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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:  | Kibwezi Forest/Umani Springs Unit |  (Print This Page)

Monthly Summary for: Kibwezi Forest/Umani Springs Unit - 10  /  2017

It is four years ago the The Kibwezi Forest Umani Springs relocation unit was first created, Kibwezi Forest managed by the Trust in a public private partnership with the Kenya Forest Service. Its tangible success is becoming very evident. After fencing the Kibwezi forest boundary into the Chyulu National Park and continuing the fence line along the Park boundary for 73 kms, wildlife numbers have soared, illegal activity has been heavily reduced and poaching has been practically eradicated. The fence protects the surrounding community from crop-raiding elephants whilst providing employment to maintain and upkeep the fence. Wild Elephants are very much present throughout this beautiful area, and this means numerous interactions with our orphans on an almost daily basis. The Kibwezi Forest is home to the vital Umani springs and is an ecological oasis. Fresh water springs flow out of the lava rocks having percolated through the porous Chyulu mountain range, and baobab trees give way to lush ground water forest filled with giant figs, of which there are over 12 different species.

Although encountering wild elephant herds has become an almost daily ritual for our young orphans, the wild elephants are still wary of humans and some are reluctant to approach the orphans when the Keepers are around. The Keepers have been trying to keep their distance on these occassions to let them interact, but every encounter needs to be slightly monitored as the wild elephants’ behavior can be unpredictable. Sometimes their meetings go smoothly and the orphans play and wrestle with wild ones their own age group, but on other occasions the wild elephants can be too rough and the keepers need to intervene. One day Ziwa decided to join a wild group and walked with them for some time. They perhaps smelt the Keepers scent on him however as they soon started to push him around a bit with their long tusks. The Keepers called him back and he returned to his group with both his ego and body slightly bruised! As the oldest females, in the herd, wild bulls have been paying particular to six year old Sonje and eight year old Murera. One day they tried to separate them from the herd and even the keepers could not help them as the bulls blocked their way. With assistance from Lima Lima, Alamaya and Zongoloni, eventually the matriarchs managed to get away and walk towards the keepers, where the bulls did not follow. Lima Lima still needs a little practice with these social interactions. She loves playing with wild born babies but still has a tendency to get over excited and pull their tails! Something which neither they nor their protective mothers like very much.

Lima Lima was certainly the swimming star at the beginning of the month, when the weather was hot and humid before the rain rolled in and the orphans indulged in a noon mud bath every day. She even created her own mud wallow befitting only one orphan at a time, and enjoyed it to her heart’s content until the herd grew impatient waiting for her so they could go back to browsing. This is when the matriarchs step in and Sonje had to go and get Lima Lima herself! She is still also the most greedy elephant in the group and has to be held back to feed last so she does not interrupt the others. Quanza, on the other hand, is becoming less interested in her milk. At six years old she is old enough not to have it, and instead sometimes prefers to browse on lovely soft greens she encounters, than go for her midday milk bottle.

The orphans were quite surprised when the rain started towards the end of the month, not wanting to come out of their stockades in the morning. The cold weather meant they were rather more subdued and enjoyed more dust baths than mud ones. Mwashoti and Murera are most affected by the cold due to their bad legs and walk much slower than the rest of the group. They and Sonje can often not walk all of the paths taken by the others, especially up steep hills, due to their compromised limbs. When it is cold it takes a while for them to warm up and for their muscles to loosen so they can keep up with the others. We were very thankful when the rain broke however, as the area had become very dry and a wild fire was in fact also spreading from the Chyulu Hills towards the Kibwezi Forest at an alarming rate. Many wild elephants could be seen coming from the hills to seek refuge in the forest while the fires blazed, fought back by our Chyulu Anti Poaching teams and KWS Rangers working together and over 50 community members paid by the Trust to tackle the threat. These men fought the fire for days and are the reason that the Kibwezi Forest was spared.

Alamaya and Mwashoti continue to grow in size and personality. They are often seen trying to mount Sonje and Lima Lima whenever they see the two girls lying down. If the matriarchs stop the little boys from climbing on them, they get angry and start pushing the girls hard with their bottoms showing their frustration at not being allowed to do what they like. It seems they have been a little spoilt by the older females in the herd! They pull food down from the taller trees for them to enjoy and make sure they are protected from the boisterous boys like Ngasha, Faraja and Jasiri. Ngasha especially likes to bait Alamaya by touching the stub of his tail, which Alamaya detests, and the girls are always on the look out for this kind of bad behavior!

Photos Taken During this Month for the Kibwezi Forest/Umani Springs Unit

Sonje enjoying a scratch between the trees 10/1/2017

Orphans at the water trough 10/1/2017

Mwashoti playing with Sonje 10/1/2017

Faraja in the shade 10/2/2017

Murera leads Zongoloni to Chyulu Hills 10/2/2017

Thirsty orphans at the water hole 10/2/2017

Limalima takes a break from the heat 10/3/2017

Orphans at the waterhole 10/3/2017

Orphans in the grasslands 10/3/2017

Playful orphans in the morning 10/4/2017

Orphans browsing 10/4/2017

Orphans walking home 10/4/2017

Mwashoti taking food out of Murera's mouth 10/5/2017

Murera stops for a scratch 10/5/2017

Sonje catches a wild animal smell 10/5/2017

Alamaya enjoying lucerne 10/6/2017

Mwashoti arrives at the waterhole 10/6/2017

Ziwa and Ngasha 10/6/2017

Orphans enjoy pellets 10/7/2017

Jasiri and friends arrive at dustbath 10/7/2017

Murera browses with Alamaya 10/7/2017

Sonje waiting for Mwashoti 10/8/2017

Faraja browsing 10/8/2017

Ziwa peeling bark 10/8/2017

Ziwa leads orphans to Chyulu Hills 10/9/2017

Mwashoti finishing his milk 10/9/2017

Zongoloni walking after milk feed 10/9/2017

Orphans at the lucerne corner 10/10/2017

Jasiri waiting for friends to finish their milk 10/10/2017

Alamaya leading Murera 10/10/2017

Quanza picking up lucerne 10/11/2017

Faraja feeling sleepy 10/11/2017

Ngasha looking for soft branches 10/11/2017

Orphans at the water trough early morning 10/12/2017

Orphans cooling off in the mud 10/12/2017

Orphans enjoy dust bath time 10/12/2017

Sonje splashing water with her trunk 10/13/2017

Alamaya trying to rub belly on Sonje 10/13/2017

Limalima trying to get up 10/13/2017

Ziwa browsing in the forest 10/14/2017

Murera leads babies into the shade 10/14/2017

Alamaya leaves the waterhole with Ziwa 10/14/2017

Playful babies in the morning 10/15/2017

Quanza can smell some wild friends 10/15/2017

Mwashoti dusts and flaps his ears 10/15/2017

Mwashoti getting ready to follow Murera 10/16/2017

Ziwa blowing dust 10/16/2017

Faraja browsing 10/16/2017

Limalima picks an acacia branch 10/17/2017

Alamaya looking for Zongoloni 10/17/2017

Murera browsing 10/17/2017

Quanza looking for Sonje in the forest 10/18/2017

Mwashoti following Sonje into the bush 10/18/2017

Ziwa cools off in the shade 10/18/2017

Orphans after lucerne feed 10/19/2017

Sonje persuades Mwashoti and Limalima to join her 10/19/2017

Zongoloni solo browsing 10/19/2017

Murera browsing 10/20/2017

Sonje dusting 10/20/2017

Alamaya and Mwashoti pushing games 10/20/2017

Murera waiting for feed time 10/21/2017

Murera leaves after dusting 10/21/2017

Limalima enjoys her lucerne in a private spot 10/21/2017

Ngasha scratching neck 10/22/2017

Ziwa trying to push down on Ngasha 10/22/2017

Sonje takes a break from the heat 10/22/2017

Mwashoti scratching 10/23/2017

Murera pulls down soft branches for Mwashoti 10/23/2017

Jasiri holding sticks and waiting for Alamaya 10/23/2017

Limalima finds green palms 10/24/2017

Ngasha drying his body 10/24/2017

Bushbuck in the forest 10/24/2017

Ziwa walking to bottle feed 10/25/2017

Ngasha testing if the water is warm 10/25/2017

Babies at the mudbath 10/25/2017

Orphans scratching in the morning 10/26/2017

Quanza in the forest 10/26/2017

Sonje playing with the water 10/26/2017

Ziwa and Limalima morning games 10/27/2017

Sonje watches over Mwashoti 10/27/2017

Orphans walking home 10/27/2017

Keeper with Murera 10/28/2017

Jasiri breaking big branches 10/28/2017

Limalima waiting for Alamaya 10/28/2017

Sonje scratches hind leg 10/29/2017

Ngasha at the water trough 10/29/2017

Jasiri and Ngasha fighting for scratching space 10/29/2017

Ziwa and Ngasha getting ready to fight 10/30/2017

Babies peeling acacia bark 10/30/2017

Ngasha and Ziwa on top of the Hills 10/30/2017

Quanza in a playful mood 10/31/2017

Jasiri dusting 10/31/2017

Alamaya blowing bubbles 10/31/2017
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