Keepers' Diaries, July 2012
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
The Ithumba stockades have been a hive of activity this month due to the extremely dry conditions throughout Tsavo, the April/May rains having failed yet again. In between caring for the Stockade based Youngsters who are with them at all times, they have been providing support for the Ex-orphans and their wild friends, who now visit the stockades daily to drink and enjoy a hand-out of Lucerne. The wild friends who have come to rely on water at the Stockade Water trough have been mounting in numbers mainly bulls, with a few cow herds with young now also coming to drink. The Stockade water trough has to be refilled many times during the day in order to meet the demand imposed upon it since the draw from the borehole is slow, and cannot produce sufficient for the needs of so many wild visitors. Hence the
Stockade Bowser has had its work cut out ferrying additional loads of water in from the stagnant pools of the Tiva sand-river to supplement what the borehole can yield.
01 July 2012
It’s July, the month of the year that is always cold, but this morning the sky was clear, giving an impression that the day might be a hot one. The orphaned herd was so playful, scratching against the nearby rocks and trees. Entering into the grazing field, Kalama led the way up to the Kone area where the orphans settled to browse. Shortly after eleven o’clock in the morning, Kandecha led the way to the mud wallow. Shortly after six o’clock in the morning, two wild bulls checked into the stockade water trough and they were then later joined by ten wild elephants with one tusked wild cow.
02 July 2012
The orphans left the stockade soon after the gates opened. Murka was the first one to step out, leading the others to the usual place where they get lucerne before heading for browsing. The junior orphans headed for water and only left for browsing when they saw three huge wild bulls approaching; that’s one, among many lessons, that they learn from the wild which is to respect their seniors.
03 July 2012
It was a quiet day for the orphans. Soon after leaving the stockade Sabachi engaged Kilaguni in a pushing game before proceeding for browsing. In the evening shortly before retuning back to stockade, Naisula and Olare had an enjoyable moment of soil dusting. In the evening, all of the ex-orphans showed up at the stockade in the company of ten wild elephants.
04 July 2012
In the morning, soon after the orphans left the stockade, the ex-orphans and nine wild elephants checked in at the stockade water trough. At the stockade compound, Sabachi engaged Ithumbah in a pushing game whilst Murka learnt some pushing tactics from Meibai. Later on the orphans left for browsing, leaving the wild ones still at the stockade. At the field, the orphans were joined by Lualeni and Rapsu and they spent the entire day browsing together.
05 July 2012
Kandecha and Kilaguni opened up the day’s activities by engaging one another in a pushing game. At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to go into the mud bath. In the evening on the way back to the stockade, the orphans were joined by Lualeni followed by many wild elephants in the company of ex-orphans. Kijana engaged a wild friend in a pushing game, whilst Kina played with Nasalot and Kora engaged Sunyei in a tough pushing game.
06 July 2012
The orphans entered into the grazing field in a playful manner as they charged and knocked up thickets before settling to browse at the Kanziku area where they stayed until eleven o’clock in the morning, when it was time for mud bath.
07 July 2012
Cloudy weather brought in the day with very low temperatures yet the orphans went on with their usual browsing without being bothered by the weather. Towards eleven in the morning, Chemic Chemi and Chaimu spent some time doing soil bathing. At the mud wallow only Ololoo went in whilst being watched by curious guinea fowls.
08 July 2012
The orphaned herd left the stockade early as usual and passed by the water trough before heading for the browsing field. Shortly after eleven o’clock in the morning Kandecha led the first bunch of the baby orphans to mud bath whilst Kalama led the second one. At the mud wallow, due to chilly weather, only Ololoo went in whilst the rest opted for a soil dusting exercise.
09 July 2012
Soon after the orphans finished feeding on lucerne, Kandecha and Kilaguni engaged one another in a strength testing exercise while Kibo engaged Sabachi in a pushing game. At that time eleven wild elephants were at the stockade water trough drinking water. The orphans had to wait for these senior elephants to drink first so as to get a chance. The day’s temperatures were low and therefore the orphans concentrated mostly on browsing.
10 July 2012
The morning was cold as the gates opened for the orphans to get out. The orphans passed by the water trough to take water then thereafter many paired-up for a warm up exercise of pushing one another; Kilaguni challenged Kandecha, Ololoo tackled Kitirua while Sabachi went for Kibo in strength testing. At mud wallow time, the sky was partly cloudy but the sun still shone making it possible for the orphans to have a wallowing exercise. In the evening Kalama led the way back to the stockade.
11 July 2012
Early in the morning today the stockade compound was flooded with wild elephants and ex-orphans as they waited for water. The water bowser filled the water trough as the wild ones patiently waited. The elephants took water for almost two hours before they got satisfied.
12 July 2012
The sky was very clear without any cloud today. The orphans passed by the water trough soon after seven wild elephants that were taking water left. In the field Kilaguni and Kandecha had a wonderful time of pushing one another. Their game ended soon when Tumaren and Melia descended on them. At mud bath, the orphans were joined by the ex-orphans and when they finished they all parted ways.
13 July 2012
The orphans had a lovely morning since they had been joined by the ex-orphans shortly after they left the stockade. The ex-orphans remained at the stockade as the keepers led the orphans away. At six o’clock in the evening Mshale and two other wild elephants came for water at stockade. Looking at the upper hind leg it appeared that Mshale had been arrowed and pus was coming out from the area. A report was made for action to be taken.
14 July 2012
Out of the stockade compound the orphans entered into the grazing field and settled at the same area they had browsed the previous day since they had found tasty thickets, which they really enjoyed. . During mud wallow time none of the orphans dared to wallow because of the very chilly weather.
15 July 2012
The day started pretty well with all orphans in a jovial mood. In the field all the orphans concentrated on browsing with the exception of Kandecha and Sabachi who spent much of their time pushing one another. This game ended only when Kandecha overpowered Sabachi and tried to mount him.
16 July 2012
It was a quiet day for the orphans as they went about their usual business of feeding. In the evening as the keepers took the orphans back to the stockade, Chemi Chemi dodged them and failed to return with the other orphans. The keepers had to go back into the bush soon after to search for him. The keepers found him near the mud bath where he was browsing. They called him and then took him back to the stockade. In the evening many wild elephants and ex-orphans came to the stockade for water.
17 July 2012
At mud bath, soon after taking their milk, Ololoo was the first one to get into water. In the evening Mwende and Yetu’s father showed up at the stockade together with other wild bulls. The ex-orphans were at the stockade compound along with Mwende and Yetu who were playing near their father as they rolled in the red soil.
18 July 2012
The wild elephants arrived early in the morning at the stockade and patiently waited for the lorry to bring water. As they waited, three wild dogs emerged from the thickets. There was a drama when one of the wild elephants decided to deny the wild dogs water. The wild dogs kept on dodging them and at last the wild elephant got tired of chasing them. The three wild dogs took water then left. The number of wild elephant kept on going up and at seven o’clock in the morning we had twenty four wild elephants at the stockade and by the end of the day the total was forty wild elephants.
19 July 2012
The orphans were joined by the ex-orphans early in the morning as they were feeding on lucerne. Again at the mud bath the ex-orphans joined the orphans with Kijana, Mgeni and another wild bull. The temperatures were not so high but a few ex-orphans and orphans decided to have a mud bath including even Mwende. The orphans headed to the slopes of the Ithumba Hill while the ex-orphans headed towards Kanziku.
20 July 2012
Soon after finishing the lucerne there was confusion about which direction to take as Kilaguni, Kandecha and Sabachi had gone east while Suguta, Chaimu and Melia headed west with the rest. At long last the keepers intervened by calling all the groups together and took them towards the south. At the mud bath Ololoo, Kitirua, Naisula and Kilaguni were the only ones that wallowed; the rest opted for a soil bath. At two o’clock in the afternoon the vet was at the stockade waiting for Mshale so as to treat him. Mshale with other two wild bulls showed up at six thirty in the evening. Mshale was darted and the arrow head that was lodged in his hind leg was removed.
21 July 2012
It was extremely cold as the orphans left the stockade. This time the orphans didn’t go to the water trough soon after finishing lucerne but instead scattered at the stockade compound doing different things altogether. Some scratched against rocks, others on trees while the rest just stood and waited. The keepers noticed due to the cold weather that the orphans couldn’t decide which way to go, so the keepers had to decide for them. Mshale showed up at one o’clock in the afternoon with other wild elephants and the ex-orphans and was in good condition.
22 July 2012
It was a chilly morning as the orphans left the stockade. Whilst out in the bush the orphans snaked their way through the browsing field, each orphan trying to gather any greens they came across in a hurry, as it is now dry and slowly the plants they enjoy most like grewia bicolor have started to shade off their leaves.
23 July 2012
It was another morning when the orphans left the stockade in a jovial mood. As they left for field a wild family unit consisting of ten wild elephants reported for water at the stockade.
24 July 2012
The orphans were joined by the ex-orphans in the morning. Soon after feeding on Lucerne the orphans, led by Suguta, headed to the Kone area where they settled to browse.
25 July 2012
The sky was clear the orphans left the stockade, an indication of a hot day a head. Suguta and her group fed on lucerne before heading to the browsing field. At mud bath the orphans participated fully in the wallowing exercise since the sun was so hot.. In the bush the orphans relaxed under trees in the shade since the temperatures were unbearable. At four o’clock in the afternoon it was still hot and Kalama led the orphans to the mud bath for a cool off before returning back to the stockade.
26 July 2012
As the orphans were feeding on Lucerne wild elephants were drinking water at the stockade water trough. Soon two jackals emerged from the thickets coming for a drink. The jackals were surprised when one of the wild elephants blocked their way and even went to the extent of chasing them away. The jackals went to hide and only returned when the wild elephants had left. At nine o’clock in the morning three wild dogs came for water. In the field the orphans were joined by Tomboi who for some time taught Ololoo some pushing tactics before disappearing.
27 July 2012
At the stockade compound the orphans were joined by the ex-orphans and were fed lucerne together before parting ways.
28 July 2012
As it has become a routine, the ex-orphans joined the orphans in the morning. Soon after taking lucerne the orphans, led by Murka, headed to the Kanziku area where they settled to browse. At eleven o’clock in the morning Kandecha led the orphans to the mud bath and thereafter back to the browsing field.
29 July 2012
Soon after finishing their Lucerne the orphans were joined by the ex-orphans and wild elephants. At the stockade compound Chemi Chemi opted to scratch on a nearby rock while Kandecha engaged Naisula in a pushing game with intention of mounting her. Naserian, who was close by, pushed Kandecha away.
30 July 2012
Just before the orphans checked in at the mud bath, the ex-orphans were already there waiting to meet them. Shortly later four big wild bulls joined them. Soon after wallowing the groups headed for a soil bath and later parted ways.
31 July 2012
It was a bright morning as the orphans left the stockade. As usual the orphans headed to get the lucerne and later passed by the water before Tumaren led them to the browsing field. At mud bath time the temperatures were high so the orphans participated fully in a wallowing exercise.