Keepers' Diaries, February 2016

Umani Springs Reintegration Unit

This month more wild elephants than usual have appeared in the forest, and Lima Lima in particular has been interested in their presence; but Murera not so who is fearful of possibly losing some of her group to the wild herds. Wild elephants, both bulls and females, have been visiting the orphans in their stockades this month under the cover of darkness. They seem extremely interested in our youngsters, and spend endless hours communicating with them. We have noticed that the wild elephants are becoming bolder, and more confident around the stockades despite the presence of the humans. They also enjoy the fresh spring water in the orphan’s water trough situated outside the stockade compound, as well as the soft dusting soil that is provided for the orphans’ enjoyment. Whilst Murera’s injuries inhibit her being as playful with the youngsters as she would probably like, Sonje is always obliging, lying down to enable the youngsters to clamber all over her, something all the orphaned babies enjoy.

01 February 2016

Umani springs and the forest have become a paradise to much wildlife including the wild elephants that have started returning here in large numbers, to relax in this protected area, showing themselves particularly at night. When Murera realised that the wild elephants were within the stockade area last night she tried to issue some warning rumbles to her friends so they would not go out and follow them; she fears that wild elephants might take away some of her babies in her small herd. Last night in the forest some of the wild elephants began trumpeting very loudly. When Lima Lima heard she began rumbling loudly and tried to walk out to see them but Quanza, her roommate, blocked her way to the gate so she could not pass. Lima Lima did not feel happy about this and knocked Quanza to the side to give her way. Murera came over to her looking very harsh and used her tusks to push and warn Lima Lima to obey the rules and stay with the other babies.

02 February 2016

Faraja was looking very relaxed after eating huge amounts of food, as he is certainly one of the greedier boys. Later he and found a place to do some soil dusting and relaxed recumbent in the soft earth. The rest of the herd were playing on the hills above Faraja, but after a few minutes, Sonje turned to where Faraja was enjoying his dusting session and she went there with some of the other orphans following her including Ziwa, Ngasha and Jasiri. Ngasha and Jasiri were just waiting for Sonje to lie down and then they all jumped over Sonje’s back, quite vigorously and without considering Sonje’s bad knee. These clambering games are a great favourite with the young bulls, and Sonje does not seem to mind, and loves to play with the babies. After a very good playful moment, all the babies went straight to the wallowing waterhole, to try and cool down their bodies which were beginning to get hot. Ngasha was lazy and decided not to wallow today, but this is unusual as he does enjoy his mud baths.

03 February 2016

Ziwa and Murera came out of their stockades very early this morning. They finished the morning bottle feeding and Murera walked to the elephants loading bay wall to play, with her friend Ziwa following her very closely. They enjoy rubbing themselves against the lava wall of the loading bay in order to dislodge parasite. Albino boys Faraja and Jasiri who could be half brothers were enjoying strength testing games, and if one was to look at them both you would probably put your money on Jasiri winning, however today was different, Faraja came out on top. Later in the day there was a little shower of rain. After some time Zongoloni and some of her friends went back looking for their keepers, who they could not see around because they were sheltered under a tree out of the rain. Ngasha began rumbling trying to locate where the keepers were. Murera and Sonje came out trying to locate who was making those complaining rumbles in the bushes. Lima Lima, who is always giving useful information, came out signalling the direction where the other babies were foraging silently close to the keepers under the tree.

04 February 2016

Last night, all the wild elephants made their way to Umani forests near the water springs. Female elephants with their young calves in a family herd were making loud rumbling noises. At the stockades, the babies stopped foraging and listening very keenly, some raising their big ears up trying to locate the direction where the noisy wild elephants were located. Murera put her long trunk in air facing the direction of the noise, together with Sonje and Ziwa doing the same thing. Later in the day in the forest after bottle feeding, the orphans took off with their keepers to go and soil dust themselves. They smelt and saw some foot prints of the wild friends who had been enjoying the dusting soil in the night. When the babies returned to their night stockades again in the evening, many wild bulls came down from the Chyulu Hills in the night to visit the orphans and found them locked inside their stockade compound. Ziwa tried pushing on his gate to run to Sonje and Murera and Murera also complained with low rumbling sounds.

05 February 2016

Lima Lima could not hide her joy when she saw her favourite keeper Amos who had been away for a while. She gave him hugs around his neck and followed him to the forest with some of the other keepers. The rest of the babies waited to see if Lima Lima would come back to join them. Quanza, Zongoloni and Faraja teamed up with all the remaining boys to go on a patrol, leaving Ziwa behind with his adopted mothers Murera and Sonje, because he thought Faraja would push him around too much. Jasiri found a trench blocking their way so he resorted to trying to fill it using his tusks. The keepers were calling to them to come to their location using their common calling sounds like [kwata, kwata, kwata] which the orphans understand so well. Immediately Lima Lima responded crossing over in order to gather the babies to join the Keepers.

06 February 2016

Today myriads of beautiful butterflies mingled with the elephants as the peacefully fed. It looked like a picture from the garden of Eden. Lima Lima started chasing butterflies around with loud trumpets but it was hard for her to catch even one. Zongoloni joined her to help but fell down on her knees. The butterflies seemed to just be enjoying the game with some landing on their bodies causing Lima Lima to run around even more trying to get them off her back. She was clever; when she saw the butterflies would not get off from her back she went to the thickest bushes to try and clear them off. Quanza joined them, shaking her big head with her ears flapping. Quanza stepped over a tortoise which was moving slowly across her path but she didn’t notice, she thought it was just a stone in her way. The tortoise was turned upside down but the keepers who were behind the orphans helped the tortoise tright the tortoise again.

07 February 2016

Zongoloni with some of her friends led the orphans in a direction different to where Murera was trying to lead them. Murera consulted with her through very low rumbles for a long time before deciding the way forward, and Lima Lima followed her own choice of going towards the Chyulu Hills; knowing they would find a greater variety of vegetation out there. Today was also very important to the keepers who were receiving the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Professor Judy Wakhungu, who came to visit the Umani orphans again. Lima Lima was at the front to receive her with the delegation she arrived with. Lima Lima and Ngasha were the best entertainers for the delegation. Ngasha spent time studying their shoes and feet, and Lima Lima was playing with them and giving them some hugs with her trunk, which impressed the guests no end.

08 February 2016

Ngasha began his day very early in the morning and as soon as he walked out of his stockade with his friend Faraja he started greeting everyone with vigorous rumbling sounds, forcing Lima Lima to turn around and acknowledge the greetings from Ngasha. After a short while Ngasha and Lima Lima started their normal pushing game, testing their body strength. Each one wanted to know who was stronger than the other, but Lima Lima surrendered easily to avoid the rough games from Ngasha, the naughty boy who plays pushing games all day and all night with his friend Faraja. Sonje heard Ziwa rumbling loudly and almost screaming. She ran to her baby Ziwa trumpeting, trying to scare away whatever was there, but she found nothing was wrong with Ziwa. She calmed him down by lying on the ground for Ziwa to jump over her back. It seems he was just shouting because he could not find Sonje and wanted her to come to him. The orphans later gathered around the waterhole and enjoyed licking the salt from the salt lick. The salt is frequented by all the forest wild residents. Additional minerals in the form of a salt lick are always more popular within a forest environment due to the leaching effect of rain.

09 February 2016

It was very cloudy in the morning and the Umani Hills was fully covered in mist. No one could see each other but the orphans could smell their friends to locate where they were on top of the hill. It was very hard for the keepers to locate where some of the orphans were in the bushes. After a short while it began to rain, but all the babies were still on the hill and were not ready to come down even for their bottle feeding. When Ziwa and Sonje saw it was beginning to rain very heavily, they went looking for Murera to help guide them where to go to. A little later mini matriarch Lima Lima, who is always such a clever girl, did not fail in her duties to inform the others to come to where there was some wet earth they would all enjoy rolling in after the rain. After rolling all the babies continued to the bottle feeding site and afterwards they left hurriedly back to the forests to proceed with the remaining activities of the day. For a long time all the babies stayed near us, their keepers, and we were not sure why. Later on we found that buffalos were grazing all around us and that was why they were sticking so close, because the orphans also provide security to their human families while in the forests.

10 February 2016

Jasiri, the biggest of the boys, walked in isolation today, shunning the company of some of his friends, thinking that he is now the big boy who can roam on his own and rule the bush. In reality he is still a young boy and when he came across some big wild bulls within the forest, he feared getting any closer and instead he turned back running very quickly to his orphan and human family. Jasiri then heard an elephant shouting in the forest, but it was just Lima Lima trying to call them to where she was – she only came across Zongoloni pushing Ngasha. Again there was some shouting in the forest and when the Keepers investigated they found Quanza disciplining Lima Lima. Quanza was prodding Lima Lima’s back with her strong tusks. Its seemed that Lima Lima was trying to snatch some sweet grass from Quanza’s mouth which she certainly did not appreciate.

11 February 2016

Ziwa started complaining and shouting in the bushes which sent Sonje and Murera running to find out what the problem was. Murera raised her trunk in the air to find where Ziwa was located and they went there in a hurry. When they reached where Ziwa was they found him surrounded by some of the naughty boys, Jasiri, Ngasha and Faraja. They were trying to climb on the young boy while Ziwa was just on the ground screaming for help from Murera and Sonje. When the boys saw Sonje and Murera hurrying to them, all went separate ways fearing their long tusks and the disciplining they would certainly receive! After getting Ziwa up from the ground where he was being bullied, Murera patted him nicely on the side with Sonje also putting her trunk round his head to make sure Ziwa was happy again. When they got to the waterhole they found Jasiri and Lima Lima crossing the swampy area. They were just washing their feet and not wallowing properly preferring to drink the clear water rather than muddy it with wallowing.

12 February 2016

Lima Lima came out of her stockade which she shares with Quanza and went to the acacia trees looking for some pods but she found none. She only found the leaves because the pods are seasonal and do not come out until the dry season. Nevertheless she enjoyed the acacia leaves. At midday, Sonje lined up her babies in front of her to be sure everyone was safe and happy before leading them to the waterhole to wallow as the temperature had risen. All the babies chose to swim today because the water hole was brimming full of water, looking incredibly inviting with dragonflies dancing around the waters edge. The babies left the waterhole to venture to a more muddy area as the mud is important keeping their bodies protected from biting insects and in the case of Faraja and Jasiri keeping their pale skins protected from the unforgiving hot sun. The damp mud also keeps them cooler for longer which they very much enjoy too. Crane birds flew on top of the babies while they were wallowing which unnerved them, and there was a charge as all of them decided to vacate the mud bath at the same time. Zongoloni came out of the water kicking the surface together with Jasiri and Faraja as they attempted to chase the crested cranes away, as by now they had landed and were looking for grasshoppers. This provided light entertainment for the orphans.

13 February 2016

The orphans started the day very well in the early morning as they fed on delicious fresh grass. Ziwa changed his position and was trying to stay closer to Quanza, who normally behaves well with him and is not as pushy as some of the naughty boys. They get jealous of Ziwa’s privileged position enjoying so much of Sonje and Murera's attention. As the babies headed to the mud wallow there was a strange smell, a smell of a kill on the air. The elephants lifted their trunks catching the scent on the wind. Then we spotted vultures who began to swoop lower and lower, their presence unsettling the baby elephants. We never did locate the kill, but it is probably a leopard’s kill.

14 February 2016

Lima Lima was upset when she was looking for her favourite keeper Amos and found he was not on duty. She stopped and began rumbling very loudly, complaining about where she could find him. When another keeper came and tried to calm Lima Lima down, she did not listen and turned her bottom to reverse into the keeper who she did not want to listen to. It was time again for the body cooling moment in the waterhole. A few of the orphans went looking for mud at the waterhole but it seemed the waterhole was not good enough. When Jasiri got there he found it was not muddy enough and he began digging some more mud to mix into the clear water preferring it thinker rather than the clear spring water top that had formed. After much kicking about and stirring up the mud the mud wallow began to meet with their satisfaction. As the babies were walking out from the mudbath point, some butterflies were flying just in front of them. Today there were many white butterflies flying and landing on the back of some orphans. Jasiri and Ngasha started to chase the butterflies away using loud trumpets but the butterflies’ were not listening to the trumpets and kept on flying around the babies. The whole group of orphans dropped everything they were to doing and started charging the butterflies, but was hard to catch even a single one. Some of the babies like Ziwa and Zongoloni fell down in the excitement of running and trumpeting whilst chasing the butterflies.

15 February 2016

The fastest feeder of the group, Lima Lima knows the feeding times and is very alert and ready to begin the running when time is up, leading all the other slower orphans like Murera and Sonje. Lima Lima remains the fastest and greediest baby at feeding time. Murera and Sonje always remain the slowest when walking to the feeding bottles and Murera is showing signs that she and Sonje may soon be weaned off the milk formula – they do not show as much seriousness or eagerness when coming for the bottles anymore. When Murera and Sonje arrived later at the feeding point today, Sonje went up to Ziwa who was complaining and rumbling in low tones to Sonje. She was touching him around his belly and comforting him with her trunk on his back. Some wild bulls trumpeted within the forest and their continued trumpets and noise was unsettling the little ones. Sonje began looking around for where the babies were in the bushes and Murera rounded up her herd and began to march then in the opposite direction in order to keep them away from the wild elephants.

16 February 2016

It was very noisy last night as there was a lot of wildlife around all making their different noises. The orphans could not tolerate the noise anymore and Murera, Sonje together with Lima Lima in the other room started to complain. There were hyenas calling, elephants trumpeting and a few leopards with their low sawing sound, causing the Keepers to begin to wonder what was happening out there. Ngasha and Faraja began banging their gates trying to get out and when the keepers came out to see what was wrong they saw a hyena family walking to the bushbuck carcass in the tree which was fresh and had been left there by a leopard. So the hyenas were opportunistically looking for their kill and the wild elephants were also trumpeting probably trying to get rid of the hyena presence. Murera with Sonje became very agitated and refused to listen to their keepers and wanted to go and chase the hyenas away that were making such a lot of noise. When they they left their stockades in the morning Ziwa and Zongoloni were fearful and remained beside their Keepers for much of the day.

17 February 2016

Murera came out of her stockade and straight away began looking for somewhere to scratch her neck. She went up to the elephants loading bay and enjoyed a good scratch. Lima Lima led some other babies up to Murera but when Murera looked at them they knew she was not ready to be with them at the scratching wall, so they changed direction and Lima Lima lead all the young ones to where the keepers were waiting for them. Faraja came across another scratching rock while on his way following Lima Lima, and he stopped to scratch his bottom. Ngasha took some soft branches and carried some off in his mouth. Faraja kept scratching his bottom for a long time until he was left behind. Lima Lima had already begun to take her friends to head out to the waterhole ready for mudbath; upon realising he was alone Faraja started running to catch up with the others. After dust bathing Lima Lima began looking for her keepers who had finished their lunch and were starting to head off back to the forest with the other orphans to forage for the rest of the day, before returning back to the stockades at dusk.

18 February 2016

Today the orphans walked up into the Chyulu Hills National Park and climbed high into the hills following the well used wild elephant trails, and actually following the wild herd that had visited the stockades that night. They decided to follow their paths up to the Chyulu Hills. Zongoloni, Quanza and Ngasha lost the direction that Lima Lima had passed through with their keepers. When they realised they were lost Ngasha started to scream as he usually does anytime he loses his way, but Zongoloni just rumbled and trumpeted a little bit, so that the keepers might hear them from far and call their names. Ngasha continues to behave like a young baby sometimes, who screams for help any time there is a problem. Zongoloni was bored by Ngasha’s screaming in the bushes and she started to push him in order to make him stop because the keepers were already near them calling their names. Finally once the Keepers were by his side stroking him he finally settled!

19 February 2016

Murera teamed with the young babies in the grassland feeding area where they knew they would get plenty of fresh grass to forage on. The forest is full of browse, but thankfully there are many grassy glades too which the orphans sometimes choose to visit, as fresh green grass, and the tubers growing in-between the grass is a favourite. The orphans like a variety of food and so they choose to mix it up. Ziwa got separated from his mothers Sonje and Murera when he was looking for fresh grass but Murera and Sonje were also looking for grass, so everyone went their own way filling up their stomachs, before they began walking back to the waterhole and bottle feeding ground at midday. On reaching the mudbath, some of the lazy boys who did not want to wallow in the mud skipped the waterhole and wallow, perhaps because it was too windy for them too. They only splashed water on their feet and headed to dust bath, a healthy pile of freshly dug red earth which is brought for their enjoyment by the Trust’s tractor. Zongoloni and Lima Lima took off to the rocky paths forcing Murera and Sonje to walk around on their own path and avoid the rocky places because they cannot climb over the sharp rocks with their bad legs. After few minutes we saw Murera and Sonje with the rest of the babies on top of the rock, breaking some very tall vegetation which was growing between the cracks in the rocky kopjie.

20 February 2016

When Sonje came out of the stockades very early in the morning, she went to greet Ziwa at his gate, holding his trunk to say hello and ask about his night. Ziwa rumbled vigorously but Sonje seemed unsettled. She seemed to have an itchy leg and she looked for somewhere good to scratch. The only place she found suitable was at the orphans loading bay wall; it’s a place with rough texture and good for scratching more than their usual scratching rocks. After scratching her bottom and feet she continued to the dust bath, keeping off some flies that were disturbing her back too. Ziwa caught the keepers eye today at the bottle feeding ground when they spotted him picking up and holding his milk bottle from the ground just like Zongoloni and Jasiri do. He can pick his bottle from the ground and the keepers help support it a little whilst he enjoys the sweet taste. When the bottle feeding was over every baby felt good and very satisfied; they energetically ran to the waterhole to cool their hot bodies with a swim. After clearing all the baby crocodiles and a few terrapins from the waterhole, they all began their own style of swimming, without fear of anything jumping on their backs.

21 February 2016

Happy Murera led the orphans out today and showed them where to go, and they all obeyed because they would never defy their matriarch. Murera led them to a scratching rock and Zongoloni was continuing to take some orphans to the dust bath. Because all of the babies could not stick to one place they all spread out in their activities. Faraja kept on waiting patiently at the rock where Murera was still scratching her bottom so he could have his turn. After dust bathing all the orphans joined up with one another to forage in the fields before walking back to the waterhole again to swim as they began to feel the heat. Our albino babies Jasiri and Faraja really felt the heat today but took shelter under the huge fig trees with their generous shade. Lima Lima did not want to wallow in the waterhole next to the bottle feeding ground but instead she went to the natural waterhole where the keepers were with them the previous day. Jasiri opened up the swimming and wallowing after making sure he had kicked the water so vigorously that any inhabitants in the form of terrapins and baby crocodiles had run for their lives, leaving the water and hopping over the grass. The reptiles have got use to the routine too, and around midday know what is in store for them! They know too that it is safer to be out of the water than run the risk of being flattened by a big elephant bottom.

22 February 2016

Sonje separated herself from the babies to have a break and scratch her bottom, with Zongoloni also busy rubbing her belly on the rock they found. Murera had very good time playing on the dusting soil, stretching her neck with her bad leg held up in the air off the ground. Some babies came in to the wallowing waterhole; Murera seemed so happy and joyful as she rolled around in style on the dusting soil. Unfortunately, a baboon came running towards her as she enjoyed her dust bath, but Sonje stood firm blocking the way for the baboons not to cross over to where Murera was, but instead run away jumping on the tree branches to avoid the wrath of Sonje. Sonje was supported by Zongoloni and Jasiri who kept chasing the baboons all the way to the bushes.

23 February 2016

The Amboseli babies, Faraja and Quanza, walked together looking for the greens that would help them fill up their stomachs very quickly in the early morning. They found it necessary to start with the acacia as the morning appetizer, and then they continued looking for other fresh vegetation of different varieties within the Umani Hills. Sonje walked all the way up to the shallow trench to find some good, soft branches; she wanted to show Ziwa who was following just behind her these tasty branches. Murera was some distance behind following them slowly due her bad leg which sometimes gets stiffer when the weather is slightly chilly. Later Sonje heard Ziwa raise an alarm by screaming very loudly. She rushed there to see what was happening to Ziwa, but all babies were at the waterhole enjoying the mudbath. Jasiri had happened to step on Ziwa’s trunk and that was why Ziwa was making all the cries for help. When Sonje arrived she pushed Jasiri away from Ziwa so that he had enough space to walk away. All the orphans continued to the dust bath where the naughty boys Faraja and Ngasha found it fun to mount on some of the babies. They were not happy to be climbed on and Zongoloni, Quanza and Lima Lima ran away to avoid the rambunctious boys.

24 February 2016

It was Murera who spent plenty of time playing with her keeper Aden today. This is not usual as she is very independent of her keepers these days and sometimes does not even listen to them. A big bull elephant appeared near to the waterhole, getting closer to join the wallowing babies in broad daylight. He was handsome and extremely bold. Most of the orphans looked up with a concerned look on their faces fearing that they will be forced to vacate the mud bath to make room for their very large visitor. Only Lima Lima and Zongoloni were brave enough to try and approach the bull, whilst Murera was busy trying to block the other young ones from going any where near him. Ziwa was scared and turned to Sonje and later joined Murera in remaining with the keepers who were standing away from the wild elephant bull. Murera was very categorical and stood her ground so none of the orphans got very close or mixed with the wild bull elephant. Murera feared losing her baby herd to this wild elephant and when the wild bull saw that his mission of interaction with the orphans was not going to be successful, he went back to the shade to watch them from the bush.

25 February 2016

This morning all the naughty boys Faraja and Ngasha were scratching their itchy bodies, raising their legs and scratching their bottoms on anything that would help them scratch their bellies and itch their legs. They were really enjoying their good scratch but later they realised that the other orphans had already left for the browsing fields, ready to begin their busy day of busy foraging. Lima Lima looked a bit confused when all the other orphans started walking to the waterhole to wallow and cool down their warm bodies. Faraja felt it was time for him to leave and look for his albino friend Jasiri, who had left him to walk with Zongoloni and Quanza, walking at a slow and leisurely pace seemingly happy and content in their blissful surroundings. They remained in the forest for some time, peacefully browsing and enjoying the variety of vegetation around the Umani Hills. Later on they tried walking around the Kenze base but that side is always quite far for Murera and Sonje, so instead they walked a circuit around the hill to complete their long day’s walk, before heading back to the stockades to rest and relax after their long day.

26 February 2016

When Murera came out of her night stockade she was looking a bit hungry and she concentrated on feeding on the grassy field near the gate on the way out of the compound, with Lima Lima grabbing more than she could possibly swallow trying to fill up her empty stomach before other babies could have their share. She wanted to feel satisfied first before she could walk away towards the Umani Hill circuit. Jasiri decided to follow the path made by the wild elephants, leading them to the waterhole to prepare for the midday bottle feed and mud bath. When all the orphans arrived for the mudbath, Ziwa and Sonje were the first babies to lead the others to the waterhole for wallowing in the muddy soil which was prepared first by Sonje after mixing all the mud using her feet. Sonje and Ziwa showed their friends how to best enjoy this swim by entering the waterhole and fully submerging themselves in the mud, only lifting their trunks up for fresh air. Sonje gave Ziwa good space to roll around or climb on her back if Ziwa wanted to. Ziwa enjoyed riding and jumping on her back whilst swimming in the pool. Quanza and a few of their other friends did not wallow but just splashed their feet with little mud and left to browse again because they did not feel like swimming today.

27 February 2016

Thirsty Faraja went straight out following his friends who were waiting at the water trough near the stockade gate. When Faraja arrived there he patiently waited for Murera and Ngasha who were using their long trunks to draw water until they had finished, so he had room to have a very long drink as well. The long day began with all the orphans heading to Kenze base as that area has such nice and fresh vegetation and all kinds of variety as well. Zongoloni was left very far behind and when she realised that her friend Jasiri was already very far in front as well she started to run to catch up emitting little trumpeting sounds to signal her friends to wait for her as well. She dropped the root tubers which she had been struggling to pull out from the ground to run after her friends. Quanza, Lima Lima together with Jasiri stopped to wait for Zongoloni who came trumpeting up to them, and the other orphans also received her with big trumpets and patting her belly with their trunks to comfort her at being left behind. The orphans did not come back to the normal place for their milk bottles today but instead the bottles were brought to them in a vehicle to where they were at the top of the hills. But when lima Lima saw the car heading towards them she knew very well that it was bottle feeding time but in a different place today. Murera and Sonje, who were on the slopes of the hills, did not come to the top but waited for the vehicle to come back down to them with their bottles to where they were foraging on more gentle inclines.

28 February 2016

Murera started her day at a very slow pace today and took time to walk out of her room. Sonje, her roommate, however walked out very fast heading all the way to Ziwa’s pen where she found him struggling and pushing his gate trying to open it. He did not want to wait patiently for the keepers to open it, which was hard for them to do with him pushing on it so much, and as soon as the gate opened, Ziwa went running to Sonje like small boy who hasn’t seen his mother for some time and Sonje lovingly patted him. Murera came slowly out and found a barrier blocking her way but as she was looking for a way around she found the whole group of orphans waiting for her patiently. They were entertaining themselves dusting their heads with grey soil whilst they waited. When Murera arrived they continued on their journey to the water hole to cool their bodies with mud. It’s always interesting to see the laziest boy Ngasha not like to wallow in the mud and when he tries he only splashes water on his legs; the rest of his body remains with just patches of wet. Sometimes the keepers want him to mud bath so that he is cleaned of insects and so his skin is conditioned nicely, and force him to be more energetic in the waterhole.

29 February 2016

Quanza came out of her pen swinging her trunk, sometimes picking up something from the ground and throwing it on her head playfully. Ngasha was walking in front of her but he got stung on the tail by a tsetse fly and took off running so fast; after seeing him run the whole herd took off running away from the thickest areas of the forest to an open areas where they thought they would not have as many tsetse flies around. Sonje with her boy Ziwa decided it would be better to proceed to the waterhole to cool themselves down in the muddy waterhole because it was beginning to get very hot. All the babies kept under the trees for shade whilst the keepers watched them flapping their big ears. When the babies came out of the waterhole after swimming they began the walk back to the forest. Lima Lima with the support of Zongoloni was trying to follow the path of wild elephants after hearing their wild friends shouting loudly from the direction of the Chyulu Hills. They followed the elephant paths enjoying the scents and browsing as they went along, the Keepers keeping a good look out for any wild elephants in the area.