Keepers' Diaries, April 2018
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
This has been a very challenging month for us all with the passing of our founder and mentor Dame Daphne on the evening of the 12th which has been hard for each and every one of us. We do know that Daphne would want us to continue with more passion and vigor than ever before. But we were struck by more terrible news towards the end of the month on the 28th of April when we discovered our little Sokotei had been killed by lions. Given that his group have been more independent recently when the incident happened, whether at night or during the day, we cannot be sure.
01 April 2018
Kauro settled to share his lucerne pellets with Kamok. Shortly later, Narok and Laragai’s groups arrived. When the lucerne pellets were finished, Karisa led the way to the browsing field. Kamok and Orwa remained behind trying to pick every bit of lucerne pellet left. Later, Kamok rumbled to try and connect with her friends who had already left for browsing. Her friends rumbled and directed her to where they had settled to browse. At around seven thirty in the morning, Yatta and her group showed up briefly at the stockade compound before leaving again.
Karisa, who has been shy for a long time and did not interact very much with his friends, found something to keep him busy when he attempted to ride on Maramoja. Maramoja didn't resist or disengage from Karisa but continued to browse as if nothing was happening. Tusuja decided to dust himself whilst lying on the ground. At mud bath time, the sun was really hot prompting all the orphans to go into the water to swim. In the afternoon, Laragai left with her group leaving Narok to take care of the juniors. Narok spend the remaining part of the day browsing with the juniors and later escorted them back to the stockade for the night.
02 April 2018
Mutara’s group joined the orphans in the morning and this is the first time they pitched up since it started raining. Mutara’s group is the only group beside Olare’s group that has shown unity by sticking together ever since they left the human family more than two years ago. Shortly later, Laragai and Narok’s groups joined in and after feeding on the lucerne pellets, Karisa led the way to the browsing field. Orwa lagged behind in an effort to clean up all the pellet leftovers. He later joined the juniors at the browsing field. Naseku found sometime to roll around on the ground and when she had enough of her game, she held a brief conversation with Galla before going back to browsing. Kauro, who is well known for his dislike of water and usually avoids mud bathing, enjoyed a lone game of rolling on the ground. Mutara and her group escorted the juniors to the mud bath where they were joined briefly by Tomboi. They spend the rest of the day browsing together.
03 April 2018
Mist covered half of Ithumba Hill when the orphans were let out. Mutara, Narok and Laragai’s groups joined the juniors in the morning for a lucerne pellet feast. Later, Mutara led the way to the browsing field. It was a day without much fun as the elephants concentrated on browsing. Shortly before mud bath time, Tusuja and Galla felt that the quiet was too much and therefore opted to break the silence by having a sparring contest which lasted for quite some time. On the way to the mud bath Mutara and her team broke away from the juniors, only to rejoin them later in the evening. At mud bath time, while wallowing, Tusuja, who loves riding on his friends, had fun and kept on jumping from one to another in an effort of enjoying free rides.
04 April 2018
Mutara and her group joined the orphans in the morning. For the last few days now, Narok and Laragai have joined Mutara’s herd but we are not sure for how long. Mutara led the entire team out to browse soon after finishing they finished their lucerne. Karisa, who is growing bolder with each passing day, started a game of rolling on the ground which in turn attracted Naseku, Kamok, Roi, Kauro and Galla. As the game progressed, Karisa stood up and attempted to climb on Naseku. Naseku tried to disengage herself from Karisa but to no avail. At last, Kamok came to her rescue by pushing Karisa away. Karisa with his crooked tail raised, surrendered which brought an end to his game. At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to step into the water. They browsed for the rest of the day until Roi led the first group back to the stockades in the evening.
05 April 2018
Galla, Wanjala, Roi, Naseku and Kauro started their day activities by rolling on the ground. Shortly later, Mutara’s group showed up and joined the juniors to browse. An hour later a troop of chattering baboons passed by, scaring all of the orphans. Pare, Maramoja and Rapa ran towards the keepers as Mutara, Kanjoro and Tusuja tried to fight the baboons by charging at them. The baboons weren’t too bothered by the elephants, but disappeared the same way they had come from. Roi teamed up with Galla to browse as Kauro developed an itchy ear and decided to scratch it on a nearby tree.
When it was time for their midday bottle, Mutara’s group escorted the juniors to the mud bath and they felt that the temperature was okay. Mutara and Kanjoro dived into the mud bath water as the orphans had their milk. When they finished Naseku led the team to join Mutara mud bathing. Kamok was the first one to leave the mud hole, while Kanjoro and Wanjala were the last. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in Kone area where they browsed until evening when it was time to go back to the stockades.
06 April 2018
As usual, the orphans were joined by Mutara, Narok and Laragai’s groups in morning. Shortly later, Ex Orphan Nasalot, baby Nusu, Chyulu, a wild orphan and Bongo also showed up and joined the herd. The active and playful Nusu played with Suguta, Laragai and Naseku. Enkikwe walked out from his stockade and scratched his neck on the nearby rocks before slowly walking further down to feed on grass.
Out in the bush, the herd was joined by more Ex Orphans as Galana, baby Gawa, Sunyei, baby Siku, Kilabasi, Makireti, Lenana, Loijuk and a wild elephant walked up to the juniors. The Ex Orphans briefly interacted with them before walking on. Roi had a brief chat with Tusuja and we wondered if they were consulting whether to leave with the Ex Orphans or not. It seemed the two resolved to stay since leaving with the Ex Orphans means going without their milk and they still love that delicious formula. The orphans skipped the mud bathing exercise since the weather was chilly. In the afternoon, they settled to browse in the lower Kalovoto area. The orphans concentrated on feeding on the grass up to evening when Dupotto led the first group back to the stockades.
07 April 2018
Mutara’s group, that for the time being has merged with Narok and Laragai’s groups as one herd, joined the orphans for lucerne pellets early in the morning. Galla and Tusuja came across a tree stump that both of them wanted to use to scratch on. At first they had a disagreement about who would use it first, but after sometime they came to a sort of an understanding that saw Galla use it first, and then Tusuja when Galla was satisfied. Maramoja used a nearby rock to scratch herself but shortly later, when she was in the process of happily scratching her belly, Naseku passed by and got jealous of how Maramoja was enjoying herself. Naseku kicked Maramoja away from the rock and took over in order to scratch herself. Dupotto settled to browse with Sities and we watched on as they seemed to communicate in that quiet language elephants have. Perhaps Dupotto was regaling Sities with tales of her experience away from the stockades when she was lost for close to three months. Sities in turn was perhaps discussing life in the wild and how she has been independent for two years now.
At around ten o'clock in morning, the orphans passed by Kone dam where they enjoyed a lovely wallowing session. At mud bath time, the orphans had their milk bottles but then chose to return to browsing and not go near the big mud wallow. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the lower Kalovoto area where Ukame, Wanjala and Namalok came across a water hole and decided to have a second mud bath.
08 April 2018
The sky was clear as the orphans led by Sapalan left the stockades in the morning. Sapalan who weaned himself off from the milk the first day he stepped in Ithumba, didn’t feel like waiting for his friends while they had their milk. When the gates were opened, Sapalan stepped out as the rest of the milk drinkers had their trunks in their mouths, planning their day out. When they were done, the orphans followed Sapalan who had joined Laragai’s group outside the stockade. As soon as the orphans arrived out in the bush, Dupotto teamed up with Naseku to feed while Roi teamed up with Oltaiyoni. Tusuja settled to feed with Olsekki, who later came across a nice tree stump that he used to scratch his neck on as Tusuja politely watched and waited for his turn. When he was done Tusuja took over and scratched his belly before Narok forced him to abandon the scratching exercise since she also wanted to scratch herself. Bomani and Garzi had a light pushing game as Orwa stood by and watched while Sokotei opted for a soil dusting exercise. Later in the morning, the orphans were briefly joined by Kilabasi and Makireti. Kilabasi had a brief strength testing exercise with Orwa before leaving with Makireti. At mud bath time, the orphans had their milk and went back to browsing. Later in the evening Olsekki, Siangiki and Sokotei escorted the juniors back to the stockade.
09 April 2018
Narok and Laragai’s groups joined the juniors for lucerne pellets in the morning. It appears Mutara’s group who has been around for a few days now, have taken a break of interacting with the juniors since they didn't show up this morning. Enkikwe, still limping, walked down to interact with his friends before they left for a day of browsing. Tusuja, Barsilinga and Sokotei sympathized with Enkikwe for what befell him on the fateful day in February. The trio stretched their trunks and gently felt the wound and later Tusuja placed his trunk on Enkikwe's back for comfort. Later, the group left to go out and browse, leaving Enkikwe feeding close to the stockade compound.
Later the juniors were joined by Makireti and Kilabasi. Kithaka settled to browse with Kauro while Barsilinga teamed up with Kilabasi. Tusuja engaged Sokotei in a strength testing exercise before he surrendered to resume browsing. Sokotei then had a lone game of rolling on the ground and soil dusting before also going back to browse. At around ten o'clock in the morning, the orphans passed by Kone dam where they all drank water and a few splashed water on themselves to cool-off before heading for their midday milk feeds. Pare teamed up with Karisa and took a break from feeding to relax under a tree. Later, the two resumed browsing after they had enough rest.
In the afternoon, the Ex Orphans comprised of Mama Wendi, baby Wiva, Meibai, Loijuk, Kenze, Chyulu, Zurura, Ishanga and Sidai paid a brief visit to Enkikwe. The herd surrounded Enkikwe and extended their trunks towards him. We are sure they wished him a quick recovery and consoled him, before walking off into the Park again.
10 April 2018
Mutara and her group resurfaced again this morning and joined the juniors for lucerne pellets. Laragai and Narok’s groups have made it a tradition of reporting in every morning. This is to make sure that they don't miss the morning treats! Suguta headed straight to check on Enkikwe before settling for the lucerne pellets.
Out in the bush, Galla settled to feed with Narok and we wondered if he sought some advice from her about living in the wild. This is, after all, why the older orphans return to socialize and feed with those orphans still dependent on the stockades and their keepers; it is they who teach the young ones what they ought to know about life in wild. Shortly later, Naseku joined them and this prompted Galla to leave the two girls together. Later in the day, Galla took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise and minutes later he was joined by Wanjala.
At mud bath time, all the orphans with the junior Ex Orphans participated in wallowing. After mud bath, Mutara, Laragai and Narok’s groups left with the independent fellow Sapalan. The keepers realized later that Sapalan was missing and tried to track down the group but they didn't succeed in finding them. For the first time, the independent Sapalan spent half of the night out and was brought back at midnight by Narok and Laragai’s groups.
11 April 2018
Sapalan was happy to be back after spending half of the night out. Now, though Sapalan is quiet and independent, at least he has got a tale to tell his friends. The sky was clear, and this was an indication of a hot day a head. There is so much greenery around at the moment that the orphans don't need to walk far in search of food. Vuria, who had abandoned Narok’s group for Yatta’s herd, was back to his original group in the morning. Later, Bomani and Tusuja had a game of rolling on the ground and lying on top of each other. The shy Karisa had a light strength testing exercise with Namalok while the independent Sapalan had a lone soil dusting exercise. Later, the orphans were briefly joined by Makireti and Kilabasi. Orwa engaged Vuria into a pushing game as it had been long time since they parted and now they wanted to know who was stronger than the other.
Unfortunately, their game was cut short by Makireti, who intervened by pushing the two boys away. At mud bath time, the orphans led by Kamok had a spectacular wallowing session, where as usual Tusuja enjoyed riding on his friends. Karisa and Tusuja were the last to leave the water as they got excited and started charging at each other.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the western slopes of Ithumba Hill where Pare took a break from feeding to have a soil dusting exercise. Naseku was seeing trying to communicate with Sapalan and we wondered if she was inquiring about Sapalan’s night out in the wild. Sapalan did not seem in the mood though as he kept walking away from Naseku. Naseku didn't try to follow up but decided to continue with her own business of feeding.
12 April 2018
Karisa and Sapalan led the way out in morning with Karisa carrying a branch in his mouth and enjoying it as he walked down to wait for the lucerne pellets. Laragai’s group, Makireti and Kilabasi, spent the night just outside the stockade, and joined the orphans for the pellets. Dupotto passed by Enkikwe's stockade to take him out but Enkikwe threatened to push her. Dupotto turned and left as Enkikwe followed her slowly. Siangiki shared her pile of pellets with Sokotei while Orwa refused to share with anybody, even Enkikwe when he tried to take a few pellets as he was passing. Orwa threw a side kick that almost landed on Enkikwe, but Enkikwe still insisted on taking a few pellets before limping away.
Out in the Park, the herd could afford to take a break from feeding to participate in various games given the amount of vegetation around at the moment. Orwa, Vuria, Bomani, Olsekki, Kamok, Namalok and Oltaiyoni enjoyed some rolling games, while Tusuja engaged Lemoyian in a pushing game after Lemoyian tried to ride on Tusuja's head. Later, Tusuja invited Bomani to a pushing game, which Bomani declined by walking away.
At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Lualeni, Galana, baby Gawa, Naserian, Sunyei, baby Siku, Lenana, Bongo, Teleki, Yatta, baby Yoyo, Mulika, Mwende, Ithumbah and three wild elephants. An hour later, the groups parted ways. Later in the afternoon, we received a light shower of 10 mm. The showers put the orphans in a playing mood and they spent so much time rolling on the wet soil and smearing themselves with red mud.
13 April 2018
Dupotto has developed a habit of checking on Enkikwe every morning, but she was slightly pushed by Enkikwe when she turned to lead him out. Enkikwe is obviously frustrated with his injury but Dupotto will not give up! The orphans were joined by Yatta, Narok and Mutara’s groups in the stockade compound. Enkikwe walked to share pellets with Bongo as baby Nusu played with Rapa. Shortly later, Yatta and her group left.
Out in the Park, Karisa who is slowly socializing with everyone in the herd, invited Galla to a light pushing game that ended when Mutara passed by and pushed both of them away. Karisa later engaged Naseku in a strength testing exercise but was overpowered by Naseku. Tusuja had a brief tussle with Lemoyian before their group also left. On the way to the mud bath, the independent and quiet Sapalan yet again managed to outwit the keepers and disappeared for almost five hours. He was later found with Mutara and Narok’s groups, and escorted back to the stockade. Sapalan, who weaned himself off the milk the moment he arrived at Ithumba, is always reluctant to go into the mud bath.
14 April 2018
Mutara’s group showed up in the morning and joined the juniors for lucerne pellets. Shortly later, Maramoja led the way to the browsing field. It was a quiet day as the orphans concentrated on browsing without messing around with any games. Only Kanjoro and Vuria had a brief strength testing exercise before their groups disappeared into the Park. At mud bath time, the temperature was good enough for the orphans to decide to wallow after having their milk bottles. Tusuja engaged Naseku in a pushing game that ended in a draw. Later, Kauro, Galla, Roi and Oltaiyoni took a break from feeding to participate in soil dusting exercise. In the evening, it started to rain and this made the orphans very playful again. They rolled in the wet soil and smeared themselves with red mud before heading back to the stockade for the night.
15 April 2018
Sapalan, who always stays close to the gate when the rest of the team is having their milk on the other side, was the first one to come out when the gate was opened. He joined Laragai’s group outside the stockade. Shortly later, the herd converged at their usual area waiting for lucerne. Enkikwe wasn't left out, as he also limped out to join the herd. After feeding on lucerne, Maramoja led the way east of the stockade. Enkikwe tried to follow to catch up with everyone but they were too fast for him. Enkikwe is so willing to go out with the herd but the knee injury prevents him from doing so. Instead he settled down to browse around the stockade compound, hoping that one day soon he will be able to rejoin the others! Maramoja settled to browse with Namalok while Roi had brief chat with Pare. Tusuja wanted to communicate with Kamok but Kamok wasn’t interested and she ended up kicking Tusuja away. Shortly after attending mud bath, Tusuja and Bomani held a brief strength testing exercise. Later in the afternoon, Naseku and Kauro took a break from feeding and relaxed and softly communicated with each other. In the evening, Dupotto led the first group back to the stockades, then Maramoja led the second group.
16 April 2018
Mutara’s group was not present in the morning. The only group of six that so far has remained intact since leaving their human family three years ago. The other group that has broken a record of staying away the longest is Olare’s group, who were last seen on the 1st March and since then they have remained elusive. Zurura, with Narok and Laragai, joined the orphans for lucerne in the morning. Shortly later, Maramoja, who prefers fresh grass to lucerne pellets, led the way to the browsing field. Zurura and Vuria were left behind feasting on the lucerne.
Olsekki had fun as he rode on Roi’s back. Roi tried as much as she could to get rid of Olsekki and when he was free of his she was very angry with him and walked away. Later Zurura joined the orphans in the bush were Oltaiyoni, Kamok and Tusuja stretched their trunks towards him to find out the latest stories from him. Zurura didn't respond to these young kids but went past them. He then walked off into the bush. Roi, Naseku, Sapalan, Rapa, Wanjala and Oltaiyoni came across a small pool of water that they used to take a bath in, then they later had fun rolling on the ground. At the mud bath time, the orphans drank their milk and shortly after, returned back to the browsing field. In the afternoon the orphans parted ways with Laragai and Narok’s groups, and settled to browse in the Kanziku area.
17 April 2018
It was wet and still drizzling in the morning. The orphans treaded carefully on the slippery ground so as to not to slip and fall over. Despite being cautious on the slippery ground, Sapalan tripped and fell and didn't utter a word but composed himself like a gentleman, stood up and walked away, cursing the slippery ground. The morning was a quiet one without any ex-orphans joining the juniors. Even Laragai group didn't attend the morning lucerne session and we were not sure of their whereabouts. On the way to the browsing field, Wanjala walked behind Kauro and kept on bumping Kauro in the back. Kauro got tired of Wanjala's behaviour and to avoid conflict, Kauro just stepped aside to let Wanjala go ahead of him.
Galla settled to browse with Oltaiyoni while Dupotto settled to browse with Ukame. Nasalot, Lualeni, Teleki, Nusu, Bongo, Kilabasi, Makireti and a wild elephant visited the stockades in the morning. Nasalot, who is a good mother, walked to meet Enkikwe who was feeding around the stockade area. The two had a brief chat as Nasalot perhaps asked after Enkikwe to see how he was feeling. Enkikwe seemed very happy that Nasalot had taken the time to come over and visit him. He walked after Nasalot for several meters before stopping and walking back to the compound.
The orphans enjoyed every moment out in the bush as it was still drizzling. The drizzle went on up until noon when it stopped and became quite hot. The orphans spent so much time rolling on the ground and smearing themselves with red mud.
18 April 2018
Soon after leaving the stockade, Pare and Enkikwe started their day’s activities by scratching on some nearby rocks. Shortly later, the street-wise boy Karisa led the way to the browsing field. Enkikwe decided to see them off by following them two hundred meters away from the stockade. With his keeper he then bid the rest of the herd a good day, as they prepared for their normal routine of wondering across the browsing field. The temperature was moderate and the orphans had a quiet day. Sapalan, the independent boy, took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. His game attracted Rapa, Wanjala, Galla and Naseku and this prompted Sapalan to quit bathing since he doesn't like to be crowded and prefers to do things on his own. At mud bath time, the orphans had their milk and immediately after that they went back to browsing without wallowing. The rest of the afternoon was quiet as the orphans enjoyed the lush greens that are aplenty at the moment.
19 April 2018
The sky was clear when the orphans left the stockade. Karisa the street-wise boy took a few steps then stopped with his trunk up as if checking the whereabouts of Laragai’s group. Karisa could not understand why the two groups of Narok and Laragai have not shown up for two days now. We also did not know whether he had received any information from the search he conducted. At around seven o'clock in the morning, several ex-orphans including Nasalot, baby Nusu, Makena, Yatta, baby Yoyo, Kinna, baby Kama, Mulika, Mwende, Yetu and Makena briefly joined the juniors in Kone area where they had settled to browse. Naseku, who is fond of the young babies, spent some quality time with Kama, Nusu and Yoyo before they left with their group.
Shortly before mud bath time, Karisa sneaked off and disappeared without the keepers knowing. As they gathered the orphans to take them for their milk and mud bath, they realized that Karisa was missing. As they conducted their search, Karisa proved to the keepers how smart he was by showing up at mud bath while some of them were still toiling away in the bush looking for him. Karisa drank his milk and then walked to join his friends who had already gone back to the bush. Pare settled to browse with Roi and they settled down to eat and converse together. The rest of the day was quiet as the keepers kept a close eye on Karisa and Sapalan to make sure they didn’t outsmart them again.
20 April 2018
It was a quiet morning as the orphans came out of their rooms and went to the lucerne feeding area. They didn’t stay there long as they didn’t feel like lucerne today, and they decided to walk straight out to the bush to begin browsing. There they met with Yatta’s group who came with two wild bulls among them. They soon walked off leaving the orphans behind. Later on, Laragai’s group came in and joined them. They seemed apprehensive about something and they wanted to stay together with the dependent orphans. The orphans walk on to have their milk at midday and then they walked back out to browse without swimming in the water hole. The DSWT/KWS anti-poaching team saw two lionesses around and we suspect they are the ones who made the ex-orphans scared of being on their own in the area.
A keeper who remained at the stockade saw Siangiki arrive at the water troughs with Zurura. He went closer and saw that she had an injury to her tail he believed to be inflicted by lions; he could see some claw marks. She seemed to be okay otherwise though and was happy to be in the company of older ex-orphans. We clearly need to keep an eye on all the orphans whilst these aggressive lions are around.
In the afternoon, Kauro was standing on top of a rock watching where their older friends were and using his trunk to smell them. The others were very busy browsing. Galla was using his trunk to smell in the air as well and we wondered if he was also searching for their older friends or perhaps the big lions. Laragai’s group stayed with the orphans right up to the last minute in the evening, when the dependent orphans walked back home for their evening milk.
In the stockade compound this evening Wendi, Galana and Sunyei in a large group of ex-orphans and their babies Wiva, Gawa and Siku came to visit. They had also two wild bulls amongst them. They came to drink water and walked away. Enkikwe is still having for his leg but is improving very well.
21 April 2018
This morning the orphans had their milk bottles and joined Laragai’s group outside the gate to the compound. When Laragai’s group came in, they went straight to comfort Enkikwe; they were with him during the attack he sustained from the lions. They later join the dependent orphans group in the bush as they were quite fearful of the lions in the area at the moment, and wanted to be with a large family and the keepers too. They all browsed together throughout the morning, and visited a dam along the Kone road to drink some water. They all looked happily and active, but a few minutes later the ex-orphans walked away. The dependent orphans walk to the mud bath for their milk.
They all played vigorously in the water and walked straight to the bush to browse in the afternoon. Everyone was busy including Sapalan who likes staying on his own, but today he chose to stay with the group; perhaps he feared the large lions around as well and knows that it is best to stick to the herd! Naseku and Galla were browsing together after mud bath. Wanjala led the group back home in the evening for their milk.
Yatta’s group arrived at the stockades late in the evening with Kinna and their babies and two wild bulls. They drank water and later walked away. Enkikwe is still receiving treatment for his injured leg but he is improving all the time.
22 April 2018
Laragai and Mutara's group were all in together waiting for the orphans to come out and join them this morning. This was after long night of being harassed by the lions who kept roaring throughout the night. The orphans joined them after their breakfast milk bottles and they all walked to the bush to browse. Roi was kneeling down and feeding on some grass. Galla was browsing with Naseku while Suguta was playing and rolling on the ground. Mutara watched her as she scooped up chunks of soil and threw them on her back. Later the older herds separated and walked away from the orphans and Maramoja led the others to the mud bath area for their milk bottles. After they fed they all walked back into the bush to browse. They were all enjoying the fresh green browse that could be found everywhere, and the fresh water too. Finally they walked home to the safety of their stockades in the late afternoon.
23 April 2018
It was a very cold morning and everywhere was very muddy after the 12mm of rain we received last night. The orphans as usual walked down to the field after their milk and were welcomed by Sunyei and her baby Siku. They were also accompanied by Chyulu and Lenana. The orphans welcomed the baby and started kissing him all over with their trunks. Mutara’s group later came running in and joined them.
All the elephants were busy browsing and later all the ex-orphans separated themselves from the dependent orphans and walked away. The orphans walked towards the mud bath area for their midday milk bottle. It was quite hot and the orphans ran towards the mud hole and started swimming after their bottles. They later all came out and walked straight to the bush to browse. Some of the orphans walked on top of the rocks to dry out. Others were busy browsing while Sapalan and Karisa walked away from the rest of the group; they are the independent boys! The rest of the elephants were playing and rolling on the ground and splashed soil on their backs. Ukame was kissing Naseku with her trunk while Roi and Maramoja were patting each other all over with their trunks. The rest were busy browsing as there is enough food for them everywhere. Galla started drinking rain water from the rocks and later they walked home to the stockades.
24 April 2018
It was wet and muddy everywhere this morning after we had some rain last night which makes it slippery everywhere. The orphans had their milk and came out of their stockades slowly as it was very slippery.
In the bush, Namalok started playing in the mud and rolling around. He’s not always playful but today he really was. He was digging at the ground with his tusks as he played. Wanjala joined him and they started competing. Tusuja and Rapa were the most playful elephants of the day however, as they were rolling in style and playing with their heads up, then their legs and trunks up and so forth. They were really showing off in different styles. Roi was playing on her own in mud as she scratched her hind legs in style. Dupotto, Ukame and Namalok started playing together again.
At the mud bath, the orphans had their milk bottles and walked straight back to the bush to browse as it was quite cloudy. Galla started scratching on a tree while Ukame was playing by digging at the ground with her tusks. Namalok later started scratching his bottom on a tree. It was wet and muddy everywhere and the orphans took care as they walked. We recorded 42mm of rain this evening and it is still drizzling.
25 April 2018
It was a lovely morning today. The dependent orphans had their milk and walked down to join the ex-orphans in Laragai's group. Siangiki had some antibiotic spray put on her tail. Enkikwe walked out of his stockade to join the others, but the group walked too fast into the bush and he turned back. Lemoyian scratched his neck and Namalok decided to copy him. The orphans were really all the fresh and green vegetation out in the bush. Roi and Karisa started play-fighting for a while and later the whole group walked towards the mud bath for their milk. They had their milk as usual but after they decided to go back to the bush and not wallow.
Laragai’s herd were still with the dependent ones and they all enjoyed browsing together. Sapalan was scratching on a tree while Roi and Karisa were resting under some shade. Galla was much scared by a Dikdik and ran away with his ears held wide open. Roi walked next to Naseku and joined her in browsing. Siangiki and Lemoyian walked to a small puddle of water and started playing in it. They all then made their way back to the stockades. There was no rain today.
26 April 2018
This morning the ex-orphans in Laragai’s herd visited the stockades in the early morning and waited outside. The orphans had their milk and came out to join them and then they all walked to the bush to browse. Tusuja and Ukame browsed separately from others. The orphans enjoyed the companionship from the older ex-orphans. Namalok, Pare and Wanjala browsed together and then the group walked towards some water to drink. Pare scratched his belly while Dupotto scratched her bottom. Kithaka and Laragai were rumbling between each other as they browsed together. Narok’s herd then came and joined them too. Naseku was scratching on Dupotto's neck while Bomani was tossing chunks of soil on his back. Roi was playing by rolling on the ground.
It was a very hot today and all the orphans decided to go into the mud bath after their milk today. Ukame and Galla were climbing on Naseku and Tusuja respectively. The orphans enjoyed their swim then all came out at once to go back to browsing. Kamok rolled on the ground after her mud bath while Karisa browsed away from the others. Later on the orphans walked back home in the evening still with Laragai's group. We were also visited by one wild bull this evening. He came to drink water and then left.
27 April 2018
Mutara's group came in the early morning and waited for the orphans to come out after their breakfast. The orphans had their milk as usual and went out to join them. The orphans didn't want to stay around and walked straight out to the bush to browse. Namalok became over excited after he saw a dikdik jumping here and there. He walk next to Karisa and started browsing next to him. Roi was carrying some extra grass out of one side of her mouth and was still browsing. Namalok and Sapalan were browsing together while Kamok was on her own. Because there is water everywhere in the bush, the orphans could drink it as and when they liked and simply go back to browsing.
It was very hot again today so after their milk the orphans walked straight to the mud wallow and started swimming. It was so interesting to see them swimming gently but with Galla and Tusuja riding on them whilst they tried to swim across. They later walked out and straight to the bush to browse. Naseku was the only one today who continued playing in the water for awhile longer as she was clearly enjoying it.
Mutara's herd visited again this evening but they only drank water and left. Enkikwe is still improving and he has started to take some steps and tries to follow the others when he can.
28 April 2018
Mutara’s group and Laragai, Barsilinga, Kithaka, Garzi and Sirimon showed up in the morning. The group briefly settled for lucerne as they shared their night experiences. Kithaka and Lemoyian were showing a lot of interest in sticking close to the juniors and also the keepers; a behaviour which we are not used to seeing in them. They were very restless and apprehensive and we wondered what was wrong. Olsekki, Boromoko, Sokotei and Siangiki were missing from their group, but we suspect they are with Narok and Orwa. Enkikwe, who is on the road to recovery, joined the juniors and the ex-orphans outside and was welcomed by Suguta, Turkwel, and Kainuk who checked on his progress and left shortly after they were satisfied he was doing okay. Pare and Namalok waited in turns as they used one rock to scratch their bellies. Kanjoro had a light strength testing exercise with Garzi.
At around seven o'clock in the morning the day turned tragic when the decomposing body of Sokotei was found almost 2km south west of stockade. Sokotei was fleeing from lions that have become a threat to the existence of the young ex-orphans. Sokotei was fleeing back to the stockade for help and it appears Kithaka witnessed the incident since he is very frightened and is sticking close to the elephants and the keepers.
Mutara and her group appeared to have had a hint of what happened since they stayed with the juniors the whole day and gave comfort to Kithaka, Lemoyian, Barsilinga and Sirimon for losing one of their group members to lions. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in Kanziku area and in the evening Kithaka was leading to make sure they spent the night in the stockade too; the stockade that he and his friends had decided to leave of their own will just a few months ago.
29 April 2018
Kilaguni, Chaimu and Naisula teamed up with Mutara’s group to provide company, security and advise to the juniors following the killing of one of their own by lions. The lions are estimated to be about five in number and are very big. Naisula, who belongs to Olare’s group, came to represent her group who have not shown up since the beginning of the rain season. Olsekki and Siangiki are still missing, but we are sure they are with Narok’s group since they love to be with them. The herd briefly settled for lucerne; Maramoja threw some on her head and then started walking towards the bush. The rest of the herd trailed behind her as Tusuja and Pare had a private conversation.
At the browsing field, Roi, Naseku and Maramoja teamed up together and they enjoyed the green pasture brought about as a result of the good rains. Later, Naseku moved to join Naisula and briefly had a chat that didn't last for long. At eleven o'clock in the morning, the ex-orphans escorted the juniors to the mud bath and after returned together back to the browsing field. Kanjoro and Kilaguni held a strength testing exercise that ended when Kanjoro decided to surrender. In the evening it started raining lightly and this activated the orphans playing mood. The orphans and ex-orphans enjoyed rolling on the wet soil and smeared themselves with red mud. At five o'clock in the evening, the ex-orphans escorted the juniors back to the stockade.
30 April 2018
The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans left the stockade. Chaimu, Kilaguni, Naisula and Mutara’s group spent the night just outside the stockade, and joined the orphans for a walk in the bush. It was a quiet morning as everyone concentrated on browsing. Later in the day, Dupotto, Kamok and Kauro took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. At eleven o'clock in the morning, the ex-orphans escorted the juniors to the mud bath and later went back with them to the bush. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the lower Kalovoto area. Mutara and her group excused themselves and left, hopefully to look for Siangiki, Olsekki, Orwa, Narok and Bomani who we have not seen for five days now.