Keepers' Diaries, July 2015
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
July has been a spectacular month at Ithumba with almost all of our ex orphans home, with the exception of Kora who is still on walkabout, and the company of numerous wild elephants who have decided to stay close to Ithumba throughout the dry season, with more arriving all the time. This month it has not been unusual to enjoy sixty to seventy elephants congregating for mudbath time and again in the evenings at the stockades. The wild bulls are so tame that it is difficult to know who is an ex orphan or a wild elephant, with some old faithfuls who actually stay months at a time with our ex orphans and are completely accepting of the Keepers now.
01 July 2015
After being denied entry into the stockade, Chyulu decided not to go far and returned to spend the night just outside the stockade. This was to make sure that she was the first one to have Lemoyian in the morning. When the gates opened, Chyulu headed straight in the stockade to take Lemoyian out. Laragai left with a branch in her mouth while Orwa and Bongo greeted each other by entwining their trunks. Later, Kainuk engaged Teleki in a pushing game. Orwa, who was nearby, came to Teleki's aid. Kainuk showed the two boys that although she is a girl, Teleki and Orwa were no match! She tackled the two boys one by one without fear and eventually, the two boys surrendered. In the browsing field, Chyulu browsed with her Lemoyian, while Shukuru teamed up with Laragai.
Mud bath time was a host of activity. This was because Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian, who are known for always boycotting mud bathing, were the first ones to get into the water! They were later joined by the rest of the group. Ex orphans Yatta, Yetu, Wendi, Rapsu, Zurura, Madiba and Tomboi joined the orphans briefly at mud bath and parted ways soon after bathing. Shukuru shared the same tree with Kithaka in a scratching exercise. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area where Teleki and Vuria spent some time in a 'test of strength' exercise that ended when Vuria surrendered. In the evening Yatta and her herd showed up at the stockade, where Chyulu teamed up with them once she has escorted the babies back.
02 July 2015
Three wild bulls were at the stockade compound early in the morning. Sities and her friend Garzi walked down to the water trough where they joined the bulls in drinking. Orwa walked to Kanjoro's stockade where the two exchanged morning greetings by entwining their trunks. Whilst out browsing Suguta was pierced by a thorn, but she carefully lifted up her leg and with the use of her trunk, pulled the thorn out. Bomani browsed close to Mutara and Bongo browsed close to Lemoyian. At eleven o'clock in the morning, the juniors were joined by the partially independent group.
At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and the orphans were joined by the big ex-orphan group consisting of Napasha, Loijuk, Buchuma, Meibai, Sunyei, Wendi, Yatta, Yetu, Naserian, Orok, Galana and Chyulu. Due to the chilly weather, none in the group participated in wallowing. After drinking, the ex-orphans escorted the juniors back to the browsing field. Kanjoro joined Galana in soil dusting, Teleki played with Kitirua whilst Bongo scratched his hind leg and chest on a fallen tree. The ex-orphans spent an hour with the juniors before disappearing into the bush once more.
03 July 2015
The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans left the stockade. Kanjoro led the way as the rest followed suit. At eight o'clock Chaimu, Kilaguni and Ishanga showed up at the stockade's water trough where they drank and left soon after. In the browsing field, the orphans were joined by Lualeni's herd that consisted of Lualeni, Ololoo, Loijuk and Rapsu. Teleki had a good time with Loijuk and Ololoo. He started by tackling Loijuk so as to learn some new pushing tactics that he could put to good use with his fellow junior boys. After tackling Loijuk, Teleki surrendered and went to get more pushing lessons from Ololoo. He later surrendered, paving the way for the fastest runner Vuria, who engaged Ololoo into a strength testing game. Vuria surrendered when Ololoo attempted to mount him though as a sign of dominance.
Later in the morning, Yatta’s herd joined the juniors briefly on their way out into the bush. Rapsu and Zurura engaged each other in a strength testing game, as Chyulu took over her role of taking care of Lemoyian from Kainuk. Bomani spend some time sucking Turkwel's ear. Towards eleven o'clock, the weather turned chilly so none of the orphans participated in wallowing that afternoon. Mutara instead had her own strength testing game by trying to push down a tree, which she didn't succeed. Kanjoro had a pushing game with Bomani but Sities intervened when she saw Bomani almost trying to surrender. She tackled Kanjoro, as Bomani moved off to play with Garzi. Kithaka browsed close to Kanjoro and, lazily, helped himself to branches broken down by Kanjoro. Kainuk was happy to have Lemoyian by herself since Chyulu had left and wasn't around to compete with her.
04 July 2015
Soon after the orphans left the stockade, Bongo and Vuria got into a serious fight. It appears they had both woken up on the wrong side of the stockade. The fight went on for quite some time and thankfully ended in a draw when they both got tired. Eventually the orphans settled and, led by Mutara, moved off to browse in the Kone area. Sities browsed close to her friend Garzi, while Kainuk enjoyed the sole responsibility of taking care of Lemoyian since Chyulu hadn't shown up that morning.
At mud bath time, the temperatures were moderate and Kanjoro, Bongo, Narok and Laragai were the only ones that participated in wallowing. When Bongo went to the water trough for a drink, he felt that he hadn't done enough wallowing, and got his four legs into the water trough and started splashing water using his trunk! Bongo was shouted at by the keepers as he was making the water dirty. The other orphans were watching and it appeared that Bongo had set a bad example. As soon as Bongo got out, Sities tried to go in, but she wasn't as lucky as the keepers spotted her before she got all her four feet in.
On the way back to the browsing field, Bongo and Bomani had a light strength testing game that ended quickly as Bomani surrendered. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing. Shortly after six o'clock Kilaguni, Ishanga and Chaimu in the company of two wild bulls came for water at the stockade compound. One of the bulls was limping. At a closer look the bull had a swollen right foreleg above the knee with one big wound and another smaller one in the same area, meaning that more than two arrows had been used to spear him. The bulls and the three partially independent ex orphans stayed at the water trough until dark. It seemed they were waiting for any assistance after being convinced by Kilaguni, Ishanga and Chaimu that this is the place to get help.
The DSWT funded Amboseli vet Dr. Ngoroge was flown in by one of DSWT’s pilots supported by the DSWT helicopter the bull was darted, treated and the prognosis for a full recovery is good.
05 July 2015
Chyulu, who hadn't come the previous day, visited Lemoyian in the morning. Kainuk just watched as Lemoyian and Chyulu walked and browsed for the better part of the morning. But one thing remained clear in Kainuk's mind: that Chyulu would not stay for the entire day and if she did, she would not be allowed into the stockade. Kainuk decided to keep herself busy by engaging Orwa into a pushing game. Shortly before mud bath time Chyulu left again. Kainuk was happy and immediately took over Lemoyian when Chyulu left.
At mud bath time the temperatures were high but only Bongo, Laragai and Narok fully participated in the wallowing exercise. Bongo and Narok had a game of lying on top of each other in turns. Barsilinga stood under an acacia tree, a tree that is always a must for him to visit and relax under. A short while later he was joined by Kithaka and Lemoyian. Kithaka pushed Lemoyian which annoyed him and he called loudly for help. His cry drew the attention of Kainuk who swiftly responded and trumpeted a siren, clearing the way to reach where her favourite Lemoyian was standing. Lemoyian was happy to see Kainuk come to help and rumbled as a sign of appreciation. Kithaka left the scene immediately after Kainuk arrived with his tail between his legs as he feared punishment.
06 July 2015
It was a very cold morning with the orphans coming down from their respective stockades to the bush for browsing. Lualeni and Ololoo, the ex-orphans, waited for their friends to come out and Ololoo immediately started playing with Orwa. Lualeni was also very busy scooping and tossing soil chunks into the air and some on her body. Kithaka later led the group to the mudbath.
At the mudbath it was very cold with heavy clouds in the sky and only Bongo out of everyone decided to go in. Lualeni and Ololoo joined him a while later. Tomboi came and started playing with Lualeni and mounting her. Lualeni, Ololoo, Orwa and Suguta started playing with the soil, throwing it in the air and rolling around in it. They later found their way back to the stockade for the evening. In the stockade four wild dogs came for water. A group of 23 ex-orphans also came that evening with one wild bull, Yatta and Mulika with their babies and Wendi among them. They drank water and socialized, before moving off into the bush again.
07 July 2015
It was a cold and quiet morning with orphans coming out of their stockades. Bongo and Vuria started play fighting just outside their gate after their morning bottles. Orwa and Sities started scratching on a rock while Bongo was mounting on Vuria as they played. Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian led the group to the mudbath for their milk.
Bongo and Kanjoro were the only ones who went up to the waterhole – Bongo splashed water while Kanjoro just stood in the waterhole. Back in the bush all the orphans were busy and actively browsing. Shukuru browsed next to Turkwel while Orwa tried to play with Vuria. Mutara later led the group back to the stockade in the evening. Sunyei, Kilaguni, Chaimu and Ishanga came and drank water at the stockades. Suguta is improving with the treatment being given and her wound is healing well.
08 July 2015
As the orphans came out of their stockades this bright morning, a group of ex-orphans were there to greet them, including Chyulu who was waiting for Lemoyian. Vuria started play fighting with Bongo and Chyulu with Naserian. Some of the ex-orphans left but those two stayed with the orphans up until mudbath time. Bongo was first to play in the mudhole as usual but was accompanied by Kanjoro, Teleki, Vuria, Gazi, Orwa, Shukuru and Turkwel.
Shukuru came out of the mudwallow and started scratching on the trees. Two wild bulls joined the orphans at the mudbath which made them exit rapidly and give these magnificent two some space to duck and dive as they had a very lively mudbath.
Back in the bush, the orphans were very active with Turkwel and Narok competing for the fresh green shoots from one tree. Later on in the evening five wild elephants came through. One among them had half a trunk, along with Kilaguni, Chaimu and Ishanga. They drank water and left.
09 July 2015
The orphans were in a happy mood today and walked straight out into the bush leaving behind the 2 wild elephants with Mulika's group as well as Chyulu drinking from the water trough. A while later Chyulu came to check on Lemoyian and they started browsing together. Barsilinga started kissing Kithaka while Chyulu was kissing Teleki. Orwa, Vuria and Laragai started playing and rolling on the ground before the whole group moved on for the mudbath. Chyulu accompanied them and when they arrived Orwa started scooping and tossing soil chunks in the air. Today no one wanted to play in the mudwallow because it was a cold day.
After they all walked back to the bush for browsing still accompanied by Chyulu. Vuria started rolling on the ground with Mutara, while Suguta and Shukuru were splashing soil chunks on their backs. Kithaka later led them back to the stockade for the evening. Four wild dogs came through to the stockades again for water, before moving on.
10 July 2015
A big group of ex-orphans together with three wild bulls came to the stockade trough this morning competing for water. Yatta with her baby Yetu and Mulika with Mwende were among them. Chyulu, the foster mother of Lemoyian, came straight to the orphan group looking for him. Orwa started playing and pushing with Bongo while Vuria and Teleki started play fighting. Later Kithaka led them all to mudbath. This is something Kithaka is tending to do more often, taking the lead, confident in the area and the routines now.
The same group of ex-orphans who were in the stockade in the morning were also at the mudbath. They played vigorously in the mud and later started having a lengthy dust bath. Garzi was playing with chunks of soil, throwing them into the air. Laragai also started rolling. Shukuru started playing and pushing Sities. Laragai was also playing and tossing soil in the air while Vuria and Bongo play fought nearby. We also had Kilaguni, Chaimu and Ishanga come through the stockade during day. Suguta is improving enormously.
11 July 2015
The orphans were very quiet this morning as the weather was cold. Vuria started a game of pushing with Bongo while Orwa enjoyed a good scratch. They later came upon Suguta’s herd comprised of Olare, Kibo, Kandecha, Tumareen, Chemi chemi, Kalama, Kitirua, Naisula, Murka and Kilabasi. Kalama and Vuria both greeted each other as did Kilabasi and Teleki. Naisula greeted Lemoyian by laying her trunk on his back, a sign of affection. The whole group was happy to meet each other and socialize and later they all walked to the mudbath together.
Shukuru, Laragai, Garzi, Vuria, Bongo, Kandecha, Kilabasi, Mutara and Barsilinga played for a long time and very vigorously in the mud wallow. They tossed and scooped chunks of soil in the air and onto their bodies. Back in the bush the orphans were very active and running around, but Suguta stayed enjoying her dust bath. In the evening the orphans walked back to the stockades. A big group of ex-orphans including Wendi, Yatta with her baby Yetu, Mulika and her baby Mwende also came through the stockades.
12 July 2015
Yatta and her group were at the stockade in the morning. Lemoyian was happy to have Chyulu who was waiting outside his stockade and as soon as they came out in the morning. Orwa took the opportunity of the ex-orphans being around to gauge how strong he was becoming by challenging Zurura and Naserian. Zurura didn't entertain Orwa's petty games but knocked him out of his way. Naserian accepted to play with Orwa for some time, until Orwa gave up. The ex-orphans parted ways an hour or so later but Lualeni and Ololoo opted to stick with the juniors.
At mud bath time, the temperatures were high and soon after taking milk, the juniors joined wild elephant Half Trunk and some of his friends at the mud bath water trough. After drinking water, Shukuru paired with Suguta in splashing water behind their ears. Narok paired with Laragai in wallowing as Lualeni paired up with Half Trunk as they stood under an acacia tree. Half Trunk smelled Lualeni to see if she was ready for a baby. Lualeni was a bit scared of Half Trunk being this close and interested without her permission, so she walked off to pair with Ololoo a few metres away. In the afternoon the partially independent group led by Olare reported to the stockade but Makireti and Kasigau were missing from the group. In the evening, Bongo and Vuria had a light strength testing match that was disrupted by Mutara as she decided to pass in between them, thus ending the game!
13 July 2015
Soon after leaving the stockade Kanjoro led the way to the browsing field. Soon after they had begun browsing Kithaka, thinking that he was bigger than Laragai, decided to challenge him. Laragai seemed to take offence and thought he would teach Kithaka a lesson that he would never forget. Fully prepared with all her strength, Laragai knocked Kithaka against a tree. Kithaka complained bitterly but there was no one that volunteered to come in his defense. At 9am the partially independent group in the company of Lualeni and Ololoo reported at the stockade water trough. As soon as they had enough water, Lualeni led the group away.
At mud bath time the temperatures were moderate and only Bongo the 'water boy' participated in wallowing. In the evening on the way back to the stockade the orphans passed the mud bathing area where Narok, Bongo, Sities, Garzi, Laragai and Suguta were enjoying an evening 'wallow'.
14 July 2015
This morning the orphans settled into browsing at Kanziku area. Kanjoro teamed up with Barsilinga in feeding while Teleki browsed close to Kainuk and from time to time Teleki stretched his trunk to snatch some food from Kainuk's mouth. Later, Kithaka walked over to where Orwa was browsing and pushed him into teaching him some new pushing tactics. Orwa accepted but not for long since he was running out of feeding time. It is quite dry at the moment and it seemed Orwa didn't want to waste time engaging in petty games!
Towards 11am the juniors were joined by the ex-orphans. Chyulu as usual went straight to her Lemoyian. Half Trunk with a wild friend arrived at the mud bath early before the juniors. They were followed by Madiba, Rapsu and another wild friend. Soon after Kithaka, Lemoyian and Barsilinga had their milk, they headed straight to the water trough to join Half Trunk, two other wild bulls, Madiba and Rapsu. Though Barsilinga and Kithaka were hesitant in squeezing in between the seniors to drink water, Lemoyian proved his courage by squeezing in between Half Trunk and another wild elephant. It's only after Kithaka and Barsilinga saw Lemoyian's fearless character that they joined him too. A short while later Yatta and Mulika's groups showed up at mud bath and joined the juniors again. Laragai likes her privacy during mud bath time and went to the western side of the mud bath where she wallowed on her own. Bongo as usual joined the ex-orphans in mud bathing. Madiba joined Half Trunk in mud bathing as Mwende used her mother as a scratching post.
After mud bath, the juniors parted ways with the seniors. Chyulu opted to escort Lemoyian five hundred metres from the mud bath before returning back to join her group. It was a quiet afternoon as the orphans browsed calmly, only Suguta from time to time scooped up soil to dust her wounds.
15 July 2015
Kainuk was in an excited mood this morning which she expressed by trumpeting and fighting with dead logs, lifting and dropping them. She charged up to a termite mound before bending down on her forelegs trying to push it over, obviously she did not succeed. Later Kainuk settled down to browsing quietly but it appeared that the excited mood she had was transmitted to Bongo because as soon as Kainuk calmed down, Bongo started charging and knocking down thickets.
At mud bath time the ex-orphans and one wild bull reported five minutes before the juniors. Missing in the group were Kora, Tomboi, Ithumbah, Lualeni, Ololoo and Kamboyo. After the orphans had their milk Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian walked straight to drink water and intermingle with the seniors. Barsilinga entwined his trunk with Makena and later Chyulu.
Teleki had a brief strength testing exercise with Yetu but their game ended when Yetu surrendered. Bongo, Bomani, Narok and Laragai enjoyed wallowing with their seniors while Lemoyian, Turkwel, Teleki and Orwa joined Rapsu in soil dusting. After wallowing, Laragai and Vuria rolled on the ground where Laragai from time to time enjoyed scratching on Vuria. When it was time to leave Chyulu opted to escort Lemoyian and the rest of the juniors back to the browsing field.
16 July 2015
After leaving the stockade early in the morning Kainuk was in a happy mood and she performed her own game of lying on the ground and standing up whilst swinging her trunk. Just outside the stockade, Orwa and Mutara performed a warm up exercise that came in the form of a strength testing game. The older and more experienced Mutara won the game as Orwa surrendered. It is getting drier but Kanjoro spotted some nice grass under a fallen, dead tree. To reach where the grass was he went down on his knees and managed to get at it using his trunk. Garzi spent some time scratching his ears against a treebefore he resumed browsing. Shortly before mud bath time, the juniors were joined by Lualeni, Ololoo, Loijuk, Olare, Kandecha, Kibo, Tumaren, Melia, Murka, Naisula, Chemi chemi, Kalama and Kitirua. The purpose of the visit was to find out how Suguta was recovering. Melia and Tumaren entwined their trunks with Suguta in greeting.
Yatta and Mulika's herd reported at the mud bath half an hour before the juniors. Soon after taking water the ex-orphans relaxed under the acacia tree as they waited for the juniors. Half Trunk and five wild elephants reported at mud bath and joined the former orphans too. Soon when the juniors arrived, Chyulu met her Lemoyian. Lenana also showed an interest in Lemoyian as she stood close to Chyulu and Lemoyian. Later it was soil dusting time before the juniors parted ways with their seniors and headed for browsing. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans fed as much as possible before the end of the day.
17 July 2015
Led by Kanjoro, the orphans headed straight to the browsing field soon after leaving the stockade. Lemoyian teamed up with Bomani in browsing while Kainuk and Teleki entwined their trunks in greetings. Kithaka and Mutara climbed up a nearby hill where they spent some time in feeding before coming down to join their friends. At mud bath time it was all quiet except for a warthog that came to wallow, but quickly changed its mind. It ran away with its tail raised in the air at the sight of all the orphans and the excitement around the mud bath! After the orphans took enough water Barsilinga and Kithaka had scores to settle in pushing games. Kanjoro, Bongo, Narok, Laragai, Suguta, Shukuru, Teleki, Mutara and Sities wallowed as the rest stood at the edge. At soil dusting time Shukuru teamed up with Bongo as Narok and Turkwel shared the same hole in getting soil. The orphans settled into browsing and due to the approaching dry season they were less playful and concentrated on serious munching. In the evening a wild female with her two daughters, one aged five years and the other around one year,arrived at the stockade water trough and enjoyed drinking the water available for them until dark.
18 July 2015
This morning in the browsing field a mighty war of strength between Sities and Teleki and Bomani with Garzi erupted. Sities tried as much as possible to conquer Teleki since losing to Teleki meant lowering her esteem. The reason being that she is older and more experienced than Teleki. On the other hand, Teleki felt that being a boy he should never lose to a girl and the war went on until both of them got tired and hungry and so settled to browse. Bomani and Garzi were taking breaks in between their fights as no one among them was sure exactly who would win. At one time Bomani mounted Garzi and this made Garzi charge to defend himself. When he turned and pushed Bomani, Bomani fell as he stepped on a dead log, which brought a swift end to the game.
The mud bath was packed with activity today. The ex-orphans with two wild bulls reported early at the mud bath and waited for the juniors to come. Soon after the orphans arrived, Lemoyian received a warm welcome from Chyulu, Lenana, Sidai and Loijuk. He was escorted around the mud bath like a king. After bathing Napasha and Buchuma had a strength testing game, which ended when Buchuma surrendered. Barsilinga opted to soil dust himself alone. Ololoo was brave enough to play with Taita but surrendered when Taita started playing rough. A while later the same wild female with her two daughters joined the ex-orphans at mud bath, before the orphans left for browsing once more.
19 July 2015
Mist covered Ithumba Hill and the weather was chilly as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from their stockade. Kanjoro and Barsilinga led the way to the browsing. Upon reaching their destination which was Kone area, Barsilinga and Kanjoro started feeding from the same tree. However when the leaves got sweeter Kanjoro showed Barsilinga the door and pushed him away!
Shortly before 11am, the juniors were joined by Rapsu. Orwa, Teleki and Garzi surrounded Rapsu all in an effort to get his attention. Later Rapsu escorted the juniors to the mud bath.
Though it was cold, Rapsu walked down to the mudbath after sharing water with the juniors to enjoy a private wallowing. Kithaka and Barsilinga went to relax under a tree where they disagreed over what only the two of them can explain. Their disagreement was settled through a strength testing exercise that ended into a draw. The afternoon was quiet with fewer activities. Lualeni, Ololoo, Sunyei and Rapsu arrived at the stockade shortly before the orphans came back for the night. Lualeni tried to force her way into the stockade but she was barred by the keepers. Half an hour later Kilaguni, Chaimu and Ishanga, escorted by two wild bulls, reported for water at the stockade. Ololoo started giving Chaimu a hard time by intending to mount her. The tough Chaimu put up a spirited effort of defending herself by tackling Ololoo. Ishanga who was close by decided to help her sister in fighting off Ololoo's advances. Were it not for Lualeni that sensed danger and walked down to save her Ololoo, things might have got quite bad for him! Lualeni intervened in a peaceful manner and the fighting stopped. The wild bulls left to undisclosed location soon after taking water, while
Lualeni and her herd headed east of the stockade.
20 July 2015
The partially independent group arrived at the stockade at midnight and found out that the water in the two water troughs had been taken by the wild elephants. The group unanimously decided to sleep outside the stockade. In the morning, they were all lying down in deep sleep. This was an amazing sight with fourteen elephants laid flat out asleep all night, safe in the knowledge that they were close to home and totally a peace.
As soon as the water was turned on, they heard its flow and woke up, all running to drink. After the orphans took their milk, Narok led the way out. The partially independent group joined the juniors for lucerne soon after taking enough water.
In the browsing field Chemi chemi and Kilabasi engaged one another in a strength testing exercise that ended into a draw. An hour later Makireti and Olare's herds parted ways with the juniors.
At mud bath time only Kanjoro, Narok and Laragai participated in wallowing. Since Chyulu and the ex-orphans were not around, Kainuk was happy because she had Lemoyian to herself and by her side. Back in the browsing field the orphans converged under a tree to rest and only resumed to browse soon when it became cooler. In the evening only one wild bull reported for water.
21 July 2015
At 6am Mutara was banging on her gate to be let out. As soon as the gate opened she headed straight for lucerne. At mud bath time, despite the chilly weather, Bongo participated in wallowing. Lemoyian kept himself busy by testing his strength in trying to push down a small tree. Barsilinga relaxed under a tree as Garzi stuck close to Sities. Vuria spotted two warthogs that were coming for water. With his ears raised and trumpeting, Vuria charged the warthogs. They sped off quickly and ran so fast past where Bongo was scratching, he looked alarmed and could not understand why the warthogs were running as fast as they could. It was like an alarm to Bongo and he ran towards the keepers seeking protection.
In the evening, soon after the orphans returned back to the stockade, Yatta’s group in the company of nine wild elephants came for water. After they had drunk, Meibai spend some time in a pushing game with a wild girl of his size. Two bulls performed a strength testing exercise while two other wild junior bulls ganged up on Napasha. Napasha surrendered when the pressure from two boys became too much.
22 July 2015
Madiba joined the juniors in the morning at the stockade compound in feeding of lucerne. He was welcomed by Narok who first sniffed at him before being satisfied that he was one of the family. Shortly later, Makireti group in the company of four wild elephants showed up at the stockade. Makireti's group joined the juniors for lucerne while the wild elephants settled for water.
At 11am the mud bath was graced by five wild elephants and the partially independent group. Though it was not too warm, the presence of the wild elephants and the partially independent group spiced up the mud bath. The juniors checked how wonderfully the outsiders wallowed in the mud and felt the need to join in. Only Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian didn't participate in the event. After bathing the wild elephants headed west, the partially independent group headed east and the juniors headed to upper Kalovoto area where they settled to browse. In the evening, Kanjoro and Bomani wound up the day's activities by engaging in a strength testing game that saw Kanjoro overpower Bomani, due to his experience.
23 July 2015
Wendi reported at the stockade early in the morning and joined the juniors in feeding of lucerne. A short while later Nasalot checked in and she was welcomed by Bomani, Orwa and Laragai by stretching their trunks and sniffing at her. Shukuru spend some time in soil dusting as Napasha also came and headed to the water trough where he joined Wendi and Vuria in drinking.
At mud bath, the ex-orphans in the company of thirty wild elephants reported early before the arrival of the juniors. When the orphans arrived Lenana and Chyulu competed over who would win the heart of Lemoyian. The clever Lemoyian also played hard to get when he saw that Chyulu and Lenana both wanted his affection. Half of the elephants participated in mud bathing while the other half concentrated in drinking water. Barsilinga walked over to where Half Trunk was standing and stood close to him as if measuring himself against Half Trunk. Rapsu led the ex-orphans and some wild elephants into soil bathing soon after wallowing. Half Trunk was the last one to leave the mud bath.
The orphans arrived back at the stockades at 5pm where they were joined by the partially independent group. Ithumbah, who had been missing for almost one and half months, also resurfaced. She was in good health. Challa tested his strength with Kenze, both two wild bulls already in their twenties. There was a drama when two warthogs came to drink water at the stockade and the two wild bulls tried to charge and block them from drinking. The warthogs at first ran away, but they changed their mind when they were some metres away and tried again - they were too thirsty! There was a standoff when the bulls charged and the warthogs defied the charging and went on their knees to drink. Upon seeing the defiance of the two little things, the elephants continued with their strength testing game before heading east.
24 July 2015
Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau joined the junior's in the morning. Teleki took the opportunity to learn some pushing tactics from Kasigau. Orwa and Bongo felt left out when they saw Teleki and Kasigau play-fighting and felt they should do the same. Bongo tackled Vuria while Orwa played with Kainuk. In the browsing field Bongo appeared not to have had enough exercise from playing with Vuria and jumped to tackle Kainuk. Kainuk fought hard with Bongo and he left with a bruised ego and settled to browse, probably planning revenge on Kainuk. Kanjoro and Barsilinga both shared a branch that they found fallen on the ground, probably broken by wild elephant in the night.
Shortly before mud bath time, Shukuru, Laragai, Bongo and Sities participated in a soil dusting game while Mutara and Kanjoro, who are now off drinking milk, participated in a light game of pushing each other. At mud bath time all of the orphans went into the water with the exception of Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian. The mud bath didn't take long and soon all were out. Rapsu, who had joined the orphans earlier for wallowing, escorted the juniors to the browsing field and an hour later he left. The weather was cloudy, and the orphans concentrated mostly on browsing and later in the day, they came across loose soil that they
25 July 2015
The orphans settled down to eating lucerne immediately after leaving the stockade. Vuria passed behind Kanjoro which was unfortunate as Kanjoro threw a back kick that landed on his belly. Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau, a group of its own, joined the junior's in feeding on the lucerne. At first Suguta, who has been with juniors for almost two months now after an encounter with poachers, tried to block Makireti's group from the lucerne. She had second thoughts though and stopped blocking them to carry on feeding. Soon Yatta and Mulika's herds in the company of six wild bulls showed up at the stockade. The wild bulls headed to drink water while the former orphans joined the juniors in eating. Afterwards, the juniors withdrew from their seniors and headed to Kone where they settled to browse.
At 11am, whilst mud bathing, the juniors were joined by a lone wild bull. The bull shared water with the juniors and when it had enough, the bull left. Bongo, Teleki, Laragai, Suguta and Sities participated in wallowing and thereafter walked to dust themselves in a nearby patch of loose soil. It was a quiet afternoon as the orphans roamed across the field to eat their fill before the end of the day.
26 July 2015
Olare's group that consisted of Murka, Tumaren, Melia, Kandecha, Chemi chemi, Kalama, Naisula, Kibo, Kitirua were lying outside the stockade in the morning after arriving in the middle of the night. They awoke when they heard water flowing down to the water trough after it was turned on. The orphans joined Olare's group when they were let out of the stockade, and later two wild bulls joined as well.
Shortly later, the groups parted ways. At mud bath time Rapsu, who is usually seen alone, reported to the mud bath in the company of Half Trunk and another four wild elephants. Kithaka, Lemoyian, Barsilinga, Vuria and Teleki joined the wild bulls in drinking water. Afterwards the wild bulls bathed on the west side of the mud bath whilst the juniors and Rapsu bathed on the eastern side. Half Trunk remained at the water trough where he was joined by Kanjoro. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at upper Kalovoto area and due to the current dry weather, the orphans didn't waste any time in playing any games but ate as much as they could before returning to the stockade for the night.
27 July 2015
Napasha joined the juniors early in the morning soon after they left the stockade. After finishing their lucerne, Lemoyian tried to play with Orwa but Orwa was too strong for him so he quickly surrendered. He then walked over to Bomani who is around his size and had a strength testing game with him. In the field the juniors were joined by Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi. Teleki engaged Kasigau in a pushing game that lasted for quite some time while Orwa played with Kilabasi. An hour later Makireti's group parted ways with the juniors.
At 11am the weather was chilly and soon after the orphans took their milk, Kithaka led the way to the water trough. After drinking their fill Kithaka headed for soil dusting as Orwa played with Barsilinga. Barsilinga stopped playing with Orwa when he saw Mutara approaching. He tackled Mutara in a pushing game and Turkwel who was acting as Mutara's bodyguard, ganged up with Mutara to push Orwa out of the way. Kithaka had a light pushing game with Bomani soon after he was through with soil dusting. The ex-orphans in the company of ten wild elephants reported for water at the stockade compound and left immediately after getting enough water.
Rapsu, Lualeni, Ololoo, Half Trunk and four wild elephants checked in at the stockade water trough in the evening and left shortly before dark.
28 July 2015
The partially independent group reported at the stockade at midnight and slept just outside the stockade. Mutara was excited at seeing the freedom that Olare and her group were enjoying. She tried by all means to try and open the gate and finally, she succeeded! The keepers on night duty heard a loud bang and upon arriving Mutara and Suguta were already out. The rest were just sleeping peacefully inside the stockade. Suguta refused to get back into the stockade but relaxed outside with her colleagues. In the morning Suguta got her milk as usual as she made sure that she stood at the entrance where the keepers could clearly see her. The partially independent group joined the juniors in feeding of the lucerne and after escorted them to browsing.
At mud bath time the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to enter the mud bath. After taking milk they headed to the water trough where they settled down to drink. Barsilinga and Garzi engaged one another in a strength testing exercise. Garzi is smaller and was nervous that he could win over Barsilinga. He kept retreating as Barsilinga happily intimidated him further by throwing his trunk on him. At long last, Garzi surrendered. In the evening Orwa, Suguta and Mutara wound up the day's activities by participating in a soil dusting exercise. Shortly before dark, sixteen wild elephants reported for water at the stockade.
29 July 2015
In the morning the stockade compound was flooded with elephants. A total of sixty elephants were present, all coming for water, Yatta, Mulika and the partially independent group included. As soon as the gates opened for the juniors to get out Melia, Tumaren and Olare walked into the stockade to check if there was anything left for them to feed on. Unfortunately there was nothing left and so they turned and joined the juniors on their way out. The juniors competed for the lucerne with their seniors. To be on the safe side, the juniors saw it wise to leave and settle somewhere where they would browse peacefully without getting disturbance from their seniors. At the browsing field, Sities managed to break a green branch that appeared to be tasty since Bomani, Vuria and Orwa tried to follow her in anticipation of getting a few leaves from the branch. Sities continued to enjoy her green branch without paying any attention the three boys. At last the boys gave up.
The former orphans, the partially independent group and twenty five wild elephants arrived at mud bath early before the orphans and waited for water. As soon as the water arrived, the elephants queued and started drinking water. Thereafter, the herd walked down to participate in wallowing. The juniors later did soil dusting before heading back to the browsing field. Taita scratched his belly against a nearby tree where he was later pushed away by Yatta. Whilst browsing Laragai was disciplined by Suguta when she passed in front of her and stepped across grass that Suguta intended to feed on. She grabbed Laragai's tail and tried to bite it!
Laragai bellowed loudly and tried to free herself. Suguta finally let go hoping that next time she would show her elders more respect.
In the evening, the weather was chilly with a slight drizzle and this activated the orphan's mood. They all rolled around on the ground in the wet soil, each displaying different styles of rolling. Garzi took advantage of Bomani lying down and from time to time mounted him. In the evening, when it was time to return to the stockade, Shukuru led the first group whilst the fastest runner Vuria led the second group. Following the chilly weather, the stockade compound was clear without any elephants coming for water.
30 July 2015
It was a quiet morning as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from the stockade and settled down to eat lucerne. They fed peacefully until a wild herd consisting of six elephants disrupted the peace. For fear of being pushed, the orphans started leaving one by one for browsing. Mutara stopped and looked for a tree stump that she could use to scratch her feet.
After milk only Bongo participated in wallowing, the rest converged at the water trough to drink. As the orphans were busy taking water, Rapsu in a group of four wild elephants, joined the juniors. It's interesting to note how Rapsu is changing the wild groups he socializes with, like clothes! When he is not in a group, then he is walking on his own.
Soon after drinking water, Rapsu abandoned the wild bulls and joined the juniors on their way back to the browsing field. Teleki took the opportunity to learn some new pushing techniques from Rapsu. Though he was shorter than Rapsu, Teleki managed to tackle Rapsu for some time before he surrendered. In the afternoon the sun was hot making Rapsu, Mutara, Narok, Orwa and Vuria converge under a tree until the temperatures dropped to a favourable level. Rapsu parted ways with the juniors only to reappear at the stockade in evening where he joined eight bulls that were busy taking water. Chaimu, Kilaguni, Ishanga and Chemi chemi reported at the stockade in the afternoon to quench their thirst. Chemi chemi appears to have abandoned his group and seems to be securing a place in Chaimu's group now. Only time will tell if he is there to stay or he is doing a test to see if he can fit. Ishanga is surprising as she has stuck with Chaimu's herd for some time now. Ishanga used to be herd-less, moving from one herd to another. We are not sure if she is in this herd to stay now, only time will tell.
31 July 2015
Early in the morning the stockade compound was again flooded with the ex-orphans and ten wild bulls. As soon as the gates opened for the juniors to come out Chyulu and Lenana ran into the stockade to greet Lemoyian. The two ex-orphans escorted Lemoyian out to the place where they feed off lucerne. Narok engaged Orwa in a strength testing exercise which ended when Ololoo intervened and pushed Orwa away. Two junior wild bulls seemed attracted to Lualeni and appeared to be seducing her. They kept following her wherever she went and at one time one of the boys tried to mount her. Unfortunately the boy was young and inexperienced and so he was unsuccessful.
The juniors withdrew from their seniors and headed east of the stockade. Chyulu opted to escort her Lemoyian to the browsing field as Kainuk followed them from a distance. Upon arriving at the browsing place, Chyulu returned to catch up with her herd. At mud bath time the weather was chilly and only Bongo participated in wallowing. Shukuru and Kanjoro participated in soil dusting. As the orphans were about to leave the ex-orphans in the company of five wild bulls checked in at the mud bath. This didn't stop the orphans from leaving but made Mutara, the group leader, hasten to leave the area. This was to make sure she didn't lose some of her members to Lualeni. In the afternoon, the clouds cleared giving way to sun shine but the juniors continued to browse unabated.