Keepers' Diaries, June 2005

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

An exciting event for the Ithumba orphans has been the visit or two bulls, under cover of darkness, who came to drink at the Stockades before dawn on the 14th, and again at midnight the following day. The older elephants rumbled to them, and tried to follow the direction they had taken in the morning, but were unable to catch up with them. However, the fact that the bulls have visited the Stockades, means that the message will soon get out, and others are sure to follow given time, since the bulls are the scouts of elephant society. We wonder whether the visitors could perhaps have been Imenti and his Big friend?

01 June 2005

There was drama at the mudbath when a warthog tried to force its way in to drink whilst the orphans were still in the mud. Napasha spotted the intruder and chased it away backed up by Tomboi and Taita.

02 June 2005

It was a coolish day. Napasha tried to challenge Yatta by charging up to her, but Yatta stood her ground and waited for him. Napasha then thought better of it, so he just sniffed Yatta’s trunk before doing an about turn. At mudbath, Olmalo lay down underneath Yatta to shelter from the sun. In the afternoon Nasalot decided to take a nap, which was interrupted by Napasha. This annoyed Nasalot, who saw him off!

03 June 2005

Yatta led the orphans out to browse this morning. They came across an anthill when Kinna Taita and Wendi could not agree who should take pride of rubbing place. This turned into quite a battle, which brought Yatta and Olmalo to team up with Wendi. Kinna was annoyed and went to browse on her own.

04 June 2005

Selengai was allowed the privilege of leading the group today. Mulika spotted her favourite calf leading and therefore increased pace to catch up with her. In the evening Selengai and Olmalo browsed happily close to one another.

05 June 2005

Today, it was Kinna who led the orphans from the Night Stockade. They took an early mudbath, because it was very hot, but resumed feeding when the sun sank.

06 June 2005

The orphans concentrated on soil bathing at mudbath time. Only Olmalo went into the mud today.

07 June 2005

Today, Napasha led one group into the mudbath, whilst Yatta led the rest to soil bathe.

08 June 2005

Because it was cool, none of the orphans went into the mud today. In the evening Nasalot and Napasha spent browsing time together.

09 June 2005

The day began cool, but soon heated up, so the orphans enjoyed a wonderful mudbath today.

10 June 2005

The orphans were in a jovial mood today when they emerged from their Night Stockade, spending time chasing each other, lying down and climbing on one another. Napasha tried to kick the water drums, and then tried to get his head into one to pierce it with his tusks. The Keepers acted quickly to save the drum, after which Napasha went off grumbling.

11 June 2005

Only Kinna, Napasha and Olmalo went into the mud today, whilst the others, led by Yatta, dusted themselves with red soil. They waited patiently for the “wallowers” to emerge before going off to browse again.

12 June 2005

Shortly before 11 a.m. Wendi sought shade, joined by Taita and Olmalo. Yatta, who was some distance away, noticed the trio standing under a tree, and decided to take them to the mudbath to cool off, leading the entire unit to the mudbath earlier than usual.

13 June 2005

It was cool, so the orphans concentrated on browsing. In the evening, Mulika and Napasha tested their strength by pushing one another This contest was won by Mulika. Taita led the group back to the Night Stockades in the evening.

14 June 2005

Before dawn two wild elephants visited the Stockades, and drank water from the trough. Inside the orphans rumbled to them in low tones. When the orphans emerged, Yatta led the group following the direction taken by the wild elephants, but the orphans could not catch up with them.

15 June 2005

Wendi and Taita had a pushing contest today. The orphans enjoyed a spectacular mudbath when Napasha and Olmalo were the most active. At midnight, the same two bulls that had visited the Stockades yesterday again came again and took a drink at the water trough, before disappearing again. Yatta, Mulika, and Kinna rumbled to them in low tones. The wild elephants spent a little time feeding close to the Stockades, but left before dawn.

16 June 2005

At 6 a.m. Taita and Tomboi enjoyed a shoving match. Later Selengai was frightened by a Rock Hyrax, but gathered courage, and managed a trumpet which sent the hyrax into the rocks. She was elated having done this, and gambolled towards Mulika as though to report what she had achieved! The orphans had a wonderful mudbath today, when Wendi and Tomboi played in the water.

17 June 2005

Having left the Stockades, Olmalo spotted a dikdik, and plucked up sufficient courage to give chase, trumpeting as she disappeared into the thicket. Yatta panicked when Olmalo failed to return, and set off in search. Olmalo bellowed in the distance, which drew the attention of the entire group who also set off in search, meeting up with Yatta and Olmalo returning.

18 June 2005

Yatta led the group Northwards today. Tomboi playfully mounted Selengai, which annoiyed Mulika, who rushed in to chase him off. Wendi and Tomboi led the group to the mudbath at 11.30 a.m., which they all enjoyed. In the evening Napasha and Taita indulged in a shoving competition, which Napasha won.

19 June 2005

It was a cool day, so the orphans were very playful when they left the Stockades in the morning. Wendi and Tomboi again led the group to the mudwallow. Olmalo remained in longer than the rest, overseen by Yatta. In the evening Wendi wrestled with Taita, whilst Napasha took on Mulika.

20 June 2005

Although it was a cool day, the orphans carried on their usual activities. At the mudbath, the orphans had an audience today, which made Wendi very happy. She and Napasha put on a good display in the wallow, after which Wendi emerged to embark on her usual showing off drama - rolling, knocking the ground, and lifting one of her hind legs, something she does whenever there are visitors. In the evening the Keepers noticed that she had a white spot in her eye, so they applied medication immediately.

21 June 2005

AT 8 a.m. Kinna came face to face with two male warthogs who were busy digging up roots. She rushed around, trumpeting and knocking down bushes, until Nasalot came to back her up, but upon noticing that the warthogs had left, he and Kinna entwined trunks, in a congratulatory gesture.

22 June 2005

The cool months are now with us, so none of the orphans went into the mud today.

23 June 2005

After the noon feed, Tomboi noticed that Wendi had a mouthful of grass, which he went to try and snatch, but Wendi turned away. Yatta, who was watching from a distance, then came to show Tomboi where he could find some grass for himself!

24 June 2005

At around 3 p.m. the baboons were jumping from one tree to another, which frightened Olmalo and Tomboi, who ran to the Keepers for protection. The other orphans then charged in the direction of the baboons, who took off when they saw the Keepers approaching.

25 June 2005

Shortly before 10 a.m. Napasha lay down to rest. Wendi came running to climb onto him, but the game was interrupted by Kinna, who came to push Wendi away.

26 June 2005

At mudwallow Napasha made everyone laugh by kicking Taita with one hind leg, as he was taking a drink. Taita retreated and went to drink at another drum.

27 June 2005

The presence of the Orphans has attracted some wild elephants to the area. Two wild elephants have regularly been visiting the Stockades to take water during the night. At 10 p.m. the same wild elephants passed by the water trough and Yatta, Mulika, Kinna and Nasalot raised their trunks, rumbling in low tones, communicating with the wild group. Having drunk, the two wild elephants left towards the East of Ithumba Hill. At mudwallow Olmalo nose-dived several times whilst Kinna stood by monitoring her.

28 June 2005

The sky was clear when the orphans left in the morning. Tomboi and Taita began a pushing match, which was interrupted by Wendi, who pushed Taita away. Since it became cool at mudbath hour, only Kinna and Napasha wet their foreheads, whilst the rest took a soil bath.

29 June 2005

IU Today, the orphans headed Northwards having left the Stockades in the morning. Again, Taita and Tomboi had a tussling match, with no outside interference, and Taita was the winner. Since it was cold, none of the orphans went into the mud today.Today, the orphans headed Northwards having left the Stockades in the morning. Again, Taita and Tomboi had a tussling match, with no outside interference, and Taita was the winner. Since it was cold, none of the orphans went into the mud today.

30 June 2005

Yatta led the orphans Southwards having left the Stockade. Shortly before 11 a.m. two lesser kudus with a small calf scared the orphans, running past them making alarm calls. The younger orphans, led by Wendi, took to their heels seeking protection from the Keepers, whilst the older elephants, led by Yatta, having investigated the cause for alarm, returned to ensure that the babies were all present and correct!