Keepers' Diaries, August 2018
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
Tsavo was lucky enough to have good rainfall this past wet season which has meant that the food has lasted well despite the hot conditions. The waterholes throughout the northern territory have been drying however, so with limited water holes and the Ithumba mud bath still with water, the wild herds are coming into the area in significant numbers. Thankfully this year the Tiva River is still flowing, so our water bowser is working hard ferrying water to fill the troughs and quench the thirst of the many elephants who are staying close as the temperatures rise, with the boreholes at Ithumba unable to come up with enough yield at this dry time of year.
01 August 2018
Olare’s group joined the dependent orphans for lucerne in the morning. After feeding on lucerne, the orphans parted ways with Olare’s group. At the browsing field, the now vibrant Karisa, who at one time disappeared for almost three months with Dupotto and Kelelari, challenged Galla to a pushing game. This is the same Karisa who used to be very shy, especially when he returned from his brief stint away. These days, he is trying to challenge his fellow boys to know his position in the group. Ukame took Mundusi and Mteto aside and demonstrated to them the best way to uproot grass and roots by kicking it with ones feet. Roi settled on a nearby rock for a scratching session.
At mud bath time, the sun was really hot. It was so hot even Kauro who hardly ever goes into the water was actually the first one in! For the first time this year, Kauro completely submerged himself in the water. Tusuja rode on Mteto in the water while Galla rode on Roi. Esampu, who is very clever, tried to avoid the boys so that they wouldn’t be able to climb on her. Kauro, Olsekki, Tusuja, Esampu and Dupotto emerged as the stars of the day in both the mud bathing and soil dusting exercises. In the evening, Mutara and her group showed up at the stockade after disappearing for close to four days. The lions appear to have done an irreparable damage to Turkwel's tail, which has got worse since she broke out of the stockades. The infection has spread and it seems broken inside. From the look of it, Turkwel might have to lose the tail and become the fourth in Ithumba to have no tail. The first was Kilaguni, second is Kanjoro and third is Kelelari who joined a wild herd one year ago.
02 August 2018
Kinna is leading a herd of graduate orphans, and this herd joined the orphans in the morning for lucerne. The juniors didn’t stick around for long as the graduate orphans wanted all the lucerne for themselves. The dependent orphans respected their wish and Sapalan was the first one who quietly left and headed to the bush. The graduate orphans, in the company of several wild elephants, later followed the juniors to the Kanziku area where they browsed together and later headed to the mud bath together.
Naseku, who loves playing with young babies, had fun with Nasalot’s baby Nusu and later led Nusu for a mud bath. The temperature was moderate and only Naseku and Olsekki joined the graduate orphans for a mud bath. At around two o'clock in the afternoon, twenty five wild bulls reported for water at the stockade water troughs and in the evening a mixture of wild elephants and graduate orphans totaling up to sixty showed up at the stockade. It seems the surrounding area is quite dry now, as by dark more than one hundred elephants had shown up to drink water and more than thirty thousand litres of water was consumed by the elephants.
03 August 2018
It is much drier in northern Tsavo so there are more graduate orphans and wild elephants around the stockades now. Before the dependent orphans were let out, the graduate orphans and wild elephants had already reported ready to share whatever they could with the orphans. Once the orphans were out, Rapa had a disagreement with baby Kama that led to Kama pushing Rapa. Kama was confident since her mother, Kinna, was close by and she knew if anything got out of control, her mother would come to her rescue. Rapa wasn't happy about Kama undermining him but he couldn’t do anything about it with Kinna and the other nannies around! Rapa shook his head in frustration and left hoping that one day he could have a fair pushing game with Kama. Tusuja had a brief chat with Ololoo and later went to escort Enkikwe out, who usually lags behind after receiving his treatment first before joining his friends for the day. The sky was clear and this was an indication of a hot day a head. At mud bath time, Esampu led her friends to wallow and after headed for soil dusting before heading back to the browsing field. In the evening eighty five elephants both wild and graduate orphans reported for water at the stockade water troughs.
04 August 2018
Yatta, Yoyo, Yetu, Mulika, Mwende, Naserian, Lualeni, Sunyei, Siku, Chyulu, Tomboi and Olare’s group were at the stockade compound early before six o'clock in the morning. After the orphans were let out, the graduate orphans joined them to feed on lucerne. A while later, the rest of the senior graduate orphans showed up. Esampu kept Kainuk company as they seemed to be communicating about something. The dependent orphans settled in Kone area while the graduate orphans headed west of the stockade. It was a quiet morning for the orphans as they concentrated on browsing without any major observations.
At noon when it was mud bath time, only one wild bull was present and Siangiki was brave enough to join him drink water. The orphans had a spectacular time wallowing given that the sun was very hot. In the afternoon, the temperature was still high prompting the orphans to take a break from feeding and relax under a tree. In the evening, Turkwel showed up at stockade and we kept her in since she had lost a bit of weight.
05 August 2018
Mutara and her group slept outside the stockade giving Turkwel assurance that they are with her at this difficult time when she is about to lose her tail. Turkwel had been admitted for the second time in the stockade. The first time she was admitted, she escaped through the fence after breaking the wires. Mutara’s group joined the juniors for lucerne and interestingly, carried their piles so that they could feed close to Turkwel. The orphans parted ways with Mutara’s group and headed east of the stockade. Mutara’s group remained behind to watch over Turkwel at the time of treatment.
Namalok engaged Dupotto in a pushing game that ended in a draw. Later, Namalok tried to attack Naseku but what followed made him have some respect for the girls. Roi emerged from nowhere and ganged up with her friend Naseku to teach Namalok a lesson. Siangiki was on standby incase the two girls requested for reinforcement too. Namalok had no option other than to flee from the two tough girls. Kauro engaged Galla in strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. Their game also attracted Pare and Karisa who also staged their own pushing game. Shortly before eleven o'clock in the morning, treatment for Turkwel began as her group peeped through the wires and watched the entire operation. After the treatment, our poor Turkwel became the fourth orphan at Ithumba to lose her tail. Now Turkwel will remain under our care until she has fully recovered. Mutara and the rest of her group will have to bear with the situation as none of us wish to detain Turkwel but it is just necessary at this stage due to the unfortunate encounter with the lions.
06 August 2018
Mutara’s group spent the night outside the stockade hoping that come morning, Turkwel would be released to join them. They found this was not to be as once Laragai and her group were let out, the gate was closed again. This annoyed Mutara’s group and they ran around the stockade rumbling in anger and protesting as to why we were continuing to hold Turkwel. Shortly later, the senior graduate orphans showed up and settled for lucerne. Naseku, the little baby-lover, walked to check on Siku who at one time could not walk properly due to an injured back leg. Siku could be seen practicing using the leg though there remains a slight swelling on the knee. The no-nonsense Oltaiyoni pushed baby Yoyo away when Yoyo tried to charge at her.
Out in the bush Olsekki played with Tusuja while Karisa played with Rapa. Kauro took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise while Sapalan settled for a scratching exercise against one of the nearby trees. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by one bull and later, after leaving the mud bath, fifteen wild elephants reported for water and a mud bath too. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area. Kauro and Galla took a break from feeding to participate in soil bathing game.
07 August 2018
The sky was clear in the morning, and this was an indication of a hot day ahead. The orphans were briefly joined by Mutara’s herd before they moved on. The orphans had a quiet morning as they browsed calmly without any major observation. At mud bath time, Pare led the first group while Maramoja led the second group for their milk bottles. The sun was really hot and the orphans went into the mud bath to wallow without being shown the way by the Keepers. After mud bath, Namalok and Pare used the same tree to scratch their buttocks. Mteto had her own game of sitting with her trunk up in the air. Her game attracted Mundusi , Dupotto and Esampu. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area and had a quiet afternoon.
08 August 2018
Both senior and junior graduate orphans led by Yatta were at the stockade compound ready to receive Turkwel who was about to be let out after her treatment. This was only for the day time; come evening she would be returned back to the stockade. It wasn't clear how the groups knew that Turkwel would be spending the day out with the juniors. After having her wounds dressed, Turkwel was let out amid excitement from her group. Wanjala could not understand why Turkwel had so much painting on her body, not understanding what the healing green clay and Alamycin applied to the wounds was. Wanjala followed Turkwel around as if asking her a lot of questions. Mutara and Olare’s groups monitored Turkwel from a distance as they slowly trailed the orphans into the bush. Later, they joined up with the orphans and headed to the mud bath together. In the afternoon, Mutara and Olare’s groups spent so much time with Turkwel, comforting and wishing her a quick recovery by patting her with their trunks. In the evening, the temperature was still high, prompting the orphans and the graduate orphans to pass by the water hole again to cool off before going home to the stockades.
09 August 2018
Kenze and Taita joined the juniors for lucerne in the morning as six wild bulls were drinking water at the stockade water troughs. Wanjala and Karisa moved and settled to feed face to face with Kenze. Wanjala and Karisa wondered when their time would come for them to be as big as Kenze. Kenze appears to have read what was going through the boys’ minds, and he stretched his trunk towards them. We felt like he was reminding them that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Kithaka walked down to share water with the wild bulls and shortly later was joined by his friends. Oltaiyoni steered the group north of the stockade while Laragai and her rebel herd who don’t join the juniors to browse, headed south. The inquisitive Wanjala joined Turkwel for a question and answer session before heading to tussle with Tusuja.
Later Esampu took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise where she was later joined by Tusuja and Pare. On the way to the mud bath, Sapalan looked dull and was walking so slowly. Although Sapalan is always slow in just about everything, this one was unusually slow for him meaning that something was not right with him. He didn't even drink water but instead stood in the mud for some time. Kitirua and Naisula emerged from the bush and walked straight to Sapalan and surrounded him; they touched and seemed to ask him what the problem was. Sapalan turned and headed north east as Kitirua and Naisula followed him. In the afternoon, the sun was still hot and the orphans took a break from feeding to relax under a tree. In the evening, Sapalan dragged himself slowly back to stockade where later he was given three injections to help treat what might be ailing him. The lions were sighted briefly at a waterhole where they came to drink but the moment they sensed the car they vanished into the undergrowth. Later that evening the orphans could sense their presence raising their trunks. Surprisingly it was Laragai who looked concerned, Turkwel and Enkikwe remained calm.
10 August 2018
Yatta’s group reported at the stockade compound in the morning and settled to share lucerne with the juniors. Sunyei and baby Siku were part of Yatta’s group. Siku was showing improving following an accident she had few weeks ago. Siku was using her leg and the swelling had gone down. Rapa left his room with a branch in his mouth while Sapalan was left behind for close observation. Amazingly enough, when everyone left, the independent Sapalan didn't look bothered but got himself busy feeding on lucerne and greens as if he was in the bush. Sunyei took a pile of lucerne and walked away from the group and stood a distance away to enjoy feeding on it. She was joined by her daughter Siku and Wanjala too. Shortly later Siku started to push Wanjala away from sharing the pile of lucerne. Wanjala stood his ground by pleading with Siku not chase him away. When Siku became persistent in her pushing, Wanjala just left not wanting to invite trouble with her mother! Karisa engaged baby Kama in a light pushing game that didn't last for long as Kinna came by and pushed Karisa away.
Out in the bush, Namalok, who is interacting with his fellow boys these days as is a little less shy, had a strength testing exercise with Galla, a game that he unfortunately lost. At mud bath time, the temperature was moderate and some of the orphans got into the water to wallow, with the exception of the lion victims Enkikwe and Turkwel who remained at the water trough drinking water. In the afternoon, Dupotto, Maramoja, Karisa and Esampu found a suitable tree with good shade and relaxed as they took a nap while standing. They later resumed browsing when the temperature dropped to a favourable level.
11 August 2018
Sapalan was looking better in the morning and was happy to remain in the stockade. As the rest of the group scrambled to get out, Sapalan just watched them then turned to face our store requesting for more cubes that he was given without delay. Rapa left with a branch in his mouth while Mundusi bumped into Mteto when Mteto stopped abruptly to pick up a branch she had spotted. The orphans settled for lucerne and were joined by two wild bulls who were among twenty wild elephants that had reported for water that morning. Shortly later, Yatta’s group showed up followed by Mutara’s group. Narok’s group have joined up with Wendi Mulika, Galana and Nasalot and they took sirimon with them. Today the wild bulls came around and mingled with the orphans who very much savored their company. The Keepers had to keep there distance but watched as the dependent orphans mixed with wild friends.
It is getting drier in the area now and Naseku felt like she had to go down on her knees to pull up shrubs using her mouth. Two buffaloes that came for water at the stockade water hole had a rough time when Makena decided to deal with them by trumpeting and charging. The buffaloes couldn't take all the noise and decided to surrender and come back when the elephants were not present. At mud bath time, the orphans were again joined by Yatta but they parted ways later. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area and had a break for almost one hour before resuming browsing.
12 August 2018
The morning was chilly following light showers we had overnight. Karisa, Pare and Roi left their night stockades with branches in their mouths as six wild bulls were busy drinking water at the stockade water troughs. One of the wild bulls abandoned his friends and joined the juniors to feed on lucerne. Wanjala, who was at the edge of the feeding compound, saw the bull approaching, picked up his pile of lucerne and moved away to avoid any conflict with the wild bull. Later, the orphans walked down for a drink but they couldn’t get close to the troughs as the wild bulls had occupied the entire space. Oltaiyoni tried to request permission to squeeze herself through to drink but was denied with a pointed trunk by one of the senior wild bulls. The Keepers intervened and moved the wild elephants away to give way to the juniors as they needed a drink before they went out to the bush for the morning.
At mud bath time around noon, the weather was still chilly and the orphans didn't dare to step into the water. Only Karisa put his feet in to test the water for his friends. He found that the water was very cold and moved out quickly. Amongst the rebel group of Laragai’s, only Kithaka joined the orphans at the mud bath. In the afternoon, Galla had a light strength testing exercise with Namalok that ended when Tusuja intervened by pushing Namalok away. The rest of the afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing.
13 August 2018
The sky was cloudy in morning as the orphans left the stockade. The orphans as usual settled for lucerne before heading out to browse. It was a quiet morning without any major observation. At mud bath time, the orphans had their milk and due to the chilly weather, just settled for soil dusting rather than having a mud bath too. In the afternoon, the orphans settled in the Kanziku area to browse. Here they were joined by Mutara’s group who later escorted the juniors back to the stockade.
14 August 2018
Mutara’s group with several wild elephants were at the stockade compound when the orphans were let out this morning. Sapalan, who had been held in the stockade for several days, joined his friends for a walk in the morning. A courageous buffalo walked to the water trough where two wild bulls were drinking water. The bulls tried to charge but the buffalo stood its ground and took water to its satisfaction before leaving at its own pleasure. Karisa, who has learnt greedy behaviour from his seniors, carried a bale of lucerne for himself and walked a short distance away from his friends where he put it down and started feasting on it.
Later, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area up until it was time to go to the mud bath, when Esampu led the first group to the mud bath. Enkikwe for the first time in several months was able to go down and roll in the water. Enkikwe's action caught Roi by surprise and she even became a little concerned for him. She decided to stay in the mud bath incase Enkikwe needed some help. A warthog who was trying to make his way to the mud bath as well stood no chance with Roi watching over Enkikwe and was chased away. Roi only felt releif when she finally saw Enkikwe get back to his feet. She rumbled, asking Enkikwe to hurry up to catch up with the group that had already disappeared into the bush.
The conditions are drying up and the orphans have been having to move further afield for browse. Turkwel and Enkikwe have been able to keep up with the other dependent calfs despite the distances. Both orphans are happy for the Keepers to treat their wounds. Lions could be heard roaring in the distance which given recent events is a worry.
15 August 2018
Kamok, Karisa, Rapa and Dupotto left their night stockade with branches in their mouths early in the morning. Twelve wild bulls were drinking water at the stockade water troughs when the orphans settled for their lucerne. Shortly later, a wild herd showed up followed by graduate orphans Kinna, her baby Kama, Sunyei, her baby Siku, Lenana, Chyulu, Ishanga, Kenze, Ithumbah and Mutara’s group. After feeding on lucerne, Kithaka walked down and briefly joined the bulls for water before returning to join his friends. Shortly afterwards, Kinna and her group escorted the juniors to the browsing field before parting ways.
Out in the bush, Rapa saw a tall tree that had green leaves and started salivating for the leaves. Rapa tried to find a way of how he could reach them. Just as Rapa was about to give up, he saw a rock close to a tree and he used this to reach the high leaves. Rapa plucked at the leaves happily, thanking the rock for being close to that tree.
At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by eight bulls who shared water and a mud bath with them without any problems. Namalok, who is very lively these days, was the star of the mud bath as he trumpeted and splashed water everywhere using his trunk, enjoying every moment in the water. Galla engaged Kanjoro in a strength testing exercise while Mundusi and Meto shared the same tree to scratch on. Olsekki and Siangiki remained behind with the wild bulls as they tried to drink as much water as they could, so that it would last them for the entire afternoon.
16 August 2018
Six wild bulls were busy taking water at the stockade water troughs when the orphans were let out. Mutara’s group joined the juniors for the lucerne and also to check on the progress of Turkwel, one of their herd members, who was attacked nearly a month ago. Namalok, who is growing bolder by the day, walked down to join one of the wild bulls to drink water, as Esampu settled for a scratching exercise. Later, Mutara’s group escorted the juniors to the browsing field and they spent the entire morning together. Kauro took a break from feeding to participate in a red soil dusting exercise as Mundusi settled to browse close to Enkikwe. Mundusi held a brief chat with Enkikwe and we were not sure what they spoke about. The inquisitive Wanjala joined Kainuk and held talks for some time before parting ways. Shortly before mud bath time, the temperature escalated making Olsekki and his friend Siangiki take a break from feeding to relax under a tree before finally making their way to mud bath.
After their noon bottle feed, Kamok and Enkikwe dodged the Keepers for nearly half an hour before being found walking up the western side of Ithumba Hill, while the rest of group was heading towards upper Kalovoto area.
17 August 2018
Soon after Esampu and Mteto finished drinking their milk, they quickly walked down and tried to put their trunks in Namalok's bucket trying to share his milk. Namalok didn’t understand why these little rascals tried to take his milk when he never tries to steal their bottles at all. Namalok complained bitterly to the Keepers, bellowing and asking them why they were allowed to take his milk. The Keepers came quickly and restrained Mteto and Esampu from drinking Namalok's milk. Outside the stockade, Karisa walked straight to the water trough and joined a wild bull that had come for water. Kainuk, who is a true friend to Turkwel, slept outside the stockade on her own as Mutara’s group left to go and search for food. Kainuk joined her friend Turkwel for lucerne when she and the others were let out in the morning.
Out in the bush, Namalok had a brief strength testing exercise with Tusuja while Barsilinga settled to feed with Siangiki. The slow independent Sapalan was feeding a distance away where he was later joined by the limping Enkikwe. At mud bath time, the temperature was moderate. Kainuk escorted her friend Turkwel to get her milk, expecting to perhaps receive some too as remuneration from the Keepers for attending to Turkwel the entire morning. The Keepers did not hear her pleas but thanked her for being there for Turkwel. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the western side of the Ithumba Hill until evening, when Maramoja led the first group back to the stockades.
18 August 2018
The day started off on a sad note when Chemi Chemi arrived in the morning with lion injuries. Chemi Chemi was in the company of graduate orphans Kinna, Kama, Tumaren, Sidai, Ishanga and Melia. Chemi Chemi now becomes the fifth elephant to be attacked by the lions. The first one was Enkikwe followed by Siangiki, then Sokotei and Turkwel. Narok and her herd had also had an attempt on their lives as well. The atmosphere was tense as the graduate orphans were nervous. Tumaren, who appears to have helped Chemi Chemi to fight off the lions, would not leave him alone even for one second. We bundled Chemi Chemi into the stockade but he was too strong and broke the gate lock and ran out. The vet arrived in time and treated him as the orphans watched.
At mud bath time, the weather wasn't appealing for wallowing and the orphans opted for a soil dusting session instead. In the afternoon, Kauro and Kamok browsed together and seemed to be deep in conversation. In the evening, Chemi Chemi was put into the stockade again but broke the fence and came out, making the Keepers come out and spend the night out to watch over him.
19 August 2018
It was a busy morning as we were visited by three big wild bulls who came to drink water in the stockade. Chemi Chemi was washed and treated but still felt very tense and stiff so that he did not want to be touched too much. Turkwel was very calm and allowed the Keepers to wash and treat her wounds. The dependent orphans mingled with the graduate orphans from Mutara and Olare's group who were waiting for the orphans just outside the stockade. We had a sleepless night as Chemi Chemi broke the gate at night and let the whole group out so we spent the whole night out watching over everyone. Chemi Chemi tried several times to leave the group but the Keepers returned him back to the group, even when he became grumpy and tried to charge at them. Soon he settled down and at least he could browse unlike yesterday when he was still in too much pain. Turkwel is doing very well and has got used to keeping the same routine as the dependent orphans. Her wounds are also healing very well.
Out in the bush during the day, Chemi Chemi was browsing with Tumaren, his friend and the one who saved him. Karisa and Maramoja were play-fighting. Namalok was also playing with Tusuja. Kithaka later led the group to the mud bath for their milk. Some decided to wallow in the water hole, including Chemi Chemi, and he splashed some mud on his wounds. Tumaren scratched her neck on a tree stump. The rest walked back to the bush for browsing. Back in the bush, Galla was very active while browsing and browsed with his ears held wide open. Turkwel and the rest of the group were hiding under the shade of some trees as it was very hot. When the group started to walk back to the bush later, they decided to have some fun in the muddy area along the road with Esampu rolling on the ground and kneeling down while playing. When they were done, the group walked back to the stockades for the night.
In the stockades, Chemi Chemi broke the gate again as early as 6:30pm. We repaired it temporarily and let him back in, but he became very restless. He tried to get through the wires again and the Keepers decided to let him out and watch over him out in the bush where at least he was more settled.
20 August 2018
It was an interesting morning as four of our graduate orphans Narok, Vuria, Orwa and Bomani who had been away for almost three weeks arrived at the stockades this morning. They were very thirsty and all ran towards the water trough to drink water. They then walked to the Lucerne area and joined their friends to eat. Bomani took a bunch of Lucerne on his back as a stockpile to eat later. Namalok started scratching his neck and later went on to play fight with Roi, before all the orphans walked out to browse. The Keepers were very tired today as they had stayed out the whole night guarding Chemi Chemi who had rejected the idea of going into the stockade for treatment.
The orphans later walk to the waterhole for their milk, mud bath and dust bath. After they had finished dust bathing, they started walking back to the bush. Chemi Chemi appeared alone and started playing in the mud. It was lucky that the Keepers were prepared for Chemi Chemi’s possible appearance with all the medicines to treat him. The Keepers tried to approach him but he was very restless; even a milk bottle did nothing to appease him. The Keepers persisted and eventually we were able to treat him and he rejoined the dependent orphans. They stayed with him the rest of the day and he came back to the stockades in the evening. This evening he accepted to enter into the stockade and we locked him in. After a few minutes, he became very restless and started knocking down the gate and tuning here and there. After a while he broke the gate and came running out straight to the bush. It took us a long time to repair the gate temporally for the rest of the group not to come out too. We persevere in trying to treat Chemi Chemi for his lion injuries but we cannot dart him because that would make him too weak.
21 August 2018
It was a quiet morning today as the orphan elephants had their milk bottles and walked down to the lucerne field to feed. We had no graduate orphans visit today but instead we had two buffaloes who visited to drink water. The newest arrivals from Nairobi seemed rather scared of them and held their ears held up and high, flapping them to scare the buffaloes away. Galla started scratching on the acacia tree while Turkwel prepared for her treatment after which she walked away and joined her group of orphans to go the bush to browse. She looked happy and active while browsing and was interacting with the dependent orphans too. She is doing very well and has her daily treatments without any trouble. Chemi Chemi arrived at the waterhole again and we tried to call him but he didn’t want to join the dependent group. Instead he decided to splash himself in the small mud bath; it is still very hard to treat him for his lion injuries but at least he looks very strong and active and is browsing well.
After the mud bath, the dependent orphans walked back to the bush to browse. Enkikwe walked to the waterhole along the Tiva road and started playing in it. Some of the orphans were resting in the shade while others browsed. Mutara’s group stayed with them the whole day and later came to the stockades with them in the evening. On the way back home, the group walked to the water pool along the Tiva road again and they all played there for a bit. Turkwel is very comfortable in the group and is very much enjoying all the love and attention from the Keepers .
Back in the stockade, we had a group of wild bulls with females and their babies too. They came to drink water and left after that. Mutara’s group came in with Olare’s herd. It seems as if these graduate herds seem to want to team up for the time being, as these days we always see them together.
22 August 2018
It was a lovely morning as we had graduate orphans from Olare’s herd outside waiting for the dependent orphans to come out after their milk bottles. The orphans came out and Rapa started scratching his bottom on a nearby rock. They all interacted and had their lucerne together before walking to the water trough to drink water. Turkwel was taken back into one of the stockades for treatment with Enkikwe at the same time.
Out in the bush they all the orphans looked happy until the graduate groups walked away. Turkwel has the blue colour of the antibiotic spray on her wounds and we could see those she was socialising with in the group as they had the blue on them too where they had rubbed against her. Sapalan browsed on his own.
Later at the waterhole where the orphans have their milk, Turkwel lead the dependent orphans to the water trough to drink water after they had all had their bottles. The orphans then had a mud bath while the wild bulls on the other side of the waterhole watched them. The wild bulls later came over to drink water when the orphans walked away from the mud bath back to the bush. They were all very busy browsing except for Esampu was busy scooping and tossing chunks of soil in the air and some on her back. Olsekki and Siangiki browsed together as they are very close friends.
At the stockade today we had a group of wild bulls who came to drink water with Olare’s group with them too. Kinna's herd later came in with Sunyei and their wild born babies, Kama and Siku. They were received by Olare’s herd with trumpets and rumbles. Chemi Chemi was not seen today.
23 August 2018
This morning the dependent orphans and the wild elephants drank water from the troughs at the same time. The orphans had their Lucerne and walked out to the bush to browse. Turkwel was treated before she joined the back of the group .The other orphans were very busy seriously browsing before it was time to walk to the mud bath area for their milk feed. Pare was scratching on a tree while Oltaiyoni browsed with her ears held open.
It was quite cold today and no one wanted to play in the water after their milk bottles. Only one wild bull entered and started swimming. The wild bulls also came to drink water and interacted with Enkikwe, Siangiki and Olsekki. The babies later walked back to the bush with Maramoja leading them. Whilst all the orphans were browsing trying to fill their stomachs, it suddenly became a lot warmer and the orphans decided to walk to the waterhole along the Tiva road to drink there. Most of them were very thirsty. Enkikwe and Siangiki were the most playful as they decided to play in the water as well.
Olare’s herd visited the stockades today and later Chemi Chemi came in alone. He was still very restless and unfriendly but we managed to apply the green clay on him and iodine as well. He was then sent away from the group by Makireti, Kilabasi and Murka. He still looks strong and energetic. The wounds are healing but he can't see with his left eye.
24 August 2018
This morning there were some wild elephants and graduate orphans drinking at the stockade compound and we noticed that Kandecha had a very swollen tail from another lion attack. We tried to get him into a stockade to treat the wound but he refused, although he was very relaxed. He allowed the Keepers to wash the wound and apply the healing green clay with iodine mixed in. Kandecha is a big elephant and is evidently still a target for these aggressive lions. Turkwel was treated with Enkikwe and then all the orphans walked out to the bush. Kandecha didn’t want to stay with the dependent orphans in the bush but chose to follow his own group. Chemi Chemi was around too and we managed to treat him after a long struggle. He was left behind and didn’t follow the other orphans. After a few minutes, Tumaren realized that he was not with them and came running back to collect him. She used all means to push him from behind and make him follow the rest of her group. The other babies were busy browsing on their own with Turkwel feeling happy to stay with the babies. Siangiki was kneeling down to cut some grass with her teeth.
Later at noon at the mud bath area, we had a large group of graduate orphans and wild elephants. Yatta, Sunyei and Kinna with their babies were among them. Back in the bush, all the dependent babies were very busy browsing and later Mundusi led the herd back home in the evening for their milk.
Yatta, Sunyei, Kinna and Galana with their babies Yoyo, Siku, Kama and Gawa also visited the stockades today with some wild elephants. They all had some water and left again.
25 August 2018
It was a quiet morning today as we only had four wild bulls in the stockade compound. They drank water and left. The orphans enjoyed their food without being disturbed by any other graduate orphans. We watched as Garzi was trying to get over the wall in search of any extra Lucerne. Turkwel and Enkikwe had their wounds tended to before following the others out to browse for the day. Whilst the others concentrated on browsing, Roi scratched her neck. Later Namalok led the herd to the waterhole for their milk. After their bottles they walked straight to drink some water before walking to the mud bath for a wallowing session. The majority of the orphans enjoyed wallowing and some wild bulls came to join them too. They came out and walk straight to the dust bath to coat themselves with a thick layer of soil. Enkikwe and Olsekki were left behind as they had not had any water. They went straight to the water trough and joined the wild bulls drinking there.
At lunchtime we received a radio call from the DSWT/KWS anti-poaching team asking us to confirm the identity of an elephant they had found with an arrow wound, and they feared it was a graduate orphan. We rushed to the scene and found that it was Ololoo, one of our graduate orphans who had been shot with an arrow twice on one of his legs. One arrow was found inside. We called the vet to come and treat him.
Back in the bush, Wanjala was dusting himself with soil while Mteto playing and raising her trunk up in the air. The rest were busy browsing up until the last moment when they had to begin the walk back home in the evening. In the stockade today we had a group of wild bulls who came to drink water. Chemi Chemi was not seen today and Kandecha's group were also not seen today.
26 August 2018
It was a quiet morning this morning as the dependent orphans happily fed on their lucerne. There were no graduate orphans to pay them a visit this morning, but we had three wild bulls who came to drink water. The wild bulls interacted with some of our orphans around the water trough, and later they walked off into the bush. Lemoyian and Turkwel were scratching their necks and bottoms leisurely as the others were all walking out to browse.
Later we watched as Galla enjoyed a playfight with Kauro and later on Namalok came in between and started play fighting with Galla again. Roi browsed from high in the trees before she and Namalok started scratching on the same tree. Turkwel browsed alone and then all the orphans walked towards the mud bath for their noon milk bottle. It was quite cold today so none of the orphans felt like wallowing after their milk, and no one attempted to get in the water. They all walked back to the bush to browse. Enkikwe concentrated on browsing with Siangiki; they have been great friends for a long time and like browsing together.
In the stockade today three wild bulls came to drink some water in the afternoon. Olare’s group came in with Chemi Chemi and we managed to let Chemi Chemi inside the stockade compound and gave him some lucerne grass and cubes to keep him inside and also to provide him with some more supplements as he was looking a bit weak. The vet has directed us not to do anything to him at this stage until he has calmed down, that way he can come and check on him and give him enough medication and treatment to last until the next one. We also treated Kandecha today as the vet directed us to. Turkwel and Enkikwe were treated as well as usual.
27 August 2018
The sky was clear in the morning and this was an indication of a hot day a head. Mutara’s group visited the stockade in the morning in the company of Ololoo who was treated three days ago after being spotted with some arrow wounds. Shortly later, Mutara steered the group north east of the stockade. It's really getting dry and now the orphans have to walk far in search of good vegetation. Karisa held a brief strength testing exercise with Namalok and remembered that wasting too much time playing would mean going home with not enough to eat and an empty belly. At mud bath time it was very hot, and this prompted all the orphans to go into the waterhole for a swim. The orphans were joined by eight bulls and parted ways soon after they had finished wallowing. In the afternoon, the dependent orphans settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area.
28 August 2018
Soon after leaving the night stockade, Karisa and Namalok walked straight down to the water trough and joined a lone wild bull that was relaxing there while drinking water. Esampu settled for a scratching exercise as Tusuja settled for light friendly pushing game with Galla. Galla turned to Namalok soon after finishing his game with Tusuja, and exchanged morning greetings by entwining their trunks. The no-nonsense Laragai came in between Namalok and Galla to separate them, but she could not stop their game as they just started up their game again as soon as Laragai moved away. Following the dry weather recently, Rapa didn’t want to go home without enough food, and went down on his knees to cut and pull up any shrubs that seemed fit to fill his stomach.
At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by two wild teenagers, who for some time tried to deny them access to the water. The Keepers intervened and as soon as the orphans had enough water, the teenagers came back threatening to push the orphans. The dependent orphans left to go out and browse again, leaving the teenagers to do as they wished. In the evening, Sapalan decided to enjoy a lengthy soil dusting session.
Very sadly, some Keepers stumbled across an elephant carcass near the upper Kalovoto area. The ivory had been removed. This is a clear warning that the poaching remains a threat still in Kenya and how important the anti poaching teams are. The teams have made significant arrests this month with a number of poachers apprehended, and a third DSWT/KWS Anti-Poaching team was brought into the area to help patrol as the dry season kicks in and large herds of elephants congregate around limited water sources. The elephant victim was a wild young bull.
29 August 2018
The orphans left the stockade early as usual. A herd of fifteen wild elephants were drinking water at the stockade water troughs. One of the female wild elephants became curious and walked towards the orphans to check out what was happening since she saw young elephants almost all the same size converging in one place. The female discovered that the orphans were feeding on lucerne and briefly forgot about the water as she quickly helped herself to the free food as well.
Out in the bush the dependent orphans were joined by Olare’s group. Chemi Chemi was still with the group and had made a slight improvement. At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and the orphans decided not to wallow but watched eight wild elephants who were enjoying a cooling-off exercise in the water, even though they felt it was too cold to swim. Graduate orphans Zurura and Taita were in the company of the wild bulls but they boycotted the wallowing exercise and instead kept themselves busy with a strength testing exercise. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in Kanziku area and had a quiet rest of the day.
30 August 2018
The sky was clear in the morning when the dependent orphans left the stockade. Indeed it was to be a hot day and Karisa and Namalok knew that they should pass by the water trough and arm themselves with enough water to see them through the entire morning. Shortly later, Olare’s group showed up without Olare, Kitirua and Naisula. Tumaren was at the head of the team. The graduate orphans joined the juniors and together they headed out to browse. We came across one teenage wild elephant who is sometimes aggressive towards us whenever we meet her at mud bath. This female amazingly enough had one tusk missing. What happened to the missing tusk is hard to tell. The same thing happened to Narok sometime back when she reported one morning with a missing tusk. Oltaiyoni picked a branch from the ground which she was happy to share with Olsekki and Siangiki. Later in the day, the orphans took a break from feeding to relax under a tree. They later resumed browsing when it was cooler again.
31 August 2018
Eight wild bulls were drinking water at the stockade water troughs when the dependent orphans were let out this morning. Shortly later, another ten wild elephants joined them. Galana, baby Gawa, Sunyei, baby Siku, Lualeni, Chyulu, Meibai, Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau joined the orphans to feed on lucerne. After feeding on lucerne, the graduate orphans escorted the juniors to the browsing field and after parted ways. The morning session was quiet as each orphan tried to work out on getting as much food as possible as it is already quite dry in the area. They did not want to return home too hungry! Kamok teamed up with Kauro as Mteto settled to browse with Mundusi. At mud bath time, nine wild bulls checked in and joined the juniors to drink water. The orphans then settled for soil dusting where Wanjala attempted to bully Sapalan but was cautioned by the Keepers before he got carried away. Later on, Oltaiyoni led the way to the upper Kalovoto area where the orphans settled to browse for the rest of the day.