Like everywhere it is drying out in the Umani Forest, but compared to else where there is still plentiful food. The orphans have been more preoccupied with feeding and finding the tempting browse to complement their milk feeds, and reach for the high branches of the acacia trees, and dig up roots with their feet. Soft green grass is always a welcomed treat, but the buffaloes are competing for this too as the dry season grips. Towards the end of the month the acacias were beginning to flower and the orphans favourite food, acacia pods are beginning to drop.
This month Murera has had a number of extremely jovial days, where she is joyously throwing herself around, her happiness is a great joy for us all who remember her very difficult beginning so vividly. Umani Springs was built with Murera in mind, and to see the group of Umani elephants so settled and so incredibly happy in their new home is wonderful.
The wild elephants from the region are congregating in the forest where there is more food, these elephants are coming from the Chyulu Hills and Amboseli beyond. On a couple of occasions the Keepers have had to hurry to retrieve the orphans before they are spirited away by the wild bulls. Most nights the wild elephants come and enjoy water at the stockade water trough and have found the left over Lucerne. On some occasions this month female herds with a number of new born babies have been visiting the orphans. These babies have been born in the forest in the recent weeks.
The boys Faraja, Jasiri and Ngasha have settled in well, and are a great source of enjoyment for the girls, Quanza and Lima Lima in particular. Murera while she is the Matriach, she can be grumpy at times, and the others have learnt when to give her space and when to stay close. Lima Lima is the leader very often, but not necessarily the decision maker, important decisions are still made by Murera and Sonje the oldest two. Zongoloni has pride of place as Sonje’s favourite girl.
Faraja has quite the reputation as the tail biter, with Jasiri having a particularly hard time with his habit, but they are all wise to it now and he is avoided when in those moods. Lima Lima has kept a close eye on the boys who sometimes get los, venturing too far and can no longer locate their Keepers and then panic, and Lima Lima is quick to respond and locate them to bring them back to their beloved green coats.
More comings and goings from Umani Springs can be enjoyed in the Umani Keepers daily diaries.