Keepers' Diaries, February 2013
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
It has been an action packed month for the Ithumba Keeper Dependent Juniors. Seldom a day has passed this month that the Ex Orphans have not turned up at the Stockade compound with wild friends to interact with the Dependent orphans and share their Lucerne handout; sometimes arriving in Splinter groups as they did on the 1st when just 15 came and Kinna was being hotly pursued by two wild suitors. (At 13 it is time she conceived her first wild-born baby who we look forward to welcoming in 2 years time!) The following day only Tomboi and Challa came in the morning but the entire Ex Orphan herd was back in the evening, as usual these days, accompanied by a host of wild hanger-on friends, which has been the pattern of late. If not meeting up at the Stockade compound in the early mornings, they often turn up at the noon mudbath venue, or else link up with the Juniors out in the bush. We are thankful that the Ex Orphans have been so diligent about coming to share the supplementary feeding of the Juniors, because at least we know they are all present and correct at a time when the poaching of elephants is totally out of hand.
01 February 2013
Shortly before 8 a.m. 15 of the Ex Orphans showed up at the Stockades. Later Ex Orphan Kinna passed by in a hurry trailed by two Bulls. We believe Kinna may be in season.
02 February 2013
The Junior Keeper Dependent orphans were joined by the Ex Orphans at the Stockade compound this morning. Suguta then led the Juniors off to browse, leaving the Ex Orphans behind. There she, Kasigau, and Kilabasi enjoyed playing in some soft red soil that they came across. Later Makireti engaged Kasigau in a friendly Pushing Match. At 11 a.m. Mutara led the first sitting to the milk and mudbath venue, and having splashed water over themselves, Chaimu then led the group back to browse for the afternoon.
03 February 2013
Kibo and Ololoo became embroiled in the usual Pushing Match soon after leaving their Night Stockade, before the group headed out to browse the Kalovoto area. The Ex Orphans turned up at the Stockades at 8 a.m. At the mudbath venue, the Juniors just took a dustbath, because the weather was not conducive to wallowing. Kalama led the group out to browse afterwards.
04 February 2013
Ex Orphan bulls Challa and Tomboi joined the Juniors at the Stockade compound this morning while Ololoo and Kilaguni engaged one another in a Pushing Game which ended when Kibo intervened to push Ololoo away from his friend, Kilaguni. Kalama then led the Juniors out. Only a dustbath took place today at mudbath hour. In the evening the Ex Orphans all turned up accompanied by some wild elephant friends.
05 February 2013
After the Juniors had left, the Ex Orphans turned up again at 8 a.m. for a drink at the Stockade water trough. At l0 a.m. the Juniors were joined out in the bush by Lualeni who escorted them to the mudbath, where she showed them how to enjoy a cooling wallow, since it was a hot day. Later Lualeni with her favourite Ololoo led the orphans back to browse and returned them to the Stockades in the evening. A wild unit with a 6 month old calf came to drink at the Stockades in the evening.
06 February 2013
It was a quiet morning when the Juniors had the compound all to themselves. Tumaren led the group out to browse today. The Ex Orphans joined the Juniors at the Kalovoto area at 10 a.m. Since it was a cool day, none of the Juniors took a mudbath today.
07 February 2013
It was a drizzly morning with Ithumba mountain covered in mist. Out in the field the Juniors enjoyed playing in the damp earth until Mutara led the way to the milk and mudbath venue. In the evening Kora, Challa, Naserian, Kamboyo, Rapsu and their newest recruit named Pembe Moja (One Tusk) came to the Stockades.
08 February 2013
It was another cool, misty morning. The Ex Orphans joined the Juniors in the compound and the two groups spent some time together, before the Juniors left, heading for the Kanziku area. It was still too cool for a mudbath, so having taken milk, Suguta led the Juniors back to browse.
09 February 2013
Tumaren led the Juniors out this morning. At mudbath time only Kandecha, Ololoo and Kilaguni wallowed, joined by a wild bull. In the evening the Ex Orphans plus Pembe Moja came to the Stockade compound.
10 February 2013
The Juniors settled down to browse the Kone area today until Mutara led the first group to the mudbath area for their milk. In the evening the Ex Orphans came to the Stockades, accompanied by wild recruits Pembe Moja, Kijana and Mgeni.
11 February 2013
It was an uneventful day during which the Juniors concentrated on feeding. Only a few wallowed today, the rest enjoying a dustbath instead, while Chemi Chemi found a tree against which to scratch his body. Tano led the way back in the evening.
12 February 2013
The Juniors engaged in the usual Stockade Compound activities this morning, some scratching on the rocks while the boys embarked indulged in tests of strength. At the mudbath the Juniors were joined by Pembe Moja, and all enjoyed the wallow with him.
13 February 2013
Another cool morning with light drizzle. Ishanga played with Kibo while Ololoo tested his strength against Kilaguni. In the evening, on their way back to the Stockades, the Juniors were joined by the Ex Orphans.
14 February 2013
Chaimu led the way out to browse the Kanziku area today. At 9 a.m. the Ex Orphans came to the Stockade compound, and were joined by another wild herd a little later. By l0 a.m. temperatures had soared, sending the Juniors to browse under shade, Tano feeling the heat most who is the slowest in the group who finds it difficult to keep pace with the others. At the mudbath all enjoyed a spectacular wallow.
15 February 2013
The Ex orphans joined the Juniors briefly this morning just before they left for Kanziku area to browse. At the mudbath Shukuru and Mutara declined to wallow, but all the others went in. Tano was first to exit the water and after a dustbath, all headed off to browse again. On the way they were met by the Ex Orphans who were on their way to the mudbath. Ololoo and Kandecha engaged one another in a Pushing Game in the evening.
16 February 2013
The Ex Orphans joined the Juniors at the Stockade compound today. Murka then led the Juniors to the Kanziku area again to browse. At the mudbath the Juniors were joined by 7 wild bulls with whom they interacted at the drinking trough before Mutara led the Juniors away.
17 February 2013
10 Wild Elephants accompanied the Ex Orphans when they came to drink at the Stockade trough this morning. The Ex Orphans joined the Juniors at the Lucerne pile while the wild Elephants drank. Soon afterwards the Juniors headed out to browse, but were joined again at the mudbath by the Ex Orphans and some wild friends. In the evening the Ex Orphans brought 15 wild elephants with them to drink at the Stockades.
18 February 2013
The Ex Orphans came to the Stockades to partake of the Juniors’ Lucerne hand-out after which Mutara led the Juniors out to browse. It was a hot day so at the mudbath all enjoyed a wallow, except Tano, who stood in the water and splashed it behind her ears. In the evening the Ex Orphans returned to the stockades with 15 wild friends.
19 February 2013
The Ex Orphans joined the juniors at the Compound at 6.30 a.m. At the mudbath the Juniors were joined at the drinking trough by 12 wild elephants, amongst whom was Half Trunk. The wild elephants then shared the mudbath with the Juniors until Mutara decided that enough was enough, and led the Juniors off. In the evening a family unit of 6 wild elephants and a 6 month old calf came to drink at the Stockades.
20 February 2013
The Ex Orphans plus 5 wild friends enjoyed some of the left over Lucerne. Out in the field Chemi Chemi enjoyed a Pushing Match with Kasigau, which did not last long because Ololoo came and pushed the two away from one another.
21 February 2013
The Ex Orphans joined the Juniors as usual at the Stockades in the morning, and after sharing the Lucerne, Mutara led the Juniors out to browse. Kilaguni and Murka had a Pushing Match which was won by Kilaguni. At the noon mudbath the Juniors were joined again by the Ex Orphans who came with 14 wild elephant friends. In the evening the Big Bull named “Mshale” came with some wild friends. He was limping from a wound, probably again inflicted by an arrow.
22 February 2013
As usual the Ex Orphans joined the Juniors at the Stockade for the Lucerne handout. At the ;noon mudbath all the Juniors enjoyed the mudbath because it was a hot day. Ololoo and Kandecha had a wonderful Pushing Match actually in the water. In the evening the orphans passed again by the mudbath because it was so hot, after which they enjoyed a dustbath before returning home.
23 February 2013
Mshale and Half Trunk were amongst the Ex Orphans when they came to the Stockades in the morning, the Ex Orphans peeling off to join the Juniors at the Lucerne. Later the Juniors left for the browsing area, leaving Mshale and Half Trunk with the Ex Orphans. It was another hot day, so the mudbath was popular, and again in the evening before the Juniors returned home for the night.
24 February 2013
Today the Ex Orphans came with 2 wild elephants, and having shared the Lucerne with the Juniors, the Ex Orphans and their wild friends headed towards the Kalovoto while the Juniors went to Kone to feed. At the mudbath all the orphans, except Tano, wallowed. Tano just splashed water behind her ears. In the evening the wild herd with the 6 month old baby came to drink at the Stockades.
25 February 2013
Today the Ex Orphans did not come to the Stockades in the morning, but at the mudbath the Youngsters were lucky to meet the big wild bull named “Rafiki” (the friend), who was one of the first wild elephants to have the courage to come to the Stockades and befriend the Youngsters some years ago and who was accompanied by 15 wild Elephants. Kilabasi, Shukuru, Tano and Kanjoro were the first ones to share water with Rafiki at the mudbath trough. Amongst them was Mshale, who had a swelling on his left hind knee and was still limping. The matter was reported to KWS and then Dr. Poghorn, the Vet attached to the Trust’s Mobile Veterinary Unit.
26 February 2013
A wild herd joined the Juniors at the compound in the morning. Makireti was very interested in the 6 month old baby with the wild elephants, playing with the baby for some time before being cautioned by the mother. At the mudbath the Juniors were joined by 1 wild elephant, who left after a while. Chemi Chemi and Kasigau had a Strength Testing bout which lasted for sometime under Chemi Chemi surrendered.
27 February 2013
The Ex Orphans plus some wild friends joined the Juniors at the Stockade compound in the morning. At the mudbath 9 wild elephants joined the Juniors, and when they returned in the evening, a wild elephant herd was drinking water at the Stockade trough, one of whom was the father of little “Mwende” and “Yetu”, the wild-born babies of Mulika and Yatta.
28 February 2013
It was a busy morning with a lot of interaction between the Keeper Dependent group, the Ex Orphans and visiting wild elephants. Kandecha played with a wild Junior of his size which ended when the mother came and pushed Kandecha away. Makireti played with a wild baby until it was time for Juniors to go off to browse, leaving the wild elephants and Ex Orphans at the stockade. At the mudbath the Juniors were joined by 20 wild elephants and at 2 p.m. 14 wild bulls came to take water at the Stockade compound.