This month has seen a couple of storms roll through, but not nearly enough rain has fallen this month at Ithumba. We are hopeful they are just late and that in May the rains will come. The temperatures have been incredibly hot, and our orphans resort to mud bathing and soil dusting sometimes twice a day. With the little rain that has fallen they have enjoyed the standing fresh water puddles and the new vegetation that the rejuvenated landscape brings.
Sities is growing into a dominant force amidst the Ithumba juniors and can be extremely grumpy. The others know not to incur Sities's wrath and take pains not to do so. She does however ensure that all games are played by the rules and is quick to intervene if she feels that things are getting out of hand. She is particularly protective of Garzi and her one tusk she is easily and quickly identifiable amidst them all.
Ex-orphan Lualeni has been full of surprises this month, visiting with different orphans in her group as and when she feels like it with Ololoo absent from her orbit, which is unusual as Ololoo has been Lualeni’s favourite calf and the two of them have been inseparable.
Ololoo is fine and is in Yatta and Mulika’s group, but just why the two split remains a mystery. She visited again at months end, but this time with Ololoo again in her little group.
The comings and goings of the ex orphans visiting the stockades, their Keepers and the dependent babies is always entertaining and the dynamics intriguing. On one occasion this month ex orphans Kalama, Chemi chemi, Murka, Naisula, Kandecha, Olare, Suguta, Kibo, Tumaren, Melia and Kituria arrived before dawn at the stockade compound and all lay down to sleep while their waited for the juniors to wake and vacate their night stockades. This made for a wonderful and very unusual scene.
The very hot days this month have sometimes necessitated two mudbaths in one day, and at both the stockades and the mudbath area the orphans have been visited by a number of wild friends. An old faithful called Half Trunk, conspicuous by his half severed trunk, visited Ithumba stockades again after an absence of many moons. He came with 12 handsome wild companions and appeared extremely well.
On the 8th of April a wild bull was spotted with injuries when he came to drink at the stockade with his wild friends. This was reported to Angela who immediately actioned a veterinary intervention and by midday that same day he underwent what we hope will be life saving treatment.
This month there was great excitement when Napasha and Buchuma returned after a long absence of nearly three months. They looked fabulous and in great health and having them back in the fold is great comfort indeed. Kilaguni and Chaimu have been visiting together, and it seems these two partially independent orphans have become inseparable friends.
On the 9th of April a serious storm rolled through Ithumba and beyond, bringing respite and forming rain water mud wallows everywhere. The orphans have enjoyed endless hours of enjoyment wallowing and slipping around in the red earth at any given opportunity. With no more storms of any significance we have new vegetation but not much of the lovely grass that the elephants savoir so much.
The weaver birds who live at the Ithumba stockades are expectantly waiting for the grass to build their nests. Rain is threatening often but has not quite fallen at Ithumba yet, we feel sure they will fall in May and are just a little late. There are some dramatic storms throughout the region, they just have not fallen on Ithumba.
Wild dog were spotted one day while the orphans were out browsing, and warthogs have provided good entertainment for the orphans as is always the case. The escapades from Ithumba can be enjoyed in more detail through the daily diaries written by our Ithumba Keepers.