Keepers' Diaries, January 2015

Umani Springs Reintegration Unit

January at Umani Springs has been exceptionally pleasant for elephants and Keepers alike. With so much vegetation, wild flowers, lilies, fruits and soft grass everywhere the orphans have been spoilt for choice. Also despite the temperatures rising now that the hot season is upon us the generous forest canopy cover gives the orphans much respite from the soaring temperatures.

01 January 2015

Quanza was first to lead the orphans out into the New Year 2015, she was very happy with ears raised up scaring the butter flies which were flying around on her way out. Quanza relinquished leadership to Lima lima who took over and lead the orphans, who were feeling warm, to the nearby water hole that the wild elephants use in the bushes. They spent about thirty minutes wallowing together. Whilst leaving the wallow, Lima lima and Zongoloni were bitten by tsetse flies so they went running to the dusting soil to scare them away. The others saw Lima lima and Zongoloni running and followed them to go and dust as well. Everyone was delighted when our beloved mama Daphne came to visit. It is the first since the relocation of the five elephants and Lima lima made several attempts to try and give mama Daphne an elephant hug. The keepers had to be very careful that Lima lima not to cause any injury but it was a lovely start to the new year.

02 January 2015

The orphan continued to browse in the tall grasslands, trying to look for soft green grass to pick and eat. Murera and Sonje seem compelled to eat it all; their mouths are constantly full of the soft grass. Once Sonje was fully satisfied she took on the lead from Lima lima and headed to the milk feeding point in the open field. When they arrived Zongoloni and her greedy friend Lima lima were very thirsty. Zongoloni, knowing where her bottles were located, went straight there picking up one bottle after the other and drinking her milk without the keepers help. Lima lima was very quick to finish her share and came looking for Zongoloni’s empty bottles to see if there was some milk remaining, she found nothing so she kicked the empty bottles to the keepers to pick up. Next it was dusting time with more fun. Quanza arrived running very fast and fell into the soil, rubbing her big belly and dusting. Sonje lay down for the youngsters Zongoloni and Quanza to come and have fun with her. They started by stepping on her back then Quanza climbed on her head, trying to squeeze it, luckily they were not too heavy for Sonje and they continued mounting her back and the head and having lots of fun before they walked away following their keepers to the bushes for the remainder of the day.

03 January 2015

As soon as the orphans came out of their night stockades Murera was off to smell the dung the wild elephants had left over night as they visited the water hole near the stockades. The wild ones are curious and want to know more about the orphans. Murera put her trunk on the dung capturing the smell and learning about the type of vegetation she should be feeding on. Zongoloni whispered to Sonje as if to say ‘look what Murera is doing with the dung’. Lima lima was very busy, walking in the bushes trying to follow trails of the bulls, but really she was not that interested in them and was actually searching for her favourite keeper who has been away since the beginning of the new year on leave. Soon she decided to give up and follow the rest of the babies who headed to the milk point then proceeded to the waterhole to wallow.

04 January 2015

Umani springs is home to wild elephants who migrate from the Chyulu hills national park all the way to Umani springs for clean water and all the various vegetations that grow there. It is very green and there is lots of food for them and the orphans. The elephants come near to the orphans stockades in the night to find out more about Murera and the other babies. Some even have their own babies that squeal loudly wanting to join their age mates, Zongoloni and Quanza. However, when the keepers come out to take pictures, they run away disappearing into the bushes still weary of the Keepers presence. When the wild ones have visited Murera and Sonje are the most interested in trying to find out about them. Sonje keeps banging the gate, almost causing the bars to bend, trying to break out to see the big bulls. However these wild bulls within the Kibwezi forests are huge elephants and really the babies would be frightened by their size, the orphans look very tiny in comparison. Lima Lima found a fallen log blocking her path and tried to push it away but it was too heavy. She tried very hard to push the log but when she saw the other babies running to the waterhole and thought they were running to get her bottle she dashed after them quickly. She caught up with them still on way the for their milk. The orphans congregated, waiting for everyone to arrive so they could start wallowing together. Quanza did not want to wallow so Sonje sprayed her bottom encouraging her go in and wallow because it was so hot. After wallowing in the dark mud the orphans changed colour, almost looking like buffaloes if you could not see their faces.

05 January 2015

Quanza held a big bunch of grass in her mouth and browsed separately from the other babies who were close to one another. Then they walked into the forest and divided into three groups, Sonje with her friend Zongoloni, and Quanza with Lima lima, Murera was left walking alone far behind. Lima lima abandoned Quanza when she saw the keepers walking off towards two oncoming bulls. They were going to avert any danger arising from the wild bulls coming to the mudbath. Zongoloni was up to her normal clever tricks at milk feeding time, picking up her bottles without any help from the keepers. It was very hot so the orphans went for a vigorous mudbath wallow for about half an hour, then went to the dusting soil, blowing big flames of dust on to the back of their bodies

06 January 2015

Sonje and Murera were very happy when they came out of their night stockades leading the other babies. Murera and Sonje were very excited when they came across dung of their wild friends. One wild bull seems to fascinate Murera but Sonje shies away whenever she comes across the wild elephants dung around her walking places. Lima lima marched the young babies that were under her leadership back to keepers who then realised that Sonje and Murera were not present. The keepers called their names and made their unique calling signal (kwata, kwata) but before Sonje could appear on the fields, Lima lima pushed the others out of the way so that the keepers could see where the two were coming through the forest. The orphans ran to the waterhole to quench their thirst and cool as they were very hot from running around in the bushes looking for one another. All the orphans rolled and rolled in the muddy water then they went to soil dust to keep the flying insects away. After dusting all the babies rolled again and played in the grass drying off their wet bodies.

07 January 2015

The wild elephants visited again in the night. It was 1am and Murera and Zongoloni were fast asleep and oblivious to their presence until awakened by the rumbles of the other babies. They got up to see what was going on. The keepers tried to take some pictures but the wild bulls did not like this and charged at them. They disappeared as the keepers continued taking photos perhaps fearing the blinking cameras were the torches of poachers. Lima lima and the other babies were left squealing and climbing up the walls trying to get out. When Sonje led the way out of the night stockades, to begin the day’s browsing the bulls were still around. Murera foraged a little way away from the babies, trying to follow her wild friends. Quanza found a scratching tree to scratch off her bottom on, while the other babies were enjoying playing and relaxing beside the natural waterhole.

08 January 2015

Since the year began many wild elephants have been coming to visiting the babies at their night stockades. The same bull that the previously tried to force his way in to meet Murera and Sonje came again with some others in the morning. It seems that they are trying to gain the affections of Murera and Sonje who will one day soon be looking for boyfriends. The wild bulls have been walking very long distances, all the way from Amboseli national park, to come and meet the Umani girls at Kibwezi forest. Amboseli national park has dried up so they also come to Umani springs for water and the ever green and ample supply of food in an environment which is safe. Quanza with Zongoloni, being very young babies, were indifferent to the wild bulls that visited them, and just joyfully played around the waterhole. Zongoloni stood on one side of the waterhole drinking water and Quanza, who had already drunk, sat in the muddy soil playing and waiting for Zongoloni to finish. Murera walked the young girls away to Sonje, taking them to play away from the old females.

09 January 2015

Trumpeting was all the rage this morning. The elephant babies charged about showing how strong and vigorously they could kick, with Murera really charging hard at anything that stood on her way. The other orphans were inspired when they saw Murera kicking back trees and blowing soil with her trunk. They all trumpeted very loudly, the sound filling the air. Sonje left the others charging when she was tired and it showed no sign of abating. She went looking for food and eventually the others joined her. Quanza was following close behind Lima lima trying to hold her tail. Lima lima did not like this so she turned and tried to push Quanza away but was rather unsuccessful as she is much lighter than Quanza. Greedy Lima lima then trooped off with Zongoloni to get their milk bottles and go to the waterhole to wallow. The weather became very hot bringing buffalos in to the waterhole to cool off. Limalima and Zongoloni saw them coming whilst they were still wallowing so they trumpeted loudly and ran away to the keepers.

10 January 2015

The orphans were grouped together in solidarity as one happy family under Sonje’s leaderships as they fed together. They moved around as they browsed exploring different locations and finding more food. A horn bill flew overhead and Zongoloni tried to see what it was but it was not easy as elephants are not good at looking skywards. The babies continued walking around Umani hills, climbing all the way up to the sun downer spot where there is a wonderful view of the sun sinking to the horizon. On the slopes of the hill there were bushbucks, buffaloes and other antelope species enjoying the grass as the orphans patrolled off to the waterhole and took their bottles. The babies seemed very tired to and wanted to stop in the shade but the keepers encouraged them on as it was close to bottle feeding time. They reached for the bottles, drank and then had a great mud bathing time with lots of fun.

11 January 2015

In the early morning of Lima lima came out first and began trumpeting very loudly and running to all corners of the stockades looking for the wild elephants that had been squealing and trumpeting near the stockades overnight. The wild ones had spent a lot of time at the gate, almost as if waiting for a pass to go in and see Murera. Lima lima spent the whole time until the 11am milk and mudbath following the wild ones trails even though they had left in the early hours of the morning. She was even late for milk which is unheard of as she loves it so much. Zongoloni waited eagerly for Lima lima as she appeared, running in fast for her bottles. All the other babies were wallowing in the mud at the waterhole. Zongoloni left the mud looking for Sonje who had departed a little earlier, leaving her behind with the bullying Murera. Sonje appeared and Murera went to look for green grass in the fields but then turned back and went wallowing for few more minutes before everyone left for the bushes. Murera found a good scratching rock there and had a great time scratching her itchy bottom. Sonje sat down smiling at the sky.

12 January 2015

Sonje was kidding around with Lima lima. When Lima lima went close they put their trunks into each others’ mouth, whispering and having silent communications. Quanza and Zongoloni lay on the soft green grass on the slopes of the Umani hills, resting on the grass and waiting for mudbath and milk time. Then they went to the waterhole to splash their overheated bodies. The babies had great fun with dusting games, throwing big clods of dusty soil onto their back and mounting each other as they lay down playing. Murera went to the soft grass to dry herself away from the raucous other babies. Some of the orphans bathed a second time later on as it was so hot.

13 January 2015

Lima lima chose the browsing site for the babies today and the keepers to followed from behind and see where she would lead them. After a while she heard her name being shouted by the keepers from behind and stopped to see what was wrong. Firstly she thought it was already feeding time but then she realised it was because the others had stopped to wallow at the waterhole. There was a running competition between Zongoloni and Quanza to see who could be first to the milk bottles. Quanza won leaving Zongoloni trailing a few meters behind. After the wallow Sonje wanted to leave but waited for Zongoloni as she did not want to leave her alone. When Zongoloni came Sonje took all the babies to drink clean water before they walked on keeping to the shades because of the hot weather. When it cooled down the orphans went to the green soft grasslands, picking the grass and kicking up roots to eat before going back to their night stockades.

14 January 2015

A hot day began quite early in the Kibwezi forest. The babies went to browse a little under big trees as they walked towards the Kenze area on the slopes of the Umani hills. They fed on the acacias, taking breaks to rest when their feet felt too hot to walk. Once they reached the water hole wallowing was the order of the day. The keepers pushed them into the mudbath to go and wallow and their time in the water was full of fun until Zongoloni spotted a floating baby crocodile. Zongoloni alerted Lima lima, who quickly took action, running to get the keepers. The keepers guided the orphans away from the wallowing point not wanting any of them to get injured and moved the crocodile up to the water springs to join its friends.

15 January 2015

Quanza came out of the stockades looking very hungry and walking fast to where she would get something nice to browse on. Murera and Sonje followed behind slowly but they stopped at the waterhole to drink before going to browse. Lima lima is very helpful to the keepers, not only does this happy active girl constantly entertain them with her activities but she also alerts them if she detects anything out of the ordinary, such as the wild elephants approaching. Wild elephants keep coming for more visits around the stockades. The waterhole is a night-time paradise for them and more and more come as the Chyulu hills national park is now very dry. The Kibwezi forests are now the home for many wild animals from around the Chyulu national park. Lima lima is a very strong young matriarch who shows good leadership skills. She keeps the other babies updated as milk feeding time draws near and the keepers merely need to call her name and she rushes in. She runs so fast that the slow ones, Sonje and Murera, who won’t run due to their bad legs, get left behind even though they try very hard to keep up.

16 January 2015

Today was a big day for everyone at Umani as the new group of three boys from the Nairobi Nursery were arriving. Jasiri, Faraja and their naughty friend Ngasha were loaded on to the relocation truck early in the morning and driven safely to Umani Springs. When they arrived Jasiri came out first rather tentatively being pushed out by his keeper. Faraja followed looking very confused by the new environment and he did not even want to take his bottle, then Ngasha followed. Lima Lima was waiting near the truck and was very happy to welcome Ngasha, giving him lots of hugs whilst he was drinking his milk. Lima Lima and Quanza both went to the boys, knowing they had come from their old home and welcomed them to Umani. Sonje also welcomed them as a good mother would, patiently calming them down and communicating that they should just be happy as they were in a good place with lots of vegetation they would like to browse on. Lima Lima took the boys round the compound showing them how beautiful it is. After about half an hour all the boys were beginning to settle down and continued following Lima Lima to the bushes and their keepers to the waterhole. At milk time Ngasha, Faraja and Jasiri did not know the right way to go as Lima Lima was behind them. They only wanted to follow the Nairobi keepers who came down with them, not recognizing the Umani keepers. After the milk feeding at the waterhole area, the elephants were hot and ran to swim and later soil dust. They found Murera waiting but she was very jealous when she saw that the new boys were being entertained by Lima Lima, Quanza and Sonje.

17 January 2015

Ngasha, Faraja and Jasiri were the first ones to come out of their stockades in the morning. Quanza and Lima lima led the girls out to join the boys who had already started to browse in the bushes. The babies celebrated the glorious morning and took time to greet on another. The boys were more interested in being with Lima lima, as they preferred not to be bossed around. Sonje climbed up the elephants loading bay, looking down to attract the new boys’ attention and get them to go and play with her. She failed to entice them as Lima lima blocked their way, taking them to bushes for more food and leaving Murera and Sonje on their own with Zongoloni, their adopted baby. When it was time for mudbath Lima lima came with Ngasha, Faraja and Jasiri, running for the bottles of milk. Later she took them to the waterhole to wallow as the weather changed had become hot which was not good for the albinos’ skin. Ngasha and Faraja had a great time swimming, leaving Jasiri just splashing water on his legs. After cooling down, the babies turned to the dusting soil and Jasiri, Faraja, and Ngasha changed their body colour from the Nairobi grey to the Umani brown. Murera remained jealous of the boys leaving all the mothering to Sonje and Lima lima with the help of Quanza too.

18 January 2015

Zongoloni found herself in trouble when she tussled with Faraja over apiece of green soft branch he had in his mouth. She thought Faraja would be a push over but the tussling continued for a while until Faraja got annoyed and turned round and forcefully pushed Zongoloni to the ground. Zongoloni squealed loudly which brought Sonje rushing over to see what was happening to her beloved baby Zongoloni. Sonje calmed down Zongoloni then turned to punish Faraja but he had run away. Seeing that Faraja had been chased away Quanza went to look for him and the other boys and took them under her wing so that they would not be roughed up by Sonje and Murera. Quanza was busy all day mothering Ngasha and his friends, making sure they were happy and found the good soft food. The weather turned hot and Lima lima, as usual, led everyone to the mudbath. On the way they came across Murera so they decided to take different route in case she tried to bully them. The babies went to a water hole which had a baby crocodile and turtles in it. A turtle was sunbathing beside the waterhole and Ngasha saw it jumping back to the waterhole he got a shock and ran away. The baby crocodile then also jumped into the water and everyone ran away except Quanza, Sonje and Zongoloni. After getting their confidence back Jasiri led Faraja followed by Ngasha back to the water.

19 January 2015

Ngasha has not quite realised he is supposed to be a big boy now he has left the nursery and he still likes to remain within sight of the keepers. When he can’t see them he screams which brings Lima Lima rushing to his side to escort him back to the keepers. Lima Lima is such a good little mother always making sure the boys are comfortable and happy. Murera followed the boys to grasslands where the keepers were chatting and Jasiri with Faraja were eating. Ngasha ran very quickly behind greedy Lima lima to the milk bottles, leaving Jasiri and Faraja walking sedately behind knowing full well that keepers would keep their bottles for them. Lima lima grabbed her bottle trying very hard to hold it like Zongoloni but she dropped it and the keeper had to come and help her. It was time for fun and all the orphans went to dust bathe. Ngasha and the other boys showed off a new method that Sonje and the other girls had not seen before. Ngasha set the ball rolling by mounting Zongoloni. The other boys, Faraja and Jasiri, followed suite mounting Sonje. At first Sonje thought it was her lovely Zongoloni playing, but when she realised it was the two boys she got up and pushed them off, chasing them away from the dusting soil. Zongoloni and Quanza were blowing big puffs of dusting soil on their backs and Ngasha was rubbing his bottom on the others who were dust bathing. Everyone had lots of fun.

20 January 2015

Since Ngasha came to Umani he has seemed very settled and comfortable in his new home. He has become familiar with the routes and today he decided to lead the girls out to browse. Zongoloni followed with Jasiri, crossing over a trench following Ngasha’s trail. Zongoloni thought Ngasha would not remember the way but Ngasha proved her wrong showing he is no longer a baby but big boy who knows where to go and at what time. Jasiri, having crossed the trench with Zongoloni, returned looking for his friend Faraja to showed him how to get across and join the other babies going for mud bathing and wallowing. Ngasha showed his greedy side today as when he had finished his bottle he remained behind patiently waiting to see if Zongoloni would leave him a bottle. Clever Zongoloni however held her bottle herself and then picked the other one to drink. She ran off with her last bottle only dropping it on the ground when it was empty so Ngasha and Lima lima could not have any more.

21 January 2015

Lima Lima loves to keep the boys company. Her favourite is Ngasha and she mainly stays with him and sometimes Jasiri. Murera has kept herself away from the boys since they arrived as she is still jealous that Sonje, Lima lima and Quanza took the lead in welcoming them. Murera has become a bit of a bully and the others keep away from her fearing they might get speared by her long tusks. The babies followed their keepers to the bushes with Ngasha keeping very close, even trying to smell in their pockets. He still acts like a baby in this respect constantly wanting the keepers company. When the orphans went to get their bottles and go to the waterholes Quanza was feeling very hot. She quickly jumped into the waterhole to wallow, started by splashing her legs and toes, then her chest which was burning up in the heat. After wallowing the orphans went to soil dust. Ngasha stood up and started to walk away trying to figure out which direction the keepers would take. Jasiri, seeing everyone was leaving, went to look for his friends Faraja and Ngasha to go off together into the forest.

22 January 2015

Murera came out of her stockade and walked straight to the scratching post inside the stockade compound to try and scratch off some hanging ticks that were annoying her. After that she relaxed and played in the dusting soil that is brought in by tractor from the forest. The wild elephants also like to play in it whenever they visit the babies, leaving back their big foot prints in the soil to show they have been there. In the bushes Ngasha screamed as he could not find the keepers, forcing Lima lima to come and walk him over to where they were sitting. He is still insecure when he can’t see them which can be a problem in Kibwezi forest as the bush is very thick. Usually the orphans can just locate the keepers by smell and know exactly where they are even if they can’t be seen. When the babies went for their milk they all then went to dust together as one big happy family. Jasiri tried to have a game with Faraja, holding his tail but Faraja didn’t like it and ran away from him. Jasiri has got a reputation for being a tail biter and had to be separated from Faraja at night because of this unkind behaviour. Faraja now shares with Ngasha and Jasiri has the stockade to himself so he can bite his own tail and not cause any more misery.

23 January 2015

In the early morning Ngasha took the lead around the bushes trying to find his way without Lima lima and Quanza’s help. He was not very proficient though, it has only been a week since he arrived, and he lost his way ending up calling for help from Lima lima and the keepers. Lima lima had stayed behind with the keepers but she responded quickly running to find him. The keepers also shouted his name so that he would realise they were near and go towards them. Soon everyone was back together again and Ngasha stretched up his trunk smelling where Jasiri and the others were and realising he had never really been alone. He went back to the forest with Lima lima, meeting up with Zongoloni on the way. Jasiri then started to lead everyone over to where Murera was feeding on some tree roots that had been dug up in the night by the wild elephants. They continued on but Sonje went back for Murera who did not want to leave the sweet roots. Sonje also tasted the roots and would have stayed eating with Murera but she was chased away. Sonje understands Murera’s weaknesses and decided not to leave her too far behind. Ngasha was well aware that milk time was approaching and that the boys were being allowed to go first. He led them in with Lima lima bringing up the rear. Even so she finished her milk much more quickly than the boys and would have disturbed them had the keepers not blocked her way. After milk feeding all the orphans came together to drink water at the waterhole and then went to soil dust. They enjoyed themselves in the soft dust chasing away the flies and tsetse flies.

24 January 2015

The morning was spent browsing with Jasiri, Faraja and young Ngasha stretching their long trunks and smelling the sweet branches to break and eat. The bushes were very tall and thick, making it difficult to see them feeding in the forest, the keepers could only we could see their long trunks shaking the bushes. Sonje heard Zongoloni crying and trumpeting in the forests and thought she was in trouble, but when Sonje reached her she found Zongoloni playing with the butterflies. She was trying to chase the butterflies, which was very hard as they took to the air and she fell down trying to get them. Murera joined to help but they still couldn’t catch the butterflies. Then Ngasha and Jasiri came running to see what was going on. Ngasha left Jasiri with the others to go and join the keepers who he had seen chatting on the other side of the forest. Soon it was the mudbath time and the all the orphans trooped out in a straight line to go for milk and to the waterhole. The boys formed one group and Lima lima wanted to go with them to get the milk but she always disturbs them whilst they are feeding so the keepers kept her back and let Zongoloni go with them instead as she does not interrupt them and just feeds herself without any help. Before the boys had even left to go and wallow Lima lima had sneaked her way in to where the bottles were and kicked over the ones that were not hers.

25 January 2015

In the morning Murera went out looking for the wild elephants that had visited overnight to drink at the waterhole. They had been making lots noise near the stockades, fighting for places at the waterhole. Murera thought she might still be able to find them in the morning as she walked slowly trying to following their trails but she found nothing but their big heaps of dung. The bulls had left very early in the morning before the babies came out after their morning bottles. Sonje later joined Murera to play for a while before walking together in the bushes, following their babies and the keepers. Jasiri went to the scratching rock, the purpose of which he had learnt from watching Zongoloni. The babies continued patrolling until it was time for the midday bottle. Ngasha went to get milk together with Zongoloni, copying the way she picks up and drinks her milk without dropping it. When they had finished they went to wallow and then to the dusting soil, looking very comical as they dried their bodies.

26 January 2015

Murera came out of the stockade walking very fast and sucking her trunk rather like she sucks the licking salt in her stockade. She wanted Sonje to follow her but Sonje decided to go her own way and walk towards the other elephants climbing on the loading bay. Once Murera realised Sonje was not coming she turned and also went to play and climb on the loading bay ramp. Jasiri also thought it was a good idea to go and scratch on the walls to remove some of the ticks that have plagued him since arriving from the nursery. The keepers spray them with Frontline but Ngasha, Faraja, and Jasiri are still not used to it and run away from the keepers when they are trying to spray them. The boys are beginning to learn how scratching on the rocks and wallowing in mud keeps the ticks away naturally. Faraja, Jasiri and Ngasha heard the cranes calling and flapping their wings overheads. The sound was unfamiliar and scared the three boys who took to their heels running towards the keepers, Lima lima and Quanza. Lima lima and Quanza had a hard time convincing the boys that the noise was just the birds flying over their heads. Zongoloni took young Ngasha back to the bushes to calm down and resume browsing. After they had calmed down The boys allowed Lima lima and Zongoloni to take them off to the mudbath to wallow. Ngasha became so covered in mud it was hard to recognise him.

27 January 2015

Murera came out again this morning sucking her trunk. Sonje followed her out but she didn’t really want to follow Murera and a game a bit like hide and seek commenced as Murera then tried to follow Sonje who in turn tried to elude her. Eventually both elephants ended up at the loading bay scratching up against the walls there. Jasiri also thought it was a good idea to go and scratch on the wall as he saw his friends swinging their big bellies against it and the ticks dropping away. Ngasha and Faraja are still learning about the benefits of scratching against the rocks and bending big trees to scratch on as Lima lima, Quanza and Zongoloni do. Zongoloni and Sonje keep demonstrating to them how to get rid of the itchy ticks. The keepers sometimes spray the elephants with Frontline and Lima lima is very good when it comes to this. She goes close up to the keeper who is spraying so he can get a good aim at her bottom, the boys are still not yet used to the spray. Faraja, Jasiri and Ngasha heard cranes calling to their babies in the grass and were scared again, running to the keepers. Lima lima rubbed up against Ngasha’s shoulder with her trunk to reassure him that these were just the normal birds, beasts and sounds of the Kibwezi forest. After all the running the hot orphans went for another wallow in the mudbath.

28 January 2015

It was a lovely morning and the babies foraged in the bushes, filling their stomachs with soft greens. After a long walk Faraja moved off to another browsing place and the others followed closely, crossing a dry area then going to the waterhole to wallow and cool down. The young orphans ran crazily in for their milk bottles, each thinking that the others would steal their share. But Murera just ambled along behind at one point standing on three legs so she could use the lifted one to scratch with. When they were all dusting Murera got right down in the dust, rolling and throwing it over herself but when she tried to get up she really struggled. It took some time for her to regain her feet and by then the others had gone off to be in the shade. While in the shade the boys worried that they could no longer find the keepers but Lima lima, knowing where they were, just led them majestically towards the waterhole near the lodge where the keepers were sitting.

29 January 2015

Ngasha really enjoys the Umani waterhole with its flowing running water. Quanza went in to join him, throwing some muddy water on her body and Lima lima and Faraja were not far behind. Zongoloni led the orphans to the dry grasslands where she found good sleeping spot with soft dry grass to relax peacefully. When the babies returned to the waterhole for the second time a baby crocodile raised its head up looking at the keepers who were standing taking photos. Zongoloni and Ngasha spotted it floating on the water and sped away. When the keepers realised what the orphans were running away from they also hurriedly left, giving the crocodile a wide berth so as not to cause any trouble.

30 January 2015

Jasiri was walking happily around in the Kibwezi forest, looking very confident as if he was still in the Nairobi national park. Murera realised that Jasiri was oblivious of the fact that the forest could hide dangerous buffalos and went over to warn him. Jasiri just thought she was coming over to be rough with him and, fearing her long tusks, he sought the company of Lima lima and Sonje who were not far away. The orphans came upon some very soft green lilies which were so delicious that they even forgot about their milk which was waiting for them. The keepers had to call and whistle for them before they realised it was time to go for their milk. Lima lima took off very quickly, running like crazy to get there in case her share was taken by another baby elephant. She is very greedy and thinks that everyone must be just as desperate to get the milk as she is, but nobody else is quite so obsessive.