Keepers' Diaries, June 2018

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

Upon the arrival of Esampu, Mteto and Mundusi on the 1st of the month, they were immediately recognised by Maramoja and Rapa from their Nursery days together and they fussed over the newcomers immediately, patting them with their trunks and rumbling loudly with excited appreciation. Mundusi felt a little disorientated at first, and conditions were a lot hotter in Tsavo than Nairobi, but like all of our orphans at Ithumba he soon adjusted, with the help of daily visits to the water hole and following the cue of the other dependent orphans, standing under the shade of trees during the hottest time of day. In stark comparison, in no time at all, the headstrong Esampu was taking it upon herself to lead the others in different directions. She is clearly a very intelligent and fearless little girl, and picked up the new routine in only a matter of days, fearlessly bathing amidst the ex-orphan herds and marching around as if she had been there for years.

01 June 2018

Soon after the orphans were let out, Karisa engaged Rapa in a pushing game in an effort to take revenge for the day he fell while playing with Rapa. In the process, Wanjala happened to pass by and saved Rapa by getting in between the two boys and separating them. Shortly later, Mutara and her group, who appeared to have a hint of the impending arrival of new babies, arrived early to find out the exact time of the arrival of Esampu, Mteto and Mundusi who arrived from Nairobi. Mutara and her group escorted the juniors to the browsing field and left for a short while. At 9am, the truck carrying the three new Nursery orphans arrived. Rapa, Maramoja and Pare were the first ones to meet Mteto, Esampu and Mundusi. Upon meeting, Maramoja and Rapa recognised the three babies immediately and started walking around with them. There was excitement when the rest of the group arrived as each tried to identify itself with the new babies. Shortly afterwards, Maramoja led the way to the browsing field. At the browsing field Dupotto settled with Mteto as she tried to show her what to feed on, while Maramoja took Esampu for the same lessons. Mundusi felt like a fish out water and he bellowed like a baby from time to time. The heat was too much for him as he tried a bit of soil dusting to cool off. The soil dusting didn't help either and he resulted in drawing water from his stomach and spraying it behind his ears, which is what elephants do when they are very hot; it will take him a few days to get used to the heat! Maramoja, Pare and Rapa regrouped and tried to take Mundusi, Esampu and Mteto to some shade as the heat was becoming too much for them. The babies accepted and went to relax under a tree. Pare decided to keep himself busy by picking up a piece of stick and using it to scratch his chin. On the way to the mud bath the orphans met with Mutara, Chaimu, Kilaguni, Sities, Suguta, Kanjoro, Kainuk and Turkwel who appeared to have received the news when the new babies arrived and were on the way to receive them. Mutara and her group turned and escorted the babies to the mud bath where Kinna, baby Kama, baby Gawa, Galana with her two boys friends, Kenze, Zurura, Kibo, Melia, Naisula, Kitirua, Kalama, Chemi Chemi, Makireti, Nasalot, baby Nusu, Meibai, Bongo, Olare and the aggressive wild female were present. The wild female disrupted the mud bath activities as Kinna, Chaimu and Murka took the opportunity to snatch the new arrivals. The keepers were vigilant and managed to get their babies back. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area. Esampu, Mteto and Mundusi settled to enjoy all the delicious vegetation in the area as they slowly got acclimatized to their new home. Kauro and Galla had brief strength testing exercise that ended in a draw.

02 June 2018

Nasalot, baby Nusu, Naisula, Melia, Bongo, Chemi Chemi, Kalama, Ololoo, Meibai, Zurura, Kina, baby Kama, Galana, baby Gawa, Murka, Kitirua, Kibo and two wild elephants reported early in the morning to welcome the new babies out. Baby Nusu picked on Mteto and tried to push her. Mteto charged at Nusu but had second thoughts and decided not to. Shortly later, Nasalot led the group to the browsing field where the ex-orphans parted ways with the juniors. Mteto, Mundusi and Esampu's first morning was exciting as they interacted with the ex-orphans and the wild born babies. After the ex-orphans left, Pare took Mteto, Mundusi and Esampu for a brief soil dusting exercise and after went back to browsing. Mteto, Esampu and Mundusi had calmed down after finding a few individuals who they knew from Nairobi. At mud bath time, Esampu led the team to wallow and they had a swim across the water. Mundusi and Mteto got confused about which point to exit. We think that Esampu falls into the same category of Laragai and Maramoja who are very intelligent and calculating. Mundusi and Mteto circled in the water for quite some time before finally finding an exit route to link up with their friends. In the afternoon, Mteto used Mundusi as a scratching surface when she developed an itchy ear. Wanjala settled to feed with Roi as Kauro teamed up with Namalok. In the evening, the juniors were joined by Mutara and her team and shortly after they escorted the juniors back to the stockade.

03 June 2018

Mutara and Makireti’s groups Kibo, Chemi Chemi, Kalama, Orwa and Bomani were relaxing outside the stockade when the orphans were let out. Sities took Mteto and Mundusi aside to get to know them as Pare tried to challenge Kibo. Garzi played with Kainuk as Suguta tried to lie down to attract the young babies to play with her. The babies took no notice of Suguta which meant she got up after a short while. Makireti took a bale of lucerne and started tossing it up in the air, simply because she can get plenty of green vegetation everywhere, and she felt like she did not need to eat the lucerne! What Makireti was forgetting is that it won’t remain green forever, and one day in the not so distant future, she will come to regret her passive approach to extra food, when the dry season comes. Out in the Park all was quiet and Esampu, Mteto and Mundusi were still trying to come to terms with their new environment. They appeared to have settled down with Esampu trying to lead the way from time to time, despite the fact she hasn't mastered the area properly yet. At mud bath time, the weather was cloudy and the dependent orphans were on their own with no guest elephants present. After having their midday milk bottle, the orphans decided to have a wallowing session, and after ended up in a soil dusting exercise. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kone area until five o'clock in evening when Kauro led the first group back to the stockade. A wild group visited consisting of five elephants. They were busy drinking water as the orphans arrived back. Shortly later, the group left and another group of six wild elephants with a four-month-old baby visited the stockade. It's the first time since the rainy season drew to an end that two purely wild groups have visited the stockade water troughs. They probably wanted to find out if there was still water in those water troughs since soon the water holes will start to dry up.

04 June 2018

The orphans left the stockade early as usual and briefly settled on lucerne. Kenze arrived immediately and first went to inspect Enkikwe's injured leg to find out how he was feeling. After briefly checking on Enkikwe and finding he was okay, Kenze held a brief meeting with Olsekki, Garzi, Sirimon, Bomani and Enkikwe and perhaps gave them a lecture on how to survive in the wild. After the lecture, Kenze rumbled for the boys to follow him to the bush where he would teach them some more ways of how to survive in the wild. The boys followed but mid-way met with part of Olare, Chaimu and Kilaguni’s groups. The boys changed their minds and chose to first interact with these groups, and by the time they were done Kenze was long gone and nowhere to be seen. Siangiki settled to browse and chat with Oltaiyoni. After a while Oltaiyoni walked away slowly, after giving Siangiki a consoling pat on her back with her trunk; the two have known each other for many years since the Nursery, and it is touching to see how they are still good friends. Tusuja and Galla engaged one another in a pushing game that ended in a draw. At mud bath time the weather was chilly and the orphans were joined by the junior ex-orphans. In the afternoon, Wanjala and Naseku had a game of soil dusting which attracted Mteto. Mteto sat on Naseku and tried to scratch her buttocks on her. In the evening, the orphans returned back safely to the stockade for another night.

05 June 2018

Soon after leaving the stockade, the orphans were briefly joined by the senior ex-orphans. The playful baby Kama, Kinna’s baby, engaged Esampu in a playful pushing game, while Nusu played with Mteto and Mundusi. One of Galana's boyfriends disrupted the peace when he started to pester Galana. Galana was not happy about it and so started running away with the bull in hot pursuit. Baby Gawa was not left behind as she also followed her mum. Kinna seemed to think it was a dangerous environment for the babies to be in, and was worried about Gawa with the hot-tempered wild bull around, so she trumpeted and alerted her friends that they should go after Gawa. Esampu tried to follow Kinna and her group on their rescue mission but the keepers intervened since Esampu is still very small and does not know the area very well yet having only just arrived! The ex-orphans met up again with the juniors at mud bath. It was funny to see Kibo standing close to the dependent orphans, hoping to get a bottle of milk! That would be impossible and he is far too old for milk. After being denied any milk, Kibo shook his head and left to catch up with his friends. The rest of the afternoon was quiet as the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area.

06 June 2018

Laragai, who had spent the night out with Orwa and Bomani, joined the juniors early in the morning. Lemoyian held a brief meeting with Rapa and Tusuja, in which Tusuja appeared disgruntled with Lemoyian. Lemoyian was annoyed with Tusuja too, and decided to try and show off his strength by climbing on Tusuja. Rapa didn’t want to wait around for Lemoyian to do the same to him so he walked away. Orwa lay down in an effort to attract the young boys to come and play on him but the boys weren't interested in his games. After getting tired of waiting, Orwa stood up and walked to the water trough where he had some water. Roi and Naseku were the last to leave the stockade compound while Dupotto and Pare stayed for a little longer at the water trough as they tried to arm themselves with enough water to see them through the entire morning. Karisa engaged Rapa in a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. Shortly later, the orphans were joined by Kilaguni, Kasigau and a wild elephant. The wild bull was nervous and left Kilaguni with Kasigau enjoying the company of their junior friends. The wild bull headed towards mud bath. Kilaguni and Kasigau also then moved towards mud bath were the dependent orphans joined them at noon. Karisa, who never wastes time when it comes to mud bathing, jumped into the water as the rest of his friends followed suit. The mud bathing was followed by soil dusting and after Oltaiyoni led the way back out to the bush. Mutara’s group showed up at the stockade in the afternoon and later left again. In the evening, Orwa and Bomani escorted the juniors back to the stockade.

07 June 2018

Soon after the orphans were let out, Maramoja led her friends briefly to feed on lucerne, where Pare had a disagreement with Roi. Pare thought that he would threaten Roi, but Roi stood her ground and even drove Pare away. Galla engaged Bomani in a strength testing exercise, in an effort to acquire new pushing tactics from Bomani. Galla later turned to Kauro to try and put into practice what he had just learned from Bomani. Later, the orphans were joined by Mutara’s group where Galla picked on Kanjoro in a pushing game so as to enhance his pushing skills. Enkikwe and Siangiki came together and had lengthy chat while browsing as they shared their experiences over their lion encounter. Enkikwe, Olsekki and Siangiki came together from Nairobi in May 2016 and have remained very close friends. Olsekki and Siangiki were clearly worried about Enkikwe and his wounds during those two months he was kept back in the stockades to help him recover, and would often go to check on him. Now he is out with them in the bush again they like being altogether. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Mutara’s herd again and it was a fun moment as Mutara, Suguta, Kainuk and Sities were clearly in a playful mood, charging and trumpeting and running here and there. Kainuk and Sities were mostly interested with the new babies. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in Kone area as Mutara and her group left to another location only to reappear again at the stockade compound in the evening.

08 June 2018

Olare and Mutara’s groups were standing outside the compound when the orphans were let out. Mutara had fun trying to climb up the wall as her friends waited patiently to meet the babies. Once the gates were opened, Kibo walked straight in as the youngsters made their way out. Kamok left with a branch in her mouth that she continued chewing on as she thought of her next move. Tusuja engaged Kanjoro in a strength testing exercise while Enkikwe, who tries to avoid crowded areas so no one knocks his bad leg, settled for a morning soil dusting. Later Tusuja moved to play with Sities as Mutara, Suguta, and Kilaguni had fun rolling on the ground. Pare was not left out as he also tried to challenge Turkwel, while Galla stood aside waiting to have a word with Turkwel. Mutara and her team accompanied the orphans to the browsing field and enjoyed feeding together up to mud bath time when Maramoja led the first group to the mud bath. The sun was hot and everyone wallowed in the water which was followed by a spectacular soil dusting exercise. Karisa was annoyed by Galla and quit the wallowing early when Galla attempted to ride on him. Karisa hurried to walk out from the water as Galla tried to grab his tail to pull him back, but Karisa managed to break free. In the afternoon, Mutara took the entire team back to the browsing field and later in the evening escorted the juniors back to the stockade.

09 June 2018

A wild mother with her two calves aged nine and four years old were at the stockade compound together with Orwa and Bomani when the orphans were let out to start their day. Maramoja was the first one out, followed by Karisa. One of the nine year old wild elephants started charging at the orphans and the orphans tried to avoid her. Out in the bush, Mundusi settled to browse with Mteto while Roi and Siangiki settled to browse with Enkikwe. The two girls put Enkikwe in between them as a show of solidarity; they kept him company and wished him a quick recovery. Shortly before mud bath time, Olare showed up out of nowhere and joined the orphans. She later escorted the babies to mud bath. After mud bathing to their satisfaction, Olare took the juniors for a soil dusting exercise and later bid them goodbye as she wandered off. It was a quiet afternoon as the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area. In the evening, Olare, Orwa and Bomani came back to the stockade compound and relaxed for one hour before disappearing again.

10 June 2018

Olare was by herself outside the stockade when the orphans were let out. Pare walked over to Olare and exchanged morning greetings by entwining their trunks. Shortly later, Olare had a game of rolling on the ground as she tried to entice the juniors to join her but no one was interested. Olare then stood up and remembered that there was Enkikwe who she was supposed to check on, to see his healing progress. Olare walked to where Enkikwe was standing and had a brief chat with him, before showing the juniors the way out to the browsing field. Mteto settled to browse with Mundusi while Esampu briefly settled to browse with Lemoyian. On the way to the mud bath, the orphans were joined by Mutara’s group, Kilaguni, Chaimu, Kandecha and Kibo. As Galla was drinking his milk, he was bumped by Ukame. Galla complained bitterly and his loud protest reached Roi, his friend. Roi was drinking water at the water trough and came down running to check what was happening to her friend Galla. Roi met Galla on mid-way and took him to the water trough as she tried to find out if he was okay. Mutara assigned herself the role of taking care of Mundusi, Mteto and Esampu at mud bath. Mutara took the three new babies aside and inspected them and communicated with them in low rumbles. Shortly later, Mutara brought her meeting with the new babies to an end by walking them to join their friends who were wallowing. Tusuja had a brief strength testing exercise with Kainuk as Kilaguni played with Kanjoro. After the herd had enough wallowing, the orphans headed to Kanziku area while Mutara’s group took her group towards Imenti area. Kamok settled to browse with Wanjala while Oltaiyoni teamed up with Olsekki.

11 June 2018

Orwa and Bomani had spent the night just outside the stockade, and welcomed the juniors out in the morning. Orwa performed a game of rolling on the ground while Bomani, Tusuja and Namalok settled for a scratching exercise on the nearby rocks. It was a quiet morning as the orphans settled to browse in Kone area without any major observations. Olsekki settled to browse with Pare while Dupotto teamed up with Roi. At mud bath time, the orphans only had milk and water then went back to browsing. In the afternoon, the sun was getting hot and so Rapa, Tusuja, Olsekki and Siangiki spent some time relaxing under some trees and overhanging rocks. They only resumed browsing when it became much cooler later on.

12 June 2018

Karisa left the stockade with a branch in his mouth that he continued to enjoy on the way out. Kauro and Maramoja decided to go and scratch their itchy bodies while Pare and Galla exchanged morning greetings by entwining their trunks. The orphans briefly settled for lucerne before Mteto and Mundusi who are close friends started rumbling as they walked away. Roi heard them and since they are just new to the area, she decided to follow and monitor them so as not to lose them. Later Esampu decided to have her own game of rolling and sitting on the ground while Rapa decided to gauge his strength by inviting Galla to a pushing game. Galla accepted and the two dueled for some time until Rapa decided that he had enough of the pushing game and opted out to continue browsing. Dupotto developed an itchy ear and decided to scratch on the nearby tree as Garzi dusted himself. Later, the rebels Kithaka, Laragai, Barsilinga, Garzi, Lemoyian and Sirimon dodged the keepers and disappeared into the thicket, only to show up late in the evening with Orwa and Bomani. At mud bath time the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to step into the mud bathing water. The orphans had their milk then sipped the drinking water before wandering off into the bush to browse again. Later in the afternoon Dupotto led the first group back to the stockade.

13 June 2018

Kilaguni, Orwa and Bomani who had spent the night outside the stockade welcomed the juniors out in the morning. Pare in particular, who these days likes to challenge his seniors, entwined his trunk with Kilaguni in morning greetings. Galla challenged Bomani after their morning greetings as Mteto and Mundusi headed straight to the browsing field. The keepers hurried to catch up with them as they are not yet very conversant with the area. The boys were in playful mood in the morning. As they reached the bush Olsekki had a challenging game with Sirimon while Orwa played with Kilaguni. Tusuja played with Pare while the street wise boy Karisa handled Wanjala. Later, Esampu settled to browse with Sirimon and Namalok while Maramoja teamed up with Mundusi and Mteto. At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and the orphans only drank their milk and had some water before going back to browse, deciding to forego the cold water of the mud bath. Only Enkikwe splashed water on his wound and behind his ears before following his friends. The afternoon was still chilly and Karisa saw it wise to have a warm up exercise by initiating a pushing game with Naseku. The quiet Namalok, who still drinks his milk from a bucket, had a light pushing game with Tusuja before settling for a lone soil dusting exercise. Towards evening, the sky cleared giving way to sun shine.

14 June 2018

Tumaren, Melia, Chemi Chemi, Orwa, Bomani, Makireti, Murka, Naisula and Kitirua were outside the stockade when the orphans were let out. The entire herd briefly settled for lucerne and after Melia led the way out to browse. Tumaren enjoyed a game of lying down just to try and trick the young ones to come and climb on her. Mundusi, Esampu and Mteto didn't fall for Tumaren's trick but watched from a distance. Tumaren got up when she realized that she wasn’t getting any takers for her game. Mteto and Mundusi, who are close friends, settled for a soil dusting exercise while Kamok and Tusuja had a light strength testing exercise that lasted for quite some time. Wanjala played with Roi while Chemi Chemi played with Naisula. At mud bath time, the weather was fairly warm and the orphans together with the ex-orphans decided to wallow in the mud bath before heading for a soil dusting exercise. In the afternoon, Melia led the entire team to the western slope of Ithumba Hill where the orphans settled to browse. In the evening, the ex-orphans escorted the juniors back to the stockade.

15 June 2018

Bomani, Kilaguni and Orwa, who are always punctual to report early in the morning, were standing outside the stockade when the orphans were let out. Bomani picked on Galla for a morning warm up exercise that later turned into a strength testing exercise. Galla put so much effort in to make sure that he didn't lose the game and sure enough the game ended in a draw which made Galla very happy. Tusuja briefly sniffed at Kilaguni and later requested for a strength testing training exercise which Kilaguni obliged. Karisa put Pare on notice for teasing him from time to time, but Pare disregarded Karisa's warning and attempted to push him. Laragai took her rebel group towards the east as the orphans headed west of the stockade. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Tumaren, Melia, Chemi Chemi, Murka, Naisula and Kitirua. After the orphans had their milk bottles and drank some water, Karisa led the way to the mud bath. Tusuja put on the best performance of the day with his lavish swimming styles. He took so much time in the water that his friend Roi came to check on him and find out what was going on with him. Tusuja assured Roi all was well and he would be coming out shortly. Roi insisted that time was up and he should be on his way to soil dust just like his friends. Tusuja evidently heeded Roi's advice and so quit wallowing for another day. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the western side of Ithumba Hill. Galla had a brief strength testing exercise before resuming browsing.

16 June 2018

The orphans briefly settled for lucerne in the morning shortly after they were let out. Enkikwe, who is still recovering from the lion attack, was the last one to leave the stockade. This is because he has to wait to be treated every morning. Enkikwe was welcomed outside by Rapa who stopped him to communicate with him, and we can only assume Rapa wanted to find out how Enkikwe was feeling at the moment. Galla engaged Bomani in a pushing game as Karisa played with Namalok. Out in the bush Sapalan settled to browse with Pare as the rest of the morning was quiet without any major observation. At mud bath time, the weather was warm and the orphans enjoyed wallowing in the mud hole. Esampu, Mundusi and Mteto teamed up with Roi and Naseku who taught them how to wallow nicely. Tusuja and Galla enjoyed a strength testing exercise in water while Sapalan complained loudly when Karisa tried to push him out. After wallowing, the orphans had a spectacular soil dusting exercise before being led back out to browse by Maramoja. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in Kone area up to five o'clock in the afternoon, when Dupotto led the first group back to the stockades.

17 June 2018

The orphans were lively and at the same time nervous in the morning following the disturbance in the night when three lions passed close to the stockade and roared loudly, sending the orphans into a panic. This morning the orphans settled briefly for lucerne before heading out to browse. On the way, Namalok and Kamok came across suitable rocks that they used to scratch their bellies. A wild herd reported for water at the stockades shortly after the orphans left. It's now starting to dry out and the wild elephants have started doing their own survey to find out if the permanent water holes they have known for years still exist. At around eleven o'clock in the morning, the orphans headed for mud bath where they joined a wild bull that was not so friendly towards the keepers and kept on charging and trumpeting. The weather was chilly and only the wild bull decided to wallow in the water. The orphans had their milk, water and soil dusted before going to browse for the rest of the afternoon. The afternoon was quiet following the chilly weather. In the evening One Tusker, a wild bull, and his friend, showed up at the stockade compound and left shortly later after having enough water.

18 June 2018

It was another chilly morning when the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from the stockades with Roi taking a branch with her that she continued to enjoy outside. Mutara’s group with Olare, Kibo, Kandecha and Chaimu paid a visit to the stockade and had the opportunity to interact with the juniors when they came out. Galla decided to test his strength by engaging Kainuk in a pushing game. Shortly later, a wild bull checked in at the stockade water trough and this prompted the orphans to walk down to join the wild bull to drink water. Galla, Tusuja and Karisa had a brief conversation with the wild bull as they stretched their trunks towards him. The three boys hoped that one day they will grow as big as the wild bull. The junior ex-orphans browsed with the orphans up to mud bath time when they escorted the orphans for their midday milk feed. The weather was fairly warm and the ex-orphans led the orphans to mud bath. Only Olsekki, Kauro, Siangiki and Enkikwe boycotted the wallowing exercise. Olsekki waited until Enkikwe had enough water before escorting him to join his friends. After soil dusting, Mutara and Olare led the group to Kone area where they settled to browse for the afternoon. It was a quiet chilly afternoon as each elephant tried to get enough food before the end of the day. The evening was also quiet with no wild elephants visiting the stockade.

19 June 2018

Olare and Mutara’s groups were relaxing outside the stockade again when the orphans were let out. Mutara settled to feed on lucerne with the new babies Esampu, Mteto and Mundusi. Mutara appeared to have been giving them some hints about real life outside the stockades. Karisa had a misunderstanding with Wanjala that resulted in strength testing exercise. Later the quiet Namalok, who is now feeling more settled and interacting more with his friends, had a fun time as he engaged Tusuja in a light strength testing exercise. Olare and Mutara’s groups browsed with the juniors up to eleven o'clock in the morning when it was time for the dependent orphans to head to mud bath for their milk bottles. Esampu led the first group while Maramoja led the second one. The third group was led by Mteto as Pare led the forth group to come in and take their milk in turns. As the younger orphans were feeding, ex-orphans Nasalot, her baby Nusu, Ishanga, Kasigau, Bongo, Sidai, Galana, baby Gawa, Loijuk, Lualeni, Kilabasi, Makireti and three wild boys who looked nervous showed up, but they left shortly after drinking water. They reappeared again later at the stockades in the evening, this time with ten wild elephants with them. The afternoon was chilly and quiet. The orphans in the company of Mutara and Olare’s groups settled to browse in the Kone area again, and later in the evening they escorted the dependent orphans back to the stockades.

20 June 2018

This morning the dependent orphans came out of their stockades and found Mutara and Olare's herd waiting for them. They joined them and started interacting together and then the dependent orphans walked off into the bush to browse for the day. Kamok, Wanjala and Roi browsed separately from the group; Kamok held her ears wide open which showed she was feeling hot. The other elephants were busy browsing and later they made their way to the mud bath as it was time for milk and also quite a hot day, so they looked forward to cooling themselves in the mud bath. After their milk all the orphans swam in a line from one end to the other. Just as they were coming out Mutara and Olare’s herd arrived with one wild bull. They had some water from the water trough and went into the water hole for a swim just as the juniors were coming out. They did not swim for long as they seemed to want to follow the dependent herd into the bush. Throughout the afternoon they were all busy browsing, and when it became too hot they all came together to take shelter under some of the big trees. Later the juniors walked away from the ex-orphans and browsed on their own. As the day drew to a close they made their way back to the stockades. In the evening Mutara and Olare’s herd again came to the stockade compound to drink water. Suguta and Naisula started play fighting with Kilaguni and Ololoo separately. Later in the night they walked off back into the bush.

21 June 2018

Mutara and Olare’s group arrived early in the morning even before the dependent orphans came out after their milk. When they did come out they went to come some lucerne and mingled with the ex-orphans. Kibo started play-fighting with Kasigau. Mutara’s group then followed the orphans out to the bush when they were ready. Sities was patting Mutara which is an indication of love and affection. The orphans later walked to the mud bath for their milk, leaving the ex-orphans behind. When they arrived at the mud bath it was very cold and the orphan’s decided they didn’t want to go into the water after all. They just had their milk and walked back to the bush to browse. Mutara’s herd later appeared with Olare’s herd and they had some water from the water trough and a few of them tried to swim in the cold water. The dependent orphans left them there still thinking about where to go. We have noticed recently that Kibo has developed a bit of an attitude and sometimes even chases the keepers for fun! The clouds gave way to sunshine later in the afternoon and before long the orphans started to feel quite hot. Some of them hid in the shade from the hot sun. Enkikwe followed the herd everywhere they went, and when the orphans returned to the stockades in the afternoon he had more treatment on his leg.

22 June 2018

In the bush this morning the orphans looked happy and active. Garzi was scratching on a tree. Laragai’s herd stayed with the dependent orphans the whole morning but left them just before they went to the mud bath for their milk bottles. Lemoyian and Barsilinga browsed together and so did Esampu, Mteto and Mundusi. Olsekki and Siangiki were as usual together too. The orphans had their milk and drank some water and then decided to swim in a line through the mud hole. It was lovely to see them swimming so gracefully through the water and none of them decided to play any funny games. They came out and went to the pile of soil where they covered themselves in a protective layer before going back out into the sun to browse. All the orphans were very active in the afternoon as it was not very hot. They browsed before making their way back home in the evening for their milk and bed. Laragai 's herd arrived a few minutes after the dependent orphans were in their stockades.

23 June 2018

It was a cold morning today as the orphans came out of their rooms and down to the lucerne feeding area after having their milk. They mingled there with Orwa and Bomani before heading to the bush to browse. Nasalot’s ex-orphan group with baby Nusu among them then arrived. They drank water and then left again. When the orphans went out to browse they were very busy making sure they found enough food to eat; Dupotto browsed separately from the others. Laragai's herd walked away from the orphans and browsed independently. After their milk at midday the orphans obviously felt warmer as they decided to go into the mud bath. Enkikwe did not want to wallow with them for fear one of them would knock his bad leg, so he splashed water on his wound and drank separately from them. It must have been relieving to wash his wound with the cold water. Later the orphans were browsing and Roi started playing in the dust. She was scooping and tossing chucks of soil in the air and some on her back. This attracted some of her friends who started doing the same. Pare and Maramoja were browsing together while Olsekki and Siangiki, as usual, were doing the same. The dependent herd later made their way back home in the evening for their milk. Laragai's group arrived later and was immediately locked into their stockade for the night as well.

24 June 2018

This morning the dependent orphan found Mutaras’s group including Suguta, Turkwel, Kainuk, Sities and Kanjoro. Nasalot’s herd were also there including Loijuk, Sidai, Zurura, Chyulu, Ishanga, Bongo and Nasalot’s baby Nusu, with one wild female in the group too. They stayed for a short time and left. The dependent orphans enjoyed the lucerne after the ex-orphans had gone. Nusu was in a very playful mood but also felt shy with the keepers. Esampu, Kamok and Sapalan were feeding on the Lucerne together. In the bush Mundusi and Mteto were browsing together while Namalok was separate from others. Later on Mundusi went to communicate with Wanjala and they started browsing. The new three new babies then went to browse with Karisa who they like and remember from the Nursery. Karisa scratched his neck on a nearby stump. The orphans then walked to mud bath for their midday milk bottle. All the orphans had their bottles and walked straight to the water trough to drink water. Nasalot’s herd then arrived and they interacted and wallowed together, before getting out and walking to the dust bath. Wild born baby Nusu was the most playful one on the pile of loose soil, while Zurura and Kasigau were the most playful ones in the water hole. They just love swimming at the moment and playing their pushing games in the water! After the shared dust bath the ex-orphans walked away in separate direction to the dependent orphans who went back out to browse. Mundusi and Mteto were together the whole of the afternoon, but Esampu seemed to be exploring new friends. Naseku, Wanjala and Karisa were browsing together. While Siangiki and Olsekki as usual stuck together. Wanjala and Karisa are very close friends, and today Tusuja also seemed to be trying to make friends with Wanjala. In the afternoon the orphans walked back to the stockades for the night. An hour later Laragai, Barsilinga, Kithaka, Lemoyian, Garzi and Sirimon arrived back too and they were shut into their stockade.

25 June 2018

The orphans were in a happy mood today as they walked down to the lucerne feeding area for food. They met there with Olare’s herd combined of Melia, Tumaren, Kibo, Kandecha, Kilaguni, Chaimu, Murka and Makireti. They all interacted and shared lucerne and all had good manners. Some walked to drink water and then they all walked out to the bush to browse. In the bush Esampu, Mteto and Mundusi joined up with Sapalan and started browsing together. Rapa was browsing alone while other orphans hid in the shade from the sun. They later walked to the mud bath for their milk and started playing there. They relished the cool water in the hot sun! After mud bath the orphans looked happy and refreshed. Laragai's herd Kithaka, Lemoyian, Barsilinga, Garzi and Sirimon walked away from the orphans. Oltaiyoni was busy browsing with Kauro while others were resting in the shade again from the hot sun. In the afternoon as they made their way back to the stockades for the night, Laragai's herd joined up with them again and followed them back and they were locked in for the night as well.

26 June 2018

It was colder again today as some clouds had rolled over and there was a slight breeze. The dependent orphans walked down to feed on lucerne and found Orwa, Bomani and Bongo already there waiting for them. Kauro was feeling itchy and scratched on the wall while eating at the same time. Bomani also did the same on the wall while Kithaka was restless and wanted to go out to the bush to browse. Lemoyian was also very active and running all over the place with his ears held out wide. Out in the bush the orphans were all busy browsing. Olare’s herd with Melia, Tumaren, Murka, Kitirua, Naisula, Kilaguni, Kibo, Kandecha and Chaimu joined them and they started browsing together. Kibo and Kilaguni started play fighting and being playful. The orphans came in groups of 3 to have their milk at noon and after they walked in their groups with a keeper to the mud bath. Olare and the other ex-orphans followed them to the mud bath. A young wild female was among them. Tumaren started climbing on Olsekki while they were swimming. After swimming some went to the dust bath and others went straight back out to browse. It became very hot though and the orphans were struggling to browse and find shade at the same time. Ukame browsed right up until it was time to go home. They walked in a line all the way back to the stockades for their milk in the evening. Enkikwe had managed to stay with them for the whole day which was so nice for him. In the stockades today we had one wild bull who came to visit. He drank water and left. We also had Olare and Mutara’s herds. They came running in very thirsty and had some water from the water troughs, and then they started playing around, obviously relieved and more at ease since they had a drink. Kibo was play-mounting on a wild female who was with them. Kibo also started play fighting with Tumaren and they were communicating with each other in deep rumbling tones. Kainuk over on the other side was playing with Bongo and finally Naisula was play fighting with Suguta.

27 June 2018

The sky was clear in the morning and this was an indication of a hot day a head. The senior ex-orphans Galana, Nasalot, Lualeni, Loijuk and a hot-tempered wild female elephant in the company of Olare, Chaimu and Makireti’s groups showed up early in the morning before the orphans were let out. As soon as the orphans were let out, the ex-orphans joined them to feed on lucerne. Baby Nusu and baby Gawa had great fun as they enjoyed playing with Esampu, Mundusi and Mteto who are only slightly older than them. Mundusi, Mteto and Esampu who have completely settled in appeared to enjoy every moment they shared with the wild born babies Nusu and Gawa. An hour later, the ex-orphans parted ways with the juniors. The rebels, Kithaka, Laragai, Barsilinga, Garzi, Lemoyian and Sirimon left with the ex-orphans while the dependent orphans headed to Kone area where they settled to browse. Karisa and Oltaiyoni took a break from feeding to participate in a game of scratching against the nearby trees, while Mundusi, Mteto and Esampu had a light game of soil dusting. Shortly before eleven o'clock in the morning, the temperature rose high, prompting Esampu, Naseku, Karisa and Sapalan to seek shelter under a tree as they looked forward to a nice cooling swim at mud bath time. At eleven o'clock in the morning, the orphans met with the ex-orphans at mud bath and enjoyed wallowing followed by a soil dusting exercise. Later on, the groups again parted ways only to meet again at the stockade in the evening. The dry season is now fast approaching, water holes are drying up and we are sure the ex-orphans will be around now until the next rainy season. We are sure that soon those ex-orphans we have not seen for a while and wild elephants will start to turn up soon for water.

28 June 2018

Nasalot, Zurura, Loijuk, Ishanga, Bongo, Galana, baby Gawa, Nusu, Lualeni in the company of Olare, Makireti and Mutara’s groups joined the juniors for lucerne early in the morning when they were let out. Gawa challenged Rapa, who wasn't in the mood for playing pushing games and so pushed Gawa away. The little rascal Gawa then decided to walk over and challenge poor Enkikwe; simply because she thought Enkikwe had a bad leg and wouldn’t be able to defeat her. Enkikwe couldn't entertain such nonsense from this small calf as he saw it as an act of disrespect towards her seniors. Enkikwe smacked Gawa using his trunk! Gawa didn’t wait around to be smacked again and so ran away to join her mum. We watched Galla challenge Kibo, but he ended up losing the pushing game to Kibo as Melia and Olare enjoyed a game of rolling on the ground. Shortly later, Maramoja led the way to the browsing field. Galana, who understood the importance of providing milk for her baby Gawa, carried a whole bale of lucerne stacked in between her trunk and tusks, which she continued to feed on as she slowly wandered off back into the Park. Galana is a good mother and knows that a time is fast approaching when her friends and herd members will regret ever playing around with the lucerne. The orphans settled to browse in Kone area as the ex-orphans left to go back out and browse. The afternoon was hot and the orphans tried to browse and feed under trees with good shade. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Mutara’s group and they all enjoyed swimming to cool off. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in Kanziku area up to five o'clock in the evening when Maramoja led the first group back to the stockades.

29 June 2018

Mutara’s herd reported shortly up after the orphans were let out. Suguta walked to where Enkikwe was feeding on lucerne and with the use of her trunk, tried to touch Enkikwe's wound to find out how the boys healing process was going. Suguta herself understood the feeling when one is injured since herself has been a victim. Some years ago she was shot by an arrow and received injuries that made her return back to the stockades to nurse the wounds for a six good months. We thought perhaps Suguta was giving Enkikwe hope and wished him a quick recovery. Kauro settled to scratch his buttocks on the wall while Tusuja picked up a piece of stick that he used to scratch his chest with. While they were browsing, Karisa had a light moment of fun by engaging Namalok in a pushing game. Later, the orphans were joined by few ex-orphans where Tusuja took the opportunity to test his strength by engaging Ololoo in a pushing game. At mud bath time, Lualeni, Sidai, Ololoo, Kitirua, Tumaren, Melia, Kandecha, Chemi Chemi, Kalama, Orwa, Bomani, Kibo and Naisula escorted the juniors for their eleven o'clock milk bottles, and thereafter mud bathed and soil dusted. In the afternoon, the herd settled to browse on the western side of Ithumba Hill, and the ex-orphans parted ways shortly before evening.

30 June 2018

It was a quiet morning with a clear sky when the orphans were let out. No single wild elephant or former orphans showed up that morning. Namalok settled for a scratching game on the nearby rocks, a game that also attracted Rapa, Kauro, Esampu and Roi. As soon as the orphans had enough lucerne, Maramoja, who has all the characteristics of becoming a future matriarch, rumbled as she walked out southwards. This was a sign of letting everyone know that it was time to head for browsing before it got too hot. Out in the field, the orphans were joined by Orwa and Bomani who were wondering when the time will come for Laragai and her small group to join them out in the wild so that they might have some company and grow their herd. Galla seized the opportunity to have a strength testing exercise with Bomani. Their game didn't last for long as Orwa warned them by taking too much time playing it would cost them time feeding, and they needed to get enough food to eat. At mud bath time, the orphans had a spectacular wallowing session and later, Siangiki and Olsekki took their friend Enkikwe to drink water and thereafter escorted him slowly back out to browse. Galla developed an itchy chest and looking around he couldn't find a suitable rock or tree to serve him. He then picked a stick that he used to scratch himself with, and when he was satisfied he went back to browsing. Kauro and Wanjala settled under a tree to relax and when they got bored of standing under the tree, the two boys decided to keep themselves busy by scratching against the tree as they waited for the temperatures to drop. Kamok and Roi, who came together from Nairobi, embraced the spirit of sharing when they teamed up to feed on the same shrub. Maramoja spend time feeding with Esampu as Mundusi always sticks with his friend good friend Mteto. In the evening, four wild bulls in the company of the senior ex-orphans showed up at the stockade and left immediately after having enough water.