Keepers' Diaries, July 2020

Umani Springs Reintegration Unit

Luggard and Enkesha remain very much under the guardianship of the Umani matriarchs Murera and Sonje, but Lima Lima does get a look-in with Murera in caring for little Luggard from time to time, while Enkesha spends increasing amounts of time with Zongoloni and Shukuru too. Quanza enjoys the little ones as well so the females at Umani are deeply satisfied having two little ones in the fold. Enkesha has such an endearing character; she becomes excited at the prospect of the simplest things, even something relatively uneventful, like a dust bath. Her enthusiasm is infectious and has captured the heart of Zongoloni who dotes on her and acts like a surrogate mother. 

01 July 2020

By the time Ngasha got to the stockades this morning, after his night out, even though he was quite early, he found his friends had already left for their morning browsing activities. He spent some time at the stockades, indulging in a dust bath and then contemplated which way to go, to find his friends.  

Ngasha started to make his way towards the Umani Hills and luckily Murera happened to be coming down from the Hills, on her way to quench her thirst at the waterhole. Ngasha greeted her and then carried on towards where the herd was browsing quietly. Murera joined the herd a little later. Mwashoti was happy to keep little Enkesha company, since doing the same with Luggard was not even an option, as Murera and Lima Lima hardly ever let him out of their sight.

At the midday milk feed, you could tell the orphans were eager. They all ran towards their Keepers and greedily downed their bottles; it is obvious they love their milk. After a while Luggard moved away from the boisterous herd and walked over to the waterhole. Lima Lima kept a keen eye on him at all times.

02 July 2020

Zongoloni arrived at the stockades after having stayed out the whole night; she looked around to see if she could entice any of the new babies to accompany her to the forest. Luggard was already occupied with Lima Lima and Murera but Enkesha seemed available. Zongoloni walked over to where Enkesha was and encouraged the little girl to follow. A brief tussle ensued between Zongoloni and Lima Lima. Lima Lima was not too happy to lose Enkesha to Zongoloni and made that very clear. Eventually Zongoloni had to relent as it seemed Enkesha preferred Lima Lima’s company.  

As Zongoloni walked away, her attention turned towards Luggard and she wondered if she could steal him away from the older girls. The matriarchs have made it very clear that the new comers remain under their guardianship. This has meant that Alamaya and Mwashoti have been left to pursue their independence a bit more! The older girls still spend time with the boys but much less than before, and they know it is time for the boys to become more self-sufficient. 

03 July 2020

As soon as Murera exited her room, she made her way to Luggard’s stockade to enquire how his night had been. Lima Lima, not wanting to be left out, also made her way to Luggard as well, in the hope that maybe today Murera would let her look after him. Murera did not seem to want to relinquish her guardianship, so Lima Lima made her way to the gate with Murera and Luggard trailing behind the rest, walking at a pace that Luggard was comfortable with. The orphans made their way to the slopes of Umani Hills.

The orphans spread themselves around Umani Hills, with Zongoloni keeping an eye on the herd, in particular Mwashoti and Alamaya. These older boys sometimes forget their own strength when they start their pushing games. Zongoloni felt she had to watch out for Enkesha to keep her safe from the boys’ boisterous games.

Shortly after his midday milk feed, Alamaya made his own way to the browsing fields. We are noticing, since the arrival of Luggard and Enkesha, the matriarchs are encouraging Alamaya to be a bit more independent. This is almost a natural progression for young bulls; eventually they break away from the female matriarchal herd, and join older more experienced bulls if they can, to continue to learn from them.

04 July 2020

Ziwa seemed to prefer his own company today. The Keepers called out to him several times to rejoin the herd but he seemed to be very happy browsing by himself in the thickest of bushes, only rumbling in response whenever the Keepers called out his name. As Ziwa grows older, he is showing signs of becoming the strong and independent bull we hope him to be. After a while the Keepers decided to leave him be and moved with the rest of the herd through the Kibwezi forest.  

Shukuru found a small dust mound and proceeded to dust her face; to the Keepers it looked as though she was applying make-up as she was doing it so meticulously, it was quite a sight to behold. Active little Enkesha rushed ahead of the herd to catch up with Zongoloni, who was already heading towards the Hills in search of fresher and greener foliage, they spent the rest of the morning browsing together peacefully.

The older girls remain very protective of Luggard. This little boy is always surrounded by one or two of the matriarchs. Murera is more of a permanent fixture than Lima Lima or Sonje. This has meant that Alamaya has had to start learning how to be a more independent bull, learning skills that will help him when he becomes fully wild and independent.  

05 July 2020

We had a beautiful start to our day, Keepers and orphans alike. As always Murera was the first at Luggard’s gate, not wanting Lima Lima to get there first and take over Luggard, even though both girls are sharing the responsibility of looking after this beloved little boy. As soon as the morning pleasantries were over, everyone made their way out of the stockades and towards the Kenze Hills.

Faraja decided he would break away from the herd today and made his way along a different part towards the Hills on his own, leaving Murera and Lima Lima at the foot of the hills with Luggard. The peaceful browsing was disturbed by a large troop of screaming baboons; they caused a lot of mischief, leaving Enkesha and Luggard a little bewildered. Lima Lima sounded a long loud trumpet which scared off the baboons and restored peace to the elephants’ browsing activity.

After the midday feed, the herd moved on to a different area to browse. Sonje and Murera decided to stay back with Luggard, because they knew that Luggard would not be able to manage to the rough terrain, and so they carried on browsing closer to the Kibwezi forest. Luggard was happy to stay with the older girls and was treated to a lot of trunk-hugs and cuddles. As evening fell, Shukuru led the orphans back to the stockades in a single file. The partly independent orphans, Zongoloni, Faraja, Jasiri, Ziwa and Ngasha escorted their friends only up to a certain point, after which they turned back to the water trough, quenched their thirst and then carried on in the opposite direction where they would meet their wild friends for the night.  

06 July 2020

As the herd moved through the Umani Hills looking for green pasture to feed on, Murera held Luggard back, knowing full-well that he would not be able to move at the same pace as the rest of the orphans. They settled to browse at the foot of the hills. Zongoloni saw Murera fall back from the herd, so she took the initiative to lead the babies further up the hills. Mwashoti was so busy breaking branches and making quite a noise that it took him a while to realize something was nudging at his feet. He absently mindedly he placed his trunk on the “rock” at his feet, trying to smell what it was and was shocked that the rock moved! It was a little tortoise trying to get away from Mwashoti to avoid being trampled on. Poor Mwashoti got a fright and ran towards Sonje looking for comfort, it was quite a sight and the Keepers had a good chuckle! 

Shukuru found some very juicy branches and busied herself browsing a little separate from the rest of the orphans, but one of the Keepers kept close to her because there was a troop of baboons nearby who have been causing a lot of mischief and making a lot of noise lately. Enkesha was determined not be scared. When the baboons visited again today, Enkesha trumpeted as loud as she could to scare them off. Zongoloni, wanting to support Enkesha efforts, ran towards the baboons, with her ears spread wide. This soon sent all the baboons scampering through trees. Zongoloni then walked up to Enkesha to comfort her and commend her on being so brave.

07 July 2020

Enkesha was very impatient to start the day’s activities. She ran ahead of everyone, eager to make her way to the browsing field. She ran ahead but came to a stop when she found a good dusting area, and dusted herself as she waited for the other to catch up. She is a funny little girl who gets excited at the prospect of the simplest things, like a dust bath. Her enthusiasm is infectious and has captured the heart of Zongoloni who dotes on her and acts as a surrogate mother, allowing Enkesha to nuzzle at her chest and is often seen comforting and caring for Enkesha as a birth mother would.

Jasiri arrived late morning to join his friends; he went straight up to Sonje to greet her. They exchanged some pleasantries, and then Jasiri left, to spend the day with some other friends. At midday all the orphans rushed for their bottles, including Alamaya. As soon as he had his fill, he made his way to the water trough. It had been a really hot day so far, so Alamaya decided to step into the water trough to cool his feet off. 

The orphans then made their way into the bushes to start their afternoon browsing activities. Luggard decided to break away from Lima Lima and browse by himself, Murera was not too far off from the young boy, and she allowed him to browse by himself but all the while keeping a close eye on him.

08 July 2020

This morning started out a bit loud and noisy. Our partly independent orphans, Zongoloni, Ziwa, Ngasha, Jasiri and Faraja turned up with some of their wild friends. Murera and Sonje felt that perhaps it would be better to keep Luggard and Enkesha separate from this rather boisterous crowd. The Keepers kept a keen eye on the wild elephants as they fed on leftover lucerne. Soon they made their way to the water trough before walking back out to the forest. A little while later the stockade-dependent orphans headed out to start their browsing activities too.

Murera and Luggard found a quiet spot where they could browse peacefully after the rather noisy start to their morning. We found Shukuru further along in the hills, dozing. It seems that she needed to take a power nap after all the walking to find her favourite shrub. Sonje attempted to steal Enkesha and Luggard away from Murera and Lima Lima, but, unable to do so, decided to try again tomorrow; she walked away to browse by herself.

Since the older females have busied themselves with the two new babies, Alamaya has been left to his own devices. He continues to exercise his independence by separating himself from the herd. Today he did the same. The Keepers saw him walking away and called out to him to stay with the herd. Alamaya stopped to acknowledge them, spent a little bit of time with Enkesha, but then walked away to browse by himself. The Keepers made sure kept an eye on him all day.

09 July 2020

The noisy troops of baboons were back; today they targeted Alamaya as he was browsing in the forest. They were up to their usual mischief, swinging from tree to tree and making a cacophony of noise. Alamaya decided he had enough and decided to spread his ears as he walked out of the forest, as if to show the baboons or anyone else that he was big bull and to stay away from him.  

On the other side of the forest, Enkesha sought out Zongoloni for company. Zongoloni welcomed the little girl and this seemed to delight Enkesha. She placed her trunk just under Zongoloni’s and nuzzled closer to the big girl. Zongoloni is very accepting of Enkesha and we have been able to witness the nurturing side of Zongoloni.  

At the midday bottle feed, Lima Lima got a chance to look after Luggard as Murera decided she would spend time with the rest of the herd. Murera knows Luggard is in good hands with Lima Lima and in turn Lima Lima felt very privileged that she had been entrusted with the young ward.  

10 July 2020

Enkesha, in the short time she has been at Umani, has picked up very quickly on where the best browsing spots are. Today she led her new family out to a very good browsing spot in the Hills. Enkesha is showing great promise and definite signs of becoming a very good matriarch when perhaps accorded the chance in the future. Murera, Lima Lima and Luggard did not follow Enkesha but kept to a pace that Luggard would be comfortable with.

This little girl continues to impress the Keepers, today at the midday feed, she did not wait for the Keepers to feed her, she picked up a bottle and wrapped her trunk around it with great ease and dexterity, just as she has seen Zongoloni and the other orphans do. She then accompanied Shukuru to the water trough and after a while, stepped into the water to cool her feet off. All the time Shukuru stayed with her and kept an eye on the little girl. She truly has stolen the hearts of everyone here.

All orphans then turned to the dust bath. Every one took turns dusting themselves. Luggard really felt the love today, as he dusted himself and all the older orphans surrounded him, in a ring of safety. Alamaya seemed a little moody today, and perhaps this is why the older females felt they had to surround Luggard to avoid any naughty behavior from the big bull.

11 July 2020

Murera and Luggard have a very set morning routine, where Murera waits outside Luggard’s room and as he exits she will always lovingly wrap her trunk around him, enquiring if he slept well. This has help form a very special bond between the two. The same goes for Lima Lima, she has proved to be a very dedicated baby sitter for Luggard and someone Murera knows she can rely on. This has also shown the herd that Lima Lima is another matriarch in the making. Luggard continues to flourish under the love and care of his new Umani family.  

Today Murera decided to guide Luggard onto the slopes of Umani Hills. They took their time moving up with Murera showing Luggard where to step. They found Enkesha busy with Zongoloni and all the other orphans browsing in pairs, only Sonje who then decided since none of the babies were available, that she would browse on her own.

Whilst Lima Lima was drinking at the water trough today, she spotted two terrapins and a baby crocodile. Lima Lima, who is very curious, ventured closer, but all three ducked their heads under the water to remain undetected. After a while Lima Lima got tired of looking for them and ushered Enkesha, who was also done at the water trough, to start making their way home. 

12 July 2020

This morning Alamaya was the first one out of the compound gates, ready to make his own way to his private browsing area. The Keepers called out to him to wait but it seemed Alamaya had already made up his mind to spend the day on his own. A few of the Keepers followed him until they saw him encounter a wild herd. Alamaya watched as this wild herd made their way to the water trough. This wild herd was also joined by Jasiri and Ziwa. Trailing behind them was Zongoloni, who immediately went up to greet Enkesha and the Keepers. Alamaya did not stick around for too long despite the Keepers calling out to him, he was determined to show everyone how independent he is becoming. The Keepers saw no reason to stop him and allowed him to browse by himself.

After their midday feed and mud bath, a few crane birds flew to where Enkesha was playing. The cheeky streak in her decided to chase the crane birds. She trumpeted loudly, signaling the orphans to join her in this game, but only Sonje responded. Murera and Luggard looked very comfortable browsing in the bushes with no plan in joining in Enkesha’s games, whilst the rest of herd watched on.

13 July 2020

The day began in the usual fashion, after their milk bottles and lucerne supplements, the Umani herd made their way to the forest, with Enkesha in the lead. This active little girl shows great promise at becoming a good matriarch one day. The orphans were happy to follow her and did so at a good pace; Luggard and Murera followed at the back.

Further up, the Keepers saw Faraja walking towards them slowly, they thought he would join the herd and accompany them to the waterhole. Faraja instead stood to one side and watched the herd walk by and picked up dust and blew dust clouds in the air. The Keepers soon realized why Faraja did not join them. He was waiting for his best friend Ziwa who was making his way slowly over to Faraja; they then joined the herd after.  

After the waterhole, Sonje spotted Luggard on his own and not wanting to pass up this opportunity, she made her way quickly towards Luggard and tried to sneak off with him, by walking away from the waterhole. Lima Lima and Murera soon noticed Luggard was missing. They spotted Sonje a short distance away and quickly caught up with them. Murera then lured Luggard away, and Sonje continued to browse by herself.

14 July 2020

Shukuru is still the friendly and calm elephant she has always been. Her condition also continues to improve and the Keepers monitor her very closely. At any point if the Keepers notice a slight change, Angela is alerted and Shukuru receives prompt attention. Enkesha has befriended this older girl and somehow they have a good understanding between them. Enkesha enjoys Shukuru’s calm demeanor and even though sometimes she runs ahead of Shukuru, she understands that her friend sometimes moves slowly, so she always runs back to her to keep her company. Enkesha is Shukuru’s biggest supporter.

After their midday bottles, the orphans busied themselves with dusting and wallowing. All of a sudden we heard a shout. All the orphans ran towards where the sound was coming from and found it was Luggard. As soon as Murera realized it was her little baby boy, she pushed past all the other orphans and ran towards the mud-bath. Poor Luggard had slipped on some mud, Murera and Lima Lima soon helped the young boy to his feet. The Keepers had a quick look and there was luckily nothing wrong. Everyone soon went back to their activities whilst Murera and Lima Lima stayed closed to Luggard for the rest of the day.

15 July 2020

The orphans were not as bubbly this morning as they came out of their stockades and some of them were being quite greedy. As Enkesha came out her stockade she was greeted by Sonje who quickly walked into Enkesha’s room to finish off her leftover branches. Mwashoti, seemingly just as greedy as Sonje, waited for Murera to leave Luggard’s side, before he quickly snuck into Luggard’s stockade to finish off his leftover greens. Zongoloni, Ziwa and Ngasha were all eagerly waiting outside the stockade compound for Enkesha and the others to come out. When the orphans came out, they began to follow their normal pathways out to the forest, apart from Alamaya who was wandering off on his own path, away from Murera and Luggard. 

It was quite a windy day with some of the smaller branches breaking off and falling from some of the trees. The orphans appeared delighted to find all these fresh branches on the ground and picked them up to munch on. Jasiri and Faraja started to fight each other over one of the branches and were really pushing at one another, both trying equally as hard to win. Eventually, they both seemed to give up and moved off in their own direction. 

The Umani orphans herd had a nice day browsing in the forest before returning to the stockade compound for the evening. 

16 July 2020

Alamaya was in a naughty mood today and was refusing to listen to his Keepers, especially when it was time for the orphans to have their morning Lucerne pellets. As the Keepers were laying out the pellets Alamaya kept rumbling at the other orphans, in an effort to hoard the pellets for himself. Every time the Keepers tried to stop him, he would just rumble at them and run away and eventually when the Keepers stepped in, he ran away to the edge of the forest where he waited for the other orphans to join him. 

Murera and Lima Lima, as always, were closely watching over Luggard making sure he was alright and that they were walking at a pace that suited him. Luggard appeared to really enjoy all this attention and having the constant protection of the older girls. Alamaya once again spent most of the day wandering along the hills and browsing on his own, all of which are important for him as he grows into a strong young independent bull. The Keepers believe he may even be getting curious about following the partly independent group of five when they remain out in the forest. However, until he is fully ready to become independent the Keepers are giving him some extra attention as the older girls look after the new orphans, Enkesha and Luggard.  

17 July 2020

As the orphans arrived at their stockades the previous evening, the Keepers decided to spray them with their tick medicine as they could see some of the orphans had ticks on them. This was Enkesha and Luggard’s first time being sprayed and as soon as they saw Lima Lima and Quanza being sprayed they seemed rather confused as to what was happening. As the older girls were quite calm, Enkesha and Luggard did not seem too worried. Once the orphans were all sprayed, they settled in their rooms for the evening. 

The next morning, the orphans were all tick free and ready to start their new day out on the Umani Hills. As the orphans were making their way out to the forest, Jasiri went off on his own adventure browsing in different parts of the forest. Not too far from where he was browsing, Alamaya was busy leading the orphans through the forest, browsing and foraging as they walked along the paths. As Enkesha was making her way up the hills, Zongoloni quickly rushed over to walk with the young girl and make sure she was alright as she climbed up to the top. 

The orphans were all around the mud bath for their midday bottles of milk, and as soon as they finished their bottles they played in the mud and dust bathed as they waited for their Keepers to finish their lunch. Once the Keepers were ready, they made their way back to the hills to browse for the remainder of the afternoon. 

18 July 2020

Whilst some of the orphans were busy trying to finish their Lucerne pellets, Alamaya was already eager to make his way towards the Chyulu Hills. As the other orphans were taking too long, he started to walk off, but he was quickly followed by Lima Lima whom was keeping an eye on him, as well as one of the Keepers. Murera, Zongoloni and Sonje remained with Enkesha and Luggard, making sure they had their fill of Lucerne pellets before heading off with the rest of the orphans. They decided to follow after Alamaya and Lima Lima whom were not too far ahead. 

As the orphans were walking through the forest, there was a troop of baboons calling out to each other from the treetops. They appeared agitated by the orphans but the orphans, including Luggard and Enkesha, took no notice of them and just kept walking on. At one-point Enkesha even let off a little rumble and trumpet which then all the other orphans copied including Luggard, as if to ward off the baboons. The orphans later settled on the hills for a fun day of browsing. 

19 July 2020

Sonje and Quanza decided to lead the orphans along one of their normal routes this morning. As they were walking through the forest, they were joined by the five partly-independent group, Ngasha, Ziwa, Zongoloni, Faraja and Ngasha. The night clubbers, however, didn’t seem to want to follow Quanza and Sonje and were trying to lead the orphans in another direction. Quanza and Sonje eventually gave in and lead the orphans in the direction Ziwa was heading. 

As the orphans got to the Umani Hills, they came across a herd of wild elephants with a young wild calf. Quanza was immediately curious about the young calf and she kept trying to approach the young little calf. The calf, however, had a very protective mother and she kept chasing Quanza away. Quanza eventually gave up and decided to head off back to the orphans who were all busy browsing. 

20 July 2020

Alamaya was in another one of his adventurous moods and decided to walk off up the hills further away from where the Umani orphans were browsing. As he began to head off a troop of baboons that was nearby began to call out, as if in protest that Alamaya was walking closer towards them. Alamaya could be seen raising his ears as if to figure out where the baboons were and why they were shouting. Enkesha, who was not too far away, took no notice of the baboons and just kept enjoying her greens. Alamaya eventually decided to leave the baboons be and walk back towards the orphans. 

Faraja showed up quite late today, almost as the orphans were about to start making their way back to the stockades, but nonetheless all the orphans were excited to see him. Zongoloni and Ziwa had spent most of their day with the orphans browsing and walking around with them. Sonje and Murera were happy to have their friends back and kept a watchful eye over the herd, while Lima Lima was busy breaking branches off for Luggard who remained by her side throughout the day. 

21 July 2020

Enkesha loves her greens, and she is always sure to look for the best shrubs and bushes around. As she follows the older girls as they walk up the hills, she can always be seen grabbing at the grass and branches she has sniffed out to be delicious. Alamaya, since becoming more independent, was again in the mood to head off in his own direction today. The Keepers noticed him looking around and holding his trunk up as if to figure out the best path to take. As the orphans were browsing, he was walking all around browsing and then walking again. 

As it was nearing the time for the orphans to head back to the stockades, the Keepers decided to let Alamaya decide what he would like to do and not usher him back. At first Alamaya seemed as though he wanted to head off further up the hills but when he noticed the orphans already halfway down the hills, he quickly turned around and began to follow them back to the stockades. He got back to the stockade compound a couple of minutes after the orphans had finished their milk and quickly dashed into his room to have his, before settling into his room for the night. 

22 July 2020

The orphans were all excited this morning when it was time for them to head out to the hills. As soon as they had finished their Lucerne pellets, they all dashed off, and Alamaya and Enkesha were up ahead of the other orphans. As they were browsing in the forest, Alamaya and Enkesha walked off a bit further to look for other greens, and as Enkesha thoroughly loves her greens, she was quick to stop whilst Alamaya kept walking around. As soon as Lima Lima realized that the other orphans weren’t around she began to trumpet and walk around looking for them. Enkesha was quick to react to Lima Lima’s responding calls and she came running back to the herd, but Alamaya was in a naughty mood and seemed to want to play a game of hide and seek. 

As Enkesha was now with Murera, Sonje and Luggard, Lima Lima continued to chase Alamaya around the forest until he finally gave up and decided to follow her back to the Umani orphans. Luggard can almost always be found with the older girls and today he spent most of his time browsing near Murera and Sonje. 

After the orphans finished their midday bottles of milk Enkesha, Alamaya, Mwashoti and some of the others were quick to head back to the forest to find some more greens. As the Keepers were still finishing their lunch they did not venture off far, and once the Keepers were finished, they all headed off up the hills together for the afternoon. 

23 July 2020

This morning, Enkesha seemed extra eager to get out onto the hills and browse. As soon as the orphans were ready to head off, she walked straight to the front and began leading the Umani orphans’ herd to the hills. There was not much time to stop along the way as Enkesha knew exactly where she wanted to go but once they were on the hills, she slowed her pace and all the orphans settled down to browse. 

Out of nowhere, Ziwa appeared to join the orphans as they were browsing. This morning, however, he was not in the company of Zongoloni and the others, who perhaps were busy with their wild friends. As he joined the dependent orphans, he seemed to notice Enkesha was breaking some pretty big branches for herself and that they were too heavy for the young girl. He quickly ran over and appeared to be helping her carry her branches to her preferred spot and once all her branches were gathered, she was happy to share her feast with him. 

Ziwa and Enkesha spent most of their day together, even after the orphans’ midday bottles of milk they both went and had a dust bath together. The Keepers enjoyed watching Ziwa bond with the young girl especially now that he is partially independent. Murera and Sonje again spent their whole day mothering Luggard, breaking greens for him and making sure he was comfortable out in the forest. Lima Lima, however, spent very little time with Luggard today as she was with Shukuru, Alamaya and Mwashoti. 

24 July 2020

The orphans had a very early guest this morning, as Zongoloni arrived at the stockade compound sometime during the night. When it was time for the orphans to some out of their stockades, Enkesha appeared very excited to go and say hi to her friend who was drinking from the water trough. As soon as the Keepers opened Enkesha’s gate, she went barreling over to Zongoloni and they both gave each other a warm trunk hug.

As the orphans were making their way through the Kibwezi forest, Jasiri and Faraja arrived and they both seemed quite tired and eager to have a nap as the rest of the orphans browsed. They didn’t have much luck this morning, as Sonje was leading and she was eager to get to the Umani hills, even Murera and Luggard weren’t interested in stopping to browse along the way. As soon as the orphans settled on the hills, Jasiri and Faraja went and settled in the shade and took a quick nap. Alamaya, today, was happily spending most of his day with his Keepers, giving them trunk hugs and trying to steal acacia pods from their pockets.

When the orphans were down at the mud bath, they heard the Sheldrick’s helicopter fly over, as it was landing at the Umani airstrip to refuel. The helicopter was busy assisting with the wild bush fires that had broken out along the Tsavo West fence line. Fortunately, the fires were not close to the orphans and all the teams involved from the Kenya Wildlife Service, SWT, and others managed to extinguish them before they could spread even further. As the helicopter started up again, the orphans could be seen listening to the loud sound and they appeared to be wondering where it was coming from and as it flew overhead. As the helicopter disappeared in the distance, the orphans settled down and once they and their Keepers were ready they all made their way back up the hills for the afternoon. 

25 July 2020

The previous evening, the night-clubbers were not so eager to leave the dependent orphans as they returned to the stockade compound in the evening. Zongoloni and Jasiri happily escorted Enkesha and Shukuru right up to their stockade doors. When all the dependent orphans were inside their rooms, Zongoloni, Jasiri and Faraja walked back to the water trough where they remained for some time. Faraja attempted to lead the night-clubbers back to the forest but Zongoloni refused and they ended up all staying the night right beside near the stockade compound, rejoining the orphans in the morning for their Lucerne pellets. 

As the orphans finished their morning pellets, Sonje began to lead them to the forest. Alamaya, however, was not eager to follow her direction and kept trying to go off on his own. This appeared to really upset Sonje as she kept rumbling at him as if to tell him to stick with the herd. Alamaya refused to listen to her and eventually just stood by on his own. Lima Lima appeared to sympathize with the young bull and quickly walked over to keep him company. After a short interaction the two to follow the rest of the orphans in the direction Sonje was headed. 

26 July 2020

This morning as Shukuru was let out of her stockade, she walked straight over to the water trough close to the stockade compound where she had some water, before moving over to the area where her Lucerne pellets were placed. Luggard, Murera and Mwashoti were already at the Lucerne pellets feasting away when Shukuru arrived and they were happy to have her join in. 

When they finished their morning pellets, Mwashoti walked over to Luggard to give him a trunk hug. Unfortunately, Mwashoti doesn’t realize how heavy his trunk is for young Luggard and when he placed it on Luggard’s back, Luggard let out a little rumble as if to ask him to please take his trunk off. As soon as Murera and Lima Lima heard Luggard rumble they came running over to see what had happened and as they saw Mwashoti near him, they were quick to chase him off. Mwashoti, seemingly hurt by in the reaction from the two girls, walked over to Shukuru and the others and didn’t bother going near them for the rest of the day. 

27 July 2020

This morning the orphans had some unexpected guests at their Lucerne feeding spot. Through the night a small group of buffalo had walked in and began feasting away on some of the leftover pellets as well as drinking fresh water from the water trough. As the dry season continues, the orphans are likely to come across more and more animals around the forest as more animals are looking for food and water. Sonje and Enkesha were the first to arrive and they were shocked to see all these buffalo around, and they immediately flared their ears and slowly began to back up. The Keepers also began to shout at the buffalo to move them away, giving the elephant orphans space to enjoy their morning pellets in peace.

As the orphans were moving through the forest, they came across two wild elephant bulls. The bulls immediately approached Sonje and Enkesha but Enkesha, who isn’t used to meeting such large elephants, was quick to run back to the Keepers and other orphans. Sonje, unperturbed by the wild bulls, calmly greeted them and after a short interaction the two bulls carried on their way. Luggard was oblivious to the visitors as he stood near Murera, and busied himself scratching his back on a branch. 

In the afternoon, the orphans were joined by Ziwa and Faraja on the hills. The two boys were full of energy this afternoon and kept having wrestling matches with each other, pushing each other all around the hills. Their games continued for so long that eventually Lima Lima separated them. In the evening the dependent orphans calmly walked back to the stockade compound leaving Ziwa and Faraja to continue their fun and games out in the forest. 

28 July 2020

The orphans were quite quiet this morning as they were let out of their stockades, with none of them rushing off to start their day’s adventures. They all seemed to be rather sleepy until suddenly Enkesha let out the biggest trumpet as if to wake everyone up and as soon as she did this, all the Umani orphans seemed to perk up and head off to the Lucerne feeding point. 

As the orphans were finishing up the pellets, Murera could be seen walking with Luggard and they were both headed to the Umani Springs for a drink of water. They were closely followed by Lima Lima and the others who were also quite happy to stop off for some water. Ziwa, who joined the orphans quite early this morning with his fellow night-clubbers, seemed to be on high alert as he got to the springs, as he had spotted some crocodiles sunbathing on the banks. Zongoloni, unaware of the crocodiles, was walking straight towards them so the Keepers thought it best to call the orphans back and leave the crocodiles in peace. 

The orphans had a fun filled day browsing on the Umani hills. 

29 July 2020

It was quite a chilly morning as the orphans were making their way to the Umani hills and Enkesha didn’t seem to mind the cold at all as she walked over to the water trough for some water and then walked off with Alamaya, Mwashoti and Shukuru. Luggard, on the other hand, was making sure he stayed very close to Murera, getting warmth from her stomach, and when they stopped for a break he would quickly snuggle up to her. Lima Lima was also sure to check on him from time to time. 

Sonje walked over to Enkesha to check on her and see if she needed any warmth by placing her trunk and head over the young girl. Enkesha was quite happy to snuggle up to Sonje. 

When the orphans got to the Umani hills, they were joined by Ziwa and Faraja who were once again in very playful moods. The two bulls spent most of their day chasing each other around, pausing only to browse on some fresh greens. As they were charging around some rock hyraxes quickly ran past Ziwa causing him to freeze. The sneaky hyraxes were far too fast for Ziwa and he was left standing confused, unsure of what had run past him. 

30 July 2020

The orphans were full of energy this morning as the sun was already up when they were getting ready to head out to the forest. As they got to the forest, they were joined by some wild friends who seemed just as happy to see the orphan herd. Murera and Lima Lima, however, were on high alert, shielding Luggard from all the wild friends, making sure they didn’t hurt him or get too close to him. They became so protective that they dispersed their wild friends, rumbling at them to stay back. As the wild friends were moving around, Lima Lima dashed over to the Keepers to make sure they too were okay and safe. 

Ziwa and Faraja were happily fraternizing among their wild friends and didn’t take much notice to helping Murera and Lima Lima protect the younger orphans. Eventually the wild friends decided to move off as they were having no luck with the older girls, and they were joined by Ziwa and Faraja whom decided to follow them for the day. 

When the orphans were down at the mud bath, they were joined by a herd of antelope who were coming in for some water. Enkesha didn’t seem to be pleased with their guests and she quickly began to rumble and flap her ears at the impala. As the impala were not paying much attention to her, she decided to chase them away back into the forest. Eventually, once the orphans had moved on, the Keepers saw the impala come back to the waterhole to finish drinking. 

31 July 2020

This morning, the orphans weren’t too eager to enjoy their morning Lucerne pellets. They were immediately joined by Zongoloni who appeared from the forest and instantly rushed over to greet Quanza and Enkesha who were already outside their rooms. As the orphans were having a fun morning in the forest, Faraja and Ngasha, who came to visit this morning, were busy wrestling and Sonje was busy doing some yoga poses in a dust mound she had found nearby. Quanza, Shukuru, Enkesha, Murera and Luggard were all busy browsing.

Sonje appeared to be having so much fun on her dust mound that Mwashoti and Alamaya decided to join her. They all had fun rolling around, but their fun quickly ended when Mwashoti and Alamaya both tried to climb on Sonje’s back at the same time. Sonje quickly rumbled at them and warned them off, and they both quickly ran away before they could get told off. As Sonje got up, Mwashoti and Alamaya quickly rushed back to the dust mound to have their own fun.

After some time, Quanza and Sonje led all the orphans up to the Umani hills, where they had a lovely day browsing.