Keepers' Diaries, August 2020

Umani Springs Reintegration Unit

Some big changes are unfolding at our Umani Unit at the moment as Alamaya seeks to explore his independence. While his age-mate Mwashoti retains strong ties to the dependent herd, Alamaya has branched out and sought the company of the more independent group the Keepers refer to as the ‘night-clubbers’ (for staying out all night) Zongoloni, Ziwa, Ngasha, Faraja and Jasiri. The arrival of Enkesha and Luggard a few months ago shifted Murera’s attention from Alamaya to Luggard, which may have spurred Alamaya into making his decision to branch away from the dependent herd a bit more. We are also seeing that Alamaya is out-growing sharing his night quarters with Murera; as soon as daybreak approaches, Alamaya is one of the first orphans out of his room, downing his milk bottle and eager to explore the forest with his more semi-independent friends. He is spending more and more time in the company of the night clubbers, especially Ziwa and Zongoloni, and sometimes doesn’t return for his midday bottle of milk.  

01 August 2020

Alamaya continues to show interest in becoming more independent. The arrival of Enkesha and Luggard has shifted Murera’s attention from Alamaya to Luggard, which may have come at the right time, as Alamaya is slowly approaching the age where bulls start exercising some independence.  

We are also seeing that Alamaya is out-growing sharing his quarters with Murera; as soon as daybreak approaches Alamaya is one of the first orphans out of his room, downing his milk bottle and eager to explore the forest with his more semi-independent counterparts. He is spending more and more time in the company of the night clubbers, especially Ziwa and Zongoloni.  

The Keepers continue to keep a keen eye on Alamaya, no wanting to hinder his progress but also not wanting him to rush as re-integration is a gradual process. They want Alamaya to ease into the process as the others have.

02 August 2020

Right now Shukuru is looking the healthiest she has been in the past four years. The recent medications have worked wonders and we can now see she is putting on weight, her condition has improved greatly, as well as her appetite.  

At the mud bath today, Shukuru indulged in a lengthy wallowing session, playing, rolling and splashing herself with mud. She then made her way to the dust bath where Faraja was already dusting himself. As everyone knows, Shukuru prefers to avoid the games and antics of the more boisterous orphans; she therefore chose to collect Enkesha and together they their way to the bush to a tree where they could scratch their itchy bodies together.

Murera with her maternal instincts always stay close to Luggard. Today they made their way to the water trough with Lima Lima bringing up the rear so as to protect Luggard from any of the other mischievous orphans. In the evenings, it is not uncommon to see Murera and Luggard be the first to arrive at the stockades. Murera knows, with Luggard’s pace, it will take them longer, so they set off a little earlier than the rest, escorted by a couple of Keepers.

03 August 2020

This morning, the stockade-dependent orphans busied themselves feeding on their lucerne pellets. A few wild elephants came by, uninterested in the Lucerne since they have never had any; they just greeted the orphans and carried on towards the Umani Springs, leaving Lima Lima and her friends to enjoy their lucerne.

At the midday bottle feed, two wild bulls arrived at the mud-bath area, causing some unease amongst the herd. Mwashoti and Zongoloni were quick to trumpet, signaling the Keepers and Murera to keep Luggard at a distance, in case the two bulls were not very friendly. Lima Lima and Sonje strategically placed themselves close to the Keepers in a way to protect them and Alamaya decided he wanted to engage one of the bulls in a pushing game. He approached the smaller bull but quickly realized how unmatched they were in size and retreated to where the rest of the herd was. The two bulls spent a bit of time drinking at the water trough but then carried on their way. The visit was quite uneventful.

04 August 2020

It has been two days now that Alamaya has been skipping his milk bottles. When he skipped his midday bottle today, we realized that this young boy had plans to join the “night clubbers”.

As evening approached, Alamaya was late making his way back to the stockades as he had met some wild friends in the forest. As he approached the stockade compound gate, he seemed a little undecided. Murera watched him from the compound for a while and as she turned to walk to their shared room, Alamaya turned back and decided to join Zongoloni. It seems the night clubbers now have a sixth new member. This move has come about quite unexpectedly although the signs have been there for a while. 

05 August 2020

We had quite a funny incident at the water hole today. Mwashoti was busy drinking and Sonje was wallowing, when three crane birds flew overhead, startling the two orphans. Without stopping to see what it was, both Mwashoti and Sonje ran from the water hole trumpeting, running towards the rest of herd and successfully startling them as well. The Keepers were quick to calm them and show them it was just a few crane birds that had stopped by for a drink of water. 

Lima Lima and Ziwa decided to join forces and chase away the crane birds, after which Mwashoti and Sonje felt reassured and returned to their activities of drinking at the water hole and wallowing in the mud.

Murera decided to follow her instinct and keep Luggard away from the herd today; Shukuru kept them company for while and then moved a bit further afield to carry on browsing.

06 August 2020

Since Alamaya has decided to venture out and join the night clubbers gang, he’s been missing out on his midday milk bottles, but today, he made sure he got to the mud-bath area in time for his share.  

Zongoloni was not so lucky; she got so carried away digging at acacia roots that she loves to eat, that she completely missed feeding time. She was not too happy when she got there and found all the extra bottles had been given away. The recipient of her bottle happened to be Mwashoti, and Zongoloni made her disappointment very clear by trumpeting in protest. The Keepers assured Zongoloni she would get a bottle in the evening, when she escorts Enkesha back to the stockades.

Shukuru, as always, when walking to the waterhole, walked ahead of everyone else, so as to get there before the noisy pushy boys, so that she could quench her thirst in peace.

07 August 2020

The morning began in a flurry of activity, with Lima Lima and Quanza rushing out of their rooms making a beeline for the Lucerne. This confused Enkesha and Luggard, thinking something exciting was about to happen. It was nothing really, except these two greedy orphans wanted to get to the lucerne before Zongoloni and her party of six arrived and finished all the Lucerne.

At the mud bath today, whilst the orphans splashed and wallowed in the mud, a herd of buffalo approached, and it looked like they wanted to wade into the water to cool off from the scorching heat and have a drink of water too. Alamaya decided that he wasn’t okay with that. He stood at the edge of the waterhole, in an intimidating pose, with his head held up and ears spread so as to ward off the buffalo. The buffalos waited nearby until the orphans were done and only entered the mud bath once all the elephants had exited.

08 August 2020

The weather at Umani Springs started off a bit windy this morning, but luckily not too cold. Lima Lima escorted Luggard out of the stockade gates with the Keepers, as Murera stopped at the water trough for a long drink of water. It seems as though there is an agreement between Murera and Lima Lima, that both of them would share the responsibility of looking after Luggard, especially if one of them needed to engage in other activities. The Keepers also feel this might be a strategic move to keep Luggard at a safe distance from Alamaya, who has been feeling a little jealous of the attention the young boy has been getting from the older girls.

Alamaya further exercised his independence today by breaking away from Ziwa and venturing out by himself to browse further afield. Poor Alamaya was in for a bit of a shock when a small herd of bushbucks ran towards him, startling him, and sent him running towards his friends and Keepers. Alamaya has a lot to learn about being an independent bull but is doing very well so far.

09 August 2020

Zongoloni and her night-club members, after spending the night out in the forest, arrived this morning with a few wild elephant bulls. Mwashoti was quick to realize this, and trumpeted loudly to alert the Keepers of these newcomers. Lima Lima who usually took on this role, was a little distracted with Luggard but Mwashoti took on this new responsibility very well.  

Ziwa, who was approaching the orphan herd with one of the wild bulls, turned away as soon as he heard all the trumpeting. Not wanting to upset the orphans or Keepers, he signaled to the wild bull that perhaps in the best interest of everyone that the wild bull should walk away. The wild bull, a little startled as well with the trumpeting, decided to retreat, trumpeting as he did, almost signaling the Keepers and orphans that he was walking away and did not want to cause any trouble.

10 August 2020

A wild female elephant and her new born calf visited the waterhole early this morning. The little calf seemed only a few days old, as he was still quite wobbly on his feet. The little one ran off and hid under his mother’s belly for protection as soon as he saw the stockades-dependent orphans approach the waterhole.  

Enkesha’s curiosity was peaked when she saw this little boy and ran towards him in excitement, thinking she had found a new friend to play with. As Enkesha trumpeted, we saw the little chap disappear into the bushes with his mother right behind him; they were a little shy to make friends with our overzealous orphan babies! Lima Lima ushered Luggard away from the scene as well, not quite knowing what the reception would be like from the wild female, as we know how protective elephant mothers are of their babies.

11 August 2020

Only Alamaya and Zongoloni met up with the Umani dependent-herd today. The other four members of the night-clubber group, Ziwa, Faraja, Jasiri and Ngasha, were nowhere to be seen. In fact we did not see them all day today. We’re guessing wherever they were, they were enjoying the freedom of being out in the wild.

Today turned out to be another cloudy morning, lasting all the way to midday. The orphans opted not to wallow in the mud, and instead just to finish their milk bottles quickly and head back out to resume their browsing activities.

As always, Zongoloni sought out her little friend Enkesha, and took her to the water trough to enjoy a long drink of water and then to the browsing field to show her where the tastiest branches were, the friendship between these two girls continues to grow.

12 August 2020

It has been quite a while since we last received good rain in the Kibwezi forest and now that the dry season is once again upon us, we are seeing an increasing number of wild elephant herds visit the Umani Springs. They continue to flock in large numbers as they are assured this is a safe place where they can fill up on water before they head out to the Chyulu Hills to look for browse.

These visits by wild elephant herds is also a blessing in disguise, as it gives the stockade dependent herd a wonderful opportunity to interact with wild elephants. Sometimes this is where some of our orphans also forge new friendships, and these friendships then extend towards the re-integration process when our orphans decide to break away from the herd.  

Alamaya did the Keepers proud today, when he arrived with a young female friend and her little babies. Alamaya wanted to show the Keepers and his friends how well he was settling into his new life, making friends so quickly. The Keepers were sure to show him how proud they were of Alamaya’s progress. Alamaya is proving to be quite a capable young bull.

13 August 2020

The arrival of a wild bull at the stockades this evening looking for water was a bit poorly timed. His arrival coincided with the orphans returning after a long day of browsing. Lima Lima was at the front of the herd and upon spotting the wild bull at the water trough she immediately turned around and returned to where Murera and Luggard were resting, to warn them not head to the water trough just yet. Murera left Luggard with one of the Keepers and both she and Lima Lima made their way back to the water trough with ears spread and trumpeting in warning for the wild bull to leave. The wild bull took-off into the bushes as fast as he could.

The Keepers were happy that once again, the older girls had acted in the best interest of Luggard. Everyone then took a long drink at the water trough before retiring to their stockades for the evening.

14 August 2020

No matter how old the orphans get, sometimes they still want to be pampered by the Keepers. Today they wanted the Keepers to lead them to where they should browse. The Keepers are always happy to oblige their beloved babies.  

Alamaya, despite being such a big and strong independent boy, wanted one of the Keepers to escort him to the water trough after his midday milk bottle. He looked around to see if anyone was willing to accompany him but all the Keepers were busy, so he carried on, on his own. When he walked back to the herd, all the orphans were gathered round, heads together, listening to Sonje about where they should move next to browse.

Alamaya had another busy day, foraging and discovering new places with fresh green acacia. Today he managed to pull down a rather juicy acacia branch. He stopped to enjoy his branch whilst the rest of the herd moved forward. Later on Zongoloni made sure to return to where Alamaya was to fetch her friend and re-join their friends so that they could all browse together.

15 August 2020

After a peaceful night in the stockades, the babies were ready to come out and start the day’s activities. Murera, as usual, stopped at Luggard’s stockade first to check in on him, and then walked to the water trough after handing over morning duties to Sonje.

Once the orphans had had their milk and lucerne, Sonje rumbled and seemingly called a meeting with all the orphans to discuss which direction they should head out to. After lengthy discussions, it was agreed that they would all stay close to each other and move together as a herd instead of scattering out as they normally do. This was to ensure safety for the little ones, and avoid any orphan being caught off guard, on their own, should they encounter a wild elephant. The Keepers and their wards soon moved off towards the forest where they stayed for most of their day.

The night-clubbers did not make an appearance today.

16 August 2020

Alamaya took his time wallowing at the big waterhole today. When he did emerge, he was covered in mud and his chest also felt very itchy. Since his friends were still busy wallowing, he made his way to the scratching post and spent a leisurely amount of time scratching whilst waiting for his friends to join him.

It was quite cold at the midday feed, so as soon as the orphans finished their milk bottles today, whilst the younger ones stopped at the water hole for a quick drink of water, the matriarchs put their heads together to discuss their next move. As soon as Murera raised her head, the younger ones saw that as a signal to start following the older girls.

The herd made their way to Umani Hills, where they remained for the rest of the day. The orphans were very peaceful today, with the older girls taking turns in looking after Luggard.  

17 August 2020

Once again, the orphans were eager to exit their stockades and start their morning activities. Jasiri arrived just in time to catch his friends as they were exiting the stockades. Although Jasiri is partly independent and spends his nights out in the wild, the orphans and Keepers allowed him to lead them out the forest. Enkesha and Sonje were seen with their heads bowed together as though they were making elaborate plans for their day.  

Alamaya felt he was in need of minerals so he pushed his trunk into the dusting pile of soil to sniff out the salts that had been laid for them. He took a trunkful of this soil to his mouth. Elephants, once they go out in the wild, learn how to extract certain minerals from plants, trees, bark and soil to supplement their dietary needs. We believe a lot of the wild friends our orphans meet show them and teach them these important skills.

Shukuru founds some waterholes in the Kibwezi forest. She used the mud to cool her body and then instead of splashing the water on herself, she stepped inside the waterhole with all four feet to cool off. It seemed like she was enjoying her own little spa. A dispute broke out between Jasiri and Mwashoti. Jasiri challenged Mwashoti to a strength testing game thinking Mwashoti was still a little boy, but was unprepared when Mwashoti pushed back. Mwashoti has shot up in size and strength proving he was now an equal match for Jasiri.

18 August 2020

The morning started really well with all the orphans enjoying their milk and Lucerne and then heading out for their browsing activities.

After the midday feed, the Keepers spotted a wild bull making his way out of the forest towards the dust bath. To ensure Luggard’s safety, the Keepers moved both him and Murera to a safer space. Usually Lima Lima would have alerted the Keepers a little sooner but she was nowhere to be seen, neither were Faraja and the other older boys. By the time Lima Lima arrived, the Keepers had managed to move the wild bull back into the forest and all was well.  

When the orphans were walking back home in the evening, Quanza and Mwashoti came across a herd of wild elephants and joined them. By the time Keepers got to the stockades, they realized Quanza and Mwashoti had not re-joined the Umani herd after their little soiree. A few of the Keepers piled into the SWT vehicle and set out to look for them but in vain. Despite calling out their names and looking for them in the thickets of bushes, they returned without Quanza and Mwashoti. The Keepers took turns staying up at night, in case the two babies returned.

Early next morning as everyone was stirring; Mwashoti and Quanza were found waiting at the stockade gate. Sonje ran out to greet them with many trunk hugs and the Keepers were overjoyed to see their wards and welcomed them back with bottles of milk.

19 August 2020

Since Alamaya joined the night-clubbers, he has shown great competence at becoming more and more independent. The Keepers are particularly impressed at the speed this has happened and how successful Alamaya has been at making new friends. 

Alamaya turned up at the midday mud bath with a much older bull in tow today. He was eager to introduce the older bull to his elephant and human family. It seems Alamaya is very popular with the wild herds out in Umani.  

The older bull sensed Sonje and Murera’s trepidation, and so decided to browse alone with Alamaya. The older girls moved further away from the older bull, not quite sure how to handle his presence. As the afternoon wore on, and it was time to go home, Alamaya and his older friend met up with Ziwa and Faraja and they all disappeared into the thicket of forest to spend the night in the wild, as the rest of the orphans made their way back to stockades for their evening bottles.

20 August 2020

Alamaya can be greedy and silly at times. He was watching Mwashoti drinking joyfully at the water trough. To Alamaya it seemed as though Mwashoti was helping himself to some delicious treat. Unable to contain his curiosity, he went up to Mwashoti, and put his trunk in Mwashoti’s mouth to smell for himself what Mwashoti seemed to be enjoying so much; well, of course it was just water.

Enkesha continues to be a very capable little girl, always surprising the Keepers at how well she is adapting to life in Kibwezi. Today she did not wait for the older girls to show her where to browse; she found a very sweet acacia tree and pulled down one of the tallest branches. She did this away from the others so that she could enjoy her acacia in peace without the older boys to bother her, also because today she did not have the protection of her friend Zongoloni.

The Keepers had quite a good laugh today. It seems Faraja has picked up Alamaya’s habit. Faraja was very curious when he saw Ngasha chewing on something. He walked up to Ngasha and placed his trunk in Ngasha’s mouth to see what he was eating. The Keepers also figured Faraja was too lazy to browse and therefore just shared some of Ngasha’s greens.  

Murera relieved Lima Lima off her duties looking after Luggard, to allow the younger girl to take a break, browse and have her fill of water at the trough. In the meantime Murera lovingly doted on Luggard. 

21 August 2020

The morning started rather cloudy and foggy. The Keepers didn’t think that the orphans would want to stop at the water trough because it was so cold, but Lima Lima proceeded to have her fill knowing that a long day of looking out for the Keepers and her beloved Luggard lay ahead of her.

As soon as Lima Lima had quenched her thirst she walked back to join Murera and Luggard who were walking at a slow place. Murera was already giving Luggard trunk cuddles and holding him close to her chest knowing that this makes babies feel safe and loved.  

After their midday bottles, Lima Lima decided to take a stroll across the lawn of the Umani Springs Lodge. She looked around and saw the Keepers were busy, and decided to take her time walking through the lawns, she seemed to be thoroughly enjoying her little escapade until the Keepers spotted her and called her back to re-join the herd, as they were ready to move on their browsing activities. Enkesha seemed in particular to be in a rush to get to the Umani Hills, where they spent the rest of their day before returning to the stockades in the evening.

22 August 2020

Ziwa was very pleased with himself having discovered some fresh green acacia trees, deep in the forest. Just as he was settling down to browse, loud screaming and yelling baboons broke Ziwa’s peace, startling him and sending him running towards the Keepers. Alamaya, who was not far away, stopped his foraging when he heard all the commotion, and moved towards the Keepers for safety. It seems the only one unperturbed by all of this was Faraja. Having spent so much time out in the wild on his own, this big bull is not easily scared by anything.  

Later in the afternoon Faraja approached Lima Lima and tried to climb on her. Lima Lima was not very impressed and made that very clear to Faraja and spent the rest of the afternoon running away from persistent Faraja. Eventually the older girls had to intervene to let Faraja know his intentions were not welcome.  

23 August 2020

Enkesha remains Sonje’s little apprentice. This clever girl follows Sonje whenever she can. Enkesha knows, if she sticks close to Sonje, Sonje will show her where all the best browse and greenest freshest acacia trees are. Both Sonje and Enkesha started to move towards the Kibwezi forest. Enkesha walked a little ahead towards the springs, where she ran into some crocodiles who were basking on the banks, enjoying the warmth from the sunshine. Startled, the crocodiles jumped back into the water and this commotion sent Enkesha running back to Sonje.

As the temperatures rose, the orphans decided to move towards the mud bath to cool off. Not everyone partook in the wallowing but those that did emerged from the mud-bath feeling refreshed and cooler. Ngasha then took to a dry post to scratch himself. Mwashoti did not participate in the mud-bath today, instead he chose to spend more time foraging on vegetation, on his own.

As the sun dipped in the sky, the orphans settled into a line and started to make their way slowly back to the stockades.

24 August 2020

The temperature continued to rise as the day wore on today. The orphans stopped at the mud-bath longer than usual and there were a lot of fun and games for all. The orphans were moving back and forth between the mud and the waterhole, taking their time and enjoying this well needed activity.

Lima Lima was a bit distracted as she wallowed, keeping an ear out for Luggard. He let out a small trumpet and this caught Lima Lima’s attention right away, and she rushed over to where the little boy was, only to realize he was responding to one of the Keepers calling out to him. Lima Lima found Murera already present by Luggard’s side so she walked back to the mud bath. Enkesha was not particularly concerned with Lima Lima’s rushing around. She just concentrated on enjoying her mud bath. She wallowed close to her friend Zongoloni, and Zongoloni even allowed Enkesha to place a playful foot and trunk on her back.  

As always, Shukuru exited the mud-bath before the others did, to then make her way over to the dust bath, to dust in peace before the other boisterous orphans got there. Mwashoti got carried away at the waterhole and he was enjoying it so much that he did not notice his friends had moved on; one of the Keepers had to come back to call him to re-join the herd.

25 August 2020

Shukuru is looking so well, her health continues to improve and she is more jovial and willing to participate with the rest of the herd. Today we witnessed her reach up to some of the taller and greener branches. Normally she would settle to browse on the shrubs closer to the ground, but her new found vigour and strength now allow her to access taller branches. She found a particularly sweet branch, which she broke off and continued to chew on for a while.

The six night-clubbers usually turn up at the midday bottle feed to catch up with their friends and the Keepers, but not today, which was lucky for the stockade-dependent orphans who each got an extra bottle of milk.  

All the orphans then moved onto the mud bath, where Shukuru and Quanza turned out to be the stars of the day. With none of the other more energetic orphans to bother them, they enjoyed wallowing for a long time. Sonje and Enkesha did not join them, but then at the dust pile, everyone joined in on this fun activity, whilst the older girls discussed their browsing plans for the rest of the day.

26 August 2020

The six semi-independent orphans seem to have changed their visiting time with the stockade dependent orphans. Previously, they would visit early morning as the orphans were getting ready to leave, or catch up with them at the midday bottle feed, but increasingly we are seeing that if they visit in the mornings, they arrive after the orphans have left, or if it is at the midday feed, they do the same thing - they arrive after the orphans have moved onto their afternoon browsing activities. This new change has come about since Alamaya has joined the night-clubbers.  

Today Zongoloni didn’t visit and it was obvious Enkesha missed her friend very much. Usually Zongoloni escorts Enkesha to the water trough but today Sonje took over this responsibility.  

Mwashoti also waited for his friends, and when they did not turn up, Quanza followed Mwashoti and then led him to a place where they could find tasty acacia leaves. The rest of the herd carried on browsing in this area and then closer to the evening, Murera and Sonje led the herd back to the stockades in single file, ready to retire and bed down for the night.

27 August 2020

The orphans set off for the Umani Hills soon after their milk and Lucerne.

Everyone was very busy browsing and as usual, Murera and Lima Lima were very vigilant with Luggard; their utmost priority is always his safety and keeping the boisterous boys away from Luggard. All the orphans have come to understand this and so they too are gentle around our Lion Heart Luggard. Sonje, Murera and Lima Lima have proved to be excellent guardians for Luggard. They shower him with so much attention, and he knows how safe and loved he is within the herd.

Since Zongoloni and the other night-clubbers have been rather unpredictable with their visits, Enkesha feels she needs to find another friend. She’s been looking to Quanza to fulfill that role in her life. Zongoloni’s comings and goings are pretty much decided by the boys, in particular Ziwa, so there are times when the six semi-independent orphans stay away, like today for example. They did not visit at the midday feed, leaving extra milk bottles for the other orphans. For the Keeper’s it is unclear as to whether this is a passing phase or have they finally weaned themselves off the milk.

28 August 2020

Luggard resting his head and leaning on Sonje formed a very sweet picture. Lima Lima also watched on with great love for the little boy. Luggard is bringing out the best maternal instincts in the older girls.

Meanwhile in the forest while everyone else was foraging, playful little Enkesha raised her trunk, and caught the sweet scent of the milk bottles being carried in the vehicle, and decided to make her way to the midday bottle feed area.  

The other orphans remained unaffected by the scent and sounds of the vehicle, because they knew, when it was time, the Keepers would call them by groups - led by the calm and organized orphans and last but not least by the slightly greedier orphans, such as Lima Lima, who always demands an extra bottle.

29 August 2020

Enkesha got a bit lost in the forest today. She had been following Ziwa whilst browsing but the big bull had no idea that the little girl was following him and carried on out of the forest and towards the Chyulu Hills to join his other friends.

Enkesha wandered around the forest and then this clever little girl turned around and went back in the direction she had walked from. Luckily a Keeper was already looking for her and both were relieved to see each other.  

Enkesha spent the rest of the day following Quanza. Enkesha is assured that following Quanza is a safer bet then following one of the night-clubbers. She walks right behind Quanza, doing everything that Quanza does.

30 August 2020

Sonje and Murera miss Alamaya very much since he joined the night clubbers, but against their better judgment, they know Alamaya has made the right move and do not try to entice him to spend more time with the Umani herd. They have instead taken all that love and poured it into looking after Luggard. Luggard continues to flourish under all this care and attention; he truly loves the older girls. 

Once Murera and Luggard were done with their bottle feed, Murera needed a break and wanted to dust in the dust pile so handed over the responsibility to look after Luggard to Lima Lima. Lima Lima, who was very thirsty, walked to waterhole as well. Luggard was left by himself and so he decided to join the rest at the dust bath. He stood by and watched Murera, Enkesha and Shukuru roll around in the dust. They were all waiting for Quanza and Mwashoti to finish wallowing.

After a long and hot day, the orphans took refuge from the heat under some acacia trees. The older girls and Keepers did a head count to ensure everyone was present. The six semi-independent orphans were not with them today, and as the sun started to cool, the orphans started to make their way back to the stockades. Only Alamaya turned up at the water trough in the evening. He did not enter the stockades, just had his fill of water and carried on into the forest to meet up with the night-clubbers and his wild friends.

31 August 2020

The Keepers had missed seeing Zongoloni, so it was a very pleasant surprise when she turned up with Ziwa, Ngasha, Alamaya, Faraja and Jasiri today. They came out of the thickest part of the forest, an area which the Keepers have not seen them come out of before.  

The night-clubbers did not stay long; they greeted their friends and were off again before the midday feed. This left Sonje and Murera to take lead and decide that the orphans should wallow and cool-off the in mud before heading out for their afternoon browsing activities. Shukuru turned out to be the swimming star today! She splashed and wallowed and showed off some new moves and for the Keepers; it is such a good sign that Shukuru is getting stronger by the day.

As the orphans made their way back to the stockades, out of all the night-clubbers only Alamaya was waiting for them outside the gate. Everyone had a drink at the water trough and retired to their respective stockades and as they were settling in, the rest of the night-clubbers came by to fetch Alamaya and disappeared back into the forest. All we could see was their backs and swishing tails as they pushed through the bushes and shrubs.