Keepers' Diaries, June 2011

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

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.

01 June 2011

The Juniors left the Stockades in a jovial mood, led by Ithumbah, bumping into one another and swinging their trunks from side to side happily. Two dikdiks who were busy chasing one another scared Kibo triggering a mass retreat of all the Youngsters back to their Keepers! At the mudbath Kandecha and Sabachi had a busy time chasing a squirrel. In the evening a wild herd of elephants came to drink at the Stockade, joined by Wendi, Zurura and Sunyei. Zurura engaged a wild age mate in a Pushing Match but the mother pushed him away.

02 June 2011

The day was extremely hot, so the orphans thoroughly enjoyed their mudbath today, Kilaguni and Sabachi engaging one another in a Pushing Match. The orphans concentrated on browsing, since the dry season has set in.

03 June 2011

Today Kandecha, Sabachi, Kilaguni and Kibo – all little boys – enjoyed a warm-up running around the bushes, trumpeting. At the mudbath only Chaimu, Tumaren, Naisula and Kitirua went into the water, the rest opting for a soil bath instead. Later the orphans encountered a lesser kudu which scared them, again triggering a mass retreat to the Keepers who calmed them down.

04 June 2011

Suguta led the orphans to browse not far from the Stockades this morning, before moving further into the bush. By l0 a.m. it had turned very hot, so the orphans browsed under shade. All enjoyed the mudbath today, after which they were joined by Yatta, Mulika, challa, Kinna, Taita, Kamboyo, Selengai and 2 wild elephants who also enjoyed a lengthy wallow, as the Juniors began heading off to their browsing venue.

05 June 2011

Ithumbah led the Juniors out today, en route all enjoying a loose soil bath. At 9 a.m. a pack of wild dogs passed the Kone road. At the mudbath Kilaguni sat on top of Kandecha, who bellowed for help, so the Keepers shouted a reprimand to Kilaguni, who got off Kandecha. The orphans fed peacefully for the rest of the day before returning to the Stockades in the evening.

06 June 2011

As the dry season begins to bite, the Juniors have to concentrate more on finding sufficient browse to fill their bellies. At 2 p.m., after the mudbath, all except Kilaguni, Sabachi and Kandecha took to shade since it had turned very hot. Kilaguni, Sabachi and Kandecha are more acclimatized to the heat of Tsavo than the other relative newcomers.

07 June 2011

At 9 a.m. the Juniors were joined by Wendi, galena, Meibai, Sunyei, Galana, Lualeni, Kora, Sidai, Naserian, Madiba and Tomboi. The Ex orphans browsed with the babies for about half an hour and then, without the Keepers noticing, Wendi and her group made off with Kandecha. The Keepers only noticed the absence of Kandecha as the Juniors headed for the mudbath, where it was expected that Wendi would turn up with Kandecha in tow, but this did not happen. In the afternoon the Keepers tracked down Wendi’s group and found them near the junction to the airstrip. The Keepers called Kandecha, who responded eagerly since he had missed his noon milk feed. The Keepers led him back to where they had left the rest of the Juniors, Wendi and her group rumbling their dissatisfaction, having failed to abduct Kandecha.

08 June 2011

Led by Suguta, the Juniors settled down to browse at the Kanziku area. At 11 a.m. Kibo led the group to the milk and mudbath venue where they were joined by Sunyei and Galana who wallowed with them. Afterwards Sunyei led the Junior group to an area with loose soil share she showed them how to roll, while Galana remained at the mudbath water trough with Kilaguni, and then escorted him to join the others. The Keepers were watchful, suspicious that the two Ex Orphans had been sent back by Wendi to repeat a “Snatch”, and were relieved when the two left the Juniors in the evening, heading East.

09 June 2011

Today the Juniors browsed the Kone area and at the noon mudbath were joined by Wendi, Galana, Meibai, Sunyei, Kora, Lualeni, Chyulu, Kenze, Madiba, Rapsu, Lenana, Sidai, Naserian and two wild elephant friends. All enjoyed a wonderful wallow together, Galana taking a particular interest in Kilaguni while Wenbdi focused on Ithumbah. Later the Ex Orphans left the Youngsters who browsed the slopes of Ithumba hill for the rest of the day.

10 June 2011

Once out in the field Kilaguni and Sabachi engaged one another in a Pushing Game that didn’t last long. Both Wendi’s and Yatta’s groups of Ex Orphans, accompanied by wild elephants, checked in twice at the Stockade water trough, once in the morning, and again in the evening.

11 June 2011

The Ex Orphans, accompanied by wild elephants, came to the Stockades at dawn only to find that the water trough had been drained during the night by the wild herds. They waited for the trough to be re-charged, which happened when the Trust’s water bowzer turned up, having been filled from the Imenti borehole. The group then took their fill after which Galana and Kinna joined the Juniors and remained with them for a while before rejoining their colleagues. Again the two groups met up at the mudbath and took a wallow together. The Juniors left the Ex Orphans and their wild friends at the mudbath, enjoying a protracted wallow.

12 June 2011

After the usual Stockade activities, the Keepers led the Juniors to browse the Kalovoto river area. Since it was chilly, the orphans opted out of a wallow and instead took a soil bath after their normal noon milk feed.

13 June 2011

Today, as the Juniors were winding up their mudbath hour, Yatta’s Ex orphan group turned up, soon joined by that of Wendi who had 6 wild elephants with them. The Ex Orphans and the Juniors interacted briefly, the Ex Orphans deciding to spend a lengthy mudbath, leaving the Juniors to commence browsing.

14 June 2011

The orphans again browsed along the Kalovoto seasonal watercourse where Kilaguni and Ithumbah dug up roots. By noon it had turned very hot so all enjoyed the mudbath.

15 June 2011

On a cool morning, Suguta led the Juniors out to browse in the morning, all following in slow measured strides. It was too cold for a mudbath today, so the orphans opted for a soil bath instead. In the evening Kilaguni and Sabachi enjoyed a Pusing Bout as they waited for the Keepers to initiate the return journey to the Stockades.

16 June 2011

Ithumbah and Chaimu left ahead of Olare and the others, who were in no hurry to leave the Stockade compound today. However, all then streamed behind the three Leaders. By l0 a.m. it was very hot, so the orphans took to shade, and later enjoyed a wonderful mudbath, after which they felt more comfortable. Most of the afternoon was spent browsing quietly.

17 June 2011

The Juniors converged at the water trough to decide the direction to take today. Tumaren then led the group to te slopes of Ithumba hill here tey settled to browse. At noon, it was too chilly for a mudbath, so having taken their milk, the Juniors headed to the Kanziku area. At 3 p.m. they were joined by Kinna, excited to see her, all crowding around her, touching her with their trunks, happy to have a large elephant who could teach them in their midst. Kinna spent the rest of the afternoon with them, and escorted them back to the Stockades in the evening.

18 June 2011

The Juniors were joined at the mudbath by Kinna, Nasalot, and Sunyei who wallowed alongside them. Sunyei was particularly interested in Kitirua, while Nasalot remained close to both Ithumbah and Kilaguni before the four Ex Orphans separated, heading Eastwards.

19 June 2011

On a cool morning, the orphans concentrated on browsing, Kibo lagging behind hoping that he would get more milk, but running to catch up when he saw the Keepers following the group. All were focused on feeding today.

20 June 2011

At dawn, all the Ex Orphans accompanied by some wild elephant friends reported to the Stockade water trough, and having mingled briefly with the Juniors as they came out of their Night Stockades, left for an undisclosed destination. The Keepers led the Juniors to the Kalovoto river area to browse, but as it was cold the orphans were in no hurry to go to the mudbath. Instead they took their milk and after a soil bath, they returned to browse for the rest of the day.

21 June 2011

Ithumbah led the Juniors to a different part to browse today, steering them North east of the Stockades. Once at the field Kilaguni and Sabachi indulged in a strength testing exercise that went on for some time. Again it was too cool for a mudbath, so the orphans enjoyed browsing instead.

22 June 2011

After the usual games, the Juniors left, again heading eastwards to the Kalovoto river, returning to the Stockade mudbath at noon, after which they rested under shade until temperatures cooled down. Suguta then led the Juniors back to the Kalovoto river area to browse for the rest of the day.

23 June 2011

The orphans browsed calmly throughout the morning until Kandecha led the first group for their milk feed, followed shortly afterwards by the rest. It was again too cool to tempt them into the mudbath, so after a soil dusting session, Olare led them back to browse for the remainder of the day.

24 June 2011

After the Stockade games, when Sabachi and Kilaguni had their usual Pushing bout, the Juniors headed out to browse the kalovoto area again. Since the day turned hot by midday, all participated fully in wallowing after their noon milk feed. They enjoyed a dustbath before heading off to feed again.

25 June 2011

Tumaren led the Juniors out to browse today, settling at the Kanziku area where they were joined by Challa, Lualeni, Kora and Naserian. The four Ex Orphans browsed alongside the Juniors for about 30 minutes, before continuing their journey. Meanwhile, back at the Stockades 4 big wild bulls came to drink. Kibo and Kandecha led the Juniors to the mudbath and milk venue, where they had an enjoyable time having taken their milk.

26 June 2011

Kora, Lualeni, Loijuk, Rapsu, Zurura and Makena checked in at the Stockade water trough and hung around for 2 hours after the Juniors had left for the field. At the mudbath Chaimu, Kandecha, Ithumbah and Kilaguni put on a good mudbath show, later joining their colleagues taking water at the mudbath waterhole.

27 June 2011

It was the chilliest day of the year today, so the orphans enjoyed the cooler weather, Kilaguni and Sabachi busy Pushing one another as the Juniors prepared to head out in the morning. Light showers fell around noon, so the mudbath was not popular. The orphans soil dusted instead before returning to the browsing area.

28 June 2011

As soon as the Stockade gates opened, the Juniors went to enjoy some Lucerne, which they get every morning now that the dry season has set in. Later Melia led the group to browse behind the Stockades until 11 a.m. when Kibo and Kandecha led the first group to the milk and mudbath venue. Meanwhile 4 wild Bulls reported at the Stockade water trough at 8 a.m. Later the Juniors browsed peacefully until it was time to return in the evening.

29 June 2011

This morning Ithumbah surprised the Keepers by engaging Chaimu in a Pushing Bout. Up until now Ithumbah has avoided taking on any of her colleagues for fear of being beaten, but now she seems sufficiently familiar with them to defend herself. Once the babies had left, Wendi and a few Ex orphans came to the Stockade and at 1 p.m. Yatta with five other Ex Orphans arrived with a wild bull. Out in the field the orphans were joined by Wendi, Galana, Meibai, Naserian, Sidai and Loijuk. All browsed together until it was time to head to the mudbath, after which the Ex Orphans left, heading northwards, while the Juniors,, led by Chaimu, went to the slopes of Ithumba hill to browse for the rest of the day.

30 June 2011

As the Juniors were enjoying their Lucerne this morning, they were joined by Kamboyo who remained with them. At the mudbath they were joined by Yatta, Mulika, Wendi, Galana, Taita, Miebai, Sidai, Naserian and a wild elephant. All wallowed together and enjoyed a communal soil dusting session. The Juniors then headed to the Kalovoto river area to browse for the rest of the day, the Ex Orphans heading towards the Imenti waterhole.