Keepers' Diaries, April 2016
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
The same dry season heat of the last few months persisted throughout the beginning of this month,so the orphans continued prolonged siesta sessions under shady trees during the afternoons in order to escape the midday heat, often passing by Kone Dam in the late afternoon on their way back to their stockades for another refreshing dip, and taking advantage of smaller puddles whilst out browsing to splash water behind their ears and plaster a little mud on their bodies. Prolonged soil dusting also ensures a good protective coating on their skin and helps to cool down hot bodies. A few days into April clouds began to gather promising the potential of imminent rain, but even so by the 19th of the month the April rains continued to elude northern Tsavo. The first shower finally fell during the night of the 20th bringing much relief which was reflected in the orphans’ behaviour the next day. They tossed chunks of moist soil on their heads and some in the party, including Ex Orphans, Kilabasi and Mutara swam with Bongo and Lemoyian, even though it was not as hot as it had previously been. Over the next few days a few light drizzles fell but overall it seemed that Northern Tsavo still awaited its full quota of what is known as the ‘long rains’ upcountry, but which are invariably the ‘short’ rains over Tsavo.
01 April 2016
Makireti, Kasigau, Kilabasi, Ishanga and a wild bull spent the night just outside the stockade. When the orphans were let out, Makireti and her group joined them and walked to the place where the lucerne is always distributed. As the group was enjoying the lucerne, Ishanga, who doesn't have a permanent group, pushed Vuria down for no apparent reason. The keepers shouted to Ishanga to stop her bad behaviour. Shortly later Mutara and her group emerged from the east and also joined the juniors for lucerne. After feeding on lucerne, the herd led by Makireti headed to lower Kalovoto area where they settled to browse. Two hours later, the partially independent group parted ways with the juniors.
At mud bath time, the orphans only drank their milk followed by water before returning back to the browsing field. The afternoon was quiet with the orphans spending most of their time relaxing under trees with good shade. In the evening, due to the temperature which was still high, the orphans passed by Kone dam where they had an evening cooling off.
02 April 2016
The sky was partly cloudy in the morning. The orphans settled for lucerne immediately after leaving the stockade. A few minutes later, Tomboi, Mutara, Kanjoro, Sities, Kainuk, Suguta, Turkwel and Kainuk joined the juniors for lucerne. On their way to the browsing field, the orphans were joined by Makireti Kilabasi and Kasigau. After arriving at the browsing field, Teleki, Garzi and Narok spent some time soil dusting. Later Teleki learned some pushing tactics by engaging Kilabasi in a strength testing exercise. Teleki then went to put his practice to the test by tackling Bongo. Vuria, who was standing nearby, took advantage of the distracted Bongo and tried to climb on him. Bongo retaliated later by engaging Vuria in a pushing game. At 11 o'clock in the morning, Kithaka led the way to the mud bath where all the orphans participated in wallowing. Soon after the orphans were through with their wallowing, the Ex Orphans arrived and it appeared Wiva had an abscess where the hind left leg joins the belly, this we will continue to monitor. The Ex Orphans didn't stay for long but left after drinking some water. In the afternoon it was all quiet and towards the evening, clouds started gathering and shortly after the orphans returned back to the stockade, it started raining. The rain stopped at around 7 o’clock after giving us 22mm.
03 April 2016
The morning was cool following the rain the previous day. The orphans settled for lucerne immediately after leaving the stockade; Orwa and Kithaka fed close to one another but each facing the opposite direction. After feeding on lucerne, Narok led the way to the browsing field. At the browsing field, Lemoyian settled to feed with Teleki and later joined Barsilinga while Orwa browsed with Bongo. Bomani took some time to have a game of rolling on the ground. Bomani's game attracted Teleki who joined him in rolling on the ground. Orwa took an advantage of Teleki lying down and came to climb on him. At around 10 o'clock in the morning, Yatta, Yetu, Madiba, Tomboi, Galana, Nasalot and six wild elephants joined the juniors. In the mix up, the herd made away with Barsilinga. It took the keepers almost an hour before they finally rescued Barsilinga who kept on trying to follow the wild herd. This is an indication that it won't take long for Barsilinga to join the Ex Orphans as this is not the first time he has tried to become more independent. On the way to the mud bath, the juniors were joined by Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi. Only these three decided to go wallowing. In the afternoon the sun was hot and Orwa with Teleki spent some time relaxing under a tree. When the temperature went down, Teleki lay down to play while Orwa scratched his belly against a tree.
04 April 2016
When the gates opened for the juniors to leave for browsing this morning, Bomani walked and stood at the gate entrance, blocking Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian from coming out. Barsilinga waited for Lemoyian, the fearless boy, to lock trunks with Bomani and whilst they were tussling he quickly stepped out around them. When Barsilinga and Lemoyian were out, Kithaka was still trapped inside not knowing what to do to get past Bomani. Bomani saw Kithaka taking too long to come out and walked back to gain momentum for charging into the stockade to get Kithaka. Kithaka was watching carefully and the moment Bomani started walking backwards he ran out quickly before Bomani could walk forward again. Elsewhere Barsilinga scratched on nearby rocks while Orwa and Narok scratched in turns against the acacia tree. The orphans passed by the water trough where they drank enough water to take them throughout the entire morning. In the browsing field, Vuria and Bomani spend some time in their usual pushing game. Vuria then fed close to Narok while Teleki settled to browse with Kithaka. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi. Only Bongo the water boy decided to wallow in the mud bath. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in Kone area for the rest of the day.
05 April 2016
It was a quiet morning. The orphans settled briefly for lucerne before being led away by Narok. Bongo and Vuria, who hardly pass a day without testing their strength against each other, locked trunks and started pushing one another. Shukuru took a break from feeding and performed a soil dusting exercise. At mud bath time, the weather was unsuitable for the orphans to wallow in the water. Instead the orphans only drank their milk and water before being led away by Shukuru. In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse at the western side of Ithumba hill. The orphans concentrated only on browsing and in the evening Kithaka led the first group back to the stockade.
06 April 2016
Kithaka and Barsilinga started their day’s activities by scratching on the nearby rocks. Shortly after arriving at the browsing field, Narok found some moist soil that she used to dust herself. Orwa came across a bent tree that he used to scratch his front legs as Barsilinga spent some time rolling on the ground. Later Barsilinga joined Narok in feeding. Bongo developed an itchy foot and so took a break from feeding to attend to his itchy foot by scratching it against a rock. Orwa then teamed up with Garzi and settled to browse close to a very big rock that they used to lean on from time to time. On the way to the mud bath, Teleki came across loose soil that made him to stop and have a brief soil dusting exercise.
At mud bath the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to touch the water. Instead they converged at the edge of the mud bath with some drinking water and others like Narok putting her trunk in Barsilinga's mouth as Bongo and Vuria kept themselves busy by engaging each other in a strength testing exercise. Bomani passed by close to Vuria and Bongo, sniffed at them and then continued with his journey. In the afternoon Orwa settled to browse with Lemoyian as Bomani spent some time soil dusting. In the evening Taita, Kenze, Kina, Mulika and Mwende passed by the stockade and left shortly after drinking water.
07 April 2016
Yatta’s group consisting of Yatta, Yetu, Kinna, Nasalot, Sunyei, Lualeni, Chyulu, Lenana, Loijuk, Makena, Wendi, Wiva, Sidai and a wild boy reported at the stockade early in the morning. Shortly later, Makireti, Kilabasi, Ishanga and Kasigau joined. Soon when the gates open for the juniors to leave for browsing, Chyulu, Nasalot, Naserian and Lualeni walked into the stockade to find out if there were any leftover branches to chew on. On her way out, Narok met with Chyulu and entwined their trunks in greeting; once she was out, Narok engaged Makena in a strength testing exercise. Garzi played with Ishanga as Orwa engaged Vuria in a pushing game. The orphans didn't stay for long to share lucerne with the Ex Orphans but left for the bush. Chyulu escorted Lemoyian to the bush and shared plants with him before returning to join her friends.
In the browsing field, Garzi came across an anthill that he played on while Narok and Bongo spent some time rolling on the ground and lying on top of each other. After they were done rolling on the ground Narok and Bongo stood up and took their game to another level of pushing one another. Their game ended in a draw and thereafter the two orphans resumed browsing. At mud bath time the orphans were joined by Yatta and her herd. Garzi walked over to Yatta and stretched his trunk towards her. Yatta responded by putting her trunk in Garzi's mouth. It wasn't a very hot day and the mud bath was brief as the elephants left immediately after drinking water; the Ex Orphans heading east while the juniors headed west. On their way, Narok and Bongo managed to have a brief soil dusting exercise. Later in evening, the orphans came across a small pool of water and Bongo, Kithaka and Laragai got in the water, splashed water behind their ears and then resumed browsing together.
08 April 2016
The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from their stockades. Orwa was the last one to leave the stockade as Kithaka, Bongo and Narok started their day’s activities by scratching on nearby rocks. Vuria made himself comfortable by leaning on a rock as he enjoyed feeding on lucerne. Shortly before heading for browsing, Vuria and his playmate Bongo started a strength testing game. Their game went on for quite some time until they found themselves in the bush and gave up their fight so as to find something to eat instead. Towards ten o'clock in the morning, the heat from the sun was too much for Narok and Bomani. The duo opted to feed under trees in the shade as they slowly headed for mud bath.
At mud bath time Laragai, who prefers having privacy for a short time, walked to the western side of mud bath to drink water and splash water behind her ears. After that she came back to rejoin her friends. Garzi and Lemoyian settled in the same spot as they really enjoyed splashing water behind their ears to cool off. After mud bath Garzi, Narok, Teleki and Barsilinga spent some time scratching against the nearby acacia trees. In the afternoon, the juniors settled to browse on the western side of Ithumba hill. Later in the day, the orphans came across a small pool of water that they enjoyed using to cool down. The orphans were joined briefly by Taita for the afternoon mud bath. Taita left soon having enough of the mud bath. In the evening, on their way back to the stockade, the orphans were joined by the newly formed group of Mutara, Suguta, Sities, Turkwel, Kainuk and Kanjoro. There was excitement expressed by rumbling and trumpeting as the juniors tried to find out how life was outside the stockade for Mutara’s group. Mutara and her group parted ways with the juniors just a few metres before arriving at the stockade area.
09 April 2016
It was a quiet morning as the orphans settled for lucerne soon after leaving their stockades. The silence was broken by Vuria and Bongo when they met in the process of feeding on lucerne. The two boys sleep in different stockades and as soon as they saw one another it was like they had been desperate to fight all night. They locked trunks and started what they love most, pushing one another. A short while later, Shukuru led the way to the browsing field where again Vuria and Bongo picked a fight with one another. The game continued until Bongo opted to surrender so as to browse instead and fill up his empty stomach.
At mud bath time it was not too hot and the orphans just drank their milk followed by fresh water before relaxing under one of the acacia trees. Bongo and Vuria could not stay idle for long though and to keep themselves busy, the two began their usual game of pushing one another. Shortly after the orphans left the mud bathing venue, Half Trunk with his two wild friends showed up at mud bath for water and left as soon as they had drank enough. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the lower Kalovoto area and in the evening Madiba and Tomboi showed up at the stockade, leaving a short while later after drinking water.
10 April 2016
The sky was clear as crystal as the orphans made their way to the browsing field. On their way, the orphans met up with Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi. Narok entwined her trunk with Makireti in morning greetings while Kilabasi greeted Laragai. At the browsing field Teleki started the day’s activities by challenging Kasigau. Teleki surrendered soon after since he couldn't withstand Kasigau’s strength. Bongo and Vuria, as it has become their tradition, could not sit back and watch the others play; they engaged each other in a pushing game too. Orwa played with Kilabasi and two hours later, Makireti and her group parted ways with the juniors and left to an undisclosed location. Kithaka settled to browse close to Teleki and at eleven o'clock in the morning Barsilinga led the first group to the mud bath. At mud bath only Bongo went wallowing in the mud bath. Teleki, Lemoyian, Narok and Laragai just stood slightly in the water and splashed water behind their their ears. After mud bath, Bongo did a bit of soil dusting while Teleki scratched against a nearby tree. Orwa picked a stick and used it to scratch his chin and when he found out that the stick wasn't satisfying him, he moved to a nearby tree where he scratched his chin to remove the insects. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area where Kithaka and Shukuru spent some time soil dusting.
In the evening, Lualeni, Ololoo, Lenana, Loijuk, Madiba, Buchuma and a wild bull showed up at stockade. Lenana and Loijuk put their legs in the water trough and started wasting the water but they were told off by the keepers, something that annoyed them. They left trumpeting and charging as they vented their anger out on bushes by kicking and knocking them down until they disappeared out of sight.
11 April 2016
Immediately after leaving the stockade, Bomani used the concrete bench outside his stockade to scratch his buttocks as Garzi and Lemoyian competed who between them would get to the lucerne first. Lemoyian is younger and faster and therefore arrived first closely followed by Garzi. After feeding on the lucerne, Kithaka led the way to the water trough as the rest of his friends followed behind him. Only Vuria and Bongo lagged behind. When the two realized that their friends had left, they raised their ears and started running so as to catch up with the rest. At the browsing field Bomani settled to browse close to Garzi, Kithaka browsed with Narok while Vuria settled to play with his playmate Bongo. On the way to the mud wallow, the orphans were joined by Mutara and her group. Only Kanjoro and Bongo participated in wallowing, the rest opted for red soil dusting. Later the juniors were joined by Orok. Laragai and Barsilinga raised their trunks to sniff at Orok and even followed him to the mud wallow to watch him. The rest of group stopped soil dusting and escorted Orok to drink. They stayed close to him until he had drank enough water. The orphans painted a picture of providing heavy security to Orok and as soon as he finished drinking, the roles were reversed. It was now Orok providing the orphans security by escorting them back to the browsing field. In the afternoon, the orphans settled in upper Kalovoto area to browse. An hour later, Orok parted ways with the juniors and headed to an undisclosed location. In evening Teleki, Bongo, Lemoyian, Kithaka and Barsilinga came across a small pool of water that they happily splashed behind their ears to cool off.
12 April 2016
Soon after settling to eat some lucerne, the orphans were joined by Mutara and her group. Orwa briefly engaged Kanjoro into a strength testing exercise as Bongo and Vuria did a warm up exercise in the form of a pushing game. At the browsing field Bongo came across a bent tree that he used to scratch his belly on and at the same time pick some of the soft leaves to eat. Bomani settled to browse with Garzi as Teleki spent some time performing a lone game of rolling on the ground. Two hours later, Mutara and her group parted ways with the juniors. On the way to the mud bath, Garzi developed an itchy ear that prompted him to pick a stick to scratch the itchy part. At mud bath time the temperature was only moderate and the orphans stood at the edge of the mud bath and splashed water behind their ears. On the way back to the browsing field, Suguta and Orwa did a bit of soil dusting before hurrying up to catch up with the others. The rest of the day was quiet.
13 April 2016
The orphans settled for lucerne soon after leaving the stockade. Bomani threatened Lemoyian with dire consequences if he dared to pick lucerne that was close to him. He raised his ears and coiled his trunk ready to push Lemoyian. The brave Lemoyian didn't even move an inch but stood still to see what Bomani was capable of doing. Lemoyian thought Bomani's threats were hot water that would never burn a grass house. When Bomani saw that Lemoyian wasn't cowered by his threats he just extended his trunk to Lemoyian and Lemoyian responded by touching it with his trunk.
At the browsing field, the orphans were joined by Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau. Orwa immediately walked up to Kasigau and engaged him in a pushing game that lasted for quite some time. Kithaka and Bomani settled to browse in a rocky terrain and competed who amongst themselves could reach the high soft leaves. They did this by stepping on rocks to reach the higher leaves. At mud bath time, the sun was hot but only Bongo and Shukuru fully participated in the wallowing activity. The afternoon and the evening were quite hot making the orphans to pass by Kone dam where they all decided to go for an evening wallowing session.
14 April 2016
Soon after drinking their milk, Bomani ran into trouble with Laragai over what was hard to understand. The no nonsense Laragai pushed Bomani hard and Bomani yelled for help. The keepers shouted at Laragai to stop. Laragai heeded, though reluctantly. The juniors ate some lucerne briefly and after passed by the water trough to drink enough water to last them the morning. The sky was clear and this was an indication of a hot day ahead as the rains remained elusive. Vuria left with a piece of lucerne and this put him in trouble with Orwa when Orwa demanded a share of it. Vuria resisted Orwa’s attempts to steal some of his lucerne and he ran away. Orwa, being heavy unlike Vuria the fast runner, couldn't keep up with Vuria’s pace and just stood and watched in disbelief as Vuria vanished into the bushes. Later in the day, the sun was getting hot and this prompted Vuria, Orwa and Lemoyian to flap their ears continuously to cool themselves down.
At mud bath time, the orphans met up with Makireti and Mutara’s groups. It appears that the two groups had merged for the day. After mud bath, Suguta decided to scratch against Mutara as Kilabasi opted to play with Sities. The herd performed a soil dusting exercise before being led away by Makireti. Orwa and Kasigau were the last ones to leave as Kasigau enjoyed mounting on Orwa who was rolling on the soil. In the afternoon, Lemoyian browsed close to Shukuru and later in the evening Mutara and Makireti’s groups parted ways with the juniors.
15 April 2016
Barsilinga, Kithaka and Lemoyian started their day by scratching themselves on the nearby rocks. On the way to the browsing field Bongo tried to overtake Vuria. Vuria was not happy about it and so stretched his trunk out directing it at Bongo as a warning not to repeat such a thing. In the browsing field, Orwa spent some time soil dusting while Kithaka settled to browse with Shukuru. On their way to the mud bath the orphans were joined by Mutara and Makireti’s groups. This is the second day the two groups are seen together – their coalition herd now has nine members. Makireti’s group has three while Mutara has six. It's only time will tell if Makireti will allow her group to be assimilated with Mutara’s or vice versa.
At mud bath time, only Shukuru, Kanjoro, Bongo, Teleki, Sities, Kilabasi, Makireti and Kasigau participated in wallowing. After mud bath, the orphans participated in a soil dusting exercise before returning back to the browsing field. Vuria picked a stick on the way and used it to scratch his chest while Narok entwined her trunk with Mutara in parting salutations. It was a hot afternoon and the orphans converged under a tree with shade to hide from the scorching sun. They later resumed browsing after the temperature dropped to a favourable level. Orwa settled to browse with Bongo while Laragai teamed up with Lemoyian. Shortly before returning back to the stockades, Laragai and Shukuru spent some time soil dusting.
16 April 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade, Kithaka and Bongo walked down to the water trough and helped themselves to enough water. Bongo then walked to a nearby shallow hole where he started a soil dusting exercise. Shortly later, he was joined by Vuria his playmate who first mounted on him before lying on the ground to play. Bomani Teleki, Orwa and Laragai just stood close by and watched the two boys play their game. After arriving at the browsing field, Orwa and Vuria were involved in a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Yatta, Yetu, Galana two wild bulls, Makireti and Mutara’s groups. Orwa briefly engaged Makireti in a pushing game while Laragai threatened to discipline Yetu for some reason we were not aware of. Yetu retreated and went to seek help from her mother Yatta. The courageous Laragai followed Yetu to her mother. Yatta then intervened and stopped the two girls from fighting. Kanjoro engaged Teleki in a pushing game before parting ways. The orphans headed towards Kanziku while Yatta, Makireti and Mutara’s groups headed to the stockade. The orphans had a quiet afternoon and in the evening, they were joined by Makireti and Murata’s groups again. It seems likely that Mutara and Makireti’s two groups are merging to form a single group since this is their third consecutive day of being seen together.
17 April 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade, the juniors were joined by Suguta, Turkwel, Kanjoro and Kainuk. Kanjoro exchanged morning greetings with Bongo by entwining their trunks. Kanjoro walked over to Teleki and did the same thing before settling for lucerne. Orwa engaged Bongo in a strength testing exercise as Lemoyian and Barsilinga spent time scratching their bellies on a nearby rock. Vuria surrendered to Orwa and went in search of his playmate Bongo. Vuria found Bongo ready to play so they began their usual game. The game ended when Vuria won and to express his dominance, Vuria jumped on Bongo. At the browsing field, the juniors were joined briefly by Rapsu and a wild bull. Orwa tried to challenge Kainuk but Kainuk showed him that she is not the same girl he used to play when they were both stockade dependent. Orwa surrendered to her and resumed browsing. At mud bath time, the juniors were joined by two wild bulls. Teleki tried to challenge one of them but he was pushed out of the way. The orphans did a bit of soil dusting before returning back to the browsing field. They then settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area where Bongo and Vuria spent some time in a strength testing exercise.
18 April 2016
This morning Vuria walked straight over and stood outside Bongo’s stockade. It's as if Vuria spent the night dreaming of Bongo and how he would antagonize him this morning. He blocked the way for Bongo to come out of his stockade. He even tried pushing Bongo back into the stockade but Bongo would not take this disrespect. He fought his way out and managed to overpower Vuria. The pushing game continued for quite some time even after the boys left the stockade. This morning the juniors were briefly joined by Tomboi and a wild boy. Later Bomani and Bongo participated in a soil dusting exercise as Vuria engaged Orwa in a strength testing exercise. Garzi teamed up with Lemoyian to browse and shortly before eleven o'clock in the morning, the juniors were joined by Lenana, Challa, Nasalot, Sunyei, Ishanga, Ololoo, Meibai, Orok and a wild elephant. The Ex Orphans then escorted the juniors to the mud bath where Narok, Lemoyian, Vuria, Sunyei and Bongo went wallowing in the water. Later the entire herd participated in soil dusting before parting ways. When the mud bath was nearly over, Mutara’s group that consists of Mutara, Sities, Kanjoro, Turkwel, Kainuk and Suguta reported in. It appears that the marriage between Mutara and Makireti’s groups had hit the rocks or it was just a trial because it lasted for only three days. Teleki and Meibai spent some time in a pushing game in which Teleki wanted to learn any new pushing techniques that Meibai had and that would help him floor his peers of the same age. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the western side of the Ithumba Hill and in the evening passed by the mud bath for an evening wallow. At around four o'clock in the afternoon, the Ex Orphans briefly visited the stockade and left to undisclosed location.
19 April 2016
Kasigau, Ololoo, Tomboi, Rapsu, Kenze, Meibai, Galana, Makireti, Kilabasi and Mutara’s group reported to the stockade early in the morning. As they waited for the juniors to come out, Kasigau and Ololoo kept themselves busy by engaging each other in a pushing game. Later Ololoo quit the game and went to challenge Kanjoro. In the browsing field, Lemoyian settled to browse with Laragai as the rest scattered in search of better pastures. It was hot and all the orphans hoped for the April rains that have so far remained elusive. Due to the prevailing high temperatures, the orphans in Mutara and Makireti’s groups fully participated in the wallowing exercise. Soon after mud bath, the herd went for soil dusting before being led away by Makireti. The entire herd settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area. Garzi teamed up to browse with his long time friend Vuria as Narok browsed with her stockade mate Barsilinga. Orwa took some time off from feeding to participate in the soil dusting exercise. In the evening, Kithaka led the way back to the stockade.
20 April 2016
The orphans came out of their stockades one by one this morning to eat lucerne. They were welcomed by their fellow Ex Orphans from Suguta’s family who joined them to eat. They ate while others such as Kilabasi, Kasigau and Garzi scratched on nearby rocks. Kasigau later started play fighting with Orwa, and later Bongo also with Orwa, and finally Vuria with Orwa! The group later headed to the bush for browsing.
In the bush Orwa was still interested in playing with Vuria but Vuria was busy browsing. Later on Kaigau and Makireti joined the orphans group until mudbath time when the orphans were led by Kithaka to the mudbath for milk. At the mudbath a big group of Ex Orphans with Suguta’s group included joined them. They all played peacefully with two wild bulls included. Bongo obviously was the most playful of them all. After the mudbath he followed part of Suguta’s group including Mutara, Sities, Kanjoro and one wild bull. The other orphans came out of mudbath and started searching for Bongo, but he didn't turn back as he was busy following his friend Kanjoro. Later on Orok and Challa and two wills bulls arrived at the mudbath but the others had already left; they drank water and left. Back in the bush the orphans were also accompanied by Makireti, Kasigau, Suguta, Turkwel, Kainuk, Kilabasi and one wild bull. They browsed together for the rest of the day until evening when Teleki led them back home. The orphans went into their respective stables while Suguta’s group stayed outside but hung around for the rest of the evening.
21 April 2016
It was a quiet morning today with Suguta’s group of Ex Orphans lined up outside the stockades waiting for the orphans to come out and join them to eat lucerne and later walk out to the bush for browsing.
Some, like Orwa and Teleki, enjoyed scratching on the rocks first. Vuria played with Bomani while Bongo scratched on Teleki’s head! The whole group later headed to the bush. Here Bomani and Barsilinga happily browsing together while hornbill birds feasted on the insects from the elephant dung. Orwa scratched his back leg on a tree. Shukuru was browsing next to Teleki while Bongo started play fighting with Vuria. The rest were very quiet and busy browsing in the cool weather after the little rain we had during the night. Sities, Turkwel and Kainuk started scooping and tossing soil particles in the air and some on their heads and backs. Kithaka later led the group to mudbath.
At the mudbath it was not very hot after the rain last night. Bongo, Kilabasi, Mutara and Lemoyian played in the water vigorously with Kasigau being the best swimmer amongst them for the day. The rest started having a dust bath and later headed back to the bush. The two groups enjoyed browsing together and later Kithaka led them back home; Suguta’s group was left behind to follow them later. We did not have any further rain today but we can see then signs that some might fall tonight.
22 April 2016
After the juniors had been eating their lucerne for a while this morning, Suguta’s group came in and joined them. Kanjoro was with them as well as one wild bull. Kanjoro seemed to have broken half his tusk which we suspect he did whilst play fighting with his friends of same age i.e. Kilaguni, Ololoo, Orwa, Vuria or Bongo. They later accompanied the orphans to the bush. Orwa was seen scratching on a rock while Vuria and Bongo were charging at each other. In the bush, they all enjoyed browsing in moderate weather due to the rain we had last night. We recorded 7ml. The whole group later headed to the mudbath. Once there the elephants decided it was too cold to wallow in but they drank little water and started having dust bath. Lemoyian was the most playful at the dust bath. The whole group later headed back to the bush for browsing.
They came across a small pool of water that was warmer than the mud bath and started playing in it. They played vigorously in different styles. They were all happy and active for some time as they played and rolled in the soil. Shukuru was among the most active when rolling in the mud. Afterwards they went for a dust bath to dry their skins. Kithaka later led the group back home and they were later followed by Suguta’s group. No other elephants came to the stockade today.
23 April 2016
The orphans came out of their stockades this morning very slowly, for fear of falling down after the rain early this early morning. They walked towards the lucerne field and started feeding. They enjoyed it so much because of the absence of the Ex Orphans. Kithaka was rubbing his trunk on a rock while Narok and Bomani enjoyed a back rub. The group later walked to the bush for browsing.
Back in the bush, Bomani, Kithaka and Laragai were playing and scooping soil chunks in the air and some on their back. There was a heavy mist on top of Ithumba hill which covered the whole top of the hill. It was very cold and the orphans were not as active as usual. The whole group later walked slowly back towards the mudbath for their milk. It was still very cold and the elephants decided not to play in the water. Bongo as usual tried to bathe but he soon changed his mind when he felt the cold water! They walked to the dust and start having dust bath instead.
Back in the bush they walked straight to the little pool of warm water and started playing in it in different styles - rolling, trunk waving, ear folding, trunk coiling and so on. They all became muddy red and continued with browsing. They later met with Suguta’s group and interacted with them for awhile. They were with the same wild bull they have been with since last week.
On their way back home they also came across a small dam and started playing in while others rolling in the soil for a dust bath; after they continued walking towards the stockades, leaving the Ex Orphans behind. We recorded 10ml of rain today.
24 April 2016
This morning the orphans started feeding on lucerne peacefully without the Ex Orphans disturbing them. Garzi was scratching his belly while Teleki and Narok played. Orwa and Vuria practiced play fighting until Orwa started mounting on Vuria. The group later walked to the bush for browsing. In the bush they were very busy seriously browsing for greens in this cold weather. Bongo on the other side however was play fighting with Orwa. Orwa defeated him though and celebrated his victory by trying to mount on Bongo. The group later headed to the mudbath. It was very cold and no one played in the water but they drank their milk and walked back to the bush. All the elephants were so well behaved for the rest of the afternoon, concentrating on browsing peacefully. No Ex Orphans came in today and we had no rain.
25 April 2016
The orphans enjoyed their lucerne this cool morning without being disturbed by the Ex Orphans. Tomboi was the only one who came in and joined them. Later they walked away to the bush for browsing. There Orwa and Bongo started play fighting as usual while Lemoyian and Garzi were scratching on a rock in different styles. Barsilinga with Vuria on the other side were playing a push and pull game. Suguta’s group then arrived and joined them. They stayed with them until it was mud bath time and they accompanied them there too. It was still very cold and the elephants were not active and playing. They just drank a little water and left for the dust bath where they didn't stay for long either, and left back to the bush.
Here they were busy browsing for the rest of the day until they came across a pool of warm water which they started playing in. Since they did not play in the mudbath earlier they all fully enjoyed playing in this warmer pool, entertaining each other as well as the keepers. They all became very muddy and started walking back home. This afternoon we had Tomboi and Zurura in the stockade, no other animals came. Suguta’s group came in later and hung around for a little whilst before leaving late in the night. We had no rain today.
26 April 2016
Mutara and her group reported early to the stockade this morning. As soon as the gates were opened, the group entered into the stockade to check if there were any leftovers. It appears the group haven't forgotten the good and easy life they used to have during their stockade dependent days. The sky was as clear as crystal without a single cloud; leaving us all including the animals wondering where the rain had gone; even the weaver birds were leaving again! The orphans settled for lucerne and shortly later were joined by a wild bull. Bomani tossed some lucerne up and it landed on his head, making him look as if he was wearing a hat of grass.
On the way to the browsing field, Narok spotted the lucerne on Bomani's head and stretched her trunk to try and pick it. At the browsing field Orwa and Vuria spent some time in a strength testing exercise. Teleki scratched his chin against a branch of a tree while Narok came across a suitable rock that she used to scratch her buttocks. On the way to the mud bath, the orphans were joined by Orok, Taita, Nasalot, Loijuk, Sidai, Galana, Meibai, Ishanga, Tomboi and three wild bulls. At mud bath, Tomboi opted for a soil dusting exercise while Vuria joined two wild bulls and Taita in drinking water. Only one of the wild bulls decided to go wallowing too. Ishanga and Meibai relaxed under a nearby tree while Orwa joined Tomboi in soil dusting. Later Tomboi and Orwa walked to a nearby tree where Tomboi relaxed his trunk on Orwa’s back. In the afternoon, the Ex Orphans parted ways with the juniors. The juniors came across a drying water hole that they rolled in, getting nice and muddy. Vuria took advantage of Orwa lying down and went over to climb on him. Vuria later went to engage Bongo into a strength testing game while Barsilinga participated in a soil bathing exercise by rolling in dry soil. Towards the evening we saw clouds start to build up, giving us hope that the rain might still come.
27 April 2016
After being away for some time, Chyulu and Kilaguni showed up at the stockade in the company of Mutara’s group. When the gates opened for the juniors to come out, Chaimu went into the stockade as Kilaguni remained outside. Narok met with Kilaguni and they exchanged greetings by entwining their trunks together. Chaimu threatened Bomani not to pass too close to her. Bomani had no other way but to pass by close to Chaimu and she looked upon this as disrespectful since she had warned Bomani. Chaimu attacked Bomani and Bomani defended himself. After fighting his way out, Bomani walked down and settled for lucerne. Orwa engaged Kilaguni in a strength testing exercise and lost to Kilaguni some minutes later. Narok, Barsilinga and Sities spent some time scratching on the nearby rocks.
On the way to the browsing field, Kilaguni engaged Narok in a strength testing exercise while Chaimu challenged Orwa. In the browsing field, Teleki took some time off from feeding to soil bath while Garzi played with Kithaka. Vuria and Bongo, who hardly pass a day without pushing one another, met and as usual went into their strength testing pushing game.
At 11am Kilaguni and Chaimu escorted the juniors to the mud bath. Kilaguni went straight into the water and started wallowing. This encouraged the juniors to join him. Shukuru, Narok, Bongo, Laragai, Garzi, Teleki and Lemoyian joined Kilaguni to wallow in the water and they had a prolonged mud bathing session. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area and since the sun was hot, they relaxed under a tree until the temperatures dropped to a more favourable level. It was then all quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing without any major activity for the rest of the day.
28 April 2016
It was a quiet morning today with orphans walking out of their respective stockades straight to the lucerne field. Here they found Suguta’s group waiting for them. They all interacted together, Mutara was scratching on the same rock with Barsilinga as they played, Orwa on the other side was playing and mounting on Vuria and later with Kasigau too. Orwa seems to the most active today compared to Vuria who also likes playing. Bongo turned to come and find Orwa and started play fighting with him. After all this interaction the group later left to the bush to browse and after a couple of hours, the whole group headed to the mudbath for milk. It was not very hot for the elephants to play in the water and most of them just stood still in the water after their milk and did not fully wallow. They came out and walked straight to the bush for browsing.
Back in the bush, they all stayed together with Suguta’s group. Bongo as usual started playing with Vuria. The group looked happy as they walked back home in the evening. There was no rain today and we did not encounter any of the Ex Orphans in the stockade today.
29 April 2016
The orphans had their milk this bright morning and then came out of their stockades to the lucerne field. They enjoyed eating in peace without being disturbed by their fellow Ex Orphans. Kithaka Barsilinga, Bongo and Narok were scratching on a rock while Orwa and Vuria play fought. Their fight went on for too long though and the others started moving out to the bush. Orwa and Shukuru were browsing together. Vuria was seen playing, running here and there with his ears wide open. This made Shukuru nervous about what was going on but Vuria soon settled down and continued browsing. Bomani was scooping and tossing chunks of soil in the air before the lunch time milk arrived. After their milk they all appeared more happy and active as they headed back to the bush for browsing. Bongo was browsing with Vuria while Kithaka was trying to hug Bomani; Orwa was competing to browse faster on the fresh green pasture with Narok. Garzi and Bomani were playing and pushing each other. Lemoyian led the group back home in the evening. We had Suguta’s group in the stockade this evening just after the orphans were arrived home. We had no rain and there was no sign of it today either.
30 April 2016
Makireti, Kasigau, Chaimu, Kilaguni and Kilabasi in the company of Mutara’s group were at the stockade compound early before the orphans were let out. As soon as they came out Teleki engaged Kanjoro in a pushing game while Kasigau enjoyed climbing on Mutara. Shortly later Bomani invited Garzi in a pushing game which Garzi accepted, but soon Bomani changed the game into mounting one. Kasigau, who was close by, could not tolerate this behaviour from these younger boys and he pushed the two boys away. Kasigau considers himself as the only grown up boy in the group. Kilabasi exchanged morning greetings with Narok as Bomani turned to challenge Kasigau. Kasigau threatened to teach Bomani a lesson if he tried any dirty tricks in challenging him. Bomani for his own safety picked up a piece of lucerne and walked away from Kasigau. Laragai developed an itch on her left hind leg and so lifted up her right hind leg in order to scratch it.
Narok then led the way to the browsing field. The orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area and they had a quiet morning. Shortly before mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Tomboi who received a warm welcome from Kasigau. Tomboi escorted the juniors to the mud bath. A buffalo that was drinking water ran away as soon as it heard the orphans and keepers approaching. The temperature was moderate and the orphans only drank their milk before proceeding to soil dust. In the afternoon, Tomboi parted ways with the juniors and headed towards upper Kalovoto area.