Keepers' Diaries, February 2005

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Ithumba Reintegration Unit

The month started off with cool cloudy days, which inhabited the midday mud bath, but was a welcome relief for the Keepers. For the rest of the month the February sun was relentless. February and March are the hottest months in Tsavo, but the Ithumba orphans very quickly found a routine, and a siesta in the heat of the day under shady tree has become common practice. Yatta is still very much the matriarch in charge of the Ithumba ten, with Olmalo being her favourite calf, singled out for preferential treatment. Taita and Tomboi cannot resist constantly sparring, and Wendi has her own little ‘thing’ going where she always takes the lead in the evenings walking the orphan’s home.. She and Tomboi continue to be very close, with Tomboi coming to Wendi’s rescue when ever she is having a hard time from any other of the orphans. Kinna is respected by all of them, including Napasha, who doesn’t respect much, but Kinna the disciplinarian ensures that they are all kept in line! Selengai and Olmalo are very close, seldom far from each other, but always under the watchful eye of Yatta. Nasalot and Mulika are always close at hand to comfort and protect the babies, and Nasalot also enjoys sparring time with Naspasha, sometimes with tremendous determination, prompting Yatta to intervene.

The month started off with cool cloudy days, which inhabited the midday mud bath, but was a welcome relief for the Keepers. For the rest of the month the February sun was relentless. February and March are the hottest months in Tsavo, but the Ithumba orphans very quickly found a routine, and a siesta in the heat of the day under shady tree has become common practice. Yatta is still very much the matriarch in charge of the Ithumba ten, with Olmalo being her favourite calf, singled out for preferential treatment. Taita and Tomboi cannot resist constantly sparring, and Wendi has her own little ‘thing’ going where she always takes the lead in the evenings walking the orphan’s home.. She and Tomboi continue to be very close, with Tomboi coming to Wendi’s rescue when ever she is having a hard time from any other of the orphans. Kinna is respected by all of them, including Napasha, who doesn’t respect much, but Kinna the disciplinarian ensures that they are all kept in line! Selengai and Olmalo are very close, seldom far from each other, but always under the watchful eye of Yatta. Nasalot and Mulika are always close at hand to comfort and protect the babies, and Nasalot also enjoys sparring time with Naspasha, sometimes with tremendous determination, prompting Yatta to intervene.

This month the Keepers and their charges ventured to new areas, this change initially met with resistance from the whole orphan group, but slowly they plucked up the courage to follow their Keepers and discovered some wonderful new places which they now thoroughly enjoy. The group meets up with the Ithumba resident Baboon troupe regularly, always prompting a charge and trumpet, and on one day when they went to their mud wallow they found fresh leopard tracks in the mud. The orphans were fascinated by this, but did not seem frightened by the leopard’s scent and presence. This seems strange because when they happened upon Dikdik, Kudu and warthogs this month it was met with great excitement, giving them a terrible fright causing them to shake for hours. On the one day they came across a Puff Adder, but fortunately were alert enough to recognize the threat in good time and make the Keepers aware of it too.

February 2005 day to day

01 Feb

The day was cloudy and cold, on their way to browse Olmalo as usual remained behind with her keepers. Yatta who loves Olmalo more than the rest waited for her and walked side by side while browsing. At mud wallow, none of the orphans took a mud bath due to the cold weather. After mud wallow time, napasha who likes testing his strength with the bigger orphans turned to Nasalot for a pushing game. Shortly afterwards Nasolot surrendered, an indication that Napasha will one day be the male to dominate the group.

Yatta sheilding Olmalo

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