The month of February in Tsavo is normally characterized by dry scorching weather and around about now we would be yearning for the rains to break to settle and soothe a parched land. Due to the abnormal rains that started in October and have not stopped since, February at Ithumba has been unlike anything we have experienced before. The baobabs which are normally dry are so thick with leaves it is hard to differentiate them from the rest of the countryside at the moment. Our midday mud bath waterhole is fuller than we have ever seen it still, which means the orphans enjoy proper swimming sessions completely submerged using their trunks as snorkels, a welcomed respite on warmer days.
It was wet in the morning following a heavy downpour that pounded the area the entire night. The orphans left the stockade soon after having their morning milk. Led by Karisa the orphans settled to browse just a stone’s throw from the stockade. Having so much vegetation to feed on, the orphans were happy to settle for browsing. Naseku settled to browse with Oltaiyoni, Namalok with Galla while Malima teamed up with Tusuja. Kamok had a brief chat with Ndiwa before parting ways.
At mud bath time none of the orphans wanted to go into the water hole, instead the orphans had their milk then headed north where they enjoyed a bush mud bath for a while. In the afternoon, the weather changed from cloudy to sunshine. Mundusi played with Tusuja while Wanjala played with Rapa. In the evening, the orphans returned back safely to the stockade for the night.
It was another wet morning as the orphans left the stockade and headed to the bush swinging their trunks from side to side expressing their happiness. Water flowing from the hills has become a common phenomenon at Ithumba following a prolonged rainy season and this has made all creatures that fly and crawl very happy. Karisa, Ambo and Ndiwa started their day activities by scratching against trees while Sapalan and Galla decided to have a strength testing exercise. Later, Galla tackled Mundusi but the game ended shortly when Mundusi decided to surrender. Jotto had a light strength testing exercise with Kuishi that went on for quite some time.
At mud bath time, the sun was really hot and the orphans participated fully in the wallowing exercise. Later after wallowing, Tusuja engaged Wanjala in a pushing game that didn’t last for long. Tusuja then headed to have fun by rolling on an anthill. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse west of Ithumba Hill until evening when they returned back to the stockade for yet another night.
The sky was cloudy but there was no rain this morning so the orphans walked out from their stockades without fear of slipping and falling. Barsilinga, who has been walking fine, was limping this morning. His problem foot has recurred again. Upon inspection, there was a sore under his foot. It was cleaned and green clay was applied. Barsilinga browsed close by as he was unable to walk far. His bad foot is probably why he has chosen to stay with the dependent orphans and Keepers these last few weeks.
Sapalan, Sana Sana and Mteto started their day activities by scratching on rocks. As Sapalan was busy enjoying the scratching exercise, Namalok came and engaged him in a pushing game. Karisa led the way out to browse, then he and Malkia had fun playing on an anthill.
At mud bath time, it was warm enough for the orphans to have a prolonged wallowing session. Ambo, as usual, escaped and went to play in some mud along the road instead. Naseku and Tusuja enjoyed swimming the most today. Naseku kicked water using her leg and later changed to whipping the water with her trunk. Tusuja was the last to finish wallowing and when he came out he found Olsekki waiting to engage him in a pushing game. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse north of mud bath and had a quiet afternoon.
It was another dry morning today. The orphans left the stockade soon after having their milk. Tusuja, who likes to put on a performance nearly every morning, went down to perform his acrobatics. When he had enough of messing around on the ground, Tusuja followed his friends out, who had already left.
Kuishi teamed up with Kauro and later settled to browse with Mapia. It was a quiet morning, and the orphans mostly concentrated on browsing. At mud bath time, the sun was hot and they orphans had their milk then headed north where they had a bush mud bath.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to feed west of Ithumba Hill, an area they love so much. Olsekki took a break from feeding to have a soil dusting exercise while Mteto settled for scratching. In the evening, Namalok teamed up with Malkia to feed.
Mist covered half of Ithumba Hill when the orphans left the stockade to head out for browsing. It was a day without many activities as the orphans mostly concentrated on browsing. Barsilinga remained at the stockade as the treatment of his sore foot continued.
On the way to the mud bath Karisa took the lead followed by Wanjala. The day had warmed up significantly and the orphans had fun in water with Naseku kicking the water with her foot and smacking it using her trunk. Tusuja, who has become the water boy these days, had a wonderful time swimming and was the last one out of the mud bath again. After mud bath, Oltaiyoni and Naseku settled to play on an anthill while Kauro tackled Tusuja in a strength testing exercise. Later in the evening, the sun was still hot and the orphans passed by mud bath for an evening wallowing.
Ambo, Malima and Kuishi lagged behind as their friends headed out to browse. The trio decided to pick some pellets they came across under the acacia tree. Elsewhere Karisa settled to feed with Maramoja as Roi used her tusks to peel bark from some trees. Ndiwa developed an itchy ear and decided to work on it against a tree.
At mud bath time, Mundusi refused to part with his milk bottle even after emptying its contents. When he eventually realized that there was nothing in the bottle, he dropped it in the bushes and headed for wallowing. All the orphans wallowed with the exception of Ambo and Enkikwe who escaped to the bushes. Naseku picked up a stick and used it to scratch her chest. In the water, Tusuja climbed on Kauro’s back which annoyed him. As soon as Kauro came out of the water, he waited for Tusuja outside so as to confront him and question why he decided to climb on him without his permission. Tusuja came out and the two started a pushing game that lasted for quite some time. Malima played on an anthill while Kamok and Sapalan played a game of rolling on the ground. Later Tusuja quit playing with Kauro and moved to play with Wanjala.
In the afternoon, the orphans were joined briefly by Zurura who walked past them as they all browsed. He didn’t stay to interact with the orphans long, and moved off into the thicket. In the evening it was very hot and the orphans passed by the mud bath again for an evening cooling-off exercise.
Mist covered half the hill above the stockades again today but there were no clouds around. The orphans left the stockade early as usual and headed straight out to browse. It was a morning without much fun as the orphans concentrated mostly on browsing. Malkia developed an itchy ear and so settled to scratch against one of the many trees in the bush.
Shortly before mud bath time, the orphans, led by Karisa, came across a small pool of water that they used to have a mini mud bath in before proceeding to their midday milk feed. The sun was hot and the orphans had a spectacular wallowing session. Soon after wallowing, Kauro engaged Wanjala in a pushing game that ended in a draw. Later, Wanjala tackled Tusuja, a game that saw Wanjala emerge as the winner.
Malkia started her day activities by scratching on a tree stump. Mapia settled to browse with Kuishi and later had a lone soil dusting exercise. The temperature was moderate and the orphans enjoyed each moment as they went on with their browsing business without playing any games.
At mud bath time, the orphans had a brief swim in the main water hole before hurrying out and moving to the smaller mud bath some two hundred meters away. Naseku enjoyed the mud bath the most as she kicked the water and splashed it over her body. She loves to play with the water like that. Tusuja, Namalok and Kauro were not left behind either as they also enjoyed playing in the muddy water. Siangiki, who appears to have developed a love for the little Ambo, spent so much time with him today, treating Ambo as she would her little brother. Ambo felt happy to have someone beside him showing so much kindness. Later, Tusuja and Galla had a strength testing exercise that went on for quite some time. The two finally got tired and called it a day, and resumed browsing until later in the evening when it was time to head back to the stockades.
The sky was clear as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from the stockade and headed straight out to the bush. Malkia, Mapia and Tusuja started their day activities by scratching against the nearby trees. Sana Sana settled to browse with Mteto as Pare and Ukame settled for soil dusting. The rest of the herd concentrated mostly on browsing. Later, Mapia teamed up with Roi to browse together from a very nice bush they found.
Later in the morning the sun was very hot and the orphans participated fully in the wallowing exercise, with the exception of Enkikwe who totally refused to go into the water and ran away. In the afternoon, the orphans settled west of Ithumba Hill where they had a good time browsing until five in the evening when it was time to get back to the stockades. Karisa had a brief chat with Sana Sana on the way home.
The sky was partly covered by clouds when the orphans left for browsing this morning. Barsilinga, who has a sore foot but which is improving, refused to be left behind at the stockades today and followed his dependent friends out to browse as well.
Pare settled to browse with Enkikwe and they had a lengthy chat. It wasn’t clear whether Enkikwe was happy with their conversation as slightly later he stretched out his trunk to Pare, a warning sign to the junior. Pare didn’t want any trouble from Enkikwe and so left quietly to feed somewhere else. Kauro and Karisa took some time off from feeding to have a soil dusting exercise that lasted for quite a while. Later, Karisa led the way to the mud bath.
The sun was really hot and all the orphans had a spectacular swim. In the afternoon they settled to browse south of the main water hole, which looks like a lake now, and in the evening Ambo, Malkia, Mundusi, Ndiwa and Esampu came across a small muddy pool in the bush which they all enjoyed playing in. In the evening, Kuishi led the way back to the stockades.
The orphans left the stockade early as usual. It was chilly and a mist covered the entire Ithumba Hill as the orphans went about with their usual browsing activities without any concern. Kamok and Kauro parted ways with their friends and browsed a distance away only to re-join them later. Enkikwe settled to browse with Tusuja while Kauro decided to scratch his side belly against a tree. The day was quiet and the orphans only concentrated on browsing without any major observation up until it was time to return home for the day.
Karisa led the way out soon after the morning milk feed. Immediately after arriving out in the bush, Olsekki came across a small pool of water that he drank from while Sana Sana started her day activities by scratching her neck against the many trees in the bush. Malkia took a break from feeding to have a brief soil dusting exercise as Sapalan held a brief chat with Rapa.
At mud bath time, the orphans only had their milk then went back to browsing without swimming today or even having much water. They settled to browse along the Kalovoto area. Galla decided to take a break from feeding to relax under a tree for some time. He later resumed browsing when he felt that he had taken enough break.
Karisa led the way out and to the browsing field where Pare and Malkia teamed up together to browse and have a private conversation. Esampu attempted to join them but was pushed away by Pare for intruding. Namalok settled to feed with Barsilinga while Kamok teamed up with Naseku. Kuishi had a long conversation with Maramoja as Rapa played with Sapalan. Later, Roi developed an itchy ear and settled to scratch against one of the nearby trees. Rapa quit playing with Sapalan and moved on to challenge Wanjala, but ended up losing the game. Tusuja settled to play with Galla as Ndiwa teamed up with Mteto to feed on the many delicious bushes in the area.
On the way to the mud bath, the orphans passed by Kone dam where Olsekki and Enkikwe decided to have a drink before proceeding for their noon bottle feeds. After taking their milk, Malkia and Kuishi stood to the side and put their trunks in their mouths just to comfort themselves. All the orphans had a spectacular swim and soon after, Siangiki walked her “baby” Ambo back out to the bush but waited for him to have a soil dusting exercise first.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse west of Ithumba Hill where Sapalan engaged Namalok in a pushing game that ended in a draw. Mteto enjoyed scratching on some bushes for a while before resuming browsing.
Soon after getting their morning milk, the gates were opened for the orphans to come out. Siangiki walked up to meet Ambo and to find out if he had a good night. Ambo rumbled in appreciation for Siangiki’s concern. Shortly later, the two walked off together out to the bush. Barsilinga who’s foot is improving, settled for water with Olsekki before following their friends out too.
The morning was wet following an early morning drizzle that continued for some time after the orphans left the stockade. The orphans settled to browse at Kone dam where Pare settled to browse with Maramoja as Sapalan teamed up with Kuishi. Siangiki took some time off from feeding to play with Tusuja and when she had enough she let Tusuja go. Tusuja then went to play with Wanjala. Sapalan settled to play with his friend Namalok.
At mud bath time, Mundusi refused to hand over his bottle again after finishing it. He later dropped it when he got tired of carrying around an empty bottle. The orphans all went swimming in the main waterhole today, with the exception of Ambo and Enkikwe who boycotted the wallowing exercise. Tusuja and Kauro emerged as the stars of the day, remaining in the water for a very long time playing pushing games. Mundusi played with Roi and later Wanjala. In the afternoon, Sapalan settled to browse with Ambo while Esampu teamed up with Namalok. In the evening, Challa made an impromptu visit to the stockade and left later in the evening. It was lovely to see him, as we hadn’t seen him since December, and he is looking so well.
Oltaiyoni woke up in a playful mood today. As soon as she had her milk, Oltaiyoni lay down to play as her friends just passed by without bothering with her. When Oltaiyoni realized that there was no one interested in her games, she just stood up and followed them out slowly. Ambo teamed up with Siangiki and they walked out to browse together. Karisa came across a rock that he used to scratch his belly on. Galla settled with Malima to browse as Ukame teamed up with Sana Sana.
At mud bath time none of the orphans were interested in wallowing after their milk bottles. In the afternoon they settled to browse east of Ithumba Hill. In the evening Roi, Kamok, Olsekki, Tusuja and Barsilinga found a small pool of water that they used to cool themselves down in.
Soon after getting their morning milk, the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from their stockades. The orphans headed straight to browse. The morning was quiet as the orphans concentrated mostly on browsing. Later in the morning, Kauro broke the peace by engaging Kamok in a pushing game, but their game didn’t last long.
At mud bath time, the orphans had a spectacular swim and after Ukame, Mundusi, Barsilinga and Namalok settled for a scratch. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse along the western slopes of Ithumba Hill and in the evening returned back to the stockades.
The orphans left the stockade early as usual soon after getting their morning milk bottles. Later Mundusi had fun by rolling on the ground while his friends concentrated on browsing. The orphans had a quiet morning and concentrated on browsing until mud bay time.
After finishing her milk, Roi lingered around monitoring the Keepers until the opportunity arose when she quickly grabbed a bottle of milk and ran away with it. By the time the Keepers reached her, Roi had already finished all the milk. Roi felt very pleased with herself and happy after outwitting the Keepers, managing to have an extra bottle without anyone’s permission. The temperature was moderate and the orphans decided to go for a swim in the main waterhole. Later, after the orphans had fun in water, it was time to head back out to browse. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing without any major distractions.
Mundusi woke up in a playful mood this morning. As his friends strolled nonchalantly out from their stockades and headed straight to the browsing field, Mundusi performed a stretching exercise and rolled around on the ground. He later stood up and started playing football with a stone he spotted close by. When he felt that he had enough morning exercise, he finally left to join his friends. Kuishi settled to feed with Kauro and later, ex-orphan Zurura joined the orphans briefly before walking off into the bush again.
After their noon milk bottles the orphans had fun playing in the main water hole, only Ambo once again boycotted the wallowing exercise. Mundusi and Tusuja were the last ones to leave the water again. In the afternoon, Enkikwe engaged Tusuja in a pushing game that lasted for some time. Later, Tusuja quit the game and went to play with Olsekki.
Soon after leaving the stockade, Rapa and Mapia settled to scratch their buttocks along the stockade wall. Karisa and Ndiwa moved further away and scratched on some other rocks they came across. Tusuja engaged Wanjala in a morning pushing game but only after a few minutes Wanjala surrendered.
Ambo teamed up with Olsekki to browse and later was picked up by Oltaiyoni who stayed with him until mud bath time. On the way to the mud bath, the orphans came across a small pool of water that they used for a mini mud bath. At the milk feed Mteto tried to force her way to have the milk in the bucket meant for Namalok. The Keepers warned Mteto that such behaviour was unacceptable and she should behave like a civilized girl. In the afternoon, Siangiki took her “baby” Ambo and they remained together for the rest of the day.
On the way back to the stockades, the orphans came across another small water hole and since it was still hot, they decided to have an evening cooling-off exercise before proceeding back to the stockades.
The orphans woke up in a playful mood today. Oltaiyoni, soon after taking her milk, lay down to play as Kauro engaged Kamok in a pushing game. Malima played with Karisa and later turned to Tusuja. Jotto played with Esampu as Malkia led the way out to the bush to browse.
The orphans settled to browse north of the stockade. Mteto took a break from feeding to enjoy scratching against one of the many trees in the bush. Jotto teamed up with his long-time friend Ambo to browse. The sun was hot and at mud bath time, all the orphans participated fully in wallowing. Mundusi was the last one out as he displayed all his swimming skills.
In the afternoon, the orphans took a break from feeding to relax under a tree. As soon as the temperature dropped to a more favourable level, the orphans resumed browsing. In the evening on their way back to the stockades, the orphans passed by the mud bath again to cool down before returning home for the night.
Mundusi woke up in a playful mood again; he is such a playful boy! Soon after leaving the stockade, he had a game of nose diving, sitting and rolling on the ground. His game was cut short however by Enkikwe, who passed by and tried to harass him by pushing him to stand up. Mundusi ended his game and walked out to browse with the others. Ukame and Malkia started their day by scratching on nearby rocks as Kuishi teamed up with Siangiki to browse. Later Kuishi and Sapalan took some time off from feeding to perform a soil dusting exercise.
At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and none of the orphans participated in wallowing. Soon after getting their noon bottle feeds, the boys kept themselves busy by having pushing games. Pare played with Galla and later turned on Tusuja. Wanjala was on standby to take on the winner between Tusuja and Pare. Pare ended up losing the game, so Wanjala took over and tussled with Tusuja until the game ended in a draw. Naseku had a private time playing on an anthill all alone. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse west of Ithumba Hill until five o’clock in the evening when it was time to go back to the stockades.
The sky was partly covered by clouds when the orphans left the stockades. Out in the bush, Malima teamed up with Galla to feed on the tasty buses they found. Ukame concentrated on peeling bark from the trees which appeared to be her favourite food of the day. Karisa took some time off from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise.
Kuishi led Mteto and Esampu in the first group for their noon milk bottles, while Ukame led Mundusi and Olsekki in the second group. After having their milk, Wanjala and Mundusi went to stand under a tree as they waited for everyone so they could go and swim together. After wallowing, the orphans headed north of the mud bath and had a good time browsing. Kauro settled to scratch his buttocks against a tree while Namalok and Enkikwe shared the same tree and enjoyed scratching against it. The rest of the day was quiet as the orphans concentrated mostly on browsing.
Soon after leaving the stockade, the orphans passed by the stockade water trough and had some water before walking out. Karisa teamed up with Enkikwe to browse and later took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. Siangiki and Naseku came to an area that looked like a swamp and had fun rolling in the muddy water. Shortly later, they were joined by their friends. Ndiwa and Rapa came across some rocks that they found suitable to scratch on.
At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and none of the orphans participated in wallowing. In the afternoon, Kamok and Maramoja concentrated on peeling bark from some trees. In the evening on the way back to the stockades, Mteto came across a bent tree that she enjoyed scratching her belly on.
The orphans headed straight out to browse soon after leaving the stockades this morning. On the way, Malkia, Ambo and Mapia found some suitable rocks that they used to scratch themselves on. Siangiki stood close to Ambo and waited for him to finish scratching, then took him off to browse. It was quiet all through the morning session as the orphans mostly concentrated on browsing.
At mud bath time, the orphans only had their milk then returned back to browsing. In the evening, the orphans came across a small pool of water that they used to cool themselves down. Tusuja and Ambo enjoyed the little pool the most.
It was another quiet morning as the orphans walked straight out to browse again today. Led by Malima the orphans headed east of the stockade down to the lower Kalovoto area. The orphans settled to browse up to mud bath time. Malima took a break from feeding to have a scratching exercise before resuming browsing. In the afternoon, Ukame and Maramoja had a private conversation but no one knew what the meeting was all about. In the evening, the orphans returned back safely to the stockade.
Mist covered the peak of Ithumba hill when the orphans were let out this morning. Barsilinga’s sore foot was cleaned and then he walked to join his young dependent friends. Pare settled to feed with Maramoja while Mapia settled to feed with Jotto. Later on, Galla took a break from feeding to scratch his buttocks against a tree while Pare engaged Wanjala in a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw.
At mud bath time, the sun was really hot and the orphans had a prolonged wallowing session. In the afternoon, the orphans settled west of Ithumba Hill. Karisa took a break from feeding to relax under a tree when he felt that the heat from the sun had become too much. Karisa resumed browsing later when it became cooler in the afternoon.
Soon after leaving the stockade, Karisa led the way out to browse where he teamed up with Ndiwa. Later, he moved to browse with Malkia as Enkikwe settled with his long-time friend Olsekki.
The sun was really hot today and as soon as Mapia had taken his midday milk bottles he walked to a nearby tree to take cover from the scorching sun. Shortly later, he was joined by Kuishi and Naseku. When everyone had taken his or her milk, the Keepers directed them to the water where they enjoyed cooling themselves down. Olsekki and Tusuja were the last to finish wallowing as they enjoyed a pushing game in the water. After wallowing, Mapia and Namalok settled for soil dusting as Roi led the rest of the group back to browse. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans mostly concentrated on browsing without any major distractions.
Soon after leaving the stockade, the orphans headed west. Malkia teamed up with Malima to browse while Rapa settled to browse with Olsekki. Later on Kauro developed an itchy ear and settled to scratch against one of the many trees in the area. Karisa and Sapalan took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise.
At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and none of the orphans participated in wallowing. In the afternoon, Sapalan engaged Namalok in a pushing game. Namalok wasn’t in the mood to play for long and so opted out and went to continue with browsing.
The orphans headed north east soon after leaving the stockade. It was a quiet day as the orphans concentrated on browsing. At mud bath time, the orphans had milk then some water before going back out to browse. In the afternoon, Sapalan and Pare took a break from feeding to have a soil dusting exercise.
Late in the evening the ex-orphans, in the company of several wild elephants, showed up at the stockade compound, and to our delight they had a two day old baby in their midst! At first it was hard to tell who the baby belonged to, as the little boy was suckling from both Galana, who has baby Gawa, and Mulika, whose daughter Mwende is eight year old now. After some time and by observing them carefully our Head Keeper Benjamin eventually determined that the baby belonged to Mulika and we can confirm that she has a new baby boy! We named the little one Mkuu, meaning 'chief' and could not be prouder nor more delighted with our expanding family.