Keepers' Diaries, January 2013

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

Following the 11th January slaughter of 12 wild Elephants at Roko on the Tiva, which resulted in an international outcry, several of our Ex Orphans had been missing from the main Ex Orphan group whenever they returned to the Stockades. As the days passed, fears mounted about their safety. Missing were Naserian, Rapsu, Kora (all aged 9) as well as 11 year old Napasha (aged 11). It was therefore an enormous relief when Naserian turned up at the Stockades on the 12th January, escorted by Rapsu and Kora, but looking thin with a wound in her back, but Rapsu and Kora were mercifully unscathed.

01 January 2013

The first day of 2013 was a quiet one for the Ithumba orphans. They fed on some Lucerne before heading out for the day to browse. At around 8am Sabachi and Ololoo engaged in other in strength testing games with Ololoo emerging victorious as Sabachi surrendered. Some of the ex orphans visited the stockade compound for a drink this morning.

02 January 2013

Mist covered the top of Ithumba Hill as the orphans exited their night quarters. The orphans were joined by Mulika, Yatta and their units spending some time together before parting ways.

03 January 2013

The day was uneventful with the orphans browsing in the fields the whole day. They only stopped for the noon milk feed and a drink of water at the mudbath. In the evening a wild bull came to the stockade for a drink from the water trough.

04 January 2013

This morning a wild elephant passed by the orphans who were busy browsing. Suguta and Sabachi raised their trunks in greeting. Sabachi, the bravest of the bunch, walked towards the wild elephant and sniffed it before returning to the group. Kilaguni and Ololoo engaged one another in their usual pushing games.

05 January 2013

Soon after leaving the stockades the orphans were joined by Kijana, three other wild elephants, Mulika, Yatta, Taita, Ithumbah, Galana, Kinna, Zurura, Chuulu, Wendi, Orok, Nasalot, Makena, Buchuma, Tomboi, Kamboyo, Meibai, Sunyei, Lenana, Loijuk, Sidai and Challa. The two groups browsed together before parting ways with the orphans heading to the Kalovoto area to browse.

06 January 2013

With the exception of Kijana the same ex-orphan group as yesterday came to the stockades to see the orphans and share their Lucerne. Kibo engaged Kilaguni in strength testing games that came to an end when Kalama led the group out for the day. The ex-orphans and their wild friends stayed at the compound a while longer before leaving. In the evening a lone tusked bull came to the stockade for a drink.

07 January 2013

Twenty two ex orphans came to the stockades this morning with a wild elephant friend to visit the younger orphans. Kandecha engaged Kenze in pushing games to learn some tactics from him. As it was a cold day none of the orphans went into the mudbath.

08 January 2013

It was drizzling as the orphans left the stockades and headed straight out to browse. Soon after 7am Mulika, Mwende, Yatta, Yetu, Sidai, Zurura, Nasalot, Kinna, Mgeni and a wild elephant came to the stockades followed shortly after by Ithumbah, Kenze, Orok, Lenana and Wendi. At about 4pm a wild elephant stopped to spend some time with the orphans who were browsing in the Kalovoto area.

09 January 2013

This morning Wendi, Makena, Nasalot, Sidai, Zurura, Challa, Taita, Kenze, Sunyei, Orok, Madiba, Galana, Mgeni, Meibai, Buchuma, Kamboyo, Mulika and Yatta with their babies together with four wild elephants stopped at the stockades for half an hour before heading into the bush. At 11 the orphans had a mudbath and their noon milk bottle before going to back to their browsing activities.

10 January 2013

The same group of ex-orphans as yesterday joined the orphans again this morning at the stockade compound. They spent some time with the younger orphans before parting ways. The youngsters spent the day browsing in the Kalovoto area where they were joined by Lualeni who escorted the group back to the stockades.

11 January 2013

For the third day in a row the youngsters were met as they exited the stockades by the same group of ex-orphans. The orphans spent the morning browsing in Kanziku until the noon mudbath at which time Kandecha led the milk dependent group for their milk feed. In the afternoon the orphans fed in the Kone area before Suguta led them back for the night.

12 January 2013

Kora, Naserian and Rapsu who have not been seen for over a month came to the stockades this morning. The keepers were happy to see them but found Naserian to be a little thin. Upon examining her, the keepers found an arrow wound on her back which they washed, cleaned and applied green clay to before she headed back to the bush with Kora and Rapsu.

13 January 2013

It rained heavily last night and the orphans enjoyed skidding, rolling and playing in the mud before heading out to browse, bathing in rain puddles that they passed on the way out to the fields. In the evening Naserian, escorted by Rapsu, Kora and Madiba, returned to the stockade to have her wound treated.

14 January 2013

Soon after the orphans headed out for the day, Naserian accompanied by the other ex-orphans came to the stockade. Her wounds were treated while she enjoyed some cubes before leaving with the rest of her peers. Makireti led the milk dependent orphans to the mudbath. In the evening, on the way back to the stockades, the youngsters enjoyed splashing in puddles and smearing themselves with mud.

15 January 2013

It was a very quiet day today which the orphans spent browsing.

16 January 2013

The sky was clear as the orphans headed out for the day. At 7am Naserian, accompanied by the ex-orphans and four wild friends, arrived at the stockades, where her wound was treated while she enjoyed some cubes before heading out to rejoin her friends. At 11am Kalama led the milk dependent group to the mudbath, they were soon followed by the second group led by Ishanga. At noon Napasha, who has not been seen in a while, came to the stockades. He was in good health and the keepers were very happy to see him.

17 January 2013

The ex-orpahns came to the stockades after the youngsters had left for the day. Naserian had her wound treated before joining the rest of the group who then headed back to the park. Lualeni joined the youngsters for a while before rejoining her group. The youngsters spent the day browsing in the fields.

18 January 2013

Having exited their Night Stockades and enjoyed the usual Stockade games, the Juniors headed out to browse. At 10am the ex-orphans passed by the stockade compound for a few minutes before heading back to the park.

19 January 2013

It was a quiet day for the orphans who spent the entire time browsing before returning to the stockades in the evening.

20 January 2013

Chemi Chemi was very active this morning engaging Suguta in strength testing games before trying to learn some pushing tactics from Lualeni who had come to join the youngsters. Kilaguni and Kibo engaged one another and were interrupted by Sabachi who tried to mount Kilaguni who was lying down. At 9am the ex-orphans in the company of Mgeni and two other wild elephants came to the stockades for a drink.

21 January 2013

The orphans exited the quarters and had a drink at the stockade water trough before heading out to feed. In the field Kalama enjoyed scratching against a tree. The orphans went to the mudbath at 11am where they wallowed before resuming their browsing activities.

22 January 2013

The orphans spent the morning browsing close to the stockades. At 10:45am the moving truck carrying Kanjoro and Kilabasi arrived at the compound. The two boys were warmly greeted by Makireti, Ishanga and Kasigau who remember them from their time in the Nursery. Kanjoro was a little bit nervous around the older orphans and tried to push Melia who put him in his place. It will take a while for the two youngsters to become habituated to the heat of Ithumba as the temperature is much cooler in Nairobi.

23 January 2013

Kanjoro who is not used to the electric fencing broke one of the wires as he rushed out of the stockades this morning. The two followed the rest of the group closely so as to quickly learn the ropes. In the afternoon the ex-orphans joined the youngsters in the field. Wendi and Nasalot inspected the new babies who caused havoc when they decided to leave with the two older girls. It took the keepers close to two hours to get Kanjoro and Kilabasi back.

24 January 2013

Naserian came to have her wounds treated by the keepers this morning. She was in the company of Kora, Taita, Kamboyo, Tomboi, Rapsu, Challa and Buchuma. This morning the youngsters were joined in the bush by Lualeni and Nasalot. Nasalot left a few hours later leaving Lualeni behind who spent the entire day with the orphan group.

25 January 2013

Wendi, Mulika, Orok, Nasalot, Galana, Sunyei, Taita, Zurura, Meibia, Chyulu and Lualeni came to the stockade compound this morning and joined the youngsters who were enjoying some Lucerne. Ololoo and Kasigau engaged in strength testing games before the group headed out for the day joined by Lualani. Just before 11am Mutara, Shukuru and Tano arrived at Ithumba from Nairobi. The three were greeted by Kilabasi and Kanjoro who were keen to show them around. Lualeni led the orphans back to the field for an afternoon of browsing before escorting them home for the night.

26 January 2013

This morning the ex-orphans, with the exception of Madiba, Napasha, Kamboyo and Zurura, came to the stockades together with Mgeni and two other wild elephants. Nasalot made a bee line for the new orphans so that she could greet and inspect them. Rapsu tried to mount on Kanjoro while Suguta and Meibai engaged in pushing games. After the ex-orphans left the youngsters headed to Kone to browse for the day.

27 January 2013

Lualeni and a wild elephant joined the orphans in the fields this morning browsing with them for about an hour before heading off into the park. The youngsters attended the 11am mudbath before going back to the feeding activities.

28 January 2013

Although there was mist on the top of Ithumba hill the sky was clear as the orphans left the stockades. Makireti and Kasigau swung their trunks from side to side as they stopped at the water trough for some water before heading out for the day led by Tumaren. Challa and Tomboi visited the stockade in the evening.

29 January 2013

The ex-orphans accompanied by four wild elephants joined the juniors at the stockade compound in the morning for half an hour before the two groups parted ways. The youngsters settled down to browse at the Kanziku area before Makireti led the first group to the mudbath. Tumaren, Ololoo and Naisula were the stars today showing off all their bathing skills. The orphans then had a dust bath before returning to their browsing activities.

30 January 2013

Kilabasi, Kanjoro, Shukuru, Tano and Mutara are now getting used to the climate at Ithumba and have quickly caught up on the daily routine. Kilaguni, Melia, Sabachi, Chaimu, Suguta, Naisula and Kandecha are in the process of being weaned off the milk as they are now four years old and there is enough vegetation for them to browse on. At 10am the ex-orphans together with three wild elephants joined the orphans who were browsing in the Kalovoto area and led them further afield. The two groups parted ways at around 1pm. Napasha, Kora and Rapsu were not amongst the ex-orphaned herd today.

31 January 2013

The orphans left the stockades early and were joined at the water trough by the ex-orphans. The day was spent browsing at the Kone area with the orphans stopping only for their noon milk feed and mudbath.