Keepers' Diaries, December 2011

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Ithumba Reintegration Unit

Bountiful rains in November have turned the normally dry grey Ithumba Commiphora woodland into a lush green jungle, filled with flowers and butterflies and with food and water readily available, so it has been a festive month for our orphans. Sadly, however, poor Kora returned on the 11th with yet another two arrow wounds from the Kalavoto river area accompanied by faithful Lualeni (his very best friend)and 8 year old Rapsu. Kora was, very lame from one wound in the top joint of the right foreleg and was again admitted to the Stockades for treatment. Also needing medical attention has been Kitirua who seems to have had one eye pierced by a stick or thorn.

Bountiful rains in November have turned the normally dry grey Ithumba Commiphora woodland into a lush green jungle, filled with flowers and butterflies and with food and water readily available, so it has been a festive month for our orphans. Sadly, however, poor Kora returned on the 11th with yet another two arrow wounds from the Kalavoto river area accompanied by faithful Lualeni (his very best friend)and 8 year old Rapsu. Kora was, very lame from one wound in the top joint of the right foreleg and was again admitted to the Stockades for treatment. Also needing medical attention has been Kitirua who seems to have had one eye pierced by a stick or thorn.

On the 5th Kora took Ithumbah from the Juniors for a nights outing with the Senior Ex Orphans, but returned her to the Stockades that day at dusk. However, Ithumbah obviously enjoyed her wild outing and has since decided to upgrade herself to the Ex Orphan Senior group, besotted with Mulika’s tiny 1 month old calf “Mwende”. Aside from Mulika’s baby, she is now the smallest member of the Ex Orphan Seniors, but still gets a bottle of milk if she and the Seniors happen to join the Juniors at the noon mudbath milk venue.

The Junior Keeper Dependent orphans have enjoyed a lot of contact with the Senior Ex Orphans this month. They mingled with all the Seniors at the mudbath on the 7th, and were joined on the 9th by Wendi’s group which included Ex Junior Matriarchs Galana, Lualeni, Sunyei, Chyulu, Lenana, Sidai and bulls Meibai, Challa and Rapsu. On the 13th Wendi’s group, amongst whom this time was the wild recruit “Mgeni” were at the Stockade gates at dawn to greet the Youngsters the moment they emerged, having slept outside in the compound. When they all left for the bush Lualeni decided to remain behind with Kora who was too lame from his arrow wounds to accompany them.

On the 14th Lualeni and Sunyei accompanied by bulls Challa, Napasha, Tomboi, Rapsu and Madiba came to visit Kora at the Stockades at 7 a.m. and spent time with him before heading out to feed. On that day a KWS Vet who had come to see the Tracker Dogs took a look at Kora’s arrow wounds which were responding well to treatment with Green Clay, as well as Kitirua’s eye which is being treated with antibiotic eye ointment. Lualeni was back to spend time with Kora again on the 15th and was at the Stockades to spend some time with him again the next day after which she led the Juniors out to browse, but at 10 a.m. peeled off, taking Ololoo with her. He spent that night out, but returned at 7.30 a.m. on the 17th brought home by Wendi who was with Lualeni, Ithumbah, Mulika and her baby, Mwende, the wild boy given the name “Kijana” and another wild bull.

On the 18th all the Ex Orphans (numbering 29 now that Ithumbah and Ololoo are with them) were at the Stockades first thing in the morning to greet the Juniors very warmly as soon as they emerged having taken their morning milk inside. Nasalot, Wendi, Naserian and Sidai then escorted the Junior’s to the Stockade water trough where Kilaguni and Sabachi had a disagreement that deteriorated into a tough fight and had to be separated by Naserian. Wendi then took charge and led the entire herd out to browse, spending time with them out in the bush before peeling off
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The l9th saw Lualeni back at the Stockades to see Kora, this time accompanied by Naserian, Sunyei, Lenana and Chyulu escorted by boys Tomboi and Rapsu. Later on at noon Yatta, Mulika and her baby, the baby’s principal Nannie Kinna, Ithumbah, Naserian, Wendi, Buchuma had the wild recruit “Mgeni” with them as well as another wild recruit| given the name “Kijana” and a third wild friend. All enjoyed a quick drink at the Stockade trough.

By the 21st Kora had recovered sufficiently to accompany the Juniors out to browse. Faithful Lualeni was there to lead the group out, spend the entire day with them, and bring them all back to the Stockades in the evening. The next day Lualeni returned, paying a lot of attention to Ololoo as he took his milk, even tempted to try and snatch his bottle as he drank! The Keepers intervened to prevent her doing so! The 23rd was a drizzly day, which left all the elephants in a jovial mood, made even better by a visit from Yatta’s Seniors. The Youngsters were all very anxious to include play baby Mwende in the fun and games, but Nannie Kinna was having none of it!

Christmas day was marked by the appearance of two wild dogs who passed close to where the elephants and their Keepers were out in the bush, made special by a fleeting visit later from Wendi, Sunyei, Sidai, Galana and Lenana accompanied this time by Ex orphan boys Kenze and Challa, all en route to the Imenti waterhole, which by now was also a mini lake in which elephants could swim and submerse themselves entirely. Earlier Chaimu caused a stir by erupting from the bushes with outspread ears as though alarmed, prompting all the Juniors to retreat and crowd around their Keepers for protection. This proved to be nothing more than a false alarm – possibly even a trick played on friends.

On the 27th all the Ex Orphans, including Mulika and baby Mwende passed by the Stockades and took a drink from the Stockade trough even though water was plentiful out in the bush in all the waterholes. Perhaps they came just to check up on their human family in passing. And so,
December has been an action packed month for the Ithumba orphans, the Keeper dependent young bulls, Kilaguni, Sabachi and Kimbo incessantly engaged in strength testing exercises, Ololoo and Ithumbah deciding to upgrade themselves to the Senior Ex Orphan herd, Mulika’s little baby thriving, adored by all, especially Kinna and all the big girls. Little Mwende is never short of Nannies, and Mulika never short of Carers and Protectors for her precious firstborn. At month end, judging by her size, Yatta looked as though she would give birth to a litter she was so rotund and so, we begin the year 2012 anticipating another addition to our Ex wild Orphan herd.

December 2011 day to day

01 Dec

The orphans headed out for the day with Ithumbah in the lead who was also keeping an eye out for the ex- orphans with whom she enjoys spending time. At 11am the group had their milk at the mudwallow before continuing to browse. They enjoyed a mudbath later in the afternoon.

Ithumbah

Orphans browsing

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