Keepers' Diaries, January 2006

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Ithumba Reintegration Unit

It has been another pleasurable month for the Ithumba orphans, and one that has seen Galana and Ndomot forming a strong bond of friendship, both being gentle in nature and hence very compatible. Madiba has taken to suckling Wendi’s ear, objecting loudly when she disapproves. The month has seen an influx of wild elephants into the area, with fresh signs at the orphans’ mudbath, so we are confident that it won’t be long until the orphans manage to meet them. Once again, a lone wild bull came to the Stockade on the night of the 24th, and spent a long time “chatting” to the orphans, but left as dawn broke. He was back just before dawn the next day, and although Yatta and the older females followed his trail for a long time on both days, he proved elusive! The Northern Area is still tinged with green, having enjoyed light showers of rain during the month, so food is abundant still, and all the orphans are in prime condition, the latest arrivals, namely Madiba, Rapsu and Naserian now well settled and very happy in their new home. Wendi and Sunyei share mini Matriarchal responsibilities, under the overall care of Yatta, Nasalot, Mulika and Kinna, Kinna still being the main disciplinarian, always at hand to punish any of the young bulls who are guilty of bullying the younger set. On one occasion when Tomboi climbed on Madiba in the mudwallow, making him yell, Kinna rushed in to drive Tomboi out of the pond and into exile as a punishment, refusing to allow him back! It would appear that she is particularly fond of Buchuma, who often browses close to her, and enjoys being caressed by Kinna’s trunk. Wild encounters, which have alarmed the orphans, especially the younger set, are running kudus, the usual dikdiks, a flock of vulturine guineafowl on two occasions, two hyrax incidents, one when a hyrax called at close quarters from a cave, and again when a hyrax dropped from a branch on which the orphans were feeding! However, the youngsters enjoyed seeing off a warthog who wanted to share their wallow! When alarmed, the youngsters rush back wither to their Keepers, or the older elephants, for protection, and the older elephants combine forces and come up front to deal with the threat. However, none of the orphans were anxious to take on a lone jackal, still very fearful of anything canine!

It has been another pleasurable month for the Ithumba orphans, and one that has seen Galana and Ndomot forming a strong bond of friendship, both being gentle in nature and hence very compatible. Madiba has taken to suckling Wendi’s ear, objecting loudly when she disapproves. The month has seen an influx of wild elephants into the area, with fresh signs at the orphans’ mudbath, so we are confident that it won’t be long until the orphans manage to meet them. Once again, a lone wild bull came to the Stockade on the night of the 24th, and spent a long time “chatting” to the orphans, but left as dawn broke. He was back just before dawn the next day, and although Yatta and the older females followed his trail for a long time on both days, he proved elusive! The Northern Area is still tinged with green, having enjoyed light showers of rain during the month, so food is abundant still, and all the orphans are in prime condition, the latest arrivals, namely Madiba, Rapsu and Naserian now well settled and very happy in their new home. Wendi and Sunyei share mini Matriarchal responsibilities, under the overall care of Yatta, Nasalot, Mulika and Kinna, Kinna still being the main disciplinarian, always at hand to punish any of the young bulls who are guilty of bullying the younger set. On one occasion when Tomboi climbed on Madiba in the mudwallow, making him yell, Kinna rushed in to drive Tomboi out of the pond and into exile as a punishment, refusing to allow him back! It would appear that she is particularly fond of Buchuma, who often browses close to her, and enjoys being caressed by Kinna’s trunk. Wild encounters, which have alarmed the orphans, especially the younger set, are running kudus, the usual dikdiks, a flock of vulturine guineafowl on two occasions, two hyrax incidents, one when a hyrax called at close quarters from a cave, and again when a hyrax dropped from a branch on which the orphans were feeding! However, the youngsters enjoyed seeing off a warthog who wanted to share their wallow! When alarmed, the youngsters rush back wither to their Keepers, or the older elephants, for protection, and the older elephants combine forces and come up front to deal with the threat. However, none of the orphans were anxious to take on a lone jackal, still very fearful of anything canine!

January 2006 day to day

01 Jan

The orphans were very playful having left the Stockades, enjoying the first day of the New Year, the youngsters playing pushing games around the water trough. Selengai and Naserian had an interesting time monitoring a turtle they spotted crawling in the muddy, trying to toss it out of the water using their hind legs! The Keepers were also in high spirits as they led the elephants out. Ndomot and Rapsu were enjoying a pushing match which was interrupted by Tomboi. At the muidbath the orphans were disturbed by the barking of a dog baboon, and rushed to their Keepers for protection.

The orphans standing along the mudwallow

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