Keepers' Diaries, April 2021

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

We spent much of April with our eyes wishfully turned to the skies, watching for signs of the customary ‘long rains’ that fall this time of year. While much of the month remained disappointingly dry, the heavens opened up towards the end and bestowed us with one big shower. We hope that more rain is on the way before the notoriously dry months ahead. 

01 April 2021

Tusuja and Wanjala had a brief strength testing exercise soon after leaving the stockades. Tusuja wasn’t keen on taking the pushing game too far and so decided to quit, leaving Wanjala wondering what to do next as he clearly wasn’t in the mood for browsing quite yet! Malima and Sattao settled to share food from the same shrub before parting ways. Malima later joined Musiara in scratching on some rocks they had come across. 

The sky was clear and this left everyone wondering, as we have always known this time of the year to be a time of rain! Perhaps we will have to wait a bit longer as climate change seems to be changing everything. The vegetation is still a little green from the rain we randomly had a few weeks ago, so the orphans are still happy, and they still get their supplements. 

Ex-orphan Kilaguni joined the orphans on the way to the mud bath and later joined them for the afternoon to browse. Later the dependent orphans met with the senior ex-orphans in Yatta’s herd and they browsed together until three o'clock when Ishanga decided to take the orphans for a roadside mud bath when the temperature became so unbearable. 

When it was time to return to the stockades, Siangiki, Olsekki, Oltaiyoni, Tusuja, Barsilinga and Naseku decided to stay for longer with the ex-orphans and returned back to the stockades later after they had enough interaction with their seniors. The five orphans are in the ‘final class’ and are trying to gather as much information as they can before making their final decision on when to seek their independence.

02 April 2021

The ex-orphans Wendi, babies Wiva and Wema, Galana, baby Gawa, Naserian, and Ithumbah spent the night outside the stockade and briefly joined the dependent orphans in the morning. Soon after the orphans were let out, Esampu walked to say hi to Wema as Naseku went to greet Gawa. Esampu attempted to get Wema’s attention by lying down so that Wema could come and play on her. Wema didn't bother however and ignored Esampu, and continued clinging to her nannies. Gawa, who is quite shy, didn't interact much with Naseku either because as soon as she spotted the Keepers, she ran away. Older sister Wiva followed the dependent orphans out to browse but had a rough time when the orphans decided to gang up against her and push her away. Wiva was in a charging mood but decided she couldn’t take on all the dependent babies at once, and she decided to run back to join her mum, sister and friends. 

Mapia was in a playful mood and engaged Karisa in a pushing game that ended in a draw. He later moved to challenge Galla and Rapa but unfortunately lost the game to the two boys. At mud bath time ten wild bulls were present but the orphans didn't bother to greet them, and instead headed west of Ithumba Hill soon after they were through with their mud bath activities. 

The west side of Ithumba Hill has proved to be a popular place for both the orphans and ex-orphans. This is the place they meet in the afternoon on an almost daily basis. When it was time to return back to the stockade, the older orphans wanted to spend more time with the ex-orphans and were reluctant to return. The Keepers decided to let them have their way instead of playing seek and hide games with them. They later reported back safely in the company of the ex-orphans and were allowed into the stockade for the night. 

03 April 2021

Ex-orphans Wendi, Wiva, Wema, Naserian, Galana, Gawa, Tomboi, Chaimu and Ishanga were at the stockade compound in the morning. The dependent Ithumba orphans joined them once they were let out. Naseku, Esampu and Oltaiyoni played nanny to Wema as the frisky Wiva engaged in some pushing games with the orphans. Shortly later, Sattao spotted guinea fowls ahead of him and decided to turn this into a game; he trumpeted and charged as he ran towards the guinea fowls. Other orphans joined in the race as they tried to drive away the birds. The guinea fowls didn’t wait around to be trampled by the elephants and so they flew away. 

Wendi and her group followed the orphans for some time and since she knew that the Keepers keep a wide berth from her as she can be quite naughty, she took the opportunity to split the orphans into two groups before walking off into the bush. The Keepers gathered the orphans together again after Wendi left with her group. 

At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by four wild bulls who shared water with them before parting ways. 

In the afternoon, the orphans as usual headed to the western slopes of Ithumba Hill where they settled to browse. In the evening, as the Keepers were preparing to take the orphans back home, all over sudden there was stampede and the orphans scattered. The Keepers couldn't establish the cause of panic as all they could hear was other elephants breaking branches close by. The Keepers gathered their orphans and realised that Roi, Naseku, Oltaiyoni, Siangiki, Mteto, Mundusi, Ndiwa, Malkia, Maramoja, Sapalan, Esampu, Malima, Dololo and Sattao were missing. The search began immediately. As the Keepers were searching for the missing ones, again they ran into Wendi and her herd. Wendi blocked the Keepers from passing and sent them back to use an alternative route to continue with their search. Unfortunately darkness fell before locating the missing ones but the tracks showed that they were heading towards the Ithumba Eco Lodges in the company of the ex-orphans. The Keepers were forced to return back to stockades hoping that the ex-orphans would bring them back, but by eleven o'clock at night nothing had happened and we still continued to wait.

04 April 2021

For the first time in the history of Ithumba, fourteen orphans spent the night out all together; that’s more than any before to all go at once! We have had other incidents in the past like when Karisa, Dupotto and Kelelari all went wild for nearly three months, then six disappeared about nine years ago led by Sities and Narok who are now happily living in the wild now. 

Thankfully, the missing orphans arrived at around six thirty in the morning, all in one group. It was a big relief to everyone but one thing that caught our attention was that Dololo and Sattao were not among the arrivals. Being the youngest in the group, we expected them to be at the very front for their milk that they had missed. We are sure Dololo, who enjoys the attention of nearly all the big females, will be the reason behind Sattao not coming back with the rest too. Dololo has enjoyed so much love from the older elephants so that whenever he is with them, he never thinks of returning back to the stockade unless the Keepers intervene and escort him back to his age mates. Given the chance, Dololo would probably never think of returning back to the stockade as he always feels comfortable under the care of his older friends! 

After the arrival of the twelve missing ones, Roi, who is Dololo's friend, wasn't comfortable that Dololo wasn’t with them. Roi and Oltaiyoni kept on raising their trunks up and looked agitated. The Keepers knew that they were communicating something and gave them the freedom to leave the herd. Some Keepers followed them from a distance because they knew this was the only way they would be able to get Dololo and Sattao. Oltaiyoni and Roi headed in the direction of Imenti. After a while the Keepers lost track of them however, as they came across a wild elephant herd and had to go around them. The same thing had happened the previous day when Wendi put a roadblock between the Keepers who were tracking down the missing orphans! 

In the end, Roi and Oltaiyoni managed to find and retrieve Sattao and Dololo, and at exactly twelve thirty in the afternoon, brought them to meet with their friends close the road side mud bath. The Keepers couldn’t thank Roi and Oltaiyoni enough for bringing them back. They appreciated them so much, as only they could have found and brought Dololo and Sattao back, having maneuvered their way around the wild elephants in the area and not forgetting Wendi who can act as a road block herself, single handedly! The love that the Keepers but also that the older elephants have for the youngsters was so apparent today.

The orphans behaved themselves for the rest of the day and they all returned back safely to the stockades for a good safe rest after failing to have much sleep the previous night.

05 April 2021

It rained a little bit last night so it was a cool morning today. The orphans spent a comfortable night in the stockades although they still appeared a little tired after their escapades over the last few days. Soon after finishing the Lucerne pellets, Karisa led the way out to browse. 

Jotto tried to engage Mundusi in a pushing game but Mundusi wasn’t interested because he was still tired and wanted to recover the energy he lost when they walked the whole night. Jotto was understanding and left to start browsing. 

It was a quiet day and it appears that the rain might have sent the ex-orphans and wild elephants away from the area as no single elephant was spotted anywhere close by for the entire day. This also meant that the dependent orphans were safe as there weren’t any other elephants around to vanish with their favourite babies, or wild elephant herds for the Keepers to dodge. 

The orphans had their milk at mud bath at noon, and later walked up the slopes of Ithumba Hill to their favourite area and meeting point with ex-orphans and wild elephants. They didn't meet any one and browsed calmly throughout the rest of the day. In the evening, all the thirty one orphans returned back safely to the stockade compound. 

06 April 2021

Sapalan headed straight to the water trough when the orphans were let out today. He was joined shortly later by Ndiwa. No single wild elephant or ex-orphan showed up at the stockade compound. Dololo did some stretching exercises before following his friends. 

The orphans browsed peacefully until Lenana, baby Lapa, Ukame, Kalama and Lemoyian joined them shortly before mud bath time. The attention now shifted to Lapa as the dependent orphans tried to say hello and play with him. Ukame, who joined up with the ex-orphans two months ago to become one of Lapa’s nannies, tried to control the orphans to make sure that they didn’t hurt him. The rascal Lapa felt very happy being surrounded by so many grown babies and this got him excited and he started trumpeting and running around with joy. Ukame followed to make sure that he didn’t wander off too far. 

Lenana’s small group attended mud bath together with the dependent orphans and later headed out with them to browse together in the afternoon. The orphans enjoyed interacting with Lapa the entire afternoon. Later in the evening, Lenana’s herd escorted the orphans back to the stockades for the night, before wandering off into the bush. 

07 April 2021

It was a quiet morning. The orphans passed by the water troughs and had some water before leaving. They headed east before making a U turn five hundred metres away from the stockade to walk towards the mud bath instead. Mteto settled to browse with Karisa but they were separated by Barsilinga who came in-between them to taste the shrub the two were enjoying. Indeed it was so good that Barsilinga pushed the two away to enjoy the shrub by himself!

At mud bath time the temperature was moderate and the orphans only had their milk bottles and a drink from the water trough before heading back to the browsing field. 

Shortly before four o'clock in the evening, Lualeni and her baby Lulu visited the roadside mud bath where she knew very well that she would meet the orphans, so that Lulu could spend some time playing with them. Indeed the orphans showed up and they all interacted briefly before Lualeni left to join her friends. Whenever we have an encounter with the older ex-orphans, we always have some dependent babies who try to sneak off and join them too. This day was no exception since Rapa, Barsilinga, Tusuja, Sana Sana and Mteto dodged the Keepers to follow Lualeni and Lulu, however a quick intervention by the Keepers saved the day. The five were found still browsing comfortably with Lualeni without showing any interest in what time it was, but the Keepers escorted them safely back to the stockades for the night. 

08 April 2021

Mapia, Karisa, Galla and Esampu started the day by settling against rocks for a scratching exercise. Later, Kamok, who normally doesn’t lead but instead stays at the back, led the way out to browse, where the bulls then engaged each other in some pushing games. Karisa handled Wanjala but when the going got tough for him, Karisa surrendered and ran away from Wanjala. Mundusi settled to play with the lovely cool Jotto, but they were separated by Rapa who happened to pass close by and become jealous as he had no one to play with. Enkikwe decided to show his long time friend Olsekki that despite the fact that he was left with an injury when he was attacked by lions few years ago, he can still fight and defend himself. Their game went on for quite some time before Olsekki decided that it was enough, and it was time to get down to some serious browsing.

Shortly before mud bath time, the orphans received a visit from Lualeni and Lulu who were waiting for them at the roadside mud bath. The Keepers originally didn't understand what was happening as they only saw some of the orphans raising their trunks up and thought that they were communicating with someone at the mud bath. The orphans started walking but instead of going straight to the mud bath they took a left turn one hundred metres before. The Keepers followed to find out what the orphans were planning and they led them to the roadside mud bath where they found Lualeni and her baby relaxing, so the whole time they were communicating with Lualeni, and it must have been she who convinced them to come to the roadside pool. Lualeni at one time in the past, before having her very own baby, was branded a ‘baby snatcher’, due to her effectiveness in spiriting away the dependent orphans to spend the day with her. After establishing what the orphans were up to, the Keepers walked the orphans back to the official mud bath where their milk bottles were waiting and where they could have a proper swim to cool down. In the afternoon the dependent orphans met again with Lualeni again and they browsed together for the remaining part of the day.

09 April 2021

Karisa headed straight to drink water soon after leaving the stockades, where he was joined by Sapalan minutes later. Karisa, who enjoys leading the herd, directed everyone out to browse after they had a drink. It was a quiet day for the orphans and they didn’t meet with any other elephants. Wanjala, Tusuja, Ndiwa and Barsilinga spent some time scratching before resuming browsing. 

At mud bath time the orphans waded through the water before settling for a soil dusting exercise. Karisa and Pare opted for a different kind of exercise by testing their strength against each other. Karisa was overpowered and decided to surrender. 

In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse east of the Imenti Dam and they enjoyed every moment given that it was cloudy and cool. Later in the evening, the orphans returned back safely to the stockades for yet another night.

10 April 2021

The orphans settled to eat Lucerne pellets in the morning. As soon as they were done they left the stockades for browsing. It was a clear sunny morning and the orphans settled to browse in Kone area. It was also quiet, so the orphans scattered out to browse. Siangiki, Ambo, Galla, Mapia, Rapa and Jotto took advantage of the quietness to slip away and moved far away from the rest of the herd. When it was time to head to the mud bath, the five orphans couldn’t be found. The Keepers continued to look for them and about half an hour later, the five were traced a kilometre away from where the rest were feeding. 

The Keepers walked them to the mud bath where they met with four wild elephant bulls who were on their normal patrols. The bulls shared water with the orphans then parted ways.

 In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse west of Ithumba Hill and didn't encounter any other wild elephant or ex-orphans for the rest of the day. In the evening the weather changed and the cloudy sky gave way to rain that didn't last for long. Later the orphans returned back safely to the stockades.

11 April 2021

It was cool in the morning today. The orphans settled for Lucerne pellets and shortly later Karisa led the way out. Sapalan and Kamok teamed up to share food from the same shrub as Galla and Sana Sana enjoyed a soil dusting exercise before resuming browsing. 

Just like yesterday it was a calm morning so the orphans carried on with their browsing activities without any major distractions. At mud bath time the orphans had their milk bottles then some water and later headed back out to browse. They settled to browse in their usual favourite place, the western slopes of Ithumba Hill. Later they decided to go for a roadside mud bath before resuming browsing. Pare briefly engaged Sattao to a pushing game but it was disrupted by Olsekki who thought that the youngsters shouldn’t be messing around in front of him as this was a show of disrespect to an elder like him. 

As the Keepers were gathering the orphans to take them back to the stockades, it started to rain. Karisa, Sana Sana, Sapalan, Tusuja and Barsilinga decided to take advantage of the rain to dodge the Keepers again. It wasn't easy to locate them with the rain pouring but at long last they were located and escorted back to the stockades for the night.

12 April 2021

Lemoyian was at the stockade compound in the morning. It appears his group stopped in overnight to drink and later left, but Lemoyian decided to stay and greet the dependent orphans in the morning. Within the dependent herd he has friends like Barsilinga, Tusuja and Olsekki who he likes to play with whenever he comes around. When the dependent orphans were let out in the morning, Lemoyian joined them to feed on Lucerne pellets. 

On the way out to browse Dololo walked side by side with Lemoyian and seemed to be asking him all sorts of questions. Lemoyian was very friendly with the little bull and didn’t seem to mind his questions. Naseku climbed up onto a rock and was followed by Sana Sana, where they found a nice green shrub that they shared. 

Mundusi was limping in the morning and upon closer inspection we couldn't see anything and thought it might be a sprain as a result of running, slipping or playing with his friends. We will continue to monitor him to see how things go for him. 

Olsekki and Kamok took some time off from feeding to have a game of pushing each other that lasted for quite some time before Olsekki quit the game to go for Enkikwe who was ready for him. Enkikwe expected this to happen because he was browsing just close by. 

At mud bath time the orphans had their milk and some water before proceeding straight back to the browsing field. The temperature was moderate and the orphans browsed calmly until later in the evening when they decided to pass by the roadside mud bath to have fun. Lemoyian escorted the orphans back to the stockades when it was time to go back for the night. 

13 April 2021

Ndiwa and Ambo shared a pile of pellets in the morning when they were let out. Shortly later, Ambo left and joined Tusuja to drink water. Once Tusuja had enough water he started his own rolling game on the ground. Kauro, who was close by, came over and tried to attack Tusuja. Tusuja, in order to defend himself, decided to get up and handle Kauro properly. A pushing game started that went on for quite some time until the two grew tired and parted ways. Wanjala then took advantage of the tired Tusuja to pick a fight with him! Karisa tried to intervene by distracting Wanjala as he stepped on his back leg. Wanjala didn't care though and just continued his pushing game with Tusuja. Jotto tried to attack Mundusi but Mundusi was quick to defend himself. Mundusi informed Jotto that although he was limping, he was still as fit and rough as ever. Jotto decided to surrender. 

Mundusi awoke limping yesterday and we’re not sure why yet but we suspect that it’s just a sprain inflicted while playing with the fellow boys or stepping on something. Upon inspection, nothing could be seen on his foot. Enkikwe played with Galla and made sure to put in as much efforts as possible to ensure he won, as this is the only way he can earn respect from the fellow bulls. Later, Karisa settled to play with Sapalan. 

At mud bath time the weather was cloudy and the orphans showed no interest in wallowing. Ambo briefly had a soil dusting exercise before leading the way back to the browsing field. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans browsed calmly throughout the remaining part of the day. 

14 April 2021

Sattao engaged Jotto in a pushing game on the way out to browse. Jotto couldn't understand why Sattao, his junior, had the courage to challenge him! Jotto jogged for a little bit to warm up in order to prepare to teach Sattao a good lesson. Sattao didn’t waste time but quit the challenge when he saw Jotto warming up to tackle him, as he didn’t want to be hurt for the sake of a pushing game! 

As the orphans negotiated a corner of the hill behind the stockade, they bumped into Lualeni and her baby Lulu. Lualeni has been seen walking with her baby on her own of late, without a group, and we have been wondering why as usually they would be with a herd, including some nannies! This takes us back to a time when Lualeni had no baby and tried to form her own group with some of the dependent Ithumba babies, but without success. Perhaps she has circled back around again to see if any of the dependent orphans want to join her and make their own herd? If no one joins her perhaps she will rejoin Yatta’s herd again, but perhaps she just wants to be the matriarch of her own herd! 

Mundusi is still limping and it appears that the problem lies behind his toenails, on the inside, as he avoids using that part of his foot when he walks. We tried to check but he strongly resisted, suggesting that we were right in our theory there, and left us with no option other than to observe him and if he doesn’t improve, then engage the services of the Vet. Kauro teamed up with Lualeni and Lulu and headed to the mud bath early. In the afternoon, Lualeni joined the orphans and browsed together with them for the rest of the day.  

15 April 2021

Lualeni, Lulu and Lemoyian spent their night just outside the stockades and joined the orphans in the morning. Mundusi is still limping in the morning. We checked his foot again and cleaned it, but nothing was seen. Lualeni led the way out to browse, where she teamed up with Barsilinga, Lemoyian and Tusuja, then disappeared off into the bush. 

Kuishi and Malkia came across a steep area that they used to roll down while soil bathing. At mud bath time the orphans didn't show any interest in wallowing and so they walked away soon after they had their milk bottles and some water. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated mostly on browsing. 

Later in the day, the orphans attended the smaller, roadside mud bath before making their way back to the stockades. Tusuja refused to go into his stockade and opted to join Lemoyian for the night outside. It is not his first time to spend the night outside, for there was the time he left with Ukame and Namalok for nearly a week before coming back. Ukame and Namalok are still out there enjoying their life with the ex-orphans and gaining experience of being wild again. Three wild bulls showed up in evening and left later at their own pleasure when they had enough water. 

16 April 2021

As the orphans prepared to leave for browsing, ex-orphans Wendi, Wema, Wiva, Lenana, Lapa, Ukame, Tumaren, Kalama, Galana, Gawa and two wild elephants arrived. The orphans had a brief interaction with the ex-orphans before Mapia led everyone out to browse for the day. Naseku and Maramoja competed who among them was best suited to have Lapa in their care. Maramoja, who is younger than Naseku, had to concede and allow Naseku to spend time with Lapa.

The ex-orphans followed the orphans and with Wendi around the Keepers remained very vigilant as she is mischievous and loves intimidating the Keepers; putting road blocks up to block them from following the dependent orphans. The Keepers are wise to her ways however and carefully maneuvered themselves in the bush, and managed to outwit Wendi who later showed up at the mud bath. 

Kauro teamed up with Wanjala to browse while Lemoyian, who has temporarily abandoned his group apparently for the dependent orphans, teamed up with Pare. At the mud bath the orphans just had their milk bottles and some water then interacted with the ex-orphans again for a bit, before parting ways. 

The orphans settled to browse along the western slopes of Ithumba Hill, but the afternoon suddenly warmed up, so the elephants decided to head for the mud bath along the road to cool off. Later, Malima, Sattao, Jotto, Sana Sana, Pare and Mapia had fun by rolling on the ground in a soil bathing exercise. Karisa picked on Lemoyian for strength testing exercise but ended up losing to the more experienced Lemoyian. Kauro engaged Olsekki in a pushing game which he lost terribly to Olsekki. This annoyed Kauro who moved to vent his anger by riding on Jotto who was standing close by, perhaps in the effort to show off and demonstrate his prowess in light of losing to Olsekki. 

17 April 2021

The sky was clear this morning and this was disappointing as we really need some more rain this rainy season, to see us through the next few notoriously dry months. The orphans left the stockades and settled for pellets before heading out. It was all peaceful as the dependent orphans concentrated on browsing, wondering what could be the cause of the delayed rains. 

Olsekki and Kamok took a break from feeding and had a light pushing game that lasted for quite some time. 

At mud bath time, the orphans didn't participate in wallowing as their mind was all set to the roadside mud bath, a place which has proved popular for both orphans and ex orphans. On the way, Galla picked a piece of stick that he used to scratch in between his front legs and once he was satisfied tossed the stick up that landed few metres away. In the evening, Tusuja, Barsilinga and Lemoyian joined Mutara’s herd that passed close by and appeared to be in hurry heading to undisclosed location. The orphans returned back later to the stockade for yet another night. 

18 April 2021

The orphans settled for pellets as soon as they were let out. As the orphans prepared to leave after finishing the pellets, they were joined by ex-orphans Lualeni, Lulu, Galana, Gawa, Naserian, Ishanga, Kibo, Wendi, Wema, Wiva, Mutara, Suguta and Sities. Dololo was happy to have the older girls back in Mutara’s herd, who adore him. Shortly later, Wendi and her group left, leaving Mutara, Suguta and Sities enjoying the company of the orphans. 

Dololo walked side by side with Suguta as if enquiring where they had been and why they had been gone for so long. The Keepers remained alert throughout the day with the presence of Suguta, Sities and Mutara, because they know given the opportunity that Suguta would certainly leave with her favourite Dololo. Mundusi, who still has a slight limp, took advantage of Ndiwa who was rolling around on the ground, and climbed on her back. Enkikwe took time off from feeding to have a strength testing exercise with Galla. 

At the mud bath it wasn’t very hot and the orphans skipped the wallowing exercise and headed straight back out to the bush to browse after their milk bottles. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing until Karisa and Musiara decided to have fun by enjoying a light pushing game. Late in the evening, Barsilinga, who left with Kithaka, Tusuja, Lemoyian, Garzi, Turkwel and Orwa yesterday, returned and was happy to be reunited with his friends back in the stockades. 

19 April 2021

Barsilinga returned to the stockades and last night, Tusuja, who also left two days ago along with Barsilinga, Kithaka, Lemoyian, Garzi, Orwa and Turkwel, reported back early in the morning as well. It’s not clear why he chose to leave his new found friends, but maybe he returned to be with Barsilinga who is a close friend of his. Tusuja met Naseku and had a brief meeting as they shared water at the stockade water trough. We wondered if Naseku wanted to find out from Tusuja how his two nights out had been. 

Out in the bush, the orphans were joined by Mutara, Suguta and Kibo. Olsekki teamed up with Kibo as he tried to learn some pushing tactics from him. At mud bath time, the dependent orphans also met Wendi, Wema, Wiva, Lenana, Lapa, Ukame, Melia, Tumaren, Zurura, Naserian, Galana and Gawa. The meeting didn't last for long however, as the dependent orphans left soon after having their milk and some water from the water troughs. 

In the afternoon, Sapalan tried to engage Jotto in a strength testing exercise but it appeared that Jotto wasn’t interested, as he just turned and walked away. Sapalan then decided that it would be better for him to go down to the roadside mud bath to cool down, after being rejected by Jotto. In the evening, Wendi and her group passed by the stockade compound and had some water before continuing on. 

20 April 2021

Karisa and Dololo woke up in a playful mood today. The two boys locked trunks soon after they were let out and continued to push one another until Dololo surrendered. Naseku picked Ambo up and walked out with him to browse, as Galla teamed up with Enkikwe. The two boys later settled for a soil dusting exercise before resuming browsing. Naseku decided to spend the entire morning with Ambo and later Siangiki took over. Ambo usually enjoys being looked after by the three girls, Siangiki, Naseku and Kamok. The girls always take it in turns being with Ambo and looking after him, although sometimes they do come together as a little female group as well. 

Sattao led the first group to the mud bath just before noon. The orphans had their milk and some water before heading back out to browse. 

In the afternoon, Siangiki took over the duty of taking care of Ambo from Naseku, and Naseku was now free to have fun as she joined Mapia, Rapa, Kuishi, Galla and Jotto rolling on the ground while enjoying a soil bath. Latter in the evening Sattao led the way back to stockades. Wendi, Wema, Wiva, Galena, Gawa, Lualeni, Lulu and Naserian showed up at the stockade compound later in the evening and left when it started to rain. The rain wasn't much but the short shower managed to settle the dust and cool down the overheated ground, whilst we pray for more. 

21 April 2021

Soon after arriving in the place they wanted to settle to browse, Barsilinga, Tusuja, Siangiki and Galla rumbled as they turned to face east. The four appeared to have been responding to, what is to us, an unknown caller, but for them, it was certainly a friend they were communicating with. After a while, Kilaguni emerged from the bushes and left with the four orphans. The Keepers tried to encourage them back to head west but they didn’t hear; the four boldly followed their older friend Kilaguni. The Keepers had to allow them to continue as per their wish, and just hoped that they would be back in the evening after their day’s adventure. 

Sattao took some time off from feeding to play with Pare and when he lost, he decided to try his luck on Mapia. Sattao still ended up disappointed when Mapia fought him without mercy. Sattao had no option but to go back to his own league that consists of equals like Dololo, Musiara and Ambo. He will only get better with time by challenging the big boys however, so at least he was trying!

At mud bath time it was cool and none of the orphans dared to touch the mud bathing water. Ndiwa tried to test the water with her trunk but found it to be too cold so she never went in.

In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse west of Ithumba Hill close to their roadside mud bath. Challa made a brief stop at the stockade water trough to announce his presence in the area. He later left after having enough water and ensuring that his human family is still around and maintaining the water troughs. 

In the evening Siangiki and Galla returned back to the stockades to join their friends. Barsilinga and Tusuja decided to spend the night out with Kilaguni. 

22 April 2021

Mapia, who apparently had some pending issues with Dololo, accosted him in the morning on the way out from the stockade and there was a brief scuffle. Dololo realised that he was no match for Mapia and so surrendered hoping to challenge him another day. 

Outside the stockade compound, Suguta, Sities and Mutara were waiting. After having been accosted by Mapia, Dololo now felt secure; now that his big sisters were around, no one would think to mess with him. Barsilinga and Tusuja, who had spent the night out, arrived and joined the orphans to feed on Lucerne. 

Out in the bush, Barsilinga had a pushing game with Sities and later left with Tusuja and Galla again. At mud bath time, Esampu led few of her friends to wade through the water. Afterwards, the orphans had a soil bathing exercise before heading back out to browse. 

The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing without any major distractions. Galla, Barsilinga and Tusuja, who now consider themselves ‘grownups’ who don’t need the oversight of the Keepers anymore, arrived later in the evening. 

23 April 2021

After feeding on Lucerne, Kauro, Tusuja and Galla had a game of pushing, taking it in turns. Galla later walked away, leaving Kauro and Tusuja wrestling. Mundusi, who is slowly recovering from his foot injury, settled to scratch on a rock as Naseku took Ambo to a different rock and waited for him to finish scratching, before taking him for browsing. 

The orphans concentrated on browsing up to mud bath time when Sattao led the first group for their milk bottles. Challa was at the mud bath with a few of his wild friends. The moment the dependent orphans arrived the wild bulls moved away, giving Challa time to talk and interact with his junior brothers and sisters, who really enjoyed his company. Later, Challa parted ways with orphans. Rapa walked to greet the wild bulls before leaving for browsing. Tusuja had some fun by rolling on the soil before leaving to catch up with his friends. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated mostly on browsing. Later in the evening, all the orphans returned back safely to the stockades. 

24 April 2021

The orphans settled for Lucerne soon after leaving the stockades. Out in the bush, they were joined by the naughty Kithaka, Orwa, Garzi, Lemoyian and Chemi Chemi. Shortly later, Chemi Chemi left with Barsilinga, Tusuja, Siangiki, Enkikwe, Ambo and Oltaiyoni. 

Enkikwe and Ambo missed their midday milk feed as they were part of the group that managed to sneak away from the Keepers, who were out searching for them. At one o'clock in the afternoon, the Keepers located them and managed to coax Ambo, Enkikwe, Siangiki and Oltaiyoni to come back with them. Tusuja and Barsilinga refused to follow, and decided to stick to their new found friend Chemi Chemi. It appears that it is that a time for Barsilinga and Tusuja to find their place in the wild, and we will continue to allow them to do what they want to do. In the evening, the dependent orphans returned back safely but without Barsilinga and Tusuja. 

25 April 2021

Barsilinga and Tusuja were back early in the morning to share Lucerne with their friends. As soon as the orphans finished their Lucerne supplement, Ndiwa led the way out, where upon Barsilinga formed his team consisting of Tusuja, Naseku, Olsekki, Siangiki, Rapa and Galla, and managed to sneak off with them. 

Shortly before mud bath time, Kithaka, Orwa and Garzi were spotted at a distance, but then they disappeared again. This wasn't good news because it meant that they were up to no good, since they didn't want to be spotted by the Keepers. After mud bath time everything was going on smoothly until Kithaka, Orwa and Garzi, without the Keepers knowledge, hijacked Sana Sana, Mundusi, Pare, Malima and Mteto and left with them. The Keepers were surprised to find the five missing when they were gathering the orphans to walk them back to the stockades! Barsilinga brought his little group back early, while the Keepers continued to look for the missing orphans with Kithaka and co until dark. 

At around 7.30pm, the Keepers heard rumbles along Kanziku Road and they kept on calling the missing orphans. Finally, they met and brought them back to the stockades. An hour later, the mischievous Kithaka, Orwa and Garzi showed up from the same direction as the others. This confirmed our suspicion of who had made away with our five orphans!

26 April 2021

It was a quiet morning again. The orphans briefly settled for Lucerne before Ndiwa led the way out to browse. Without the presence of the ex-orphans, the orphans behaved themselves. They concentrated mostly on browsing without any major distractions. 

Olsekki, Siangiki, Tusuja and Barsilinga split from the main herd and left, only to show up later again at mud bath time. The temperature was moderate and only Esampu managed to get into the water and have some fun. Sapalan decided to keep himself busy by playing with Jotto as Dololo played with Karisa. 

In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in one of their favourite areas west of the Ithumba Hill. Later in the evening, Ambo, the cheerful and strong boy these days, swung his trunk from side to side in happiness as he led the way back to the stockades for the night. 

27 April 2021

Soon after leaving the stockades, Musiara settled to scratch on some nearby rocks. Shortly later, Mapia came and pushed Musiara away to use the rock himself. Musiara wasn't happy about that and at first he moved away, but after having second thoughts he turned back to fight for his rights. The only problem is that he’s not as strong as Mapia, but he was determined to put up a spirited fight at least, for Mapia to have some respect for him. Mapia wasn’t expecting Musiara to fight back at all! But he appears to have woken up in a good mood today because he didn’t play too rough with Musiara, and instead showed him some love, something that surprised Musiara too. 

Out in the bush, Jotto settled to browse with Kuishi and had a long conversation with her before parting ways. Sattao challenged Rapa to a pushing game that ended when Rapa started playing rough and Sattao decided to quit. 

At mud bath time two wild bulls paid a visit to the orphans. Olsekki walked towards one of the bulls and welcomed him by putting his trunk in his mouth, a rather bold move by Olsekki! Olsekki is always obsessed with the older bulls though. The bulls appeared cautious as they and the orphans approached the water trough, but Olsekki assured them that all was fine and they should not be afraid. 

In the afternoon Olsekki and his longtime friend Enkikwe had a strength testing exercise that lasted for quite some time. Later, Barsilinga and Tusuja, who have expressed many signs that they are ready to leave and take up their life in the wild, snuck away with Sapalan, Rapa and Kauro. When it was time to escort the orphans home the Keepers realised that Barsilinga and Tusuja had made away with the three boys, but at eight o'clock Barsilinga brought them all back to the stockades and they were let in for the night.

28 April 2021

The orphans left the stockades early in the morning as usual. The rains avoided the area yesterday but the clouds are building which continue to give us hope of receiving some more rain. Karisa, who is always gentle with the young ones and never pushes them hard, teamed up to share Lucerne with Musiara. Later Ndiwa led the way out. 

Jotto had a meeting with Kuishi and it was if he was enquiring why she had been moved up a ‘class’ in the night stockades, as the orphans sleep in bigger units of age mates there. Jotto might have assumed it is because she and Esampu have been arguing in the evening that she has been moved up a class. 

The orphans had a quiet morning and concentrated on browsing with high hopes of getting rain that has remained elusive for quite a long time. 

At mud bath time the orphans were joined by a lone wild elephant bull that shared water with them before leaving. In the evening the weather changed and rain started to fall. The orphans celebrated the arrival of the much anticipated rain by running in and out of the bushes, but time wasn’t on their side as it was getting late and it was time to return home. The Keepers led the orphans home and everyone would have to wait for the next day to continue with their celebrations. 

29 April 2021

It was wet and cool in the morning when the orphans left the stockades. As usual the orphans settled for Lucerne and later Karisa led the way out. Tusuja and Kauro had a pushing game that lasted for quite some time, but it came to an end when Kauro attempted to ride on Tusuja. Oltaiyoni, who happens to be roommates with Tusuja, couldn't allow for Tusuja to be disgraced by Kauro and so she decided to bring this game to a halt by pushing Kauro away. Oltaiyoni was the matriarch when she was in the Nairobi Nursery, and she still doesn’t mind disciplining babies if she needs to! 

The orphans settled to browse in Kone area. At mud bath time the temperature was moderate and the orphans only had their milk and some water before heading back out to browse. Later on the orphans came across a shallow water hole created after the rain and, led by Barsilinga, the orphans had fun playing in the mud there. After having fun, Ndiwa, Naseku and Ambo settled to scratch against a tree and when they were done there, they walked to the bush to join their friends who were already back to browsing. 

In the evening Kauro wanted to play with Tusuja but he wasn’t sure where Oltaiyoni was and he didn’t want to run into trouble with her again. Kauro made sure that Oltaiyoni wasn’t around first before embarking on his game with Tusuja. Later in the evening, all the orphans returned back safely to the stockades for the night.

30 April 2021

It was a quiet morning. The orphans left the stockades and settled for Lucerne. Later Karisa, who hasn’t led the way out for a while, decided to take the lead today. The rest of the herd followed in a line behind him showing the trust that they have for Karisa. 

A little dik dik antelope emerged from the bushes but didn’t stick around for long. As soon as Mundusi spotted the dik dik, anger was written all over his face because the tiny animal was standing in his way. Mundusi charged but the dik dik was quick thinking and darted out of the way. Mundusi’s timing was way off and by the time he got to where the dik dik had been standing it was already gone! Mundusi resorted to kicking the bushes in an attempt to look for the dik dik but it was long gone. Mundusi gave up and followed his friends to continue browsing instead. In the afternoon, Kauro and Enkikwe spend a lot of time in a pushing game that ended when Olsekki intervened by separating the two boys.