Keepers' Diaries, December 2020

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

Despite it being a difficult year the world over, our orphans at Ithumba are none the wiser and some might say have never looked happier. Every morning they exit their rooms with swinging trunks and a bounce in their step, evidently looking forward to the new day ahead. With all the rain the Ithumba area has received the orphans have never been more content and nonchalantly browse slowly all day long filling their tummies. When conditions are drier, they focus a great deal more on feeding to make sure they have their fill, but in these times of plenty, even a spot of fresh loose soil proves irresistible and the orphans can be easily distracted from browsing by all sorts of different games! Ambo is still in the habit of leading all the orphans out in the morning, he is so desperate to begin the day feeding on all the fresh vegetation to be found, and the others all have to quickly run after him to make sure he heads out in the right direction.

01 December 2020

Soon after leaving the stockade Malima decided to go down on her knees then lie down completely to have some fun rolling around. Ndiwa and Mundusi woke her up and informed her that it was too early for such games. The orphans settled briefly for Lucerne before walking down to the water troughs have some water. Jotto and Karisa exchanged morning greetings by entwining their trunks as if they were meeting for the first time that morning, and had not actually spent the whole night together in the same stockade! Dololo decided to test his strength by tackling one of the big boys Olsekki. Olsekki tackled Dololo in a gentle manner as he knew that Dololo was just wanting to learn some pushing tactics from him. 

Out in the bush, two of our big girls Roi and Oltaiyoni had fun soil bathing as they had a private conversation between themselves. With so much water across the grasslands the orphans had done enough bathing before heading for their noon milk feed beside the main water hole, so they chose not to swim after having their bottles. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated more on browsing. 

In the evening Sapalan, Kamok, Tusuja, Kauro and Barsilinga didn't want to go back to the stockades and decided to sneak away from the Keepers so as to continue feeding and return back to the stockades later in their own time. The Keepers managed to track them down however and found then hiding along the Kalovoto River, and safely walked them back to the stockade compound. 

02 December 2020

Musiara and Malima left their stockade with a branch each in their mouths. This was to keep them busy as they waited for the Keepers to serve them with some Lucerne this morning. Maramoja and Sapalan stood under the only remaining acacia tree in the compound and the two had a brief chat as they also scratched against the acacia tree. Maramoja perhaps wanted to find out from Sapalan what was on his mind when he decided to come back late to the stockades yesterday. After a while Maramoja seemed to grow bored however as Sapalan continued to scratch so she left to join her other friends.

Later in the morning Musiara, Wanjala and Tusuja settled for a scratching game against a big rock before Tusuja left to join Namalok and Galla browsing instead. 

At mud bath time the temperature was moderate and orphans jumped into the water to cool themselves down after having their milk. The orphans wallowed close to the edge since now the mud bath is like a lake - full of water and quite deep in the middle! After wallowing, the orphans headed east and settled on the eastern side of Ithumba Hill for the afternoon browsing.

03 December 2020

The orphans left the stockades in a jovial mood which they expressed with the swinging of their trunks. The orphans settled briefly for Lucerne before proceeding towards the Kone area where they settled to browse for the better part of the morning. 

Malkia saw a tree with nice leaves on branches that were so high up. She tried as much as she could to stretch her trunk to reach them but she was unable to. Malkia left disappointed but comforted herself by imagining that the leaves were no good at all. She settled on eating from another shrub before walking to join her friends.  

Wanjala teamed up with Kauro to browse while Rapa and Sapalan took a break from feeding to have a game of sitting and rolling on the ground. Later, Rapa engaged Jotto in a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. The rains appear to have taken a break and the temperature steadily increased while the orphans were browsing, so when the orphans had their noon milk feed they went into the main waterhole for a wallowing session that lasted for quite some time. After having her milk bottle, Roi went charging and trumpeting over to the waterhole to join her friends. Kauro, who usually hates mud baths and never likes going in the water, surprised everyone when he emerged as the star of the day by returning several times to the water to have fun, even after his friends had all left the waterhole! It’s our hope that this isn’t just a one-time thing and that he will continue in the spirit of liking water. 

In the afternoon the orphans returned to the Kone area where they settled to browse. In the evening on their way back to the stockade compound, the orphans decided to cool-off once more in the dam there before carrying on to the stockades. 

04 December 2020

This morning was cloudy when the orphans left their night stockades. 

Dololo felt strong enough to face Karisa in a pushing challenge. After sometime Dololo lost the challenge to Karisa and he decided to move on and try his luck winning against Galla. Unfortunately he was no match for Galla and he left disappointed but perhaps hoping one day that he will be as strong as Galla!

Rapa settled to scratch on a nearby rock while Naseku had fun rolling on the ground. Olsekki, Tusuja and Mundusi decided to go and feed together away from the rest while Ambo paired up with Kauro. Kauro was spotted from time to time controlling Ambo and leading them in which direction to go. 

Later in the morning Karisa bumped behind Enkikwe by accident. Enkikwe thought that Karisa had done it intentionally just because he has a bad leg and perhaps wouldn’t fight back. A pushing game ensued that lasted for quite some time until Karisa decided to surrender just for the sake of peace. 

Later on the weather changed and gave way to rain. This set the orphans off in a playful mood as they all started rolling on the ground smearing themselves with red mud until it was time for their noon milk feed. They then chose to wade through the waterhole before heading to the Kone area where they settled for the afternoon. In the evening they chose to cool off in the Kone dam again before heading home for the night. 

05 December 2020

It was a quiet day for the orphans but a tedious one for the Keepers. 

The orphans left the stockades early as usual and briefly settled to have some Lucerne before heading out to browse. Given the plentiful vegetation at the moment the orphans ought not to browse at a greedy pace and just amble slowly along filling their tummies, but this seemed not to be the case today. Perhaps the desire to find the tastiest freshest leaves meant that the orphans walked far and wide and all spread out. The orphans were unable to settle because whatever was ahead of them looked even better than what they were browsing on in that moment. By mud bath time, Kamok, Ambo, Wanjala and Tusuja had walked so far that they couldn't be traced and the Keepers decided to take the rest for their noon milk feed and continue searching for the missing four after. Half an hour later when the Keepers were having their lunch before going to resume their search, the four missing babies arrived and joined their friends who were busy enjoying a mud bath in the waterhole. 

In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse north east of the mud bath. By the time the Keepers were gathering the orphans to take them back to stockade at the usual time, eighteen of them were missing including the four that had dodged the Keepers earlier and arrived late to the mud bath! The orphans that remained were taken back to the stockades while other Keepers embarked on a journey to trace the missing ones. Finally, they were located past the Kalovoto seasonal river quite a distance away from where the others had been feeding, but upon counting them the Keepers were surprised to find that Naseku, Rapa, Tusuja, Barsilinga and Namalok were not among them. As dark was fast approaching there was no time to further venture deeper into the bush to look for them. Later in the evening at seven o'clock, Barsilinga arrived back at the stockade compound and shortly later, Naseku, Tusuja and Namalok arrived in good shape, drank their milk bottles, then walked into their stockade to relax after a long day of walking.

06 December 2020

Ambo was the first one to leave the stockades this morning and settled to scratch along the wall close to the gate of the older boys and girls. As he continued scratching, Ambo faced their gate and looked as if he were taunting them, telling them he finished his milk a long time ago and they should be patient as their share was on its way. Those that were standing close to the gate and getting impatient warned Ambo not to try and get close while they were having their milk feed. 

Once all the orphans were let out, Naseku entwined her trunk with Enkikwe in morning greetings. The orphans settled to browse in the Kone area where Kamok and Olsekki engaged one another in a strength testing exercise that always ends in a draw. 

At mud bath time the orphans, led by Karisa, all decided to wallow in the waterhole. In the afternoon the orphans returned back to the Kone area where they settled to browse for the rest of the day. 

07 December 2020

The orphans left the stockade soon after having their morning milk bottles. Wanjala appeared to have woken up on the wrong side of bed this morning and was being really rough with the other boys. What surprised everyone was that he was being aggressive without even being provoked. The bulls, like Namalok, Mundusi, Karisa and Jotto, decided to avoid him until his mood improved. 

The orphans headed to Kanziku area where they settled to browse. Mundusi engaged Tusuja in a pushing game that didn't last for long as Mundusi decided to quit when he felt that the going was getting too tough. 

When it was time to go to the mud bath, Siangiki, Ambo and Barsilinga lagged behind pretending to be following their friends but in actual fact they wanted to stay and not to go to the mud bath; perhaps they decided the distance they had to cover to get their milk wasn't worth it when they wanted to continue feeding on the green vegetation. 

At mud bath time Roi was up to her usual tricks and finished her milk bottles quickly and then wanted some of Galla’s share. Galla refused totally and kept turning in circles to finish his share as quickly as possible. 

In the afternoon, Maramoja decided to play nanny to Musiara by following him wherever he went. Naseku and Tusuja took a break from feeding to have their own game of rolling on the ground. 

08 December 2020

The orphans headed straight out to browse today after leaving their stockades without stopping for Lucerne, which isn’t as essential now there is so much browse around. It was a quiet morning until Tusuja decided to break the peace by opting for a strength testing exercise with Olsekki. Their game ended in a draw and then they decided to have fun by rolling on the ground. 

The orphans settled to browse in Kone area up to mud bath time when Kuishi led the first group to the mud bath. Kamok, Ambo, Enkikwe and Kauro, who are reluctant to attend the mud bath these days, dodged the Keepers and reported later when the other orphans were already preparing to return back to browsing. The four had their share of milk then joined their friends to continue browsing. The rest of the day was quiet as the orphans settled west of the Ithumba Hill and browsed calmly without any major distractions.

09 December 2020

It was wet in the morning following rains received over night. The orphans headed straight out to browse again with only one order of business on their mind which was browsing and finding the freshest greens possible. Their agenda changed slightly however when several orphans of the orphans came across a large pile of loose soil that they couldn’t resist playing and rolling on. 

Namalok and Sapalan, who had gone several days without having a pushing game, met and without wasting time decided to gauge how strong they had grown after feeding on so much green vegetation. Their exercise ended prematurely when Olsekki intervened by pushing the two boys out of his way. Shortly later, the weather changed giving way to rain again. The rain made the orphans very playful and they started playing with the rainwater and rolling on the ground, smearing themselves with red soil. When the rain stopped, the orphans also stopped playing and resumed browsing. 

Later at eleven o'clock in the morning the orphans walked to mud bath and have their bottles at the Kone dam, and settled for the afternoon feeding along the eastern slopes of Ithumba Hill. The orphans were grateful to the plentiful rain that Ithumba has received this year compared to years gone by, which has contributed to having so much vegetation and bush cover around. As the world is cursing 2020 as the worst year for a long time due to Covid-19, the animals are celebrating the plentiful vegetation and water compared to other years and wishing that this can continue forever. 

10 December 2020

Soon when the gates opened for the orphans to leave for browsing, Mundusi, who appears to have slept dreaming about fighting Jotto, headed straight to Jotto's room where he found him stretching after having his morning milk. Mundusi straight away started pushing Jotto and Jotto responded by fighting back, while informing Mundusi that although he arrived at Ithumba before him, he should not take him for granted and that he is strong enough to push back! Their fight ended when Enkikwe, who was going for his morning treatment on his leg, intervened by pushing them away. It seemed like Enkikwe was warning them not to fight in front of their elders otherwise they wouldn’t hesitate to push them a part. The naughty Mundusi just walked away majestically and bouncing to show Enkikwe that his words might have fallen on deaf ears belonging to a strong boy with an attitude like Mundusi! Karisa, the street-wise boy with a crooked tail, led the way out to browse.  

Out in the bush the orphan the Keepers refer to as a little princess, namely Oltaiyoni, settled for scratching before starting to browse. Oltaiyoni is the one who always stops a short distance away from where the Keepers are holding her milk bottle and waits for the milk to be brought to her by the Keeper, wherever she is standing. The Head Keeper wondered how she would behave when the weaning process begins for her and she starts to get plain water in the bottles instead. 

Later in the waterhole Esampu emerged as the star of the day as she showed off many different poses in the water, it seemed like as many as she could think of, before walking out when she was done. The afternoon was a quiet one as the orphans concentrated mostly on browsing.

11 December 2020

Ambo was the first one to come out in the morning followed by Dololo. Enkikwe attended his morning clinic as usual before catching up with his friends. It was a day without much fun as the orphans concentrated on browsing. The ex-orphans and wild elephants have disappeared due to a lot of water and vegetation found everywhere now. It’s not clear when they will be coming back to say hi to the dependent orphans and their human family. At the moment the orphans are enjoying their freedom browsing without the control of their older friends telling them what to do and where to browse! But they are missing the important etiquette and social lessons they receive from their seniors too. At the moment they are putting into practice what they had learned from their teachers until next time when class resumes! 

At mud bath time the orphans had fun as they all enjoyed wallowing in the waterhole. Ambo was the first one to leave as usual and came out and decided to head north. A short while later, the rest of the group followed.

12 December 2020

The Ithumba Hill was partly covered by mist this morning as the various songs and melodies of birds welcomed the orphans out soon after their morning milk feeding. On their way out to browse the orphans swung their trunks from side to side in expression of happiness, and appeared to be walking as if dancing to the tunes of the singing birds. 

Karisa felt that he needed someone to have a strength testing exercise with and at first he picked on Dololo who surrendered few minutes later. Karisa walked backward and bumped into Rapa who didn't waste time in retaliating. The two boys had a pushing game that lasted for quite some and ended when Barsilinga intervened by pushing them away. 

Later Olsekki and Tusuja settled for a strength testing exercise that saw Tusuja lose to Olsekki.  

At mud bath time the orphans, as usual these days, participated fully in the wallowing exercise and after returned back to browsing. Barsilinga and Roi were the last ones to leave the water as they were very involved in a discussion of some kind.

The afternoon was a quiet one and a hot one too. It is a good thing that despite the heat that there is a lot of water found all around for cooling off in whenever one feels that it gets too much. The other alternative means of escaping from the heat is by standing under trees that have nice and cool shade. 

13 December 2020

After leaving the stockade in the morning Karisa engaged Dololo into a pushing game. Mapia, who was following the two boys, decided to climb on Dololo to teach him a lesson that there are more dominant boys in the herd. Recently Dololo has been standing his ground whenever the older boys try to intimate him so they always feel the need to put Dololo in his place! 

Ambo, as with most days, led the way out. An hour after the orphans had left for browsing some ex-orphans led by Kinna showed up briefly at the stockade compound and after headed north east of the stockade. The group consisted of Kinna, baby Kama, Nasalot, baby Nusu, Sidai, baby Sita, Narok, Vuria, Ishanga, Naserian, two wild elephants, Olare, Wendi and baby Wema. We had not seen Nasalot, Narok, Naserian and Sidai for some time and it was lovely to see them! 

The dependent orphans browsed along the upper Kalovoto area until mud bath time when Kuishi led the first group to the mud bath to have their milk bottles. In the afternoon the dependent orphans settled to browse west of Ithumba Hill up to five o'clock in the evening, when Sattao led the first group back to the stockades. 

14 December 2020

Karisa and Pare started their day activities immediately after leaving their stockade. The two boys appear to have slept thinking of how to outdo each other, for the moment the gates were opened to let them out, Karisa and Pare met head on and started pushing each other. The game went on for quite some time. At last, the two boys gave up after getting tired and went their separate ways, perhaps looking forward to finishing what they had started the moment another opportunity arose. 

Ukame, who has no tight friendship with anyone in particular, settled briefly to browse with Kauro before moving on elsewhere. Kamok and Olsekki, who are close friends for pushing games these days, settled to browse together. Shortly before mud bath time, the orphans were joined by ex-orphans Yatta, Yetu, Yoyo, Sunyei , Siku, Galana, Gawa, Makena, Mwende, Lenana, Lapa and a wild bull. Lapa's nannies weren’t present and so this presented the best opportunity for Naseku, Roi , Maramoja, Kamok, and Oltaiyoni to display their best skills in babysitting little Lapa. The rascal boy kept on pushing everyone out of the way and finally joined his mother. 

The orphans finished wallowing after they had enough and left the ex-orphans behind. Barsilinga and Tusuja teamed up with the ex-orphans briefly before joining their friends later. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing without any major distractions. Shortly before returning back to the stockade in the evening, Enkikwe and Namalok engaged each other in a pushing game that ended soon when Enkikwe decided to surrender. 

15 December 2020

Soon after leaving the stockade the orphans, led by Tusuja, headed west of the stockade compound. A few meters away from the compound, the orphans raised their trunks up as they tried to verify certain information they had received by smell. The communication went on for quite some time. It was later established that the orphans were in contact with the ex-orphans and the ex-orphans were directing the orphans to the place where they were browsing. Later the two groups met and interacted briefly before parting ways. Kuishi had the opportunity to gauge her strength by playing with baby Yoyo but their game ended soon when Yetu, Yoyo's older sister, intervened and took her brother away from Kuishi. Kuishi was upset but there was nothing she could do as Yetu is a lot older than her.

Sana Sana paired up with Malkia to feed while Mteto settled to feed with Kamok. At mud bath time, Wanjala had fun when he tried to scare away a bird that was looking for food in the water. The trumpet was so sharp that the bird decided to fly away. O

On the way back out to the bush in the afternoon the orphans met with Yatta’s herd and they interacted for an hour before parting ways again. The sun was beating down this afternoon, encouraging the orphans to feed under some trees that had good shade and where it was nice and cool. In the evening, the orphans returned back safely to the stockades for the night. 

16 December 2020

Namalok woke up not in a very good mood today, as expressed by the way he walked to have his milk from his bucket. He first met with Mundusi who he brushed aside even without saying good morning to. He then found Sapalan standing close to his bucket and decided to push him away so that he could have his milk in peace. Sapalan just kept quiet and didn’t retaliate to Namalok’s bad mood. 

Out in the bush, Tusuja engaged Galla in a pushing game that lasted for quite some time. Their game gave Mundusi and Jotto the idea to have their own game. Esampu, Kauro and Ukame also took a break from feeding to have a scratching exercise. 

Later on the orphans decided to fully enjoy the waterhole and really enjoyed swimming, with the exception of Ambo, Musiara and Jotto who boycotted the exercise. Ambo moved to browse a short distance away and kept himself busy by browsing while Jotto settled to play with Musiara. Sana Sana saw the two boys playing while she was wallowing and disapproved of their game. She walked out of the water to separate the two boys and punished Jotto for picking a fight with young Musiara. Musiara felt happy for having a girl who cared for him and stood at the edge of the mud bath to wait for another boy to pick on him, expecting that Sana Sana would come to his aid again and punish the older boy! It seemed like he felt like it was having his own bodyguard around. Unfortunately Sana Sana had walked a distance away and when Musiara attacked Mapia, and no one who came to assist him, he had to carry his own cross. The going got tough for Musiara and he decided to opt out from the game. 

Naseku had her usual fun of whipping the water using her trunk and wading through the water while running and trumpeting. Enkikwe and Karisa were the last ones to leave the mud bath today. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans browsed calmly throughout the remaining part of the day.

17 December 2020

It was a cloudy morning when the orphans left the stockade compound today. Soon after arriving out to browse, Mundusi and Tusuja decided to enjoy a morning warm up exercise by pushing each other. Kauro, who was close by, got jealous of the two boys for not inviting him. Kauro moved closer and invited himself by trying to disrupt their pushing game. Tusuja and Mundusi moved away from Kauro as they continued with their game that ended when they got tired. 

Shortly later, the orphans were joined by a wild herd consisting of a mother and her four children, the youngest aged about three years. The wild herd browsed with the orphans up to when it was time for the orphans to go for their milk feed, and they parted ways. The weather was chilly and after the orphans had their milk they boycotted the wallowing exercise. Esampu and Malima kept themselves busy by engaging in a light pushing game that was interrupted by Kuishi. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse east of Ithumba Hill and later at five o'clock in the evening, they returned back to the stockades. 

18 December 2020

It was a quiet morning today. The orphans strolled nonchalantly out from their stockades and headed straight out to browse and they concentrated on feeding for most of the morning. An hour after the orphans had left for browsing, Yatta’s ex-orphan herd passed by the stockade compound, heading east. The orphans briefly stopped to have some water from the troughs before proceeding on with their journey and this is when the Keepers realized that not only Wendi with her babies was among the herd, but Chyulu too with a two month old baby at her feet! Chyulu was with the ex-orphan group that consisted of their matriarch Yatta with her children Yetu and Yoyo, along with Kinna, Kama, Lualeni, Lulu, Sunyei, Siku, Sidai, Sita, Nasalot, Nusu, Teleki, Makena, Naserian, Ishanga, Loijuk, Lili, Makireti, Kilabasi, Kasigau, Chaimu, Ithumbah, Narok, Wendi, Wiva, Wema, Olare, Lenana and Lapa. We have not seen Yatta with her herd altogether for quite some time! The new arrivals in the group who we had not seen for some time included Teleki, Makireti, Kilabasi, Kasigau and Chyulu who had come along with her new bundle of joy, a little calf we called Cheka meaning ‘smile’. Also noticeable was Sidai’s baby Sita who appears to have lost her tip of the trunk just like Wendi and Ishanga. We are not sure what might have caused Sita to lose the tip of her trunk but it might have been a predator like a crocodile. 

The orphans attended mud bath at eleven o'clock in the morning to have their milk bottles and after, Ambo and Jotto boycotted the wallowing exercise. Once Rapa was out of water, he questioned Jotto why he had failed to come swimming like the rest of them and then they started a pushing match! Ambo, who was watching the drama unfold from a distance, decided not to wait but proceeded further into the bush to avoid being questioned by Rapa too. The rest of the day was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing. 

19 December 2020

Soon after leaving her stockade Roi remembered Dololo this morning. She hasn’t been paying too much attention to him recently and Sities, Turkwel and Suguta, who were always there for Dololo before, have also been away. Roi walked with Dololo out to the bush to browse and seemed to inquire if everything was okay with him. Tusuja and Wanjala, who for some time now have been trying to establish who between them is the dominant one, started a pushing game that ended in a draw. Sapalan enjoyed playing with Karisa while Galla handled Mapia. 

The orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area. Maramoja stayed close to her favourite Musiara and guided him throughout the entire morning. At mud bath time all the orphans enjoyed a swim after having their milk bottles. Later, the orphans headed west of Ithumba Hill were they settled to browse for the rest of the day. 

20 December 2020

The orphans left their stockades this morning swinging their trunks from side to side as they were happy and grateful for another day filled with browsing on lovely fresh vegetation. The temperature was moderate and the orphans settled to browse in Kone area and tended to feed in pairs. Ambo settled to browse with Tusuja while Kauro teamed up with Olsekki. Naseku browsed with Galla while Mundusi fed with Mteto. 

The orphans later walked to the mud bath where they had their milk then went swimming in the waterhole before Ambo led the way back out to browse. In the afternoon Roi took Dololo to a small mud puddle and a showed him how to mud bath nicely. Roi demonstrated how it's done and Dololo was keenly watching. Though Dololo didn't get into the mud to practice, he might have noted Roi’s techniques to use them another time. In the evening Sattao led the first group back to the stockades while Esampu led the second group.

21 December 2020

Mist covered the Ithumba Hill when the orphans left for browsing today. It was a chilly morning and some of the orphans had to do a warm up exercise before starting to fill their stomachs with all the fresh vegetation they could find. Karisa, Olsekki, Enkikwe and Galla decided to do a warmup exercise by rolling on the ground. Mapia and Rapa had their warmup exercise in the form of a pushing game. The rest of the morning was quiet as the orphans concentrated mostly on browsing. 

At mud bath time the orphans had fun in the water despite it still being quite moderate. Sattao and Ambo settled for a pushing game as the two boys decided to boycott the wallowing exercise. The two boys then decided to keep themselves busy by pushing each other as they waited for their friends to finish wallowing. They ended their game when they saw Kauro approaching. It was funny to watch as suddenly the two boys stopped playing and pretended that nothing was going on between them, to avoid being punished by Kauro. Kauro went past them and pointed his trunk towards them in warning, saying that he had already spotted them and to stop their funny business. Sapalan and Namalok, who up to now are still trying to establish who is stronger between them, engaged each other in a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. 

Later in the afternoon, Enkikwe and Ambo felt that they needed to cool off and so walked to a roadside mud bath where they enjoyed an afternoon mud bath. In the evening shortly before going back to the stockades, Enkikwe engaged Namalok in pushing game but it ended in a draw.

22 December 2020

The orphans left the stockade early as usual and headed out to browse where they were briefly joined by ex-orphans Vuria, Kinna, Makena, Yatta and Yoyo. Mapia ran into trouble with Rapa when Mapia slipped going down a slope and inadvertently bumped into Rapa. Rapa didn't want to know how and why it happened but turned to punish Rapa and at the end climbed on Mapia’s back to teach him a lesson about being careful. 

Kuishi and Mteto competed who has the longest trunk by stretching their trunks up to get leaves from a tall tree. They both ended up reaching the same mark meaning they have equal-sized trunks. 

At mud bath time a troop of chattering baboons passed close by, something that annoyed Olsekki and Tusuja. It seemed the two boys couldn't take the noise from the baboons anymore and they stopped what they were doing to deal with the noise makers. Olsekki and Tusuja ran in the direction of the baboons charging and trumpeting. The baboons sensed danger when they saw two elephants speeding towards them and decided that for their own safety it was time to flee before the elephants could reach them. The baboons with their babies disappeared as fast as they could, still making a lot of noise. Tusuja and Olsekki felt that they had won and followed the baboons for another hundred meters before returning to brag to the other boys how they had cleared the area for them to a have a peaceful environment. The rest of the afternoon was quiet as the orphans browsed calmly for the rest of the day. 

23 December 2020

The orphans left the stockade early as usual soon after getting their morning milk. The orphans settled to drink water and continued to loiter around the stockade compound until Ambo could take it no more and decided to lead the way out. Soon everyone was hurrying to catch up with him since they know Ambo will very well take any direction that comes to mind and it might not necessarily be the best direction for everyone to take. 

Out in the bush it was all quiet as the orphans only concentrated on browsing. Shortly before mud bath time, Esampu tried to initiate a pushing game with Mapia but Mapia wasn't willing because he knew Esampu, though a small girl, can turn quite aggressive at times and might shame him in front of the others. Mapia wisely walked away without inviting the wrath of Esampu. 

At mud bath time a young wild bull, aged about twelve years, showed up and walked straight to the water trough to drink. Olsekki, who appeared to know the wild boy, walked to the water trough to join him. After a brief exchange of day greetings, the wild junior left while Olsekki joined his friends to wallow in the waterhole. While wallowing, Karisa and Pare appeared to have disagreement about a certain issue that resulted in a fight. The two boys quit the mud bath as they continued pushing one another. Namalok tried to intervene but the boys wouldn't stop. The pushing went on until they two boys grew tired and went separate ways, hoping to meet again after taking enough of a break to cool down.

Mundusi settled briefly for a soil dusting exercise before going back to browsing. In the evening Rapa and Kauro dodged the Keepers and couldn't be located due to the thick, dense bushes. The two boys showed up later at the stockade compound around six thirty and were let in to join their friends inside. 

24 December 2020

Pare, who had unfinished business with Karisa from yesterday, woke up thinking of how to finish what he had started. It appears that Karisa was also aware of Pare’s plans and was fully prepared to handle him. Soon after leaving the stockades, Pare walked straight to meet Karisa and without wasting time, they locked their trunks ready for a battle. At first Karisa retreated for a warmup stretch before returning to tackle Pare. Their pushing game went on for quite some time before Olsekki passed by and separated the two boys. Olsekki stood close by to make sure the two boys didn't go back to their fight. 

Out in the bush, the ex-orphans briefly joined the dependent orphans on their way to the stockades. The rascal Rapa spent a bit of time saying hi to the orphans under the watchful eye of nanny Olare. Mundusi decided to follow Sita, who was with her mother, Sidai, to know her better. Sita is the least known wild born baby in the family as she and her mother rarely visit the stockades and the orphans. Perhaps this time round she and her mother might choose to stay awhile. 

Later, Mundusi took a break from feeding to test his strength by engaging Namalok and Roi in a pushing game. 

At mud bath time, only half the group decided to go wallowing. Pare and Sapalan kept themselves busy by engaging in a pushing game but were disrupted by Kauro, who threatened to push them both if they continued with what they were doing. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse along the western slope of Ithumba Hill, until later in the evening when they returned back to the stockade for the night. 

25 December 2020

Karisa and Pare resumed their strength testing exercise soon after leaving the stockades. In the end there was no winner as the game ended in a draw. Mteto and Esampu led the way as they browsed, still engaged in a girl to girl talk it seemed. The orphans settled in the Kone area where Tusuja briefly engaged Ukame in a pushing game that was interrupted by Olsekki who wanted to play with Ukame too. Mapia and Kauro took a break from feeding to enjoy scratching on the rocks in the area. 

Barsilinga decided to enjoy an early morning wallow in the Kone dam as the orphans wondered how and why he could do such a thing when it was such a cool morning. Barsilinga didn't mind what anyone else thought and stayed in the water as long as he wanted, then came out to resume browsing. 

At mud bath time, the temperature was moderate, but still the orphans enjoyed a cooling-off exercise. In the afternoon Malkia and Mapia came across some mud that they enjoyed rolling in before joining their friends who had opted to relax under a tree.

26 December 2020

Kauro woke up in playful mood in the morning. He walked up to Tusuja to have a pushing game but Tusuja declined and instead walked away from him and went to have his own game of sitting and stretching. Kauro didn't lose hope but followed Tusuja and tried to disrupt his sitting game in order to get his attention. Tusuja was annoyed by Kauro's persistence and had to quit his game to defend himself by having a pushing game with Kauro. Kauro was delighted that his tricks of trying to disrupt Tusuja had worked.  

Kamok decided to spend some time browsing with Ambo while Roi settled to browse with her favourite Dololo. Kuishi, Maramoja and Naseku came across some loose soil that they enjoyed rolling around in before resuming with browsing. 

After mud bath time, Sapalan engaged Namalok in a strength testing exercise that again ended in a draw. In the afternoon the ex-orphans led by Yatta showed up at the stockade then left and again and visited the stockade shortly before seven late in the evening. All the mothers and their babies were present. 

27 December 2020

Mundusi and Jotto started their pushing games soon after leaving the stockades this morning. After some time, Jotto decided to give up leaving Mundusi in playing mood and searching for another play mate. Mundusi ended up choosing Tusuja but their game didn't last for long as Olsekki disrupted their game when he happened to pass by and became jealous and pushed the two boys apart. Later, Olsekki tried to play with Oltaiyoni but Oltaiyoni informed Olsekki that she is not the type of girl who wastes her time on unnecessary games, and he should go and look for Kamok as they always enjoy playing together. Oltaiyoni pushed Olsekki out of her way. 

At mud bath time, Mapia led the way and after their milk bottles, the orphans participated fully in wallowing in the mud bath. Kamok, Galla, Mundusi, Kauro, Tusuja and Barsilinga were reluctant to go for their milk and decided to dodge the Keepers. The group of five, seemingly led by Kamok, showed up an hour later and teamed up with their friends.  

Sapalan and Namalok, who never seem to be able to establish a clear winner in their wrestling games, engaged one another in a pushing game that lasted for quite some time. Their game attracted Mapia and Rapa who started their own. 

Olsekki and Enkikwe were the last ones to quit the mud bath as they enjoyed pushing each other in the water. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse east of Ithumba Hill up to five o'clock in the evening when the orphans returned back safely to the stockade for another night. 

28 December 2020

The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans left the stockade swinging their trunks from side to side in an expression of happiness. Mundusi and Tusuja, who had unfinished business in a strength testing exercise, began their day with a pushing game. Olsekki tried to intervene in separating the two boys but didn’t succeed. Oltaiyoni stopped to have s scratching exercise upon coming across a tree stump that was of the right height for her to scratch her hind. 

It was a quiet morning as the orphans concentrated mostly on browsing. Shortly before mud bath time, the orphans came across a pool of water that they used to have a mini mud bath before proceeding to the main one. After drinking their milk and having a quick swim, the orphans returned to the browsing field. 

Barsilinga and Enkikwe decided not to join their friends and sneaked off in a different direction. The Keepers tried looking for them and even calling their names, but there was no response. Later, past six o'clock in the evening, the two boys brought themselves back to the stockade compound. It appears that Enkikwe is feeling better now and thinks that he can embark on a life on his own, but the wound on his leg inflicted by a lion a few years ago still hasn't healed completely. He should be patient and wait until the wound heals completely. We think perhaps he does understand this, but that he was just trying to keep Barsilinga company. 

29 December 2020

Soon after leaving the stockade, Dololo, who is one of the youngest members of the group, decided to challenge Karisa in a pushing game. Karisa, who is never shy with anyone interested in a pushing game, welcomed Dololo to what he considered would be a walk-over since he is experienced and Dololo was just an amateur. The pushing game didn't last for long as Karisa predicted, because when the going got tough, Dololo decided to quit and walk away from Karisa as he didn’t want to continue with the game. Roi met Dololo and comforted him following the tough game he had with Karisa. 

Out in the bush the boys paired in warm up exercises before resuming to browse. Sapalan teamed up with Namalok while Tusuja tackled Mundusi. Mapia decided to test his strength by tackling Jotto. The rest of the morning was quiet as the orphans mostly concentrated on browsing. 

Shortly before mud bath time, Tusuja held talks with Enkikwe as they awaited to go for their midday bottle feeds. The orphans attended their mud bath at eleven o'clock in the morning as usual. After drinking their milk, one group jumped into the water for wallowing while the others chose to head back out to browse. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kone area until five o'clock in the evening when the Keepers took the orphans back to the stockades. 

30 December 2020

Soon after leaving his stockade Kauro led the way out to browse. Maramoja, who loves Musiara, made sure that she stayed close to him in case he needed help with anything. Kamok and Siangiki browsed together while discussing things. It appears their discussion didn't end well as a disagreement arose that ended in a fight! Their fight didn't go on for long as after some time, the two parted ways, probably after ending in a draw. 

Pare engaged Mundusi in a pushing game while Rapa settled to play with Tusuja. Mapia was standing close by watching the boys play and seemed to be cheering for Tusuja rather than Rapa. Unfortunately, Rapa saw Mapia and decided to vent his anger on him. Mapia stood hiding behind a small tree when he saw Rapa approaching, for he knew that Rapa was coming for him. Mapia didn't realize that it was only a small tree though and he was only hiding one eye, but the rest of his body could be seen! At first Rapa hit the tree that Mapia was hiding behind to inform Mapia that he could see him. Mapia apologized to Rapa as he bought time to run away. As Rapa tried to get around the tree, Mapia was quick to turn and run away.

It was quite chilly later in the morning when the orphans were at the mud bath and only a few orphans led by Sana Sana decided to take a bath. In the afternoon, again Barsilinga and Enkikwe dodged the Keepers and went their own way. The two bulls reported back to the stockades later in the evening, but this is still a sign that they are starting to explore their freedom. Only time will tell how long it will take for them to become fully reintegrated, but we will be with them every step of the way.

31 December 2020

It was a cloudy morning as the orphans left the stockades to spend their last day of the year out in the bush. The day ahead looked promising given the fact that there were pregnant clouds full of rain overhead. Half an hour later, the rain poured, restoring hope and ending the year in style. Some trees leaves had started turning yellow and with the rain now, things are mostly likely going to change. Kitirua and Kandecha, who had made a visit to the stockade in the morning, joined the dependent orphans to browse. The sudden rain brought the browsing exercise to a halt as the orphans concentrated on playing with the wet soil and scratching on rocks. After having enough of playing in the rain, the orphans resumed browsing. 

At mud bath time of course it was quite cool and only half the group decided to go into the mud bath. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse west of Ithumba Hill. Pare engaged Karisa in a strength testing exercise while Jotto played with Mundusi. Ambo challenged Mapia. Siangiki who was close by, wasn't comfortable with Ambo challenging Mapia because she was scared that Mapia might be too aggressive with Ambo. Siangiki placed herself strategically to help her Ambo incase Mapia played too rough with Ambo. Fortunately, Mapia handled Ambo lightly knowing that Siangiki was keeping an eye on them and if he did something to hurt Ambo then he would face the consequences from the girls. In the evening, Kandecha and Kitirua escorted the dependent orphans back to the stockades and later left, walking off back into the bush, into the night.