The Ithumbah Keeper dependent orphans have enjoyed a lot of interaction this month, mainly with Wendi’s group which often incorporates Ex Mini Matriarchs like herself, namely Galana, Naserian, Loijuk, Sunyei, Lualeni, Sidai, Chyulu and Makena as well as wild hangers on. At the beginning of the month the Juniors were joined at the Stockade compound by a wild herd which in turn was joined by Wendi, Sunyei and Zurura. The Ex Orphans fraternized with the Youngsters while Zurura tried to engage a wild calf but was driven off by its mother. During the afternoon of the 4th the Youngsters enjoyed the company of Yatta, Mulika, Kinna and Selengai who had with them bulls Challa, Taita and Kamboyo.
Wendi was back on the 7th along with Galana, Sunyei, Lualeni, Sidai and Naserian, this time with bulls Meibai, Kora, Madiba and Tomboi, in tow. They spent half an hour feeding in amongst the Juniors, but then sneaked off, taking Kandecha with them, unbeknownst to the Keepers, who only noticed his absence when it was time to head to the mudbath and milk venue. The Keepers fully expected Wendi and her entourage to rejoin the Juniors at the mudbath in order to return Kandecha for his milk feed, but they failed to arrive, so the Keepers set out to track them. They met up with the group near the Airfield and managed to reclaim Kandecha, who happily followed the Keepers, by this time hungry for his missed milk feed, Wendi and her entourage rumbling their displeasure as Kandecha left.
The next day Galana and Sunyei showed up at the mudbath to join the Youngsters again. This time the Keepers were vigilant, suspecting another attempted abduction of Kandecha, and they were quite relieved when both Ex Orphans left without further ado. However, the day Wendi appeared again at the mudbath with Galana, Chyulu, Lenana, Sidai and Naserian, plus Ex Orphan bulls Meibai, Kenze, Madiba Rapsu and two wild elephant friends. On this occasion Wendi focused her attention on Ithumbah while Galana seemed most interested in Kilaguni, the favourite of Nasalot.
On the 10th the Ex Orphan Groups of both Yatta and Wendi visited the Stockade trough as one large herd once in the morning, and again in the evening, on both occasions missing the Junior group who were out browsing at the time.
Two days later, on the 12th all the Ex Orphans plus some wild elephants were waiting at dawn beside the empty Stockade water trough, which had been drained during the night by wild elephant herds. All waited patiently until the Trust’s Water Bowzer arrived with a refill. Meanwhile Kinna and Galana interacted with the Youngsters, and the rest of the Ex Orphans met up with the Juniors again at the noon mudbath. All enjoyed a glorious wallow together. Yatta’s group joined the Youngsters again at the mudbath on the 13th,this time with 6 wild elephant friends.
The l7th saw Kinna coming alone to join the Juniors out in the bush, who were ecstatic to see her, surrounding her and all touching her lovingly with their trunks, delighted to have a big elephant in their midst. Kinna remained with the Youngsters for the rest of the day, enjoying the mudbath with them and escorting them back to the Stockades in the evening. She was back to join them at their noon mudbath the next day, this time accompanied by Nasalot and Sunyei. Nasalot divided her attention between her favourite, Kilaguni and Ithumbah while Sunyei was very taken with Kitirua.
All the Ex Orphans, plus some wild elephants, came to drink at the Stockade at dawn on the 20th, just missing the Juniors who had already left. Four large wild bulls were Stockade visitors on the 25thand that day the Juniors were joined by Lualeni, Naserian and bulls Kora and Challa, who spent half an hour in amongst them before peeling off. The next day Lualeni, Makena and Loijuk came for a drink at the Stockades with Rapsu, Zurura and Kora, just missing the Youngsters who had already left. Four large wild bulls came to drink at the Stockades on the 28th, and on the 29th Wendi plus some members of her entourage turned up for a drink, again just after the Youngsters had left, but caught up with them out in the field. With Wendi on this occasion were Galana, Naserian, Sidai, and Loijuk plus Meibai. All attended the mudbath with the Youngsters. Meanwhile, on the same day, Yatta and 5 members of her Ex Orphan group came to drink at the Stockade trough at 1 p.m..
Because the dry season is tightening its hold, Lucerne has been sent to the Ithumba Rehabilitation Stations to supplement the intake of the more recent arrivals, who may not yet be too familiar with how to cope during Tsavo’s tough dry months. However, Ithumbah and Kilaguni have been giving them a demonstration of how to dig up roots using their toe nails, Ithumbah, of course, an orphan from that area. Ex Orphan Kamboyo came alone to partake of the Lucerne with them and be with them throughout the morning browsing session, accompanying them to the noon mudbath where they were joined by Yatta, Mulika, Wendi, Galana, Sidai, Naserian and bulls Taita, Meibai and two wild male friends.
Ithumbah, now much more comfortable with all the already bonded Ex Nairobi Nursery orphans, plucked up the courage for the first time to engage Chaimu in a Pushing Game. She now often leads the group out, sharing this privilege with Suguta, Tumaren and Melia while Murka is happy to be a follower for now. However, she is always eager to mingle happily the older Ex Orphans and their wild friends, since she remembers being a wild elephant herself very clearly. This month the Juniors have enjoyed the company of the Ex Orphans and their wild friends for 15 days out of 30 during the month. All are happily settled at the Ithumba Stockades and enjoying the interaction with the older Ex Orphans. Wendi, hand-reared from the day she was born, who blossomed into a very caring Matriarch and leader is the most frequent Ex Orphan visitor, accompanied by other Ex Mini Nursery Matriarchs and accompanied by different Ex Orphan bulls, usually Meibai, Kora, Zurura, Tomboi and Kamboyo. That said, Yatta anmd especially Kinna, from the Senior Group also keeps in close touch with the Juniors.