roi soil dusting 6/29/2017

Galla scratching on a baobab 6/29/2017

Shukuru soil dusting 6/29/2017

Half Trunk and a wild friend 6/29/2017

Loijuk and Zurura 6/30/2017

Wanjala talking to Roi 6/30/2017

Kinna, babies Kama and Gawa and Chaimu 6/30/2017

Kalama playing with Vuria 6/30/2017

Kamok playing with Boromoko 6/30/2017
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