Keepers' Diaries, December 2010

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

It is very exciting to learn that both Yatta and Mulika are now very obviously pregnant, the change in their breasts now becoming apparent and as such a sure indicator.

01 December 2010

Meibai and Makena, who had spent the previous night out, rejoined the Keeper Dependent unit at 9 a.m. accompanied by Yatta, Mulika, Nasalot, Kinna, Kamboyo, Ndomot, Sunyei, Buchuma and two wild bulls. The orphaned herd browsed together until the noon mudbath, after which Yatta led her group off, but Nasalot remained with her favourite, Kilaguni and the rest of the Youngsters, and escorted them back to the Stockades in the evening.

02 December 2010

Today, we expected the arrival of Suguta, Tumaren and Melia from the Nairobi Nursery, so the Keeper Dependent youngsters led by Makena did not browse far afield, but waited nearby to greet the newcomers upon arrival before noon. Thereafter the familiarization process began with enthusiasm, the newcomers greeted by their previous Nursery peers, after which Makena led the group out to browse. The new arrivals fed eagerly, and returned to the Stockades in the late evening along with the others.

03 December 2010

In the dead of night Wendi, leading a splinter group which included Galana, Ndomot, Zurura and Naserian came to the Stockades and waited for dawn in the compound when the Stockade orphans were let out. They were greeted by the Ex Orphans enthusiastically, Wendi most interested in Suguta while Naserian browsed close to Melia. The two groups browsed together during the morning, and attended the mudbath together when Suguta and Melia walked in the water without wallowing, but Naserian, Meibai and Zurura had a prolonged mudbath and Ithumbah and Kilaguni scratched their bodies against trees. The afternoon was spent browsing as a united herd until the Ex Orphans escorted the Juniors back to the Stockades in the evening.

04 December 2010

Today Wendi brought Kora, Lualeni, Ndomot, Galana and Rapsu to join the Junior group in the morning without Zurura and Naserian, who were with the group the previous day. Wendi took the Juniors to the browsing fields where the learning process of the newcomers as regards new browse at their disposal continued. At 11 a.m. Wendi left taking Kora, Ndomot, Rapsu and Galana with her but leaving Lualeni with the Juniors who escorted them back to the Stockades. Lualeni did not leave the compound, but slept there all night in order to be at hand the next morning.

05 December 2010

Lualeni joined the Juniors the moment they were let out. Since it was a cool morning, they did not need to take water, but left immediately for the browsing area where they were joined by Yatta, Mulika, Nasalot, Kinna, Orok, Buchuma, the wild recruit called “Mgeni”, Selengai and Napasha. Selengai browsed close to her favourite, Ithumbah while Nasalot as usual singled out Kilaguni. The entire herd enjoyed a joint mudbath, but later Yatta separated with her group, leaving Lualeni and Nasalot with the Juniors for the afternoon browsing session and to escort the Juniors back to the Stockades in the evening.

06 December 2010

Lualeni and Nasalot spent the night just outside the Juniors’ Stockades, and joined them again as soon as they were let out in the morning. As usual Nasalot selected Kilaguni and led the herd out where at 9 a.m. they were joined by Yatta, Mulika, Kinna, Orok, Selengai, Napasha, Mgeni, Buchuma and Taita. All browsed happily together and attended the mudbath, after which Yatta took her group away, leaving Nasalot behind with the Juniors. At 3 p.m. Kora, Rapsu and Zurura showed up at the Stockades, but disappeared again shortly afterwards.

07 December 2010

Kora, Lualeni, Rapsu and Zurura joined the Juniors early in the morning at the stockade water trough after which Lualeni led the Juniors out to browse. At 11 a.m. they moved to the usual mudbath, after which the four Ex Orphans left heading in a westerly direction. Led by Ithumbah. The Juniors browsed along the western slopes of Ithumba hill and Kilaguni led the group back in the evening.

08 December 2010

Makena led the Juniors out to browse in the Kanziku area where they were joined at l0 a.m. by Kora, Lualeni and Zurura. An hour later Meibai sneaked away with the Ex Orphans and failed to show up at the mudbath. In the afternoon Makena took her group back to browse in the Kanziku location, and minus Meibai the group returned as usual to the Stockades in the evening. For sometime now Meibai has been showing signs of upgrading himself to the Senior group, spending nights out with the Ex Orphans, so time will tell if he is ready to sever his human ties.

09 December 2010

A heavy downpour fell during the night. Rapsu, Lualeni, Kora and Zurura came to join the Juniors early in the morning, but without Meibai. The four Ex Orphans spent the day with the Juniors and led them back in the evening. At 7.30 p.m. Yatta’s group arrived, amongst them Meibai, whom the Keepers called to join his Junior peers in the Stockade, which he did, but only reluctantly.

10 December 2010

Makena led the Juniors to the Kanziku area to browse, where they spent a quiet day without contact with the Ex Orphans.

11 December 2010

On a cool morning, today it was Ithumbah who led the Juniors out to browse. In the field Meibai and Kilaguni enjoyed a strength testing match, which was won by Meibai, but which gave Kilaguni good experience!

12 December 2010

Morning dew covered the vegetation as the juniors left the Stockades today. Suguta and Melia decided to walk with the Keepers until later, when they joined the rest of the herd. At l0 a.m. Meibai separated from the rest of the Juniors, browsing in a Northerly direction, but later returned to join the others. At the mudbath the Juniors were joined by all the Ex Orphans except Mulika, Yatta, Kinna, Orok, Selengai and Taita. Later Wendi led the entire group to Kanziku where they browsed up until 3 p.m. when the Ex Orphans separated heading towards an undisclosed destination.

13 December 2010

Makena led the Juniors out. The vegetation is very lush after good rains, so pasture is plentiful everywhere, so browsing began near the Stockades, and the orphans did not have to walk far before being satisfied. None of the Juniors were interested in a mudbath, since they had been wallowing out in the rain puddles throughout the day.

14 December 2010

On a cloudy day the orphans were joined by Wendi, Galana, Tomboi, Rapsu, Ndomot and Sidai. Wendi was very attentive to Ithumbah while the others intermingled. An hour later the Ex Orphans left the Juniors, leaving them to enjoy the result of recent rains near the Kalovoto river, which was still running, until it was time to return in the evening.

15 December 2010

The orphans browsed calmly throughout the day, enjoying water running off Ithumba Hill. Makena led the group back in the evening.

16 December 2010

Wendi and her team were waiting for the Juniors to be let out first thing in the morning. With Wendi were Sunyei, Ndomot, Buchuma, Kamboyo, Sidai, Lualeni, Kora, Rapsu, Napasha, Galana and Tomboi and as soon as the Gates were opened, Wendi rushed up to greet Ithumbah, who is her favourite. Ithumbah rumbled her appreciation and began to follow Wendi everywhere. Shortly before it was time for the milk and mudbath Wendi and her group headed off, taking with them Makena. The Keepers waited for Wendi to return Makena in the evening, but they failed to turn up.

17 December 2010

Kilaguni and Sabachi welcomed a new day with a Pushing Bout while Suguta scratched her body against the water trough before the group headed out to browse. They are enjoying the lush vegetation enormously. Having taken their milk at noon, they spent time enjoying themselves in the waterhole. Ithumbah led the group back in the evening, happily taking on the role of Junior Matriarch in the absence of Makena.

18 December 2010

Suguta and Ithumbah led the Juniors out today and it was Suguta who led the group to the noon milk and mudbath venue. There Meibai suddenly raised his trunk, rumbled and headed eastwards, obviously having been summonsed by the Ex Orphans. The Keepers did their best to call him back, but he was having none of it, so in the evening the Juniors returned without him.

19 December 2010

Meibai joined the Juniors in the morning, to a great deal of trumpeting and rumbling telling them about his Night Out. After taking water, Ithumbah led the Juniors out where Kilaguni and Sabachi enjoyed a loose soil bath which drew the attention of Chaimu and Ithumbah who joined them. Suguta led the group to the milk venue at noon after which they took water and headed back to browse.

20 December 2010

The orphans left the Stockades in a happy mood, swinging their trunks from side to side which indicates joy. Out in the field Meibai and Kilaguni engaged one another in a Pushing Match which did not last long because Kilaguni withdrew. At around l0.30 all hell broke loose when Tumaren came running from a thicket in a state of panic, triggering a mass retreat back to the Keepers for protection. Meibai, who is the biggest Junior bull charged and trumpeted facing the direction from which Tumaren had emerged. The Keepers walked cautiously to see what had scared Tumaren, but found only a pair of dikdiks!

21 December 2010

Yatta, Mulika, Kinna, Nasalot, Orok, and Selengai reported to the Stockades just before dawn and waited for the Juniors to emerge at daylight. Selengai was very interested in Ithumbah, browsing next to her. The pregnancies of both Yatta and Mulika are beginning to become evident now, their breasts swelling and becoming very noticeable even without having to bend down. Later the Ex Orphans separated leaving Nasalot with the Juniors.

22 December 2010

Yatta, Mulika, Selengai, Taita, Nasalot and Orok joined the Juniors again in the morning at the Stockades, Nasalot focusing on Kilaguni as usual while Selengai chose Ithumbah again. Ithumbah was very happy, scratching her body against Selengai who tried to snatch Ithumbah. It took the Keepers several hours to find Ithumbah and lead her back to the Junior group.

23 December 2010

Wendi brought Tomboi, Galana, Sidai, Buchuma, Kamboyo, Chyulu, Lenana, Makena, Loijuk, Madiba, Napasha, Naserian, Challa, Ndomot and Sunyei to the Stockades in the dead of night to sleep in the Stockade yard, having been absent for seven days. At dawn the Ex Orphans fraternized with the Juniors briefly before leaving for an undisclosed destination. At l0 a.m. the Juniors were joined by Yatta, Mulika, Nasalot, Kinna, Orok, Selengai and Taita who then separated, leaving Nasalot with the Juniors. At 6 p.m. Zurura, Lualeni and Kora, who had been missing from both Ex Orphaned groups, finally showed up at the Stockade compound where they joined Nasalot who had escorted the Juniors back that evening.

24 December 2010

Galana and Tomboi came to join the Juniors briefly in the morning, but left again after spending about an hour with the Youngsters. At l0 a.m. Yatta and her group arrived but left just before mudbath time, again leaving Nasalot with the Youngsters.

25 December 2010

It was Christmas day. Nasalot spent the night close to the Stockades and joined the Juniors as soon as they emerged in the morning remaining with them throughout the entire day. In the evening Tomboi passed by limping on his right front foot, but on closer inspection the Keepers could find no reason for his limp.

26 December 2010

The Juniors spent a quiet browsing morning but were joined by all 29 Ex Orphans at the mudbath when Ithumbah enjoyed the undivided attention of both Wendi and Selengai, both of whom love her very much. The Ex Orphans spent the rest of the day with the Youngsters, even escorting them all the way back to the Stockades in the evening.

27 December 2010

Ithumbah led the group out today, all in a jovial mood as they streamed behind her. At noon Suguta led the group to the milk venue after which all enjoyed a lengthy mudbath since it was a hot day.

28 December 2010

Shortly after the mudbath, the Juniors were joined by Wendi’s group as they walked to the slopes of Ithumba hill where they settled down to feed. Later Meibai left with the Ex Orphans leaving the others to return to the Stockades without him.

29 December 2010

Suguta led the way out this morning, the rest of the group streaming behind her heading for the Kanziku area to browse. En route to the mudbath they were joined by Yatta, Mulika, Kinna, Nasalot, Orok, Selengai and Taita who walked with them to the mudbath. After the mudbath Yatta’s group left the Babies with the Keepers, and headed off into the bush again.

30 December 2010

Meibai, who had been away for two nights, returned to join the Juniors at around 8 a.m. accompanied by Wendi, Loijuk, Chyulu, Makena, Lenana, Sidai and Galana. The seven Ex Orphans browsed with the Juniors up until mudbath time when Meibai took his milk before leaving again with the Ex Orphans. The Juniors browsed near the mudbath venue until it was time to begin heading home in the evening.

31 December 2010

On the last day of 2010, the orphans left the Stockades in a happy mood, swinging their trunks from side to side. They enjoyed a quiet day, attending the mudbath as usual, but no Ex Orphans turned up today. In the evening the orphans returned as usual to their Stockades, to welcome in another year the next day!