Keepers' Diaries, January 2015
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
January and February are very hot months in Tsavo and so the mudwallow and bathing in the dam have been favorite pastimes this month. Often the junior group have been joined by their ex orphan friends, and at times over 40 elephants have been swimming and wallowing together at times totally submerged. On a couple of occasions this month the orphans have been joined by wild elephants too. Sometimes a female herd with a baby on another occasion a young female calf of about seven years old who joined Makireti’s group, and on another occasion the huge wild bulls proved too intimidating for the junior orphans who quickly exited from the water the moment the Tsavo Giants joined them.
01 January 2015
Orwa left the stockade with a branch in his mouth this morning while Vuria and Bongo started the year in style by engaging each other in a pushing game, a firm favorite with young bulls. Kainuk interrupted their game by pushing the two boys apart then tried to coax Bongo into a pushing game which he was not interested in doing. Kainuk then left the stockades a took a long while scratching against the rocks and rolling around on the earth. Shukuru started the day with soil dusting, the cool soil seemingly providing her with much comfort.
Ex orphans Galana, Loijuk, Challa and a wild bull showed up and briefly joined the juniors. At the browsing field Sities played with Kainuk while Bomani engaged with Bongo who finally proved more inclined.
At mud bath time the orphans were joined at their favourite dam by all the ex orphans and they all spent hours romping around, diving underwater and in some cases swimming. Eventually the juniors left the cool water and returned to the browsing field. January is a hot month, and the hottest time of the day is between two to four pm in the afternoon. Today two lesser kudus passed near where the orphans were feeding at a high speed. This upset the dependent orphans who ran with ears raised towards their keepers. The keepers calmed them down and the orphans resumed browsing, but it is clear that
they are still babies at heart, still dependent on their Keepers and not with the confidence yet to manage on their own. This takes time like ones own children. In the evening Vuria led the first group back to the stockade, and he was clearly feeling good leading the group.
02 January 2015
Bongo and Vuria started the day’s activities by engaging each other in a pushing game. Vuria then went to a nearby rock to enjoy a scratch while Bomani exited his night stockades closely and began
Feeding close by. This was rudely interrupted with boisterous Vuria when he attempted a mounting game with Bomani. Today the orphans settled to browse calmly in the Kone area/ At around 10.00 am ex orphan Lualeni with her favourite calf Ololoo joined them. Whenever Lualeni joins the juniors she is always up to something and the keepers have to be alert in case she snatches an orphan or even the entire group if given a chance. She loves to create distraction so that she can quickly whisk a dependent baby off for a night out. Orwa spent some time learning grown up pushing skills from older bull Ololoo. Lualeni escorted the juniors to the mud bath and then parted ways, this time without a snatched baby! In the afternoon the sun was hot and the orphans converged under a tree, continuously flapping their ears to help the blood in their large ears to cool down. When the temperatures dropped, the orphans resumed browsing.
03 January 2015
Sities woke up in a bad mood today and left the stockade chasing and pushing Laragai from behind. Her disruptive behavior was not appreciated by Laragai complained bitterly by yelling loudly. Laragai started to run away and Sities only stopped being a pain when the keepers intervened by shouting at her.
Ex orphans Lualeni, Tomboi and Ololoo reported at the stockade shortly after the juniors had left and later followed them. Kanjoro challenged Ololoo in a strength testing exercise but Ololoo wasn't interested today. Ololoo went instead to mount Orwa and later attempted to mount Mutara who resisted and ran away. Orwa turned and defended himself when he saw Ololoo coming back for more and they engaged in am enthusiastic pushing game which Ololoo quit to follow Lualeni and Tomboi who he has a bit of a hero worship on. At the browsing fields Bomani and Garzi scratched on rocks just near to where the others were feeding and were more laid back than the rest, clearly having already had their fill.
At mud bath time only Orwa and Bomani did not wallow and the rest enjoyed a spectacular wallowing session of well over an hour. Afterwards the orphans soil dusted with the fine red dust sticking to their wet bodies. Shukuru and Narok went to a nearby tree where they scratched their buttocks and then took a siesta for a while. In the afternoon the temperatures were extremely high and the orphans converged under the shade to relax. Mutara decided to roll on the ground, finding respite from the cool earth as she waited for the temperatures to go down so she could resume feeding.
04 January 2015
The orphans left the stockade early as usual. Bomani, Shukuru and Orwa scratched on the nearby rocks, which is the normal routine. Seldom do the orphans venture out into the bush without a good sratch down first. This is pleasurable and practical removing any parasites like ticks from the previous day. At the browsing field Narok had a game of rolling on the ground enjoying the earth and attracting others to join her in his frivolous activities. .Sities stopped feeding and came over to where Narok was rolling and decided to scratch against her. Kainuk was also interested in the game and came over to ride on Narok. Later Shukuru and Sities shared the same tree to scratch their trunks and take a rest.
Today the afternoon was quiet and hot as the orphans opted to break from feeding and relax under the shade of trees. Even the Keepers were melting and took it easy under the shade of trees watching their charges. Later the orphans browsed quietly without incident.
At five in the evening we were welcomed to a wonderful surprise, Kibo, Kalama, Chemi Chemi, Melia, Kandecha, Suguta and Tumaren reported at the stockade. This partially dependent or independent group had last been seen in mid November 2014. This was the longest time they had been absent altogether not visiting the stockades or mixing with the others. The greetings were enthusiastic between the dependent orphans and Suguta’s group, but also between the Keepers who were relieved to see most of them home safe and sound. Still missing from the group were Kilaguni, Kitirua, Murka, Chaimu and Olare.
05 January 2015
The sky was clear in the morning signaling a hot day ahead. The leaves on the trees have started turning yellow which is a sure sign that the rains have finished and this is the beginning of the short dry period before the next rains in April. Shukuru, Bomani and Narok started the day by scratching on rocks while Vuria played with some dry grass that he was throwing over his head. At the field, Shukuru did a bit of soil dusting before browsing.
At 11am Shukuru led the way to the mud bath where they were joined by old faithfuls Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi. It appears that Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau have formed their own group of three separate from Suguta’s herd, and they remained behind when the others went on their long walkabout in November. The three participated in wallowing with the juniors. Shukuru, Bomani and Kainuk didn't choose to wallow today but opted to soil bathe instead as they waited for their friends to finish in the water. After a long mud bath session Orwa wanted to have a pushing game with the bigger Kasigau and learn some new techniques but he wasn’t interested. Narok lay down to play and Vuria took advantage and came running to ride on top of her. Vuria is a very jovial happy little elephant, always full of beans Kasigau, Makireti and Kilabasi spent two hours browsing with the juniors after the mudbath and then disappeared.
The evening was quiet at the stockades with no visitors and the dependent orphans returned back safely to the stockade.
06 January 2015
Makireti’s group of Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau reported at the stockade compound early before dawn. When the juniors left the stockade Orwa engaged Kilabasi in a strength testing exercise that lasted for nearly half an hour. Then Orwa went to tackle Kasigau as Kilabasi moved on to play with Vuria. Later Kasigau attempted to mount Mutara which was not appreciated. Bongo started the day by soil bathing and was joined by Teleki. The two of them enjoyed a long time wiggling around in the cool earth.
At 11am Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi who had spent the whole morning with their junior friends escorted the dependent orphans to the mud bath. Soon after mud bath the juniors returned to the browsing field without soil dusting. T
The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated mainly on browsing. Out in the bush the orphans were joined by ex orphans Tomboi, Loijuk, Kora, Ololoo, Lualeni and Meibai. Kanjoro had a friendly pushing game with Ololoo and later the ex orphans escorted the juniors back to the stockade for their evening milk feed and to be put to bed in their stockades at night.
07 January 2015
Lualeni and Ololoo joined the juniors in the morning soon after leaving the stockade. Ololoo engaged Vuria in a pushing game which Vuria soon surrendered from, realizing it was not an even match, and walked away. This forced Ololoo to tackle Teleki who was standing nearby. After pushing each other for some time Ololoo showed his dominance further by mounting Teleki. Ololoo then approached Orwa, who was determined not to be mounted, for a pushing game. Orwa was ready to defend himself and the pushing game went on for a long time until Ololoo tired and went off to follow Lualeni who had moved quite a distance away. These physical exchanges are so important for the little bulls, and learning from the older bulls who give them attention provides them with great enjoyment.
Out in the bush today Kanjoro and Orwa shook trunks as they passed each other and remained intertwined for some time.
Shukuru sucked her trunk as she does after drinking her milk, standing there in a relaxed state, while Mutara, Bongo, Sities, Vuria, Kanjoro, Teleki, Garzi and Turkwel went into the water to wallow. Kainuk, Narok, Laragai, Shukuru, Orwa and Bomani headed off to soil dust. While wallowing Vuria enjoyed riding on Bongo and later they had a pushing game in the water which lasted for quite some time. Bongo the water baby, he simply cannot resist so seldom a day goes by without him enjoying the water action. After mud bath, Garzi went to scratch against a nearby tree as Sities used a different tree to scratch her itching ear.
In the evening, the temperatures were still high and the orphans had a mud wallow on their way back to the stockade.
At 6pm Yatta and Mulika’s ex orphan groups with a junior wild bull reported at the stockade. Napasha, Madiba, Kamboyo and Buchuma were missing. Partially independent Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau also arrived. The boys turned the compound into a playground. Kasigau played with Ithumbah, Zurura jumped in to play with Ololoo and wound up by pushing instead with Meibai. Meibai showed his dominance by turning and riding on Kasigau. Elsewhere, Taita played with Tomboi and Rapsu, Kora played with Challa, and Galana played with Taita. Rapsu mounted Lenana but she was avenged by a junior wild bull that came over to mount Rapsu. The junior wild bull was showing Rapsu that he was dominant. The evening was full of fun and games. A few minutes before dark the ex orphans disappeared into the approaching darkness.
08 January 2015
Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi reported at the stockade compound early in the morning. When the juniors came out Orwa headed straight to Kasigau and engaged him in a pushing game. Bomani and Narok proceeded to scratch on the nearby rocks. Later Kasigau attempted to mount Mutara but she resisted and ran away.
At mud bath the juniors were joined by the ex orphans and six wild elephants. They climbed into the dam together for a good swim and frolic. Orwa engaged Makena into a pushing game. When Makena quit the game Orwa stood just beside the water waiting to challenge anybody leaving the mud bath. Bongo and Teleki enjoyed pushing each other while still in water. The ex orphans wallowed for a long time. The juniors returned to browse except for Orwa who remained behind with the ex orphans. Orwa challenged Ololoo and later Meibai before the keepers took him away to join his friends. Orwa is showing signs that it will not be long before he jumps into the semi independent camp of orphans and possibly hooks up with Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi. It was hot and the orphans had a quiet afternoon. In the evening the orphans passed the mud bath where they wallowed for a second time to cool off and then soil bathed until, led by Laragai, they headed back to the stockade for a restful night.
09 January 2015
At the stockade compound Vuria started the day by soil dusting while Shukuru scratched on the nearby rocks. Shortly after the ex orphans arrived and joined the juniors and were warmly welcomed by Orwa, who feels comfortable their company. Orwa played with Mwende Mulika’s wild born baby who eventually surrendered so he went to play with Meibai and after that he played pushing games with Makena. Orwa had a wonderful morning today.
Rapsu and Kora had a brief strength testing game before parting. After an hour of interaction with the juniors the ex orphans left. The morning was cool today and at mud bath time only Bongo wallowed. Afterwards Shukuru, who seems to have slightly lost weight, led the way to the browsing field. She was active and feeding normally in the bush. In the afternoon the clouds cleared giving way to sunshine. The temperatures skyrocketed and this prompted Orwa to stand in the shade to relax. While relaxing Orwa developed an itchy ear and used the tree he was standing under to scratch himself. In the evening, Shukuru led the first group back to the stockade.
10 January 2015
Soon after leaving the stockade Kainuk had a game of lying down and rolling sideways. Teleki came to play with her but Kainuk pushed him away. Vuria got into trouble when he tried to take grass from Bongo's mouth which he resisted and then resorted to disciplining Vuria by pushing him extremely hard. Vuria defended himself but at last he surrendered and ran away.
In the bush a fight erupted between Vuria and Teleki. Vuria became angry to the extent of pushing and breaking bushes which was meant to scare Teleki by showing him how Vuria would tackle him. Teleki also did the same, walking backwards and knocking down bushes to show Vuria just how strong he was. Finally Teleki defeated Vuria and mounted him in a show of dominance. Later, Bomani had a friendly pushing game with Laragai as Narok and Shukuru played a game of lying down and rolling sideways.
At mud bath time the sun was hot and the orphans had a spectacular time wallowing for over an hour. Only Kainuk and Garzi stayed out of the water today. Kainuk stood at the edge of the mud wallow and rumbled at the juniors who then left the wallow. The orphans soil bathed and later returned to the browsing field.
In the afternoon it was still hot so the orphans did not do much except relax in the shade and browse. On the way back to the stockade they met lone big boy Rapsu who decided to escort them back to the stockade.
11 January 2015
It was a quiet day. It was chilly today as the orphans left to browse. Shukuru, Garzi and Bomani started the day's activities by scratching on rocks. Mutara and Orwa fed close to one another while Sities joined up with Shukuru to feed. As Vuria and Bongo were feeding together Orwa walked silently behind them and stepped on a dry branch that produced a funny sound. The sound scared Vuria and Bongo making them run ahead loosing their composure, before they turned to check what it was. They only calmed down when they discovered that it was just Orwa.
It was still cool at 11 am so only Bongo and Mutara wallowed. Teleki and Vuria had a brief pushing game and then returned to the browsing field. In the afternoon the clouds cleared giving way to sunshine. In the evening, the orphans passed by the mud bath and as it was warm they wallowed this time and soil dusted afterwards giving them a fine coating of cool red earth before heading back to the stockade to settle in for the night.
12 January 2015
Makireti’s group consisting of Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi joined the juniors soon after they left the stockade. Orwa and Kasigau engaged one another in a pushing game that lasted for quite some time. Makireti played with Teleki as Kilabasi while Vuria scratched against trees while watching the activities.
At eight o'clock in the morning, the orphans settled to browse at Kone dam where they drank some water then browsed heading towards mud bath. At 11am Makireti’s group escorted the juniors to the mud bath and although it was cool they managed to convince Vuria, Bongo, Mutara, Turkwel, Garzi, Kanjoro, Teleki, Laragai and Narok to wallow. Kasigau took advantage of Kanjoro and Teleki and climbed on them in turns while still in water. There was excitement when the orphans were leaving the mud bath. Sities started it by trumpeting and charging which attracted Laragai who also left the water charging and trumpeting. All the others followed running towards the bushes displaying all manner of attacking techniques. Soon the excitement was over and the orphans settled to browse. The afternoon was hot and the orphans kept moving from one shady area to another while feeding. Turkwel fed close to Orwa and in the evening Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi escorted the juniors back to the stockade, having spent the whole day with their little friends.
13 January 2015
Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi joined the juniors again in the morning. As usual Orwa engaged Kasigau in a pushing game while Makireti played with Turkwel, Sities and later Teleki. After Kasigau stopped playing with Orwa he went to engage Teleki in a strength testing exercise. Elsewhere, Bongo was scratching against trees while Kilabasi was rolling on the ground. Later, Bongo tackled Vuria in a pushing game and when they had enough of pushing, they settled to browse together.
At mud bath time the orphans had spectacular wallow. Only Shukuru, Bomani, Kainuk, Laragai and Garzi didn't participate, soil bathing instead. In the afternoon, the sun was hot and Shukuru, Orwa, Bongo, Teleki and Mutara relaxed under a tree without much energy before resuming browsing once it had cooled a little. In the evening the sun was still hot and the orphans passed by the mud bath where they wallowed for a second time to cool off then finished it off with a soil bath. Teleki lay on top of Vuria as Vuria rolled on the ground. Kainuk scratched against her friend Turkwel and soon after Shukuru led the way back to the stockade eager to get her bottle of milk.
14 January 2015
The morning was lively as ex orphans Ololoo, Loijuk and Galana were at the stockade compound when the juniors left their night quarters. Orwa, who is fond of challenging his seniors, headed straight to tackle Ololoo. Shortly after Ololoo went to play with Teleki with Orwa following. Teleki got fed up and quit when Ololoo attempted to mount him so Orwa had another chance to challenge Ololoo.
In the bush Vuria was challenged briefly by Bongo, before he went off to browse and then by Ololoo. Vuria defended himself fiercely and Ololoo bowed out. Mutara and Orwa entwined their trunks for a short while and then continued to browse.
At mud bath time the orphans were joined by Mulika, Yatta and Makireti’s groups, so there were about 40 elephants in the wallow. Orwa and Kainuk didn't participate today. When the orphans had enough wallowing they withdrew from the ex orphans and headed off to soil dust before being led away to the browsing field by Kanjoro.
In the afternoon, Orwa sheltered from the heat by standing under a tree that made good shade. The rest continued to browse and in the evening they converged under a tree for a few minutes before continuing to browse as they headed towards the stockade.
15 January 2015
Heavy fog covered the surrounding hills as the orphans left to browse in the morning. Bongo and Vuria started the day with a pushing game which ended when Bongo mounted Vuria. Vuria had accidentally fallen down and before he could regain his feet Bongo was on top of him. The Keepers needed to intervene to make sure Vuria was not hurt.
Orwa and Garzi scratched on the nearby rocks and later Kanjoro played with Orwa.
At 10am the orphans settled down to browse at Kone dam where Bongo and Vuria again went to tussle. Their pushing game went on until Vuria surrendered. Orwa and Turkwel continuously flapped their ears as the temperatures shot up.
At mud bath the orphans were honored by the presence of a junior wild bull aged about sixteen. Teleki had his milk then headed over to the junior bull, standing close to him as if to see how he measured up. Shortly after Kanjoro came and sniffed the bull, then headed straight in to wallow. The bull followed Kanjoro into the water where they were joined by Bongo, Vuria and Narok. The wallowers had a wonderful time in the company of their big wild friend. The rest of the orphans went to soil bathe. After soil bathing Mutara scratched against the nearby trees and the junior wild left. In the afternoon Teleki fed close to Mutara and they were joined by Turkwel. The temperatures rocketed so the juniors converged under a tree for a cool off. As it cooled off the orphans resumed browsing. The evening was quiet and on the way back to the stockade the orphans passed a mud bath where they had an evening wallow.
16 January 2015
Soon after leaving the stockade in the morning, the orphans settled to browse just a few meters away. Sities, Garzi and Bomani scratched on the nearby rocks and Shukuru opted to soil dust before settling to browse. Shortly after Makireti’s group joined the juniors. Kasigau headed straight over to Orwa and engaged in a pushing game. Kilabasi picked Garzi and taught him some pushing tactics before disappearing with Kasigau and Makireti.
After 11am milk feeds the orphans headed straight to wallow. Shukuru, Bomani, Kainuk and Orwa abstained and instead opted to dust in the red soil. Later they were joined by the rest of the group. Mutara took advantage of Laragai, who was rolling in the soil, to use her as a scratching surface and Vuria went to scratch against a nearby tree where he was joined by Bongo. Soon these two boys, who like to tussle whenever they are close to each other, were at war again. Bongo surrendered, probably just biding his time.
In the afternoon the sun was still hot and the orphans converged under a tree for almost two and half hours as they waited for the temperatures to go down. Mutara then led the orphans to a nearby water hole where they had a mud bath to cool off, only then did they resume browsing. In the evening, Mulika, Yatta and Lualeni’s groups, together with two wild bulls, briefly visited the stockade compound although Napasha, Tomboi, Madiba and Buchuma were not present in the group.
17 January 2015
Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau reported at the stockade early in the morning and joined up with the orphans. Kasigau and Orwa started a pushing game and Mutara and her long-time friend Makireti shook hands by entwining their trunks. Narok, Bongo and Kainuk started their day by soil dusting and were later they were joined by Kilabasi. Since the hole that they were scooping soil was too small for all of them the juniors gave up and left Kilabasi and Makireti to it. Garzi and his friend Vuria were scratching on the nearby rocks. Later Kilabasi and Garzi had a light friendly pushing game. Bongo browsed close to Bomani and Shukuru browsed some meters away from the rest.
At the 11am milk feed Orwa, the fastest drinker, was lucky to get a third bottle as Laragai only took one bottle then ran away to drink water. A solitary wild bull joined the juniors at mud bath,initially sharing water with Shukuru and Turkwel at the water trough, then going to the dam to wallow. Garzi and Laragai walked close to the bull and watched as he splashed water under his ears. Only Makireti, Kilabasi, Kasigau and Bongo wallowed and the rest went for a soil bath. After mud bath the wild bull headed off westward as the orphans went to the slopes of Ithumba hill to browse. In the evening, the orphans passed a mud wallow where they cooled off in the water and later dusting themselves with red soil.
18 January 2015
Lualeni, Ololoo, Makena, Kenze, Kilabasi, Makireti, Kora, Orok and Kasigau reported at the stockade in the morning. The group joined the juniors soon after they left the stockade and spent the morning feeding and playing with them. Kora and Orok engaged each other in a pushing game as Orwa stood beside them watching their techniques. Later Orwa tried the techniques he had learnt on Makena but Makena showed him that he was only a small boy and not fit to play with her by pushing him out of her way. Elsewhere, Kasigau was busy playing with Kenze while Teleki tackled Turkwel. An hour later the ex orphans parted ways with the juniors.
At 11am, although the sun was hot, only Bongo, Kanjoro, Mutara, Narok and Teleki wallowed and then joined the rest who had settled for soil bathing. Vuria and Bongo were the last to leave the soil bathing after they had a brief tussle. In the afternoon the sun became unbearably hot so the juniors took refuge under a tree for almost two hours. In the evening as it is so warm it has become the routine to pass by the mud bath to cool down. Some baboons, drinking water at the mud bath, appeared unmoved by the approaching elephants until Vuria and Teleki charged them which got some action. Chasing baboons is irresistible for baby elephants! After the evening mud bath, Shukuru led the way back to the stockade.
19 January 2015
After leaving the stockade, Vuria headed straight to the water trough but instead of drinking water he turned and started scratching his bottom against the water trough. Makireti’s group emerged from the nearby bushes and joined the juniors. Kasigau picked Teleki to engage in a pushing game. Mutara and Shukuru went up a nearby hill and browsed for some time in peace away from the rambunctious little boys, and it was some time before they came down to join the others and do some soil dusting. Bongo developed an itchy ear and scratched it against a tree for a good long while.
At 11am Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi escorted the juniors to the mud bath. Laragai took only one bottle of milk and left the other to whoever would like to drink it. As it was hot today so all the orphans wallowed and two wild bulls came to drink but chose not to join them in the water. After mud bathing the orphans soil dusted and Bongo and Vuria had their usual unending strength testing game. As the orphans were leaving the mud wallow, Mulika and Lualeni’s groups emerged from the bushes consisting of Mulika, Lualeni, Mwende, Nasalot, Lenana, Sidai, Naserian, Ololoo, Kora, Zurura and three wild bulls checked in and headed straight in to wallow. There was action in the water for a good long time while the Keepers took their lunch under the shade of the tree watching the fun and games.
The afternoon was quiet as the orphans browsed calmly. In the evening Mulika and Lualeni’s groups, in the company of a wild herd consisting of six elephants and a baby, came to the stockades for a drink and catch up with the juniors before heading to the Kalovoto lugga.
20 January 2015
Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi joined the juniors in the morning which has been a common pattern this month. Kilabasi engaged Orwa in a pushing game but it was interrupted by Makireti who came in between them. Later Orwa played with Kasigau. Bongo and Teleki took some time out from feeding and engaged each other in a pushing game as Shukuru soil dusted.
At mud bath time Mutara, who no longer has milk, passed near the bucket that had empty milk bottles and tried and to snatch a bottle. The keepers spotted her and shouted so she dropped the bottle and ran towards mud wallow. It was cool so only Makireti, Kasigau, Kilabasi and Bongo wallowed and the others returned to the browsing fields. Teleki and Turkwel had a friendly pushing game while Vuria tried to outdo Bongo in a pushing game. Mulika and Yatta’s ex-orphan groups, in the company of five wild bulls, checked in at the mud wallow after the orphans had left, and this ex orphan group enjoyed the cool action. The herd drank then headed off to the east of the mud wallow. In the evening, the same group passed by the stockade for a brief interlude before heading towards the Kalovoto lugga.
21 January 2015
The morning was lively as the orphans participated in various activities soon after leaving the stockade. Turkwel and Kanjoro tested their strength as Narok rolled on the ground. Sities moved over to where Narok was rolling and engaged her in a friendly pushing game. Teleki, Bomani and Laragai scratched on rocks while Kainuk picked grass with her trunk and placed it on her head. At around 8amYatta, Mulika and Lualeni’s groups showed up at the stockade. Shortly before mud bath time, Kasigau, Makireti and Kilabasi joined the juniors and escorted them to the mud bath.
It was cool now and the water was cold so only Makireti, Kilabasi, Kasigau and Bongo wallowed. The others drank and soil bathed. Vuria went to scratch his side against a nearby tree and then engaged Bongo, his playmate, in a strength testing exercise. In the afternoon two lesser kudus ran past the browsing orphans scaring them. With Vuria in the lead the orphans sped towards the keepers who managed to calm them down and the resumed browsing. In the evening the orphans passed by the mud bath and cooled themselves off before returning back to the stockade.
22 January 2015
In the morning, soon after getting to the browsing field, Shukuru and Kanjoro started the day’s activities by scratching against trees. Vuria and Teleki had a brief misunderstanding and opted to settle it through pushing one another pretty ferociously. Today was special because at 8am Chaimu and Kilaguni, who have been absent well over a month turned up at the stockade. Soon Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi also arrived and teamed up with Kilaguni and Chaimu. The Keepers were delighted to meet up with their special friends once again.
After drinking Makireti led the group away from the stockade.
At 11am the weather was chilly and none of the orphans wallowed. Vuria led the group in soil bathing. In the afternoon the clouds cleared and the sun came out. Orwa and Sities relaxed under the same tree before later returning to browse. In the evening the orphans passed by the mud wallow where a lone wild bull was drinking. Teleki and Bongo rushed to join him. Late in the evening Makireti, whose group appears to have increased in number, checked in at the stockade. The group consisted of Makireti, Kasigau, Kilabasi, Chaimu and Kilaguni and it will be interesting to see if Chaimu and Kilaguni remain with the group. Chaimu spent some time chasing off birds today, a pass time she was particularly enjoying. Makireti rumbled as she left with the others streaming behind her and soon disappearing from view.
23 January 2015
It was a morning of great activity. Soon after leaving the stockades the orphans where joined by Makireti and her group. Vuria welcomed Chaimu by entwining his trunk with her until Kanjoro, who wanted to play with Chaimu, pushed him away. After a little while Mutara arrived and Kanjoro left, allowing Mutara to have a one to one with Chaimu. Kilabasi played with Bongo as Kainuk rolled on the ground.
After Mutara had finished with Chaimu she lay down to play. This attracted Turkwel who came to scratch against her. Laragai tried to play with Chaimu but she was pushed ruthlessly until she screamed. Orwa and Kilabasi had a good game and later Orwa went to play with Chaimu. Garzi challenged Kilaguni, but the way Kilaguni looked and pointed his trunk at him made Garzi coiled his tail and run away. Chaimu finished the morning activities by engaging Vuria in a pushing game.
Makireti’s group escorted the juniors to the mud bath. The weather was chilly so the herd just drank some water and were later led away by Makireti. On the way to the browsing field Vuria tried to hold and lift Garzi’s hind leg but Garzi resisted and pulled himself away. In the afternoon the sun was hot so Turkwel, Sities and Bomani relaxed under a tree. In the evening ex orphans Yatta and Mulika’s groups passed by the stockade heading towards Kalovoto area
24 January 2015
Bongo and Vuria started the day's activities by engaging each other in a pushing game. Narok lay down to play and Kanjoro joined her. Narok tried to engage Kanjoro in a light pushing game whilst sitting down but Teleki did not think this was a very wise so he challenged Kanjoro. Later Laragai and Shukuru took a break from feeding and soil bathed. Kanjoro and Bomani were feeding on the same tree when Bomani plucked some leaves that Kanjoro had his eye on. This annoyed Kanjoro and he warned Bomani by pointing his trunk at him. In order to avoid trouble, Bomani retired to another tree. Orwa developed an itch at the tip of his trunk and relieved himself by putting it in his mouth and biting it.
As the orphans were drinking water after the milk feeds, two Egyptian geese made some noise which scared them. With their ears raised, the orphans ran towards their keepers who managed to calm them down. Sities and Shukuru sucked their trunks for comfort. Teleki and Kanjoro had a brief tussle which soon ended when Teleki surrendered. Only Bongo wallowed as the weather was cool and the others opted for soil dusting. In the afternoon, Vuria and Bongo found some suitable trees that they used to scratch against. As the sun became hot Kainuk and Garzi relaxed under the same tree while Bongo paired up with Kanjoro to cool down by relaxing under another tree a few meters away.
In the evening, Yatta, Mulika and Lualeni’s groups reported at the stockade compound and left shortly after drinking water and checking on their dependent orphan friends.
25 January 2015
After their breakfast the orphans dashed to the water trough on their way to the bush. They met Lualeni and Ololoo at the trough and joined up with them for the morning. Ololoo started playing with Orwa and mounting him, Bongo then joined in and they played as they headed to the bush.
Back at the stockade Kilaguni and Chaimu came in for water. Whilst Kilaguni was drinking Chaimu scooped and tossed some chunks of soil over her body and into the air, then they
departed to go and browse. A little while later Wendi’s group came in with Yatta, her wild born baby Yetu, Kinna, Tomboi and a wild bull. They drank water and Yetu played in the stockade mudbath, tossing soil in the air until they all left for the bush.
Meanwhile the orphans were browsing happily. Shukuru had a scratch on a rock, while Kainuk was playing by opening up her ears and flapping them. Shukuru and Vuria started pointing their trunks at the keepers’ camera wanting to touch it but the keepers pointed back at them with their fingers to keep them away. Kanjoro browsed next to Garzi and Narok. Later in the afternoon Teleki led the group to a new browsing area where Bongo started throwing some red soil chunks over himself. Later they met up with Kilaguni, Chaimu, Kilabasi, Makireti, and Kasigau and they browsed and interacted until the evening when Orwa proudly led the group back to the stockade.
26 January 2015
The sky was clear as the orphans left to browse early in the morning. It has started to dry up now which is indicated by trees shedding their leaves. The playful boys, Vuria and Bongo had a warm up exercise that involved pushing one another, then pushing down some small bushes. Soon Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau joined the juniors. It appears that Kilaguni and Chaimu have gone off with Makireti’s group. Kasigau engaged Orwa in a pushing game while Kilabasi disrupted Bongo and Vuria's game. Kasigau later taught Vuria a few pushing techniques before settling down to browse. Kainuk and Bongo fed from the same tree and they competed to see who could reach the highest leaves. Kainuk won as she is taller than Bongo. Teleki paired up with Orwa to browse and Narok browsed with Turkwel. Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau left moments before mud bath time.
Ex orphan big bulls Kora, Challa and three wild boys showed up at mudbath immediately after the orphans had their milk. Challa joined the orphans at the edge of the mud bath where they were splashing mud behind their ears. Despite being a hot day only Bongo wallowed then the orphans walked to the soil bath where they formed a circle with Challa in the middle. The afternoon was hot and the orphans browsed as they continuously flapped their ears. Later, Sities and Garzi sheltered from the hot sun and relaxed under a tree until the temperatures dropped to a bearable level.
In the evening big boys Kora, Rapsu, along with Makireti, Kasigau, Kilabasi and a junior wild bull came for water at the stockade. Rapsu and Kora had brief strength testing exercise and then left.
27 January 2015
Bomani, Sities and Laragai started the day's activities by scratching on rocks, the usual early morning routine. Shukuru soil bathed while the rest settled down to browse.
At 7am the partially dependent group led by Suguta showed up at the stockade although Ishanga and Olare were missing from the group. At mudbath only Kanjoro, Bongo, Sities, Narok and Laragai wallowed. On leaving the mudbath Laragai spotted some doves which she charged at with her ears raised. This alerted Narok who joined in, but the birds were too quick and the elephants could have been chasing the wind for all the success they had in reaching them. In the afternoon the sun became so hot the orphans returned to the mud bath and stayed in the water for almost an hour. Having wallowed enough the orphans settled down to browse near the mud bath. In the evening, Yatta, Mulika and Lualeni’s ex orphan groups, with six wild elephants, checked in at the stockade and an hour after they had left the partially dependent group arrived in the company of ex orphan Nasalot.
28 January 2015
Mutara left the stockade with a piece of branch that she continued to chew as she walked towards the water trough. Soon after drinking the orphans left to browse. As Bomani was feeding he developed an itchy ear and used his trunk to scratch it, it was obviously really bugging him as he spent a good long time trying to get rid of the itch. Laragai had a disagreement with Vuria and she decided to push him and take the grass from his mouth but he resisted and walked away.
Gentle Shukuru found a fallen tree and tried as hard as possible to push it out of the way. She didn't succeed in removing the entire tree but she managed to break some of the branches. Turkwel browsed close to Sities as Narok opted to scratch on a nearby rock.
For the first time this year a herd of ten wild bulls were present at mud bath. They formed a magnificent sight. Shukuru, Sities, Bongo, Teleki, Kanjoro, Laragai and Mutara went into water to wallow as the wild bulls curiously looked at them. Three of the bulls finally gathered courage and moved into the water to join the juniors. This freaked the juniors out abit as they were scared of the big bulls and left the wallow.
In the afternoon, the temperatures were still high and Turkwel, Orwa and Garzi relaxed under a tree for some time before resuming browsing. In the evening the ex orphans and the partially dependent group reported to the stockade. Kibo engaged Chyulu in a pushing game as Tumaren played with Yetu. Later Meibai played with Chyulu while Kibo played with Lenana.
Kilaguni, Chaimu, Ishanga, Olare, Madiba, Kamboyo, Napasha and Buchuma were missing from the group.
29 January 2015
Narok left the stockade with a branch in her mouth but a few meters from the stockade she dropped tossed it. Vuria picked it up hoping to chew it but dropped it again on realizing it was not tasty.
At the browsing field the juniors were joined by Makireti, Kilabasi, Kasigau, Naisula, Murka, Kitirua and a wild girl aged about seven years old. It appears that Makireti has dropped Chaimu and Kilaguni from her group or that they were not comfortable being led by Makireti who is much younger than them. Orwa had brief strength testing with Naisula before Naisula moved a few metres away and pushed down a dry tree to demonstrate how strong she was and the techniques she had acquired in the wild. T
The partially independent group escorted the juniors to the mud bath but it was cold so no one wallowed. Mutara and the junior wild girl who was content to remain with the orphans and their Keepers drank together at the water trough. In the afternoon, Makireti and her group parted ways with the juniors.
Towards evening the sun became unbearably hot and the orphans, led by Mutara, headed for the mud bath to cool off before Shukuru led the first group back to the stockade.
30 January 2015
Soon after leaving the stockade in the morning Orwa went to the nearby rocks to scratch his buttocks. Vuria and Kainuk headed to a nearby shallow hole with red soil and had a soil bathe. As Vuria was busy playing with the red soil Bongo, his playmate, came for a pushing game. Orwa plucked some mouth watering leaves and Turkwel, who was feeding nearby, was very envious so he tried to get the leaves from Orwa's mouth. Orwa resisted and walked away enjoying his leaves. Later Bomani stood close to Vuria and started sucking one of his ears. Vuria picked up a piece of stick to chew but Bomani snatched it from his mouth and dropped it. Teleki engaged Vuria in a pushing game and was triumphant.
At mud bath time the sun was hot but only Bongo wallowed with the rest just standing under the acacia tree, Orwa relaxing his trunk on Teleki's back. In the afternoon, Orwa, Bongo, Vuria and Kanjoro, all boys, browsed together as Shukuru and Narok relaxed under a tree. Turkwel browsed with her ears spread out so as to cool off. In the evening, the orphans passed by the mud bath where they all wallowed and afterwards soil dusted before heading back to the stockade.
31 January 2015
Teleki and Vuria started the games by engaging each other in a strength testing exercise. Orwa was pushed by Sities when he passed near her and stepped on the grass she was trying to uproot. Orwa didn't take offence but continued on as he realized his mistake. A little later the juniors were joined by Lualeni and Ololoo. Vuria welcomed Ololoo by sniffing at him but Ololoo just and pushed him. Vuria tried to defend himself for some time but finally surrendered. Ololoo moved on and came face to face with Orwa whom he also engaged in a strength testing game as Teleki scratched against Bomani. Vuria and Bongo also had a long pushing game.
At 11am Lualeni and Ololoo escorted the juniors to the mudbath. Only Kainuk, who rarely bathes, Ololoo and Lualeni wallowed. The rest soil bathed. Afterwards Teleki scratched against a nearby tree before following his colleagues back to the browsing field. Kainuk picked up a piece of stick on the way that she used to scratch herself. In the afternoon, the sun became so hot that it forced Shukuru and Laragai to seek the shade under a tree and wait for it to cool off. In the evening Lualeni led the juniors to the mud bath where all of them wallowed. Later Lualeni escorted the group back to the stockade. Lualeni’s motives in spending an entire day with the juniors are rather suspicious, it means that she is up to something and probably wants to try and snatch one of the orphans.