Keepers' Diaries, February 2016
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
This month the vegetation is turning a yellow hue as things begin to dry out at Ithumba. Following excellent rain this year the area has remained greener for longer than usual which has made life easier for our dependent orphans and ex orphans alike. Our older ex orphans have remained within the Ithumba orbit, visiting our dependent orphans regularly. This month we were blessed with the return of Olare and her independent group of orphans who have been absent for three months. They are a fascinating group, all extremely good friends, comprised of Olare, Melia, Tumaren, Kandecha, Naisula, Kitirua, Chemi Chemi, Kalama, Murka and Kib, all of whom were raised in the Nursery together and who seem to want to remain an intact herd of their own without assimilating into Yatta and Mulika’s ex orphan herd. Ishanga, Kilaguni, Chiamu, Kilabasi and Kanjoro are another herd of friends who sometimes join the Olare herd, and sometimes act more independently sticking to themselves. They too are back in the fold. Both these young herds savour their independence and tend to venture further afield than the others. On the day they returned to the stockades after such a long absence, there followed an exuberant reunion with the ex orphan herds led by both Yatta and Mulika who returned to the stockades to share in the joy. From that day on Olare and her group have remained close to Chaimu, Kilaguni Kanjoro, Kilabasi and Ishanga, choosing to spend protracted time with their dependent orphan friends close to home and their company has been relished by all.
01 February 2016
On the way to the browsing field Laragai and Lemoyian competed who among them should be ahead of the other. Lemoyian lost to Laragai though due to his smaller size. Amazingly Laragai wasn't too rough with Lemoyian when trying to outdo him. She probably understood that Lemoyian is just a child and needs guidance rather than being handled roughly. Vuria engaged Bongo in a brief strength testing game and thereafter kept himself busy in browsing. Although the sun was hot, the orphans concentrated on browsing without minding about the temperature. At mud bath time they took milk and didn't bother going into the water to wallow. Led by Sities, the orphans settled to browse on the western side of the mud bath and in the evening they passed the mud bath again where they all decided to take a long dip in the cool water.
02 February 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade Orwa saw it wise to engage Kanjoro in a strength testing exercise. He saw this as a warm up exercise since the weather was a bit chilly this morning. Bomani stood close by and watched as the duo performed the pushing exercise. Towards ten o'clock in the morning, the chilly weather gave way to sun shine. Shukuru started to flap her ears to generate enough air to cool herself down as Barsilinga walked to feed under a tree. The sun was becoming hot and Barsilinga wanted to hide from the scorching sun. Turkwel developed an itch in-between her front legs and since there wasn't a suitable tree nearby, she picked a stick and used it to scratch her chest. Later Kithaka led the first group to the mud bath while Kanjoro led the second group. At mud bath time only Shukuru, Bongo, Narok and Laragai participated in wallowing.
In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse. The rains have passed and the vegetation is slowly turning yellow, an indication of the onset of the short dry period that usually lasts for about one or two months. The orphans concentrated mostly on browsing due to the rocky terrain for they had to walk carefully from one point to the other. In the evening, Yatta and her group passed by the stockade from the Kalovoto area, and later moved off to an unknown location.
03 February 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade the orphans passed by the water trough to get enough water that would see them through the entire morning. After drinking, Bongo and Vuria started the morning warm up exercises by engaging each other in a strength testing exercise. Shukuru left the stockade with a branch in her mouth that she enjoyed feeding on for some time before discarding it. Narok stretched her hind legs while Kithaka, who had an itchy belly, found a fallen tree that he used to scratch himself on.
In the browsing field Orwa and Turkwel had a brief strength testing game that lasted only for a minute before they resumed browsing. Later in the day, the juniors were joined by Mutara, Kanjoro, Suguta, and Ishanga. Ishanga, the nomad who had abandoned the three and went back to Yatta’s group, appears to have come to offer her apologies to Mutara, Kanjoro and Suguta. It will be interesting to watch how long she will stick to these three friends.
At mud bath time the temperature was low and only Kanjoro and Bongo wallowed in the water. After wallowing the duo engaged in a pushing game where Bongo lost to Kanjoro. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area. Barsilinga and Garzi spent some time in a strength testing exercise. Bomani, who was standing nearby came close to the two, requested permission from Garzi to assist him in driving Barsilinga away. Garzi accepted and stepped away for Bomani to finish what he had started. In the evening Kithaka led the way back to the stockade. Shortly before dark the ex-orphans passed by the stockades as they headed to Kalovoto.
04 February 2016
Kithaka and Orwa started the day’s activities by scratching their buttocks against the nearby trees. Vuria and Bongo enjoyed their usual strength testing games which resulted in a draw. In the browsing field the juniors were joined by Kilaguni, Chaimu, Kilabasi, Kasigau, Ishanga and Makireti who were all welcomed by Orwa who engaged Kasigau in a pushing game. The partially independent browsed with the juniors for almost two hours before heading further into the park.
At the mudbath the juniors were joined by big ex orphans bull Orok who went straight into the mudwallow. Despite it being a hot day only Kanjoro joined Orok for a mudbath. Orok started to mount Kanjoro who was not in the mood to carry Orok’s weight and was quick to leave the mudbath.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at the Kanziku area together with Orok who stayed with them for an hour before heading off to look for the other partially independent group to join up with them. In the evening, Orwa and Barsilinga dodged the keepers which meant that the group returned to the stockades later than normal as they were busy looking for the two naughty boys who had made their own way back to the stockades where they were eventually joined by the rest of the orphan herd..
05 February 2016
The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out of from their stockades. The orphans passed by the water trough for a long drink that would last them the morning. Vuria and Bongo engaged one another in a strength testing exercise while Barsilinga scratched his belly as Narok rolled around in some loose soil dustbathing.
The orphans spent a quiet morning at the browsing fields as they filled their bellies. Shortly before the noon mudbath and milk feed Garzi came across a tree stump that he used to scratch his belly before following the group who were being led by Kithaka to the waterhole. At the mudwallow the juniors were joined by Yatta, Yetu and Taita who spent some time with them before rejoining their friends who were busy browsing in the nearby bushes.
In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse on the western side of Ithumba Hill. Turkwel and Kainuk browsed together as did Sities and Garzi with Kainuk in browsing while Sities browsed with Garzi. In the evening Tomboi paid a quick visit to the stockades before heading back into the park
06 February 2016
After leaving the stockade Vuria went to stand at Barsilinga's gate and tried to stop him from coming out by blocking his exit. Barsilinga fought back pushing Vuria until he was able to get past. Chaimu who had spent the night just outside the stockade entwined her trunk with Bomani in greeting as he exited the stockade.
In the browsing field Vuria decided to engage Barsilinga in a strength testing and pushing game which Vuria won after Barsilinga conceded defeat and gave up. Barsilinga then went to mount Orwa who was enjoying rolling around on the ground playing and dustbathing. Teleki challenged Chaimu to strength testing games. Teleki gave up when he saw that it would be difficult for him to win and withdrew and resumed his browsing activities. Before the orphans made their way to the mudbath they were joined by Kilaguni, Ishanga, Kanjoro, Mutara and Suguta. Orwa was happy to see his older friends with whom he enjoyed playing pushing games. He first engaged Kilaguni in a game before taking on Kanjoro and later Ishanga.
At the mudbath Bongo, Kilaguni, Kanjoro, Teleki, Ishanga and Garzi were the only ones who enjoyed wallowing while the others entertained themselves with different activities. Most of the group enjoyed soil dusting while Barsilinga scratched against the nearby trees and Kithaka relaxed in the shade.
Chaimu led the group back to the browsing fields for the afternoon where they came across a drying pool where they enjoyed a mudbath. Kithaka led the way back to the stockades in the evening.
07 February 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade Teleki engaged Kanjoro in a pushing game that went on for quite some time. At the browsing field Bomani joined Kainuk for a browsing session while Suguta played with Mutara. Garzi spent some time soil dusting before resuming his browsing activities.
Orwa and Kanjoro took a break from feeding and enjoyed some strength testing exercises which ended in a draw. At mud bath time the sun overhead beating down on the orphans prompting them all enter the water for a cooling mudbath. After the mud bath Vuria was in a charging mood and took to knocking down bushes and small thickets until he got tired and followed his colleagues who were heading to the Kanziku area for the afternoons browsing session.
08 February 2016
Bongo and Vuria started the day by engaging each other in a strength testing games which put both Lemoyian and Bomani in a playful mood. Lemoyian is the smallest elephant in the group and try as he might he could not beat Bomani whom he was trying to mount. He later tried some stealth tactics and jumped onto Bomani when he was unaware.
Later in the morning Orwa had a brief strength testing exercise with Vuria as Kainuk and Bomani scratched their ears against some nearby trees while Kanjoro spent some time soil dusting. It was a chilly day and as such none of the orphans went into the water after having their milk at the mudwallow.
Barsilinga played with Garzi but when the going got tough Barsilinga surrendered and ran away. Bomani and Kithaka relaxed under a tree for a while before engaging each other in a pushing game. In the afternoon the clouds cleared giving way to the sunshine. Lemoyian started to feel hot and took cover under a tree where he spent some time browsing in the shade. In the evening juniors were joined by Zurura who was making his way to the mud bath. The orphans followed him and they all enjoyed an evening wallow after which Zurura went on his way as the orphan herd returned to the stockades.
09 February 2016
It was cloudy and chilly in the morning following the light showers that had fallen during the night. Soon after leaving the stockades Vuria and Bongo exchanged morning greetings before engaging one another in a pushing game. Orwa played with Kithaka while Narok scratched her buttocks against the an acacia tree in the stockade compound.
In the browsing field Bomani and Barsilinga started off by scratching on the nearby rocks while Narok enjoyed playing and rolling around on the ground. Narok’s games attracted Sities who joined her for some fun before returning to her browsing activities. A short while later it started drizzling which put the orphans in a playful mood. Garzi, Teleki, Narok, Shukuru and Lemoyian rolled around in the wet red earth smearing themselves with mud and having a lovely time.
As it was quite chilly by the time the orphans arrived at the mudwallow and they decided not to enter the water. Bongo and Vuria engaged each other in a strength testing exercise as Kithaka and Garzi put their heads together trying to decide what to do as it was too cold to have a swim. It was not long before Sities took charge and led the group back to the Imenti area where they spent the afternoon feeding until five o'clock when it was time to return to the stockades.
10 February 2016
The weather was chilly this morning. The orphans left the stockade in a playful mood. Kithaka engaged Vuria in strength testing game which he lost. Kithaka went to try his luck on Narok as Vuria went in search of Bongo. Kithaka again lost his game to Narok and after this final defeat he decided to go and scratch against some trees. Vuria and Bongo's game went for quite a long time and at last ended in a draw. Vuria decided to enhance his strength by trying to push a fallen tree. Barsilinga who was standing close by joined Vuria in pushing the tree.
In the browsing field, Lemoyian played Laragai while Garzi tested his strength by engaging Bomani in a pushing game. Vuria spent some time reminding himself of the good old football days in the nursery by kicking a small log that had fallen in his way. Bomani teamed up with Garzi in browsing while Narok browsed with Turkwel. On the way to the mud bath, Barsilinga led the group and upon arriving they found hundreds of maribou storks covering the entire area. The orphans couldn't understand what was happening and took to the water in hurry, before returning back to browsing. Lemoyian, Narok and Vuria tried to scare the birds by charging but the birds remained unmoved. The orphans settled to browse on the western side of the Ithumba Hill where they were joined by Kanjoro, Suguta and Mutara. Kanjoro browsed close to Laragai as Suguta browsed with Sities.
11 February 2016
Narok was the first one to leave the stockade followed by Barsilinga and Kithaka. Kithaka and Barsilinga entwined their trunks in greeting and this led to a brief strength testing exercise. Bomani, who was watching from a distance, intervened by pushing Barsilinga away and tackling Kithaka. Kithaka lost to Bomani and decided to seek help from Orwa. The help that Kithaka needed from Orwa was in the form of some training so as to enhance his pushing skills. Orwa didn't turn him down and taught Kithaka a few pushing lessons which he would later use to practice with Bomani.
Whilst browsing, Lemoyian played with Laragai while Garzi tested his strength with Narok. Bongo tackled Kanjoro and when he lost he went to comfort himself by scratching against a tree. Orwa then took over where Bongo had left and handled Kanjoro in a fierce way. Lemoyian also tried his hand on Kithaka but he was defeated. Kithaka then moved on to play with Bongo but he was floored by Bongo and this brought to an end the pushing games; Kithaka walked away to the bushes and concentrated on browsing instead. Barsilinga browsed close to Bomani while Narok spent some time soil dusting. Shortly before mud bath time, Laragai had a lone game of rolling on the ground as Orwa joined Barsilinga in soil bathing. At mud bath time the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to enter the mud bath. In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area. The clouds cleared and gave way to sun shine and this prompted Shukuru, Lemoyian, Teleki and Kanjoro to flap their ears continuously to cool off. In the late afternoon the orphans passed by the mud bath where they had a late mud wallowing session.
12 February 2016
This morning was different from other mornings. The orphans were nonchalant and quietly made their way to the browsing field. Ithumba Hill was partly covered by mist but the sky was clear, an indication of an approaching hot day. An hour after leaving the stockade the juniors were joined by Mutara, Suguta, and Kanjoro. This somehow activated the orphans’ mood as Bongo engaged Kanjoro in a pushing game while Orwa played with Narok. Lemoyian soil dusted under the watchful eye of Kainuk. Garzi spent some time playing with Barsilinga and their game ended in a draw. Kanjoro quit playing with Bongo and engaged Teleki in a brief strength testing exercise, before Kanjoro resumed browsing. At mud bath time, the weather turned cloudy and the orphans only drank their milk and water before returning to browse again. In the afternoon, the clouds slowly gave way to sun shine, but the sun didn’t bother the orphans and they concentrated on browsing throughout the remaining hours of the day.
13 February 2016
Another quiet morning as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from the stockade. Vuria and Bomani were swinging their trunks, a sign that they were in a happy mood. Soon after arriving at the browsing field Bomani, Kithaka and Laragai started their morning activities by scratching on nearby rocks. Narok browsed close to Kanjoro and from time to time kept on asking Kanjoro questions by inserting her trunk in Kanjoro’s mouth. The rest of the morning was quiet and on the way to the mud bath the orphans were scared by maribou storks that had perched in trees along their path. The keepers intervened by chasing the birds away, allowing the orphans to pass.
At mud bath time the temperatures were moderate but only Bongo participated in wallowing. The rest of the orphans just stood at the edge of the mud bath drinking and watching Bongo as he enjoyed wallowing. Kainuk picked up a stick and used it to scratch her chin and managed to remove some ticks. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area. Vuria teamed up with Turkwel while Garzi teamed up with Bomani to browse. The temperatures then sky-rocketed which made Barsilinga seek refuge under a tree so as to avoid the scorching sun. The rest of the orphans went on with browsing as usual, unperturbed by the temperature.
14 February 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade Orwa and Turkwel started their day with a strength testing exercise as Bomani, Kithaka, Narok, Lemoyian and Teleki scratched on nearby rocks. A short while later Laragai led the way to the browsing field. Once there Bongo, Barsilinga and Kithaka settled to browse together whilst Kainuk teamed up with Turkwel. An hour later, the orphans were joined by Suguta, Kanjoro and Mutara and the three semi-wild ones were welcomed by Orwa. Mutara had a game of rolling on the ground and Orwa came over to lean on her. When the two were done with their rolling game, they stood up and engaged each other in a pushing game that lasted for a while.
Yatta and Mulika’s group passed by the stockade compound at around eleven o'clock in the morning.
After drinking enough water, the group headed to Kalovoto. At mud bath time the temperatures were moderate but none of the orphans wanted to wallow. The orphans had their milk then drank water before heading back to the browsing field. At one point the orphans converged under a tree when the temperatures went up slightly higher than they found enjoyable. When the temperature dropped to a more favourable level, the orphans resumed their browsing session.
15 February 2016
This morning Narok had a slight limp. She might have slipped and fallen down or perhaps was pushed by Bongo during the night. The orphans headed straight to the bush soon after leaving their stockades. An hour later the ex orphans passed by the stockade, drank water and then left. The weather kept fluctuating today but the orphans didn't seem to be bothered by it, and concentrated mainly on browsing. Shortly before mud bath time, Barsilinga took a break from feeding to scratch his hind leg after coming across a suitable rock for that purpose. At mud bath the weather was cloudy and only Bongo the ‘water boy’ and Kanjoro wallowed in the water. Barsilinga and Garzi kept themselves busy by engaging each other in a pushing game. Soon after Bongo and Kanjoro were done with wallowing, they staged a brief strength testing exercise before heading to the bush. The orphans settled to browse in Kanziku area and later in the day the temperature skyrocketed, causing the orphans to converge under a tree and flap their ears continuously. In the evening the orphans passed by Kone dam where they had an evening wallowing session.
16 February 2016
Lemoyian and Kithaka had a disagreement soon after drinking their morning milk. The two decided to settle their differences by pushing one another just inside the stockade. Before the pushing could go on for long, the gates were opened and the keepers informed them that it was time to leave and they should go and sort their differences outside. When Lemoyian stepped out he soon found himself at loggerheads with Bomani, after he had inadvertently blocked Bomani's way. As Bomani was in the process of trying to punish Lemoyian, Orwa came from behind and tried to climb on Bomani. This gave Lemoyian a chance to escape as Bomani tried to rid himself of Orwa. Vuria engaged Bongo in a strength testing exercise as Kithaka played with Barsilinga. Turkwel settled to browse with her friend Kainuk as Orwa teamed up with Barsilinga. Bongo came across a fallen tree that he used to scratch his ear. Later Kithaka used the same tree to scratch himself.
At mud bath time, the sun was hot and the all the orphans participated fully in the wallowing exercise with an exception of Orwa who opted to be a spectator by standing under a tree facing his friends. After wallowing, the orphans participated in a soil dusting exercise before heading back to the browsing field. In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area. Barsilinga stood on three legs as he used one of his legs to scratch the other. Later in the day the sun became unbearable and Lemoyian, Orwa, Vuria and Bongo relaxed under a tree with good shade and only resumed browsing after the temperature had dropped a bit. In the evening the orphans passed by the mud bath where they all had a spectacular afternoon wallowing session before returning to the stockade compound.
17 February 2016
On their way out Kithaka and Barsilinga inspected the trailer of the tractor that had been parked outside to see if there were any greens still in it. After finding out that it was empty, the two boys slowly walked to the bush. Bongo and Vuria started their day by engaging each other in a pushing game, which Bongo lost to Vuria. In the browsing field, it was all quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing except Garzi who from time to scratched his ears on nearby trees. At mud bath time the sun was really hot and Bongo, Teleki, Kanjoro, Vuria, Garzi and Suguta swam in the water for a long time. Orwa went and relaxed under a tree as he waited for his friends to come out of the water. After Garzi had enough of wallowing, he left the venue in a charging mood. Bongo left the water before Vuria and once he was out, he tried to block Vuria from coming out. The battle went on for quite some time until Vuria managed to free himself from the siege of Bongo and exit the water.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse south east of the mud bath. The sun was still hot and the orphans converged under a tree to hide from the scorching sun. Bomani who was standing close to Barsilinga and Kithaka tried to invite them to a pushing game but they were both reluctant because it was too hot. Later the temperatures dropped to a more favourable level and the orphans came out of the shade to resume browsing. Shukuru, Teleki and Garzi spent some time soil dusting themselves. In the evening the orphans passed the mud bath where they all participated in an evening cool off before returning back to the stockades.
18 February 2016
Soon after getting their milk in the morning, Narok led the way out straight to the browsing ground. Kithaka found a suitable tree that he used to scratch his neck on. Barsilinga developed an itchy ear and decided to use his trunk to scratch the itchy part. Bongo teamed up with Narok in browsing as the rest scattered all over the field. At around ten o’clock in the morning, Olare group’s consisting of Olare, Melia, Tumaren, Kandecha, Naisula, Kitirua, Chemi Chemi, Kalama, Murka and Kibo reported at the stockade. The group had not been seen for almost three months now, showing just how confident our ex orphans are and how far they range. The group members were happy to see everyone at the stockade area after being away for so long and they stayed for almost one hour. Shortly before eleven o’clock in the morning, Olare group’s was joined by Yatta and Mulika’s groups. Later the two groups that are like water and allparted ways, with Olare’s group headed east and Yatta and Mulika’s groups headed north.
At mud bath time, the sun was very hot and Teleki, Garzi, Bongo, Kanjoro, Mutara, Suguta, Narok and Turkwel had a spectacular time wallowing. Orwa went to relax under his usual tree as Shukuru kept herself busy by scratching against the nearby trees. Vuria stood at the edge of the mud bath waiting for his playmate Bongo to come out. When Vuria saw Bongo was taking too long to come out of the water, he decided to go for him. Bongo resisted by fighting back as Vuria tried as much as he can to drive Bongo out of the water. Finally Bongo finished wallowing so as to concentrate on tackling Vuria. The strength testing exercise went on for a long time, until Bongo decided that he had wasted enough time and he needed to return to the bush to browse. In the afternoon the orphans settled on the eastern side of Ithumba Hill and in the evening passed by Kone dam where they all had an evening cool off before returning back to the stockade for another night.
19 February 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade, Orwa, Garzi and Shukuru settled under the only remaining acacia tree in the stockade compound to pick and feed on the flowers that had fallen from the tree on the ground. Barsilinga and Bomani walked a few metres away where they found a fallen tree that they used to test their strength by pushing it out of the way. The tree was heavy and the two couldn’t even move it an inch. Barsilinga surrendered leaving Bomani still trying to push it. Vuria engaged Bongo in a pushing game and displayed all manner of skills he had acquired over the years he has been in Ithumba. One of the techniques he tried on Bongo was fighting whilst seated and the other whilst lying down. He also stood up and knelt down using his front feet and still managed to tackle Bongo. In the browsing field, Orwa and Vuria had a light strength testing exercise while Bomani played with Garzi, as Bongo took a break in feeding to scratch on the nearby rocks.
At eleven o’clock in the morning, the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to step into the mud bathing water. The orphans drank their milk then returned back to the browsing field. Shortly before one o’clock in the afternoon, Olare’s group showed up at the stockade. The group drank water and after headed north. In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse in Kanziku area as they have been doing over the last few days, and the clouds cleared giving way to sun shine. The orphans later passed by the Kone dam where they all had an evening wallow.
20 February 2016
Olare’s group reported to the stockade compound late during night and decided to spend the night just outside. In the morning they waited for the juniors to come out. As soon as the gates opened Olare’s group didn’t wait and they entered to see whether there was anything left for them to eat. Unfortunately everything had been eaten and so they walked out with the juniors. Orwa was happy for the opportunity to test his strength with members in Olare’s group. Orwa started his first game with Kibo, later trying Olare and later Naisula, but ended up losing all the battles to them. Chemi Chemi played with Narok and later engaged Teleki in a pushing game. Teleki couldn’t withstand Chemi Chemi’s strength and after he had defeated him he turned to mount on Teleki, a show of dominance. These games attracted Lemoyian who engaged Kithaka in a pushing game; after Kithaka won that game he turned to Bomani but he ended up losing miserably to Bomani too. Shortly after all the games, Olare led the way to the browsing field. There Kainuk, Shukuru and Kibo spent some time soil dusting. Two hours later, Olare’s group parted ways with the juniors.
At the mud bath the weather was chilly and it was also drizzling. The orphans only drank their milk and water and led by Shukuru they headed back to the browsing field. Kanjoro and Bongo had a brief strength testing exercise before Orwa intervened by picking on Kanjoro to have a pushing game. Barsilinga, Orwa, Bomani, Teleki, Kanjoro and Kithaka lay down on the ground to play in the cool soil after the drizzle. Bomani tackled Orwa as Orwa continued to roll on the ground. After the rolling games, Kanjoro played with Orwa and later Bomani. Orwa also played with Kithaka before the group resumed browsing. In the evening, the clouds cleared giving way to sun shine and this prompted the orphans to pass by the mud bath later for an evening swim.
21 February 2016
Early in the morning, Makireti, Kasigau, Kilabasi and Kilaguni were at the stockade compound. It appeared that the four ex-orphans reported late during the night and were tired and so decided to spend the night just outside the stockade. As Makireti group’s waited for the juniors to come out, Kasigau and Kilaguni kept themselves busy by pushing one another. Kilabasi was the first one to go into the stockades when the gates opened to welcome the juniors out. Kilabasi met with Narok and they exchanged morning greetings. Once she got into the stockade she forgot about greeting the other juniors and so concentrated on looking for what they might have left for her to feed on. Since there wasn’t much left for her to feed on, Kilabasi turned and followed the juniors out. In the stockade compound Orwa busied himself by engaging Kilabasi in a pushing game. Kasigau, who was standing close by, stepped forward and ganged up with Kilabasi to fight Orwa who appears to be a threat to them in the near future. Orwa had no option other than to surrender because he could not withstand the combined strength of the duo. Kilabasi went to play with Teleki.
Later the group led by Makireti headed to the browsing field. At around nine o’clock in the morning, Olare and her herd visited the stockade and as soon as they had enough water, the group left to an undisclosed location.
In the browsing field Garzi spent some time feeding with Sities while Lemoyian soil dusted as Orwa engaged Kilabasi in a strength testing game. At mud bath time, Tomboi arrived moments before the juniors. As soon as the juniors arrived, they drank their milk then, Bongo, Teleki, Kilaguni, Kilabasi, Makireti, Kasigau, Vuria and Turkwel joined Tomboi in wallowing. The rest opted just to dust themselves on the sidelines.
Barsilinga stepped on Laragai’s trunk by mistake which annoyed Laragai. Laragai didn’t understand that Barsilinga had done it by mistake and Laragai pushed him hard. Barsilinga didn’t retaliate as he knew he would only take the issue from bad to worse. He left without a word! Laragai is feared by the younger boys because she is strong and never surrenders. An hour later, the group in the company of Tomboi headed south of the mud bath. A short while later Rapsu and Taita passed by the mud bath as they searched for Tomboi. In the evening, Makireti and her group parted ways with the juniors. Soon after returning back to the stockade, Bongo started bullying Narok and knocking her down for no apparent reason, an action that earned him an immediate transfer to join the older girls Shukuru, Turkwel, Sities and Kainuk who would dole out some much needed discipline.
22 February 2016
Makireti, Ololoo, Kilaguni, Kilabasi, Kasigau, Mutara, Suguta, Kanjoro and Ishanga were at the stockade compound early in the morning. Ishanga, the wanderer, was back again in Makireti’s group. Last time she had been spotted with Yatta’s group. It is only her who can tell us which group she might join when she tires of Makireti’s group. The weather was chilly and the boys engaged one another in a strength testing game to warm up. Orwa started it with Ololoo which he lost and thereafter lowered himself to play with Kithaka. Ololoo moved on to a higher league and engaged Kasigau in a pushing game which went on for quite some time. Their game reached a climax when Ololoo mounted on Kasigau which meant that Kasigau had lost the play fight.
In the browsing field the juniors were joined briefly by Makena, Mwende and Mulika. Mwende engaged Mutara in a pushing game as Kilabasi played with Orwa. Barsilinga found a suitable tree that he used to scratch his buttocks on. Kainuk, who was feeding nearby, became jealous of Barsilinga’s good scratch and came over to push him away. Later Turkwel came and pushed Kainuk away from the tree so she could then scratch herself. Barsilinga moved to feed close to Kasigau until Teleki came over and had a brief strength testing game with Kasigau. At mud bath time, the sun was hot but only Kilaguni, Makireti, Bongo, Kanjoro, Mutara and Kasigau participated in wallowing. As the orphans were leaving the mud bath, Buchuma, who has been missing for some months, reported at the mud bath looking slightly thin. He headed straight to drink water as the orphan herd headed north of mud bath. Two hours later Makireti and her group parted ways with them after having an evening mud bath together.
23 February 2016
Makireti and her group spent the night just outside the stockade. As the gates opened for the juniors to come out, the group was still asleep and was woken up by the rumbling sound of the orphans as they left the stockade. Makireti was the first one to wake up and meet Orwa who they exchanged morning greetings with by entwining trunks. In the browsing field Kasigau offered Bomani free training on how to tackle his fellow boys. Orwa, who was feeding close by, came forward and interrupted the training by pushing Bomani away so as to practice his pushing techniques with Kasigau. Kanjoro briefly engaged Kainuk in a pushing game and after, when Orwa lost to Kasigau, Orwa went to comfort himself by engaging Kanjoro in a pushing game.
At mud bath time, the juniors were joined by Madiba, Tomboi, Rapsu and a wild elephant. After mud bath, Teleki led his friends into a soil dusting exercise where they were joined by Buchuma. Later, the juniors returned back to the browsing field leaving the wild boys still at the mud bath. The orphans had a quiet afternoon and in the evening they passed by Kone dam where they had an evening wallow.
24 February 2016
Led by Narok the orphans headed straight to the browsing field this morning where Bomani and Barsilinga spent some of their time scratching their bellies on a fallen tree. The orphans settled to browse close to Kone dam where they were joined briefly by Kinna. Shukuru took a break from feeding to spend some time soil dusting. Her game attracted Garzi why lay down and started playing a rolling game.
At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Yatta and Mulika’s herd. Laragai had an opportunity to talk with Nasalot and they communicated together for some time. The orphans kept away from the water and let their seniors enjoy wallowing first because they didn't want trouble from the naughty boys who mount on them when they are wallowing altogether. Orwa kept himself busy by playing with Narok and shortly later the orphans returned back to the browsing field. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the eastern side of the Ithumba Hill. Turkwel settled to browse with Lemoyian where Lemoyian watched with great interest the type of plants that Turkwel was feeding on, and then he did the same. Teleki developed an itchy ear and so used a nearby tree to scratch himself.
25 February 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade, Lemoyian and Kithaka had a brief strength testing exercise that lasted until Lemoyian surrendered. Narok performed her lonely game of rolling on the ground and when she had enough of playing she followed her friends who were already on their way to the browsing field. The juniors were joined by Mutara, Kanjoro and Suguta. Orwa and Kanjoro entwined their trunks in greeting. Later they turned the greetings into a strength testing exercise. Lemoyian had an itchy ear and so took a break from feeding to work on it by scratching against a tree. At mud bath time the juniors were joined by Yatta and Mulika’s herd that were in the company of five wild elephants. Vuria stretched his trunk to greet Yatta who responded by stretching her trunk towards Vuria. Wiva, under the escort of Kina and Loijuk, got into the water and had a spectacular wallowing game. Barsilinga settled for soil dusting as his friends mingled with the ex-orphans. Vuria spotted a woolly necked stork that had perched just close to him. He charged and decided to attack it but the bird was fast and flew away. Teleki challenged Meibai in a pushing game but lost easily to Meibai because he was not as strong. Vuria pulled Bongos tail when Bongo overtook him as they were exiting the mud bath. Bongo was quick enough to pull away though before Vuria could bite his tail! After getting out of the mud bath, Wiva tried to attack Orwa. Orwa was careful not to push Wiva too hard because of the presence of her heavy security accorded by the ex-orphan herd. Later the ex -orphans parted ways with the juniors. The juniors settled to browse in Kanziku area for the remaining part of the day.
26 February 2016
Olare’s group was outside the stockade waiting for the juniors to come out. Chaimu appeared to have disbanded her group since Kilaguni was not with her; she is probably clinging to Olare’s group as she ponders her next move. When the gates opened Olare walked into the stockade to find out if there were any leftovers she could eat. She was lucky as she picked up a few branches which she happily chewed on as she walked out. Outside the stockade, Chemi Chemi was engaging Teleki in a pushing game. Teleki lost the game to Chemi Chemi and Chemi Chemi used the opportunity to bully Teleki and started chasing him around attempting to mount on him. When he finished chasing Teleki he went to play with Tumaren, as Orwa played with Mutara. Later Orwa engaged Chemi Chemi in a pushing game as Garzi held a brief discussion with Kibo. Kibo left Garzi and walked to help Chemi Chemi push Orwa away. Kanjoro engaged Olare in a pushing game but he was overpowered by Olare and quit the game.
In the browsing field Lemoyian teamed up with Chaimu to browse. Barsilinga came across a suitable rock that he used to scratch his belly on. At eleven o'clock in the morning, Chaimu led the entire group to the mud bath. Soon after mud bath, the group returned back to the browsing field. In the evening, for the first time since the rains, a herd of ten wild elephants reported to the stockade compound for water. We took this as a sign that the water holes are already beginning to dry.
27 February 2016
Lemoyian and Bomani locked their trunks in morning greetings when they met outside the stockade soon after coming out. On the way to the browsing field, the juniors were joined by Mutara, Kanjoro and Suguta. The three semi-wild ones mostly join the juniors in the morning for the day, then part ways with them in the evening. Orwa engaged Mutara in a pushing game. Later the juniors were joined by Olare’s group Zurura and Ololoo. Orwa quit playing with Mutara and went to tackle Ololoo. Chemi Chemi came across a bent tree and tried to push it over but didn't succeed. Orwa lost to Ololoo and decided to go and seek advice from Kibo for more pushing tactics. Kainuk took a break from feeding and used a nearby tree to scratch her itching ear.
On the way to the mud bath, the orphans passed by Kone dam where the water has reduced drastically, and got into the water to cool down. At mud bath time only Kandecha went to wallow, the rest only drank water then returned back to the browsing field. Two hours later, Olare’s group parted ways with the juniors. In the evening, the orphans passed by the mud bath for an evening cooling off. For the entire day, it was observed that Sities, Kainuk, Turkwel and Shukuru kept themselves close to Mutara Kanjoro and Suguta. It seemed normal behaviour but the orphans were actually hatching a plan. On the way back to the stockade, there was a moment of angst when Suguta, Mutara and Kanjoro decided to elope with Shukuru, Sities, Turkwel and Kainuk. On reaching close to the telephone rock where the keepers split the group into three, they realized that several orphans were missing. As they pondered what to do next, the keepers heard trumpeting a sound from east. It was from Suguta and Mutara, celebrating their success. The group was heading towards Kalovoto. The keepers tracked them until they found Shukuru, Sities, Kainuk and Turkwel, then walked them back to the stockade, bringing an end to that short drama. Shortly before sunset, Yatta and Mulika’s groups in the company of ten wild elephants reported to the stockade and left shortly before dark.
28 February 2016
Olare’s group was waiting at the entrance in the morning when the orphans left the stockade. Narok entwined trunks with Tumaren as Kibo picked on Orwa for a pushing game. Kibo then quit the game leaving Orwa wondering where to go next to find a new game. Orwa made the mistake of picking on Olare who was in a charging mood. Olare handled Orwa ruthlessly until Orwa cried for help. Olare ran down heading towards Kone where she came across a dry fallen tree which she attacked with all her strength until she broke some of the branches; a short while later she calmed down and started to browse.
An hour later, Chemi Chemi spotted Orwa and went wild. Chemi Chemi went down on his knees in a warm up exercise to display the attacking skills that he knows to Orwa. The gentle and brave Orwa took his time to watch what he considered childish behaviour by Chemi Chemi. Orwa then stepped forward and dared Chemi Chemi to attack him. Chemi Chemi raised his tail aggressively and then went for Orwa. Orwa tried to defend himself but luckily Melia, who happened to be feeding close by, intervened and separated the two boys. Bongo and Vuria also decided to have their own strength testing exercise that didn’t go on for long.
At mud bath Olare’s group and the juniors were joined by Yatta and Mulika’s groups. Orwa challenged Meibai but Meibai proved to be too strong for him. Kithaka stood close to Mwende who was suckling from her mum Mulika. Kithaka extended his trunk to Mwende and communicated with her whilst she was drinking her delicious milk. After mud bath, the groups parted ways. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans browsed calmly without any major activities.
29 February 2016
Olare and her group reported early in the morning and stood outside the stockade waiting for the juniors to come out. When Orwa came out he found a new friend to play with when Naisula engaged him in a pushing game that lasted for a while. Kithaka visited a nearby rock that he used to scratch his belly. Shortly later, Kalama arrived and pushed Kithaka away from the rock. This annoyed Kithaka but there was nothing he could do since Kalama was senior to him. Kithaka just stood close by and waited until Kalama was done with her scratching, then resumed with his scratching exercise. Olare led the group to Kone area where the herd settled to browse. Orwa played with Kanjoro as Turkwel spent some time soil dusting. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Yatta and Mulika’s groups. The mud bath was brief and thereafter the herd parted ways. The orphans and Olare’s group walked up to the western side of Ithumba Hill where they settled to browse. Shortly before four o’clock in the afternoon, Olare and her group left the juniors. The temperature was still high at this time and the orphans passed by the mud bath again for an evening cool off.