A light shower of rain on the l7th was the first for Ithumba, so at the beginning of the month the Ex Orphans were coming to drink almost daily at the Stockade water trough, sometimes all together, and at other times in Splinter Groups led by Junior Matriarchs. Sunyei came on the 2nd at 8 a.m. with a Splinter Group of Ex Orphans, and that same afternoon Mulika and Yatta arrived with their babies, Mwende and little Yetu. The next day all the Ex Orphans arrived at the Stockade water trough this time accompanied by Yatta’s wild teenage bull recruits, “Mgeni, “Kimethena” and “Kijana” and the following day (4th) all the Ex Orphans came twice to drink, since it was a very hot day.
Before noon on the 5th, four Wild Dogs came to quench their thirst but did not stay long and just before noon a wild cow herd accompanied by two small calves the size of Mwende and Yetu did the same, but soon departed appearing nervous. The next day (6th) the Ex Orphans met up with the Juniors who were browsing the Kanziku area, and mingled briefly with them before proceeding on to the Stockade water trough., Makena treated Melia to a long and loving kiss by putting her trunk into Melia’s mouth. The next day (7th) only Napasha turned up alone but on the 8th and again on the 11th all the Ex Orphans were present to mingle with the Juniors as they took their mudbath at the Stockades.
Wendi brought Challa, Buchuma and two wild Bulls to join the Juniors at their noon mudbath on the 17th, after which a light shower of rain brought welcome relief to the heat. Challa joined the Youngsters in a dustbath but Wendi seemed distracted, circling the mudbath as though searching for something – possibly the scent of the others. Perhaps Wendi got the date wrong, because all the Ex Orphans turned up to join the Juniors the next day at their mudbath, although only Kilaguni wallowed. The others opted for a dustbath instead. The next day (19th) the first heavy downpour of rain fell – some 2 ½ inches, which will green the countryside again. Light Showers followed on the 21st making all the elephants, including the Ex Orphans, who joined the Juniors at their mudbath, look like walking red anthills!
On the 26th Chemi Chemi and Ololoo dawdled back at the Stockades, as the others moved out to browse in the bush. The two then decided to follow, but inadvertently took a wrong turn and became confused, bellowing loudly for help. They were instantly answered with low rumbles from Melia, Olare and Murka, and 5 minutes later were reunited with the main group, having obviously received instructions!
The Ex Orphans were then absent for some 6 days, until Mulika and her baby plus Kora, the wild recruit “Mgeni” Taita, Wendi, Nasalot, Lualeni, Loijuk and Ithumbah (who has recently again upgraded herself to the Senior set) came to the Stockades. Next to turn up 30 minutes later was Yatta and a small group of other Ex Orphans, who followed the direction taken by the others having taken water, and in the evening the last group of Ex Orphans led by Galana came, took a drink, and moved off in the same direction. The next day Ex Orphans Napasha, Loijuk, Challa, Chyulu, Kamboyo Zurura and wild bull came to the Stockades, while Mulika, Yatta and their respective babies came with Wendi and Galana to the Orphans’ mudbath. There Kandecha engaged Meibai in a test of strength, which Meibai easily won, and after which he tried to mount onto Kandecha. However, Orok, who was some meters away rapidly moved in to save Kandecha by driving Meibai away, since the two were not evenly matched.
It is nice to see Kora healed and back again with the Seniors and his best friend Lualeni. Ithumbah has decided to become a Senior again, while Ololoo having had a taste of being a Big Boy has decided to opt for the Junior Group again and his regular milk feeds! Kilaguni and Kandecha are daily sparring partners. On the 9th all the Junior boys – Sabachi, Kilaguni, Kandecha and Kibo decided to have time to themselves away from the interference of the Girls, feeding apart. The Keepers then called Kilaguni when it was time to head for the mudbath, and the boys duly returned and became reunited with the Group five minutes later. Thus ended the month of April – all the orphans and Ex Orphans present and correct, which is always a huge relief.