Keepers' Diaries, August 2004

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Ithumba Reintegration Unit

Ithumba Unit:- From the Diary, it would appear that Yatta and Mulika share the Matriarchal role, Sungelai being very close to Mulika in particular, and Olmalo a great favourite of all the older females. Tomboi and Taita are very competitive, whilst Napasha has been busy trying to mount everyone, but concentrating on Taita in a show of dominance. It was whilst attempting to mount Taita, that he fell onto a stump and got a piece of wood deep into his left foreleg, which entailing a mini op undertaken by our mobile Vet who was sent to Ithumba to sort out the problem. For this Napasha had to be immobilized, but once the operation was over, he was soon up again, and within a day or two once more targeting Taita, whom he obviously blames for the mishap! However, the older females keep him in line and won’t tolerate too much “mounting” behaviour which is what all young bulls enjoy. On two occasions the orphans have come across the spoor of wild elephants, but have not yet made contact with a wild herd. Encounters with other species include being scared by guineafowl, chasing ground squirrel and a dikdik, and a frightening encounter with a puff adder when everyone beat a hasty retreat. All the elephants look well, and seem very happy in their new home. The Diary mentions that they often swing their trunks from side to side, which is a sign of wellbeing and joy. Conditions are very dry at Ithumba at this time of the year, but even the dry brush is exceedingly nutritious, so there is plenty of food available within walking distance of the stockade. Gradually, they are becoming accustomed to drinking the saline water of the area, which they seem to enjoy, and which seems to do them no harm, although our large Bowser brings in fresh water for the milk mixing and to dilute the salinity of their drinking water at the stockade.

Ithumba Unit:- From the Diary, it would appear that Yatta and Mulika share the Matriarchal role, Sungelai being very close to Mulika in particular, and Olmalo a great favourite of all the older females. Tomboi and Taita are very competitive, whilst Napasha has been busy trying to mount everyone, but concentrating on Taita in a show of dominance. It was whilst attempting to mount Taita, that he fell onto a stump and got a piece of wood deep into his left foreleg, which entailing a mini op undertaken by our mobile Vet who was sent to Ithumba to sort out the problem. For this Napasha had to be immobilized, but once the operation was over, he was soon up again, and within a day or two once more targeting Taita, whom he obviously blames for the mishap! However, the older females keep him in line and won’t tolerate too much “mounting” behaviour which is what all young bulls enjoy. On two occasions the orphans have come across the spoor of wild elephants, but have not yet made contact with a wild herd. Encounters with other species include being scared by guineafowl, chasing ground squirrel and a dikdik, and a frightening encounter with a puff adder when everyone beat a hasty retreat. All the elephants look well, and seem very happy in their new home. The Diary mentions that they often swing their trunks from side to side, which is a sign of wellbeing and joy. Conditions are very dry at Ithumba at this time of the year, but even the dry brush is exceedingly nutritious, so there is plenty of food available within walking distance of the stockade. Gradually, they are becoming accustomed to drinking the saline water of the area, which they seem to enjoy, and which seems to do them no harm, although our large Bowser brings in fresh water for the milk mixing and to dilute the salinity of their drinking water at the stockade.

August 2004 day to day

01 Aug

Selengai and Tomboi had an altercation about who should be the Leader when the Keepers changed route and led them into a new area. Selengai won, and followed the Keepers, leading all the others.
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