Keepers' Diaries, December 2017
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
Following the November rains which continued into early December, there was plenty of vegetation around for the orphans to relish and the Keepers watched as they ran between one plant and bush to the next, selecting their favorite things to eat, almost overwhelmed by the variety available suddenly. The rain tapered out towards the end of the month but clouds lingered and we were hopeful that we would be blessed with more rain before the end of the year to see us through the next few, customary, dry months ahead, but sadly this didn't happen.
01 December 2017
The orphans left the stockade in a jovial mood and they were swinging their trunks from side to side. Out in the bush Galla dusted himself and scratched his buttocks on a nearby rock. Shortly later, he was joined by Ukame in the scratching exercise as the rest of the herd concentrated on feeding on grass. Following the November rains, the orphans have plenty to feed on and choose from and we watched as Dupotto, Lemoyian, Kithaka and Roi switched from one plant to another, choosing the best leaves they could lay their trunks on. Galana, Gawa, Nasalot, Nusu, Lualeni, Sidai, Challa, Lenana, Ololoo, Meibai Naserian and Loijuk paid a brief visit to the stockade before disappearing out into the Park. Olsekki took a break from feeding to participate in lone game of rolling on the ground. He was later joined by Sirimon. Lemoyian and Kithaka had a competition over who had the longest trunk as they stretched them high in the air to pluck succulent leaves. There was no winner since they both managed to get what they wanted. Later, Kithaka and Garzi, who are no longer on milk, settled for a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw.
02 December 2017
The orphans were joined by Mutara and Narok’s groups early in the morning when they were let out. There were brief morning greetings between Kanjoro and Bongo, Garzi and Orwa, Kithaka and Turkwel and the playful Lemoyian with Sokotei. Lemoyian, whose tusk came loose some time back and it looked as if he would have none at all, now has something to smile about. The tusk that broke is now regenerating again.
Out in the Park the Ex Orphans parted ways with the juniors apart from Bongo, who decided to stick together with the dependent elephants. Ukame started a game of rolling on ground where she was joined by Sirimon, Wanjala, Siangiki, Enkikwe and Lemoyian. At one time they all decided to take a nap together, given that there is plenty of food around now and they did not have to worry about finding as much food as they could before the end of the day. Later, Lemoyian settled for a strength testing exercise with Sokotei, a game that ended in a draw. In the evening, Sirimon came across a pool of water that he briefly took a break from feeding to play in.
03 December 2017
Mulika and Mwende in the company of Mutara and Narok’s groups were at the stockade compound to welcome the juniors out this morning. Tusuja entwined his trunk with Narok in morning greetings while Shukuru said hello to her long time friend Mutara. Boromoko joined Kanjoro in an anticipation of learning new pushing techniques, by engaging him in a strength testing exercise. The cool and cautious Karisa, who dislikes being pushed by his friends, settled for a scratching game on the edge of the water trough. Enkikwe briefly engaged Kainuk in a pushing game that he quickly lost. Siangiki, who is Enkikwe's friend, took over from him and engaged Kainuk in a light pushing game. Mutara, on the other hand, warned Garzi of the serious consequences if he dared come close to requesting a pushing game.
Naseku took a break from feeding to scratch her belly on a nearby rock. Enkikwe settled to feed with Siangiki while Olsekki settled to feed with Sirimon. On their way to the mud bath, the orphans came across some water that they decided to cool off in, before heading to the mud bath where they were joined by Ex Orphans Galana, baby Gawa, Lenana, Lualeni, Challa, Rapsu, Sidai, Ishanga and Meibai. Naseku assigned herself the duty of taking care of Gawa and even left with Galana and her group. Later the keepers went to search for Naseku and when they found her, she was very reluctant to leave Gawa as she wanted to be her older sister. Naseku protested by trumpeting and charging to the nearby thickets as she made her way back to join the dependent group.
04 December 2017
Soon after leaving the stockade, the orphans were welcomed by Zurura who had spent the night just outside the stockade. Zurura escorted the juniors out to where they began to browse. Enkikwe settled to feed with Sirimon while gala learned some pushing techniques from Zurura by engaging him in a light pushing game. Thereafter, Galla moved to practice what he had learnt on Boromoko. Enkikwe left to team up with Shukuru after Sirimon attempted to ride on him as Naseku settled to browse with Olsekki.
Shortly before mud bath time, Garzi came across a small pool of water that he used to cool himself down in by getting in and rolling around in the water. Later in the afternoon, the weather changed and it became cloudy and at around 3.30 pm it started to rain lightly. The rain activated the orphans’ playing mood. They started rolling on the ground and playing in the running water. Dupotto emerged as the star of the day as she prolonged her game even after her friends had finished long before!
05 December 2017
It was a quiet morning as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from their stockades. Led by Siangiki, the orphans headed to Kone area where they settled to browse. The orphans were joined by recently independent Orwa, Narok, Bomani, Vuria and Bongo. Garzi got the opportunity to play with his long time friend Vuria. The flamboyant Lemoyian settled for a pushing game with Sokotei while the fastest Naseku settled to browse with Tusuja. Enkikwe and Ukame took a break from feeding to dust themselves while Wanjala teamed up with Bongo to feed. Later, Enkikwe and Tusuja decided to settle their scores through a pushing game but Orwa, who was feeding close by, intervened by pushing the two boys away. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing.
06 December 2017
Orwa, Bomani, Narok and Bongo spent the night just outside the stockade compound and welcomed the juniors out in the morning. Out browsing they were also joined by Mutara’s group Chaimu and Kilaguni. All the groups mingled together as the juniors enjoyed the company of the other Ex Orphans. Naseku and Tusuja teamed up with Sities and copied what she was doing. Chaimu and Kilaguni tried to win the juniors hearts by lying on the ground and inviting them to play together. Wanjala walked to where Kainuk was feeding and had a brief chat before Kainuk pushed him away. We weren’t sure why, but boys will always be boys, and maybe Wanjala was misbehaving. The little show-off Lemoyian humiliated Wanjala further by pushing him again when he passed close to him. The sky was cloudy today and the weather was warm. This prompted Nursery friends Naseku, Roi and Dupotto to participate in a small mud bath when they came across a small pool of water. Later, Naseku came across a bent tree that she used to scratch herself on, while Shukuru tried to test her strength by trying to push another tree. Galla engaged Boromoko in a pushing game, which he later lost. In the afternoon, the orphans enjoyed browsing on the western slopes of the Ithumba Hill, where there was lots of different vegetation to browse on.
07 December 2017
Soon after leaving the stockade, Ukame led the way to the browsing field where Sirimon and Enkikwe started their day’s activities by engaging in a pushing game. Tusuja teamed up with Olsekki to browse while Kamok scratched her ears against a tree. Later, the orphans came across some water where Galla, Sirimon, Naseku, Dupotto, Tusuja, Enkikwe and Oltaiyoni participated in a mini mud bath as they prepared themselves for the new arrivals from Nairobi. When Sapalan, Namalok and Kauro arrived, they were first welcomed by Roi, Galla and Dupotto. Roi entwined her trunk with Namalok but later pushed him to show how bossy she can be. Roi turned to Sapalan thinking that he was just as easy as Namalok but she got a rude shock when Sapalan turned to defend himself. Eventually, Sapalan decided to show a bit of respect to his new family by withdrawing and walking away. Sapalan was followed by Oltaiyoni who tried to comfort him by placing her trunk on Sapalan.
Out in the bush, Sirimon welcomed Namalok and Sapalan by climbing on them. As Namalok and Sapalan were interacting with the other orphans, Kauro kept on following the keepers and feeding close to them, a habit he had even before he went back to Nairobi. Karisa, who never appears concerned with whatever is happening around him, kept himself busy with soil dusting as the rest of herd were familiarizing themselves with the new babies. Later in the day, Boromoko engaged Galla in a pushing game and after winning that, he went to tackle Tusuja. In the evening all the orphans returned to the stockades for the nights.
08 December 2017
Early before dawn it started raining. Kauro, Sapalan and Namalok woke up to their first morning in Ithumba with a blessing of rain. The ground was very slippery following the 30mm of rain we received early before dawn. Karisa, who isn’t very attached to any of the orphans, was the first one to leave the stockade. The orphans made a brief stop at the stockade water troughs where they only played with the water with their trunks, before leaving to browse.
The orphans had fun playing with the wet soil. Sokotei, Kamok, Naseku, Olsekki, Siangiki, Dupotto and Wanjala rolled on the ground as Sapalan stood a distance away watching. Lemoyian joined the group and started climbing on those who were on the ground, but his actions slowly brought the game to an end. Boromoko and Olsekki wrestled with each other but there was no clear winner from their game. Sapalan browsed close to Karisa, and we thought that Karisa might soon have a friend, while Namalok browsed close to the peaceful and gentle Shukuru. Close to the mud bath area, the orphans were briefly joined by Wendi, baby Wiva, Lenana, Chyulu, Makena, Makireti, Kasigau, Kilabasi, Lualeni, Loijuk, Ishanga, a wild orphan and three wild elephants. Lenana and Loijuk interacted with the juniors, trying to find out more about the state of the new comers. Sapalan and Namalok didn't look too bothered by the presence of the Ex Orphans but concentrated on feeding, as Kauro stayed close to his keepers. Garzi invited Ishanga to a pushing game with the intention of learning some new pushing techniques, which he could use on his fellow age mates. Olsekki played with Boromoko but Sirimon tried to intervene by getting in-between, something which angered Olsekki. He stopped the game with Boromoko and ramped up the game with Sirimon. Sirimon couldn't withstand Olsekki and surrendered by running away. Later, Ishanga had a brief conversation with Siangiki as they engaged each other in a light pushing game.
09 December 2017
The sky was partly covered by clouds in the morning as the orphans left the stockade heading to the bush. Led by Ukame, the orphans settled to browse in the Kone area. They concentrated on browsing and didn’t play any games up to mud bath time, where they were joined by Zurura, Chyulu, Yatta, baby Yoyo, Kinna, baby Kama, Yetu, Mulika, Mwende, Bongo, Teleki, Meibai and Loijuk. Chyulu tried to familiarize herself with Sapalan and Kauro though the two babies showed no interest in Chyulu. Chyulu tried to win the hearts of the orphans by lying down with the intention of attracting the youngsters to come and play. Only Tusuja came and stood beside her though, the others stood some distance away. When Chyulu realised her methods weren’t working, she stood up and walked to where the orphans had converged, rumbled and then started walking away. The orphans then followed her as she took them to meet with the rest of the Ex Orphans who were feeding close by. Naseku got the opportunity to play ‘nanny’ to the ever playful Kama while Garzi had a brief chat with Meibai. An hour later, the Ex Orphans parted ways with the juniors, and walked off into the Park.
10 December 2017
Ithumba hill was partially covered by mist when the orphans, led by Namalok, Sapalan and Roi, left their stockades this morning. Ukame, the no nonsense girl just like Siangiki and Laragai, pushed Sapalan out of the way so she could lead the way. Boromoko, who embraces the spirit of sharing, teamed up with Enkikwe to feed from the shrubs while Karisa settled to feed with Namalok, though from time to time Karisa would take some leaves from Namalok’s mouth. Namalok grew tired of this and moved away to join Sapalan and Kauro while Karisa moved to feed close to Siangiki. Later on, Naseku, Galla and Sokotei took a break from feeding to have a game of rolling on the ground. Tusuja and Boromoko briefly engaged in light friendly pushing game as Kamok took a break to relax under a tree.
At mud bath time, Kauro led the first group of Tusuja and Karisa for their noon bottle feeds. After mud bath, Kithaka and Barsilinga, who consider themselves as grownups these days, moved away from their friends where they enjoyed some privacy in a soil dusting exercise.
11 December 2017
Early before dawn, Mutara and Narok’s groups checked in at the stockade compound. The junior Ex Orphans stayed until day break when the orphans were let out. Sapalan led the way out as Sities led her friends into the stockade to find out if there were any leftovers. Galla met with Sities and decided to challenge her, but Sities was too strong for him and he opted to surrender and walk out. Lucerne was distributed to them but instead of feeding on it, the orphans started tossing it up in air, and shortly later headed to the browsing field to enjoy the fresh flourishing vegetation. The gentle Boromoko started his day's activities by engaging Olsekki in a light pushing game, while Naseku rolled on the ground. The junior Ex Orphans escorted the others out into the Park where Mutara and Suguta had light pushing game while Sirimon sought some pushing lessons from Sities. Sities accepted and took him on for a training session that didn't last for long. Thereafter, Sirimon practiced what he had learned on Tusuja and Enkikwe. Bomani, who left us and joined the wild without tusks, now has something to boast about because at long last the tusks have come out! Bomani tackled Tusuja in an effort to show him that he should not mess around with him since he is a new Bomani, with tusks! Sapalan and Namalok took a break from feeding to engage in soil dusting exercise as Karisa stayed close by. Shortly before mud bath time, the junior Ex Orphans parted ways with the dependent ones. Roi led the first group of girls consisting of Naseku and Dupotto for their midday bottle feeds, as Kauro led the second group consisting of boys Galla and Karisa. In the afternoon, Tusuja enjoyed a light pushing game with Olsekki and when they were done, they rejoined their friends to feed again.
12 December 2017
Shortly past midnight, Laragai managed to open the gate and all are her friends happily walked out to join Mutara and her group who were relaxing outside. It was the first time that Siangiki, Olsekki, Enkikwe, Sokotei spent half of the night feeding outside. In the morning, they came back with Orwa, Bomani and Narok and briefly joined the juniors for lucerne before heading to the bush. Kauro moved a distance away from the rest where he fed quietly without disturbance, while Namalok took a break from feeding to participate in a wet soil bath. Sapalan held a brief conversation with the cool Shukuru while Boromoko and Olsekki decided that work without play made Jack a dull boy, and so for some time enjoyed a wrestling match that ended in a draw. When the sun became too hot, the independent Kamok found a suitable tree with nice shade where she relaxed for awhile before resuming browsing.
At mud bath time, the orphans were joined briefly by Wendi, Lualeni, Loijuk, Zurura, Lenana, Makena, Kilaguni, Chaimu, Ithumbah, Makireti and two wild elephants. Amazingly Wiva, Wendi’s baby, was nowhere to be seen and Wendi seemed unfazed; she must have stayed with her other nannies. Galla tried to challenge Makena to a pushing game but Makena was too strong for him, so Galla surrendered by turning and walking away. In the evening, the orphans passed by mud bath where they had an evening cool-off before heading back to the stockade.
13 December 2017
Mutara’s group and another Ex Orphan group led by Wendi consisting of Lenana, Challa, Ithumbah, Makireti, Kasigau, Chaimu and Kilaguni arrived at the stockade compound early before dawn. Wiva was still not with Wendi. It's hard to tell if Wiva, who is now two years and two months, has decided to leave her mother while in the comfort of being with her other nannies, or it Wendi who has abandoned her baby, but we are sure it is a temporary separation. The juniors briefly settled for lucerne with the Ex Orphans were Wendi settled to feed with Namalok. Kithaka walked a distance away, then rumbled calling his friends to follow him, and they all followed leaving the Ex Orphans enjoying the lucerne. Oltaiyoni settled to browse with Ukame while Tusuja teamed up with Sokotei. Later, Kauro moved to feed with Sokotei, while Namalok took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. At milk feeding time, Sapalan, who shows almost no interest in his milk anymore, headed straight to enjoy a cooling mud bath as the keepers tried in vain to coax him to come for his milk. Mutara, Sities, Turkwel, Kainuk, Suguta, Kanjoro, Kilaguni, and Chaimu joined the orphans. Mutara later escorted the juniors to browse, then returned to join her own older group. The orphans settled to browse on the western side of Ithumba Hill. Galla briefly played with Boromoko, as the rest of the herd concentrated on browsing.
14 December 2017
Orwa, Bomani and Narok joined the juniors as soon as they came out of their stockade. Boromoko, who appeared to have woken up in a jovial mood, decided to give Roi a hard time by riding on her each time they met. Roi decided to quit feeding on lucerne and left to stand close to Narok, knowing that Narok would defend her. Upon seeing this, Boromoko turned to Tusuja and engaged him in a pushing game that lasted only for a few seconds.
Out in the bush, the dependent orphans were joined by Mutara’s group briefly, who then made off with the group that is off now off milk, plus some others. Kithaka, Laragai, Garzi, Lemoyian, Barsilinga, Siangiki, Enkikwe, Olsekki and Sokotei went for a tour with Mutara’s group and rejoined the milk dependent group later on the way to the mud bath. After mud bath, Galla had fun rolling on the ground as Wanjala tested his strength against a tree. In the afternoon, Oltaiyoni teamed up with Namalok and Dupotto while Sapalan settled to feed with Barsilinga. In the evening, Shukuru, who still chooses to remain dependent while others younger than her make that big step to living in the wild, walks at her own pace and came into the compound later at around 6pm.
15 December 2017
Mutara’s group have become our regular visitors in the morning, and today they joined the orphans soon after they were let out. Garzi loves challenging his seniors, and tackled Kanjoro in a pushing game that went on for quite some time. Barsilinga tackled the no nonsense Sities, but quit when the going got tough. Kainuk settled to browse with Namalok as she tried to get to know him better, as Turkwel engaged Tusuja in light pushing game. Siangiki had an itchy neck and used a nearby tree to scratch it. Naseku, Galla and Karisa teamed up to browse. Sirimon settled to browse with Kauro as Kainuk moved to have a chat with Garzi. At milk feeding time, Shukuru and Sapalan didn't bother to have their milk but changed direction to a small water hole close to the mud bath where they settled for a cool-off exercise. After mud bath time, Sapalan settled to feed with the big boys Kithaka and Barsilinga and in the evening, Galla and Tusuja wound up the day's activities by engaging in a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw.
16 December 2017
Karisa led the way out soon after the morning milk. Outside the stockade, the orphans were received by Orwa, Vuria, Narok and Bomani. Laragai had let her stockade-mates out by opening the gate at around midnight and Kithaka, Barsilinga, Garzi, Lemoyian, Siangiki, Enkikwe, Olsekki and Sokotei were happy to join Mutara’s group that had camped outside the stockade. This group joined the orphans later out in the bush. Tusuja and Boromoko, who have become playmates recently, started their day activities by engaging each other in a pushing game. The orphans settled to browse close to the stockade in anticipation of the arrival of Pare, Rapa and Maramoja. At 8.40 am, the lorry carrying the three Nursery babies arrived, much earlier than usual, and they were offloaded. Roi, Galla, Kauro and Karisa were the first ones to meet with the new babies. Kauro welcomed them by rumbling as Roi was inquisitive as she moved around them, gently touching them with her trunk. After quenching their thirst at the water troughs, the new babies were led away to the browsing field. Pare seemed quite at home and straight away started feeding on grass flanked by Ukame, Galla and Naseku. Maramoja and Rapa stuck together as they moved and did everything together. Ukame tried to bully Pare but was cautioned by the keepers. Mutara, Turkwel and Suguta checked in and walked straight up to Maramoja and Rapa, wanting to greet the new babies. At eleven o'clock in morning, the new arrivals were taken for their first mud bath in Ithumba, where they were joined by the senior Ex Orphans led by Yatta. The orphans had a spectacular wallowing time as they waded through the water from one edge of the mud bath to the other. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to feed in the Kanziku area where Pare, Maramoja and Rapa continued to receive lessons about being in the wild from their older friends.
17 December 2017
The day started earlier than usual. Shukuru was loaded into the lorry that had brought Pare, Maramoja and Rapa to Ithumba and this was few minutes past midnight. As Shukuru was being loaded into the lorry, Laragai opened her gate and all of her friends poured out as if coming to witness and bid Shukuru farewell; by the time Shukuru comes back, some if not all of this group might be living in the wild. After the lorry carrying Shukuru left, Laragai and her group disappeared into the darkness, where they started browsing early. At day break, the group returned with Orwa, Bomani, Narok and Vuria and settled to share lucerne with the juniors. Orwa had brief chat with Kamok before taking away some lucerne from Kamok's mouth. Shortly later, Mutara’s group joined in and escorted the juniors to the browsing field. The flamboyant Lemoyian was challenged by Tusuja when he climbed on him without his consent. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Challa and Zurura. The weather wasn't appealing and so the orphans took their milk and some water before heading slowly back out to browse. The orphans had a quiet afternoon as they settled to browse on the western side of Ithumba Hill. In the evening, the weather had changed and was it was much hotter, prompting the orphans to pass by mud bath for an evening coo-off.
18 December 2017
After having their morning milk, the orphans were let out. Zurura who appeared to have spent the night just outside the stockade, stood at the exit point of orphans as he greeted them when coming out.
Later the orphans were joined briefly by Nasalot, baby Nusu, Loijuk and Teleki. Siangiki spent some time playing with Nusu. Oltaiyoni settled to browse with Namalok as Boromoko engaged Galla in a pushing game that saw Boromoko emerge as the winner. Later, Sirimon challenged Lemoyian in a game that ended in a draw. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by the senior Ex Orphans under the leadership of Yatta. Only the Ex Orphans chose to wallow in the mud bath, as the orphans returned back to the browsing field soon after having their milk and some water. The afternoon was cloudy and the orphans enjoyed the cool weather as they concentrated mostly on browsing.
19 December 2017
Rapa and Maramoja teamed up with Barsilinga to browse this morning and to learn a few things from him. Boromoko and Lemoyian saw it wise to start their day in a strength testing exercise that went on for quite some time before they decided to get on with the important matter of eating! Later, the playful Lemoyian invited Olsekki to a pushing game that Olsekki accepted without delay, and the duo were at it for quite some time until Garzi intervened and separated the two boys. The independent lady and gate-opener, Laragai, browsed far away from her friends and only joined the rest of the herd on the way to the mud bath. Sokotei enjoyed rolling on the ground which was disrupted by Olsekki and Lemoyian when they walked up to him and attempted to climb on him. The action of the two boys prompted Sokotei to cut his game short and he moved to another area far away from them. Naseku and Galla took a break from feeding and spent some time rolling on the ground. At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to get into the mud bathing water. Kamok briefly entwined trunks with Boromoko and thereafter held a brief chat with Kithaka before heading back to the browsing field. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area where Pare settled to browse with Ukame while Sapalan teamed up with Sokotei and Naseku.
20 December 2017
Soon after the juniors had their morning milk, the independent Karisa led the way out as the rest of the team followed behind him. When the orphans walked out into the Park to browse, they were joined by Mutara and her group. Garzi, who is nearly joining the wild, tackled Kanjoro in a pushing game that lasted for quite some time. At long last Kanjoro gave up and left to join his group who by then, had parted with the juniors and were heading towards Kalovoto. The orphans had a quiet morning feeding without any major observation. At mud bath time, Dupotto led Maramoja and Rapa in the first group while Pare checked in with the second group. Though the weather was chilly, Kamok and Oltaiyoni led the group to wade through the mud bath water. A wild bull that arrived scared Rapa, Maramoja and Pare when it trumpeted, trying to scare away the keepers. Pare, Maramoja and Rapa ran towards the keepers as they had not heard such a loud noise from a bigger elephant for a very long time. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area where Dupotto spent a lot of time feeding with Lemoyian.
21 December 2017
Tusuja and Sirimon started their day by participating in a strength testing exercise soon after they were let out. Boromoko and Dupotto opted to drink water first before settling for lucerne. The two walked down to the water trough before joining their friends for lucerne. Tusuja surrendered his game and this left Sirimon with no other option other than to move Enkikwe and invite him for a pushing game. Enkikwe accepted and had a brief pushing game before it was interrupted by the dominant boy Garzi. Kauro kept himself busy by scratching on a nearby rock as he waited for the signal that they were heading out to the Park.
Out in the bush, Barsilinga teamed up with Lemoyian to feed as Kithaka settled to feed with Pare. Shortly before mud bath time, the orphans came across a small pool of water where Galla, Rapa, Maramoja, Ukame, Naseku and Pare decided to go into the water and have a great wallowing time. Bongo, the water boy, appeared from the bushes and joined them. Dupotto led Tusuja and Kamok in the first group as they headed for their milk. In the afternoon we watched as Kauro briefly chatted with Maramoja and then Bongo escorted the juniors back to the stockades for the evening.
22 December 2017
It was a quiet morning as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from their stockades. Led by the independent Karisa, the orphans headed straight to the bush and settled to browse at Kone area. The weather was cloudy and the orphans concentrated on browsing until they arrived at Kone dam. The orphans settled for a cooling mud bath before heading for their noon bottle feeds. On the way, Kauro opted to dry himself by rolling on the dry soil while Barsilinga briefly engaged Garzi in a light strength testing exercise. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the western side of Ithumba Hill. The clouds cleared giving way to sun shine and this prompted Sapalan and Namalok to seek refuge under a tree until the temperature dropped, before resuming browsing. In the evening, Bongo, who had joined the orphans an hour earlier, escorted the juniors back to the stockade.
23 December 2017
Laragai, Garzi, Kithaka, Barsilinga, Lemoyian, Siangiki, Enkikwe, Olsekki and Sokotei, who had spent the night outside after the cunning Laragai managed to open the gate for them, reported early in the morning at the stockade compound. The other orphans were let out and joined them outside. Maramoja followed by Rapa led the way straight to the browsing field as the rest of the herd followed behind them. Only Kauro was seen from time to time taking some time off from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. The temperature was moderate and after the orphans had their noon milk bottle they jumped into the mud wallow and enjoyed cooling off by wading through the water from one edge to the other. Boromoko and Galla enjoyed climbing on their friends while still in the water. After wallowing, Barsilinga and Kithaka had a light strength testing exercise as Lemoyian watched, hoping to get an invitation by the winner. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse close to Imenti area where Pare and Maramoja took a break from feeding to relax under a tree until it was a bit cooler and they felt like browsing again.
24 December 2017
Laragai and her group spent the better part of the night wandering around outside. When they returned in the morning, they were accompanied by Orwa, Bomani, Vuria and Narok. The orphans were let out and the entire herd walked out to browse. Shortly later, they were joined by Mutara's group. Garzi picked a fight with Sities which went on for quite some time until Garzi gave up and moved to Kanjoro, thinking that he would be able to defeat him. However, Kanjoro fought tooth and nail to make sure that he wasn't defeated by Garzi. Garzi surrendered when the going got too tough for him. Turkwel settled to feed with Siangiki and from time to time stopped feeding to have a brief chat with her. Enkikwe settled to browse with Karisa while Maramoja settled to feed with Rapa.
At mud bath time, Ukame was annoyed by Rapa, Pare and Maramoja when heading for their milk, as they ran faster than her leaving her behind. After having her milk, Ukame decided to teach Maramoja and Rapa a lesson by trying to run after them so as to push them. Maramoja and Rapa had already read what was in Ukame's mind and as soon as they had their milk, they walked far away from Ukame. When they saw her approaching in a charging mood, Rapa and Maramoja disappeared so fast such that all Ukame saw was a cloud of dust left behind! Naseku, Roi, Tusuja and Dupotto enjoyed a cooling mud bath in a drying water hole north east of the mud bath. In the afternoon, Kauro scared his friends when he pretended to hear or see something scary, and ran towards the keepers. The rest of the herd ran behind him. When he got close to the keepers, Kauro stopped and started feeding as if nothing had happened! His intention was to be close to his keepers and his trick worked since all his friends had escorted him there.
25 December 2017
Olare's group who have been missing for awhile, showed up at the stockade early before six o'clock in the morning. The group was accompanied by Nasalot, baby Nusu, Loijuk and Naserian. Pare, Maramoja and Rapa had the opportunity to play with Nusu, but not for long before Kalama and Olare took Nusu away from them. The orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area as the Ex Orphans headed to Kalovoto. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by a lone junior wild bull that cut their wallowing exercise short as he tried getting into the water, charging and trumpeting. The orphans decided to leave the water and ran back to bush as the bull ran in the opposite direction, apparently content after disrupting the wallowing exercise for all the orphans! In the afternoon, Barsilinga and Kithaka had a light pushing game while Siangiki found a suitable tree that she used to scratch her neck on. Later in the evening, the orphans passed by the mud bath where they enjoyed an evening cool-off before heading back to the stockades.
26 December 2017
The senior Ex Orphans in the company of a few wild elephants reported at the stockade early before dawn. When the juniors were let out, they intermingled with the Ex Orphans for sometime before parting ways. Siangiki had a brief chat with Kalama before following her friends.
The orphans concentrated mostly only browsing this morning. Ukame settled to feed with Lemoyian as Namalok teamed up with Rapa to browse. The quiet, independent Karisa had a misunderstanding with Kauro that prompted Karisa to lightly push Kauro and walk off to feed on his own. Roi climbed up a nearby rock where she enjoyed a nice view of her friends. It was all quiet at mud bath as the orphans went into the water to wallow in peace soon after they had their milk, unlike yesterday when a junior wild bull interrupted their wallowing session for no apparent reason. The temperature was moderate and the orphans had a quiet afternoon.
27 December 2017
Laragai, Garzi, Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian who spent the night outside, joined their friends as soon as they were let out early in the morning. Barsilinga and Kithaka had a strength testing exercise for sometime before settling to browse. Shortly later, the juniors were joined by Mutara and her group. Kanjoro engaged Garzi in a pushing game as Sities settled to browse and have a chat with Maramoja and Rapa. An hour later, Mutara and her group parted ways with the orphans. At eleven o'clock in the morning, Kamok led Namalok and Karisa in the first group for their noon milk bottle. The mud bath was quiet without any wild elephants or Ex Orphans visiting. The orphans took sometime enjoying a cooling off exercise as Boromoko and Galla did their usual thing of climbing on the others. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area until five o'clock in the evening, when Kauro led the first group back to the stockade.
28 December 2017
Soon after arriving out in the Park, Galla and Tusuja started their day’s activities by engaging in a pushing game that was disrupted by Boromoko in an effort to be involved as well. Tusuja and Galla declined and moved away from Boromoko and continued with their pushing game. The Ex Orphans briefly passed by the stockade compound and had a quick drink of water before proceeding west of the stockade. Kamok led Karisa and Dupotto in first group as they headed for the noon bottle feeds. Naseku led the second group while Oltaiyoni led the third as Maramoja led the forth group. After wallowing, where everyone participated, the orphans headed for soil dusting and after headed back to the browsing field. The orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area where they were joined by Orwa, Bomani and Vuria, but parted ways shortly before heading back to the stockade.
29 December 2017
The sky was clear as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from the stockade. Led by Naseku, the orphans headed straight and settled to browse in Kone area. Barsilinga settled to browse with Tusuja while Karisa teamed up with Sapalan. Wanjala competed with Galla who between them could pluck leaves from the tallest trees. Galla quit the competition and met with Boromoko who engaged him in light pushing game. Their game was interrupted by Barsilinga who when passing close by decided to push the two boys away. Boromoko and Galla ended their game and went separate ways. Naseku led Roi and Dupotto to the milk feed in the first group, while Maramoja led her Nairobi group that never walks slowly when heading for their milk! The sun was hot and this prompted all the orphans to participate in the wallowing exercise where Galla, Boromoko, Wanjala and Lemoyian enjoyed riding on their friends. After mud bath, Lemoyian and Kithaka had disagreement that was sorted out through a pushing game. Lemoyian, the tough guy that never gives up easily, gave Kithaka a hard time before finally surrendering and walking away. Zurura and two wild bulls briefly passed by mud bath heading to an unknown location. In the evening, the Ex Orphans consisting of Olare’s group, Makireti’s group and Mulika with few members of the senior Ex Orphan group showed up at the stockade and left immediately after having enough water.
30 December 2017
Karisa left with a branch in his mouth early in the morning. As the rest of the herd were busy feeding on lucerne, Karisa first made sure that he was done with the branch before joining his friends. Naseku took a break from feeding on lucerne to have her own game of rolling on the ground. Shortly later, the orphans were joined by Mutara’s group.
Naseku settled to feed with Pare while Sapalan, who has weaned himself off milk, settled to feed with Kithaka. Boromoko and Galla had lengthy strength testing exercise that came to an abrupt end when Garzi intervened and pushed the two boys away. Boromoko moved to where Olsekki was feeding and attempted to ride on him. Olsekki wasn't happy about this and he turned to defend himself fiercely from Boromoko. The ever joyful and smiling Boromoko didn't take Olsekki seriously and enjoyed the pushing game for sometime before Boromoko quit and resumed browsing. At mud bath time, only the young ones participated in wallowing. In the afternoon, the sun was hot making the orphans converge under a tree, and they only resumed browsing when the temperature dropped. In the evening, the orphans passed by the mud bath where they were briefly joined by Yatta, Kinna, baby Kama and baby Yoyo. Yatta had a new look after breaking one of her crooked tusks in an undisclosed location. Galla and Tusuja finished up the day's activities by engaging in a pushing game.
31 December 2017
After their morning milk feed, Karisa picked a branch and left with it as he walked out of the stockade, where it was taken from him by the temperamental Ukame. The ever joyful and smiling Boromoko picked on Tusuja for a pushing game and later settled to play with Galla.
Soon after arriving out in the Park, the orphans were briefly joined by Olare’s group. Tusuja had a brief conversation with Chemi Chemi as Pare, Maramoja and Rapa met with Murka for sometime before Olare’s group walked away. Kauro settled to feed with Karisa while Kithaka and Barsilinga walked a short distance away from the rest of the group where they settled to browse. At mud bath time, Boromoko, who likes riding on his friends, picked on Tusuja until Tusuja managed to break free and run away. After mud bath, the orphans dusted themselves with soil before returning back to the browsing field.