Keepers' Diaries, April 2006

Select your unit:

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

The Ithumba elephants have enjoyed good rains, and an abundance of food, the only downside being the warts, which are elephant sized, and always prevalent during the rainy season. However, the application of the homeopathic tincture, Thuya, plus the pillules usually takes care of these. Currently Ndomot has one on his trunk, Nasalot on the upper side of her trunk, Sunyei on her side belly and Kinna on the trunk, whilst those on Olmalo, Tomboi and Galana have now disappeared.

The Ithumba elephants have enjoyed good rains, and an abundance of food, the only downside being the warts, which are elephant sized, and always prevalent during the rainy season. However, the application of the homeopathic tincture, Thuya, plus the pillules usually takes care of these. Currently Ndomot has one on his trunk, Nasalot on the upper side of her trunk, Sunyei on her side belly and Kinna on the trunk, whilst those on Olmalo, Tomboi and Galana have now disappeared.

The orphans’ days have been filled with fun playing in the puddles, mud-wallowing in natural depressions, drinking clean rainwater from rock pools, and chasing intruders that they happen upon, such as lesser kudus, ground squirrels and a baboon troupe. Fortunately, this month they have been spared the dogs! As usual the little bulls enjoy pushing and shoving as they test their strength, bouts that are usually interrupted by the intervention of Napasha, who can’t resist showing that he is the boss of the Boys! Just on one occasion this month, Yatta found, and followed the footprints of a lone wild bull, and led the others following these until they were lost at the mudbath.

It is apparent that all the orphans have become accustomed to Sunyei’s usual scare-mongering antics, when she rushes out of a thicket, as though frightened and then stands by smugly enjoying the ensuing chaos this upset causes the others! Nowadays none of them pay a blind bit of attention, for they have got used to her pranks of “crying wolf”!. However, a noteworthy and remarkable event involving Sunyei occurred towards the end of the month, when the orphans split into two groups on their way to the mudbath, one group led by Yatta and the other by Sunyei. Yatta’s group, comprising Yatta, Kinna, Nasalot, Mulika, Selengai, Olmalo and Buchuma failed to turn up at the mudbath as usual, and having waited for them for a long time,, the Keepers decided that they must mount a search for their lost charges. However, drizzling rain obliterated their tracks, and nonplussed as to which direction to take, the Keepers stood around confused wondering what to do next. Suddenly, Sunyei walked deliberately up to them to get their attention, then turned on her heels and walked away in a set direction in a confident way, pausing every now and then to raise her trunk and test the wind for scent. Understanding that she was trying to tell them something, the Keepers and the other orphans followed her lead and after a long walk of more than an hour, suddenly they came upon Yatta and the missing group! This astonished the Keepers, knowing that Sunyei had understood their concern, taken charge and led them to the missing orphans, where a very touching and joyous reunion took place! Can anyone still doubt the intelligence of an elephant? It is demonstrated in every Keepers’ Diary, every single month, and in this particular one, by the behaviour of Sunyei, who, after all, is still just a young “child”not yet three years old. It is also very interesting that Yatta felt sufficiently confident to lead her group so far from their human family, and that Buchuma, who is now a favourite of Nasalot, tagged along too, even if it meant missing his noon bottle of milk! Our Ithumba elephants are growing up!

April 2006 day to day

01 Apr

The orphans left the Stockades early this morning and headed eastwards to feed. Shortly before l0 a.m. Sunyei again played her usual trick on the others, emerging from the thicket charging and trumpeting as though being chased by an intruder. All the orphans ignored her, since they are familiar with this game, after which Suneyi, obviously thinking if you can’t beat them, join them, did just that!

Sunyei and Madiba browsing

Select your unit:
View keepers’ diaries for another month?