Keepers' Diaries, February 2012
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
January/February/March are normally the hottest months of the year in Tsavo, but this month daily temperatures throughout the month have been variable – some days too cold for the orphans to take a mudbath, and on others scorching. As the dry season tightened its grip on a daily basis, and the natural inland water pans dried so the wild elephants have begun to come to drink at the Stockade water trough again. Ten wild elephants came to enjoy the mudbath on the 13th, after which a wild bull joined the Juniors for a wallow.
01 February 2012
The orphans exited the stockades in a jovial mood. Kandecha and Kilgauni engaged each other in pushing games while Melia and Chaimu played together. Kalama led the way to the Kone are where they spent the morning browsing, before Kilaguni led the group to the mudbath area. As it was a cool day the orphans opted to have a dustbath after their milk feed.
02 February 2012
Tumaren led the orphans to the Kalovoto area this morning. At 11am Kandecha led the first group of milk dependent orphans to the noon mudbath where they all enjoyed wallowing and dustbathing before Kalama led them back to the fields for the rest of the afternoon.
03 February 2012
Kilaguni and Sabachi were the last to leave the stockade compound this morning as they engaged each other in strength testing games. While out browsing the orphans were startled by a troop of baboons. Sabachi and Kilaguni charged at them in an effort to chase them away but were not successful.
04 February 2012
It was a cold morning as the orphans headed out to the park. At 10am Kandecha and Sabachi had fun charging around knocking over thickets. Due to the cold weather the orphans had a dustbath instead of a mudbath before going back to their browsing activities.
05 February 2012
It was a misty morning as the orphans left the stockades led the Kitirua. Yatta, Yetu, Wendi, Kinna, Buchuma, Meibai and Taita came to the water trough for a drink this morning before heading back to the park. At noon Mulika, Mwende and the rest of the ex orphans all came to the stockades.
06 February 2012
Chemi Chemi, Kalama, Kandecha and Chaimu all wanted to lead the group this morning but it was Chaimu who led them out to the fields. Kibo and Sabachi played strength testing games but Suguta interrupted their fun. A group of six wild elephants visited the stockades this evening for a drink of water.
07 February 2012
It was a cold morning as the orphans headed out to the park where they spent the day browsing stopping only for their noon milk feed. At 10 am the ex orphans and their calves visited the stockades for a drink together with their wild friends Kijana and Mgeni.
08 February 2012
This morning Naisula, joined by Ololoo, had a good time scratching against a rock that she came across as the group headed towards the Kalovoto area led by Chaimu with Suguta brining up the rear. After the orphans had left the stockades Wendi and some of the other ex orphans visited the stockades for a drink.
09 February 2012
Shortly before it was time to head to the mudbath area Kandecha and Kibo played strength testing games for a while before Kandecha conceded defeat and led the juniors to their milk bottles. While wallowing a warthog and its piglets came for a drink but were chased away by Sabachi, Kilaguni and Kandecha. The warthogs returned after the orphans had left.
10 February 2012
Upon exiting the stockades Olare and Murka headed straight to the rocks for a scratching session before Melia took the lead as the youngsters headed out to browse. Soon after the juniors left Yatta her baby and several ex orphans came to the stockades for a drink from the water trough.
11 February 2012
As they walked to the fields Melia took a moment to scratch against a rock before catching up with the rest of her group. At 10 am the keepers were surprised to see Chaimu and Sabachi trumpeting and running towards them and saw a domestic dog chasing a dikdik. The keepers chased the dog, which ran into the thickets.
12 February 2012
This morning Sabachi tried to mount on Kilaguni that prompted a pushing game between the two which was broken up by Suguta. Despite it being a warm day Ololoo was the only one to have a mudbath while the rest of the orphans relaxed in the shade of a tree. On the way home in the evening Kitirua slipped and took a nosedive into the dirt.
13 February 2012
The orphans left the stockades early this morning as Tumaren led them to the Kone area to browse. As they were taking their midday feed ten wild elephants, led by a one-tusked female, came for a drink. Soon after they left the youngsters were joined at the water trough by a wild bull. In the evening Napasha and Kijana came to the stockades to quench their thirst.
14 February 2012
The orphans assembled at the stockade water trough for a drink before Kalama led them to browse in the Kalovoto area. At the mudbath Chaimu, Kitirua, Ololoo and Sabachi all enjoyed a wallowing session as the rest of the group had a dustbath where they were joined by Kora, Lualeni, Zurura and Tomboi. In the evening 10 wild elephants came to the stockades for some water.
15 February 2012
As the orphans were about to leave the stockade compound Madiba and the other ex orphans arrived for a visit. The two groups enjoyed each others company for a while before the youngsters headed to the park where they spent the day browsing.
16 February 2012
Clear skies greeted the orphans this morning a sure sign that it was going to be a hot day. The orphans spent the day browsing and enjoyed cooling off in the mudwallow at noon, when Ololoo, Kitirua and Chaimu displayed their mudbathing skills.
17 February 2012
Chaimu and Kitirua kept running in front of each other this morning in an effort to take the lead with Kandecha and Kibo following suit so as not to be outdone. It was not long before all the orphans joined in resulting in chaos. Suguta, Tumaren and Melia took charge and calmed the group down. The day was spent browsing in the shade.
18 February 2012
The orphans were in a joyful mood as they arrived in the grazing fields. Kilaguni and Sabachi charged around knocking down thickets as Kibo and Kandecha engaged in pushing games and were separated by Tumaren, the two continued their games after Tumaren left to continue browsing. In the evening the ex-orphan group and several wild elephants visited the stockades.
19 February 2012
It was an extremely hot day so the orphans browsed under trees that offered good shade. While browsing the youngsters split into two groups. Chaimu, Kitirua, Chemi Chemi, Kibo and Murka formed one group with Suguta and the rest of them in the other. The two groups rejoined on the way the mudbath where they all enjoyed a lengthy bath to cool off.
20 February 2012
The orphans had a long drink at the stockade water trough before heading out for the day. An hour after they left the ex-orphans, Kijana, Mgeni and another wild bull all came for a drink. The group came back again after the youngsters had retuned for the night.
21 February 2012
While browsing this morning the youngsters were joined by Kora and Lualeni. Lualeni made a beeline for Ololoo and the two browsed together before going to the mudwallow where Ololoo and Lualeni had an amazing mudbathing session staying in long after the others had left the water.
22 February 2012
The juniors were joined at the stockade compound this morning by the ex orphans. They all greeted each other before the youngsters left for the day. Meibai had fun engaging both Kora and Ithumbah in strength testing games. Loijuk played with Madiba while Challa, Taita and Rapsu all enjoyed a dustbath. At 3pm three wild orphans came to the stockades for some water.
23 February 2012
Soon after the juniors had left the compound the ex-orphans and some wild elephants came for a drink from the water trough before having a soil dusting session before going back to the park. In the evening they all returned staying at the stockades for an hour and a half before leaving again.
24 February 2012
While out browsing this morning Suguta and Sabachi came across a male buffalo hiding in the bushes. Sabachi charged and trumpeted enticing the other orphans to join in and it was not long before the buffalo ran off. As it was a chilly day none of the orphans had a mudbath. Kandecha led the way home in the evening at which time seven wild elephants came to the stockades for a drink.
25 February 2012
Melia led the group to the Kalovoto area this morning where they settled to browse before returning to the stockade for the noon mudbath where they had their milk feed before relaxing under the acacia tree at which time a lone bull came for a drink at the water trough. In the evening Madiba and Napasha came to the stockade accompanied by Kamathenya and a second wild bull.
26 February 2012
As Melia led the way to the park she came across a hole with some loose soil and decided to roll around for a while before rejoining her group. Kandecha was the only one to have a mudbath at noon while the rest of the group had a dustbath. On the way home the orphans passed the mudbath and had a quick wallow before arriving at the stockades where they were joined by the ex orphans in the company of several wild elephants. The older group all left as soon as it unexpectedly started raining.
27 February 2012
The juniors had a drink at the water trough before heading out for the day of browsing stopping only for their noon milk feed.
28 February 2012
By 1pm it was extremely hot and the orphans sought refuge under the shade of the trees. It clouded over briefly at 2pm, and we thought it would rain, but a strong wind blew the clouds away.
29 February 2012
The orphans were happy as they left this morning with Tumaren in the lead. They browsed in the Kalovoto area before Kandecha decided it was time to head to the stockades for some milk and a mudbath.