Voi was blessed with better rains that other parts of the Park, including Ithumba. The vegetation around Msinga Hill was lush and green in June which is why it is a good time to move some of our Nursery babies who are ready to graduate.
The morning was peaceful with the milk dependent orphans running out of their stockades amid some light rain and gulping down their delicious milk bottles. The younger milk dependent babies then joined their friends from Kenia's older herd at the Lucerne pellet feeding area. When they had all had their fill they all left for the browsing grounds.
They walked north through a strip of acacia tortilis trees to an area of rocks and small bushes, settling half way up Msinga Hill. The orphan elephants spent the morning browsing on the green vegetation that was still abundant following the recent rains. They made browsing their priority, stopping for their noon milk feed at the foot of Msinga Hill before resuming with their browsing activities. They were all completely relaxed and settled in browsing in this area.
In the afternoon, Naipoki took a break from browsing to engage Tundani in a play fighting match while Bada did the same with Mashariki. The four had to end their games in order to follow their friends back to the stockades for the night.
It was drizzling during the early morning hours of the day. The elephant orphans had their milk and supplement food before engaging in some games around the stockade compound. Suswa had a scratching session against a big rock while Kenia lay on a pile of red earth and rolled around playing while Nguvu and Araba watched.
Ishaq-B thought of having a bath at the stockade water hole but decided against it due to the cold temperature of the water, choosing instead to lie on the loose soil at the edge of the waterhole. Godoma went and stood close by watching, but did not join Ishaq-B. Lentili enjoyed scratching her body against one of the stockade terraces while Panda scratched against a tree in the stockade compound.
The orphans left the stockade under Mbegu and Godoma’s leadership. The group settled to browse on the western side of Msinga Hill. Rorogoi enjoyed browsing while anchoring herself against a big rock while Kihari manoeuvred between the rocks while browsing on the lush green grass she found between the rocks.
The day began with Ngilai, Ndotto and Godoma running as fast as they could out of their stockade for their morning milk bottles which they downed in a matter of seconds. Following the milk feed the orphans converged at the supplement feeding area when they enjoyed the Lucerne pellets that had been put out for them. Once the feeding was over Kenia and Embu enjoyed playing rolling games on the red earth piles. They lay side by side while Kenia’s adopted baby Araba opted for a scratching game against the stockade terrace. Murit took the opportunity to engage Araba in a play fighting game while Panda scratched against a big rock where she was joined by her friends who also wanted a turn.
While out browsing, Ngilai and Ndotto played in a deep depression at the northern foot of Msinga Hill. Murit came and pushed Ngilai's bottom with his sharp little tusks, interfering in the game the two were enjoying. The orphan herd visited the baobab tree water hole for their milk and a drink of water but did not wallow as it was too cold to do so. The rest of the days browsing activities took place close to the waterhole.
The mood was good as the Keepers and orphans waited for the new orphans to arrive from the Nairobi Nursery. The Voi orphans sensed that something important was going to happen and hung around the stockade compound following the morning’s milk and supplement feeding. They settled to browse south of Msinga Hill close to the stockade. They became even more intrigued about what was happening when the milk dependent orphans were brought back to the stockade for their milk feed which took place shortly before the three new arrivals Tagwa, Sagala and Emoli came.
The translocation lorry carrying the three Nursery babies from Nairobi drove into the compound, and Emoli, Tagwa and Sagala enjoyed a milk feed once they were offloaded, after which Mbegu’s herd came to greet them. Ndotto went and tried to get some of Emoli’s milk and Emoli ran away as he was still unsure who all these elephants around them were. There was a warm and wonderful greeting session though Mbegu was a little reserved in order to give the members of her herd the opportunity to interact with the new arrivals. The new arrivals and Mbegu’s herd settled to enjoy some Lucerne pellets as Kenia’s herd approached to greet the new babies. Ngilai targeted Tagwa, attempting to climb on her back, which the Keepers stopped him from doing. Arruba and Embu were quite excited and jumped into the stockade water hole to show off their games to the new arrivals.
The entire group visited the baobab tree water hole that afternoon where they had a partial mud bath. A wild elephant herd came for a drink but shied away upon seeing the Keepers close to the water hole. The Keepers backed away to allow the wild elephant herd to come for their drink, with Emoli, Tagwa and Sagala joining the Keepers. The weather was cloudy and the three did not have to deal with the hot dry weather usually associated with Tsavo, which is one of the reasons why we choose to move the Nursery babies to Tsavo after the rains.
The new arrivals from the Nairobi nursery, Emoli, Sagala and Tagwa, experienced their first night in the more open stockades of the Reintegration Units last night, and they seemed to be missing their Nairobi stockades as they were heard to yell out a couple of times in the night.
In the morning they walked out of their stockade for their morning milk bottle. After the milk and Lucerne pellet feeding, Kenia rolled on the ground to showcase her games to the new arrivals. Tahri took the opportunity to climb onto Kenia’s stomach, bringing an end to her game. Arruba enjoyed an early dust bath on the red earth piles, while Mashariki played at the edge of the water hole. Nelion joined Arruba for the dust bath as did Tahri, Kihari and Panda.
Sagala chose to stick close to Tagwa, with Arruba coming over to greet them, and shortly after the entire group walked out to the bush to browse for the day. At midday, the orphans returned to the stockade compound for a drink and wallow, as there was a pride of more than ten lions feeding on a zebra near the baobab tree water hole where the orphans normally have their noon milk feed. Arruba, Mashariki and Embu had a wonderful mud bath in the stockade water hole before enjoying a dust bath. As they exited the water, Mbirikani also walked in for a swim.
The stockade dependent orphans came out of their stockades for their morning milk bottle and Lucerne pellet feeding, after which they played around the stockade compound for a bit. The stockade games culminated with Ndii enjoying a long scratching session against the big rock in the stockade compound while Rorogoi and many others waited impatiently for her to finish so that they could have a turn. Godoma tried to get Ndii to leave by charging at her while trumpeting loudly, but Ndii would not budge. Ndii stayed put for a long time, with Godoma choosing an alternative game of lying and dust bathing close to the rock. Murit and Ndotto enjoyed a brief play fighting game before joining their friends as they made their way to the browsing fields.
Tagwa is getting on well with the Voi orphans and moved a few meters ahead of the rest. She soon noticed that she was on her own and rumbled to the others to pick up the pace and join her. Sagala and Emoli were still glued to each other’s’ side.
The weather was very cloudy and cold until 2pm when then sun came out, which had the orphans seeking refuge under the trees for shade. Rorogoi went under a small tree with Nelion, Ngilai with Ndotto while Lentili stayed with Tahri. The rest of the afternoon was spent browsing until it was time to return to the stockades for the night.
The orphans exited their stockades in a happy moon ready to begin another day. They became engaged in various games around the stockade compound with Embu and Suswa quenching their thirst at the stockade compound, where they were joined by Kihari and Ishaq-B. Sagala enjoyed a dust bath until Ndii came to join her. Ishaq-B was enjoying some green leaves from a tree in the stockade compound while Godoma and Lasayen enjoyed a morning greeting, entwining their trunks while rumbling to one another.
With the arrival of Emoli, Tagwa and Sagala, Ndotto and Ngilai were moved to an empty stockade so that the three newcomers could sleep with Mbegu, Godoma, Murit and Tahri. While out browsing, Murit kept himself busy by putting his trunk into the hole of a tree trunk to investigate its contents.
The orphans had their noon milk feed close to the baobab tree waterhole. Nelion tried to have a mud bath but soon decided against it when he felt how cold the water was. Lasayen has become rather attached to Emoli. Today we watched him patting and stroking him with his trunk before continuing with his browsing activities.
The stockade dependent orphan elephants enjoyed playing around the stockade compound following the milk and supplement feeding. The morning’s games consisted of scratching session with Kihari being the first to settle at one of the orphan’s favourite rocks before giving Nelion a turn, while Suswa enjoyed rubbing up against a big rock close to the stockade water hole. Nelion, Mashariki and Mudanda then enjoyed a dust bath on the red earth piles, tossing huge chunks of soil into the air creating dust clouds.
Tagwa, Emoli and Sagala followed the Keepers to the browsing fields where the orphan herd settled to browse on the northern foot of Msinga Hill. They also had their noon milk feed there as it was too cold to visit the water hole. In the late afternoon there was a play fighting game between Lasayen and Mbegu. The game was highly charged and filled with excitement as the other orphans watched the two playing, with Mbegu being cheered on by her six member herd.
The morning began with the milk dependent orphans coming out of the stockades in groups of seven for their morning milk bottles which they downed in a matter of minutes. The arrival of Emoli, Tagwa and Sagala does not seem to have changed the dynamics of the Voi herd, as Kenia and Ndii remain with their adopted babies Tahri and Araba, while Mbegu has stuck with Godoma and not shown much interest in the new babies.
The orphan herd walked to the browsing fields in small groups with Emoli, Sagala and Tagwa browsing close to the Keepers. They visited the baobab tree water hole after the milk feed and had a drink from the water trough. Arruba, Rorogoi, Bada and Embu then unexpectedly jumped into the mud bath for a wallow. The water was cold and the others stayed away from the wallow not wanting to be splashed by any cold water. Suswa splashed some water on herself before lying on the ground to try and extract some warmth from the soil. Nelion engaged Araba in a strength testing pushing game after which Emoli and Tagwa led the orphans back to the stockades for the night.
The orphans came running out of the stockades and grabbed their bottles which they quickly emptied. The milk dependent orphans then joined their older friends in Kenia’s herd at the Lucerne pellet feeding area, after which Mbegu led the herd to the browsing grounds.
After four hours of serious browsing, Suswa interacted with Godoma, a situation that seemed to upset Arruba who came in to separate the two by suckling on Godoma’s ears. The orphans visit the water hole after the noon milk feed. A wild elephant herd came to join the orphans but stopped a short distance away upon seeing the Keepers. Arruba, Nelion and Rorogoi ran towards them to assure them that everything was okay and the Keepers moved back which seemed to satisfy them that there was nothing to worry about and came for a drink. The orphans interacted with them for a while, after which the wild herd left, with Naipoki following them for a short while before returning to re-join the orphan herd.
In the evening a wild elephant herd came to drink from the stockade water trough. Sagala, Emoli and Tagwa ran past them, ignoring them in an effort to get to their milk bottles which had been put down for them by the Keepers who were patiently waiting to feed their charges.
It was a bright and sunny morning as the elephant orphans began their day with the milk and supplement feeding. Mashariki enjoyed a scratching session as she rubbed her neck against a big rock close to the stockade waterhole.
The orphans spent the morning browsing peacefully before coming for their noon milk feed in groups of seven. They downed their milk and joined Kenia’s herd which was quickly making its way to the baobab waterhole in an effort to join up with a wild elephant herd drinking water there. The wild herd nearly ran off, unsure as to why the orphans were running, but when they saw that all they wanted was to join them for a drink they quickly calmed down. Little Emoli went to join the wild elephants but Murit and Ndotto brought him back.
Later in the afternoon Nelion joined a small wild elephant family. He enjoyed a play fighting game with a wild friend before re-joining the orphan herd where he engaged Murit in a strength testing pushing game.
After the morning milk feed at the stockade compound the orphans enjoyed the Lucerne pellet feeding before walking to the browsing grounds. Lentili was in the lead but was later overtaken by Nguvu, Embu and Mudanda who made their way to the foot of Msinga Hill to browse. They spent the day feeding and enjoying a drink of water from the caves, choosing not to visit the water hole.
They came down hill for their milk feed in the afternoon which they had on the western foot of Msinga Hill after which Kenia, Panda, Ishaq-B, Lasayen, Murit and Ndotto took a break from browsing and relaxed under an acacia tree.
In the later afternoon a wild elephant bull came to browse a few yards from the orphan herd. Murit joined him for a while, browsing alongside the bull before re-joining his friends. Panda and Kihari enjoyed a private browsing session away from the rest and everyone concentrated on browsing until it was time to return to the stockades for the night.
The supplement feeding took place after the milk feed as usual this morning. Tundani and Mashariki then started a play fighting match. They both held their heads high, with their ears spread, ramming one another with the broad part of their head. Mashariki soon got agitated and rammed Tundani quite hard which resulted in Tundani walking away from her. Suswa had early morning dust bath, lying and rolling around on the red earth pile while Mbirikani and Mudanda quenched their thirst at the stockade water hole. The scratching sessions against the favourite rock at the stockade compound was taking place with Emoli getting their first followed by Ndii, Bada and finally Kenia.
Once at the browsing grounds the orphans settled to browse half way up the eastern side of Msinga Hill and remained there until it was time to visit the baobab tree water hole. Embu, Arruba and Bada seem to love the water at the moment, and plunged right in, rolling around like mud fish while their friends sprayed themselves with the water while standing at the edge of the water hole. When Bada was done wallowing he enjoyed scratching his bottom against the baobab tree.
It was a calm and peaceful morning as the stockade dependent orphan elephants had their milk and Lucerne pellet feeding before heading out to the bush. Kenia decided not to break the habit of playing around the stockade in the morning and lay on the ground basking in the sunshine. Murit then got Kenia to join him for a scratching session against a rock where they two were joined by Panda, while Ngilai rubbed his bottom against one of the stockade terraces. The four then picked up the pace to join their friends who were making their way out to the bush.
The weather was cloudy and cold as the orphans concentrated on their browsing activities. In the afternoon, Murit and Ndotto took a break from browsing to play a strength testing game, with Ndotto climbing a flat rock, taking the advantage of the added height against his opponent.
In the afternoon, Panda, Nelion and Lentili followed a wild elephant herd that was headed to the Mzima spring-Mombasa water pipe line for a drink. The three later came back to join the orphan herd who were getting ready to return to the safety of the stockades.
The orphans came running out of their stockades for their early morning milk feed before moving to the Lucerne pellet feeding area. There were some brief games with Murit waiting his turn for a rock scratching session which was being hogged by Bada, who had anchored his bottom against the rock. Murit had to give up waiting as his friends began the walk to the bush.
The orphans spent the morning browsing at the foot of Msinga Hill until midday, when they visited the baobab tree water hole. After the milk feed Ndii tried to get everyone to join her for a mud bath, which they were all reluctant to do as even though the sun was shining there was a cold wind blowing. Embu surprised everyone however by plunging into the water to play, rolling around splashing herself with water. Once she was done Mbirikani had a turn as did Bada who entered the water as the orphans were leaving to resume their browsing activities.
When Bada was done bathing, he came out of the water to greet a wild elephant herd that was coming for a drink, before rushing off to re-join the orphan herd who were busy browsing.
It was an early beginning to the day as the elephants exited their stockade in a happy mood ready for their milk bottle and Lucerne pellet supplements. There were the usual fun and games around the stockade compound with Suswa and Embu playing on the red earth piles, rolling around and throwing up dust into the air, while Ndotto scratched against a rock close to the dust bath. Panda saw the fun the three were having and came running over to join them, going to the top of the earth piles to display her talents. Embu saw that Ndotto was done at the rock and went to enjoy a scratching session while Lasayen climbed up a stockade terrace.
Tagwa took the lead of the orphan herd to the browsing fields and they settled half way up the western side of Msinga Hill with a lovely view of the baobab tree water hole which they visited in the afternoon, with Murit poking his trunk into a hole in a tree in search of some drinking water. The orphans had a quick bath with Mbirikani taking centre stage as she showcased her wallowing abilities. Kihari lay against a tree close to the water to play with Godoma before joining the rest of the group as they returned to browse for the rest of the day.
After the morning milk feed, the orphans left the stockade compound and made their way up southern side of Msinga Hill above the office to browse. Lasayen was happy to have the opportunity to interact with Godoma as the two communicated with some friendly trunk touching. They browsed for an hour before Mashariki and Tundani led the group to the northern side of Msinga Hill.
When it was time for the midday milk feed, Tagwa, Sagala, Emoli, Tahri, Lasayen and Araba were the first to arrive for their milk bottle. The orphans then made their way to the baobab tree water hole for a mud bath where they all had fun playing in the water before dust bathing on the red earth piles, after which they resumed their browsing activities.
This morning the orphans enjoyed playing around the stockade compound after the milk and supplement feeding. Ndoria, who is becoming more and more independent, headed out this morning in a different direction to the rest of the orphan herd, joining them much later on the northern foot of Msinga Hill and following them to the baobab tree waterhole for a mud bath following the noon milk feed.
There was a wild elephant herd drinking water from the water trough and the orphans chose to forgo the mud bath for the opportunity to interact with some wild friends. Mudanda and Kenia engaged a wild elephant age-mate in a friendly play fighting game while Arruba kept herself busy trying to steal a wild calf away from the wild herd. One of the calf’s sisters became aggressive towards Arruba and managed to put an end to her plans by getting the wild herd to leave the waterhole which signalled the beginning of the orphan’s afternoon browsing session.
The stockade dependent orphans left the stockade compound as soon as the mornings milk and supplement feeding was over. As they browsed their way to the eastern side of Msinga Hill, Ishaq-B and Kihari noticed the presence of Mbirikani high up on the hill where she had spent last night browsing. The two went to join Mbirikani, staying with her even when the rest of the orphan herd made their way to the waterhole.
The weather was quite cold and the orphans concentrated on drinking water at the water trough. A wild cow that had visited the water trough for a drink earlier was now resting under a nearby acacia tree and came to join the orphan herd when she saw them arrive at the waterhole.
Kihari and Ishaq-B did not return to the stockades tonight choosing to spend the entire night atop Msinga Hill with their friend Mbirikani.
The morning began with the milk dependent orphans enjoying their milk bottles before joining the older members of the Voi herd at the supplement feeding area to feed on some green Lucerne grass that had been put out for them. Araba and Tagwa were seen in deep communication with their heads and trunks touching. When Sagala saw the two she made her way over to join them.
Kihari, Ishaq-B and Panda came to join their friends for the Lucerne grass feeding before following Mbegu and Godoma to the browsing grounds. They slowly browsed their way to the baobab tree water hole arriving there at noon. There was lots of fun and games in the waterhole after which Kihari escorted Emoli to greet a wild elephant herd that was having drink from the baobab tree water hole.
Emoli had a lovely time interacting with a little wild calf while Kihari watched. Sagala came to join the two interacting with the wild herd. The two groups parted ways as the orphan herd returned to the browsing fields for the rest of the day.
It was another wonderful morning as the milk dependent orphans gulped down their usual morning milk before assembling at the Lucerne pellet feeding tray after which they enjoyed the fresh green Lucerne grass.
The orphans then headed straight out to browse, skipping the routine games around the stockade compound. Today Mbegu stuck close to Tahri, making it difficult for Ndii and Kenia to interact with the youngster. The milk dependent orphans visited the baobab tree waterhole briefly having their milk and a quick drink before re-joining their older friends in the Voi herd who had stayed away from the waterhole, choosing to continue browsing as it was too cold for a mud bath.
Rorogoi dug up some loose soil and lay down on it in an effort to try and extract as much warmth as she could from the earth. Ndotto engaged Mbegu in a strength testing game in an effort to ascertain who was stronger. Ngilai and Murit enjoyed a unique play fighting game while anchored against a big rock boulder at the foot of Msinga Hill. Lasayen saw the fun the two were having and went to join them but by the time he got there they had finished playing and he chose to enjoy a scratching session against the rock instead.
It was a happy morning as the orphan elephants assembled as they came out of their stockades for their morning milk bottle before joining their older friends at the Lucerne pellet feeding area. Emoli has integrated very well with the older Voi orphans, unlike Tagwa who often expresses her frustration at not settling in as easily by head butting Emoli, with the Keepers having to intervene to keep the peace.
The orphans left for the field soon after the milk and supplement feeding was over. Lentili and Mashariki were in the lead and took the orphans up the western side of Msinga Hill to browse on the abundant green, lush vegetation that they found there.
At noon the orphans had their noon milk feed before visiting the baobab tree water hole where they had a quick bath. Arruba and Nelion went into the water to wallow but their friends just sprayed themselves, finding the water too cold for a full on bath. After the orphans had left the waterhole a herd of wild elephants was seen coming for a drink of water.
The earliest caller to the stockade compound today was Tawi, the stockade-raised eland, who came in at 6am, without his friend Oltukai the ex-orphan buffalo. Later in the evening the Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit team on a normal patrol saw Oltukai, among some wild elephants, drinking from the Ngutuni water hole.
There were only a few quick games around the stockade this morning before the elephant orphans made their way to the northern side of the stockade for the mornings browsing session. They visited the baobab tree waterhole in the afternoon with Arruba and Nelion being the first to enter the water, despite it being overcast, and trying to entice their friends to join them. There was a brief bath before they all moved on to the red earth piles for a dust bath, which also gives them warmth. Tahri became the centre of attention as she lay in the middle of the soil pile and rolled around. Lasayen came to challenge her while Ngilai watched. Mbegu, Emoli, Tagwa and Panda also came to join the two. The afternoon was spent browsing close to the waterhole until it was time to return home for the night.
There was lots of fun and games in the stockade compound this morning following the milk and supplement feeding. The games varied from scratching sessions to soil bathing and climbing the stockade terraces. Once out in the bush browsing, the orphans settle to feed on the northern side of the stockade while slowly making their way to the baobab tree waterhole, which they arrived at in the early afternoon.
The milk dependent orphans where the first to arrive in groups of six with Tagwa, Emoli, Sagala, Tahri, Godoma and Mbegu coming in first with the rest of their friends running in later. They then proceeded to the water hole where they found a wild elephant herd busy soil bathing on the red earth piles. Lentili mischievously stepped into the water trough for a drink after which the orphans interacted with the wild herd, with a second wild group coming to join them after they had a drink of water.
Panda had a wonderful time play fighting with a wild friend while Emoli teamed up with Tahri to tackle two wild elephant calves who also united to take them on. A few minutes later an older wild elephant calf took Tahri aside, leaving Emoli, and the two wild calves that they had been playing with, to watch their interaction. Bada separated his wild play-mate from the rest of the herd, securing a neutral ground for their play-fight which lasted for about half an hour, after which Bada re-joined the orphan herd.
There was a big congregation of the stockade dependent orphan elephants at the milk feeding and Lucerne pellet feeding areas. Naipoki and Lentili were in a playful mood as they scratched against the favourite rock in the stockade compound making sure to give one another room to enjoy the scratching session. Lentili then went for a dust bath, showcasing her skills in an effort to get some of the other orphans to join her. Sadly none of them did as they now all seemed intent on leaving for the browsing grounds which brought Lentili’s game to a grinding halt as she rushed to join them.
The orphans spent a lovely morning browsing before they made their way to the waterhole where they joined a wild elephant herd having a drink from the water trough. Arruba and Nelion both engaged wild friends in a play-fighting strength testing game, while Ndotto engaged Emoli in an effort to teach him some play fighting tips, after which he did the same with Ishaq-B.
The orphans then left the waterhole to return to the browsing fields leaving Nelion with the wild herd. Nelion re-joined the orphan herd about an hour later, returning with them to the stockades in the evening.
The eland Tawi continues to remain around the stockades, feeding and sleeping in his usual stockade at night.
It was another wonderful beginning to the day as the orphans played around the stockade compound following the milk and supplement feeding. Kenia lent against a big rock close to the stockade water trough where she relaxed and closed her eyes. Araba went for a scratching session against the ‘favourite’ rock, followed by Nguvu and Ishaq-B. Lasayen was being impatient and did not want to wait his turn, so he came over and squeezed in next to Ishaq-B. When they had all left, Lentili went over to the rock for a turn, followed by Naipoki. Suswa engaged Ndotto in a strength testing game. Murit and Ngilai were engaged in their own pushing game close to the stockade water trough. Kihari and Rorogoi rolled around on the red earth piles where they soon relaxed and lay with their heads touching.
At the waterhole later in the day, the orphans were joined by a wild elephant herd that came for a drink. The orphan herd became a little uncomfortable when the two groups were joined by a very big wild elephant bull that had them quickly moving away so that they could quietly watch him from a distance. The wild bull kept following the orphans in an effort to assure them that he was not a threat to him. When he saw that they were not at all comfortable and kept avoiding him, he moved away, leaving them to return to browsing fields.
There was then only a short playing session in the stockade compound today before the orphans chose to head out to the bush to browse. Lasayen attempted to have an early morning bath in the stockade water hole, but only partially plunged his hind quarter into the water, with Mbegu coming over to offer some security for him while he sat in that vulnerable position where any of the bulls would chose to start a pushing game. As expected, Ndotto saw Lasayen and broke through the security detail, but Lasayen got up and out of the water trough so Ndotto could not start a pushing game.
The orphans visited the baobab tree water hole that afternoon. As they arrived they found the Voi Unit water bowser topping up the water trough, as many wild elephants preceding them and had finished all the water. As the orphans waited for water, another very thirsty wild elephant herd joined them, not even minding the Keepers present in the driver’s cabin of the water bowser. Mbirikani was at the front of that wild elephant herd, who she must have spent the night browsing with. The orphans then followed that wild elephant herd for a few miles, with more and more wild elephant herds streaming in to drink from the baobab tree water hole behind them.
It was another wonderful beginning to the day with the stockade dependent orphans finishing their morning milk bottles in a matter of seconds, before going to enjoy some fresh Lucerne grass. Ngilai picked up a trunk full of the Lucerne grass and rubbed it against Tagwa’s bottom which annoyed her. She was embarrassed, and shifted her feeding area away from him. Ngilai was obviously in a playful mood, as he then lay down and started a rolling game, but none of his friends decided to join him. He got up and went to see if Murit would be interested in a pushing game with him, but Murit also ignored him to go and scratch against a rock instead.
The orphans browsed peacefully on the lower northern area of Msinga Hill, visiting the baobab tree water hole after having their noon milk bottles. Soon after they left the water hole, many wild elephant herds arrived and drank water there, in the company of a very big wild elephant bull who was very impressive.
It was a bright morning with the milk dependent orphans coming running out of their stockades as the gates of their stockades were opened in the morning. They ran to where their milk bottles were and gulped down their bottles as fast as they could. The orphans then left under the leadership of Mbegu and Tagwa to settle on the western foot of Msinga Hill to browse, without enjoying many games in the compound this morning.
It was a serious browsing business all morning, before the orphans went to have their milk bottles close to the baobab tree water hole. They had some water from the water trough after their milk, but didn’t wallow in the water as there was a cool breeze blowing at that moment in time.
Soon after orphans left the water hole, a big wild elephant herd approached to drink water. They first lifted their trunks to sniff the orphans and salute them, before they started to drink. The orphans were in awe of a big wild elephant bull they encountered, who was browsing alone. Mashariki joined the big bull and enjoyed browsing with him for ten minutes or so, before going back to join her orphan elephant family.
Mbegu went early this morning to take up position against the favourite ‘rubbing’ rock, well in advance of her friends even thinking about scratching this morning. Ngilai was comfortably rubbing on one of the stockade terrace walls, while Nelion chose a small rock to satisfy his itch.
The long awaited walk to the bush began in earnest with Lentili enjoying the lead role today.
After noon milk feeding close to the baobab tree water hole, the orphan elephants joined a wild elephant herd drinking water there. One wild elephant calf came forward to welcome Ndotto, Lasayen and Murit into their herd, but had to pay that price in a wrestling match first. The orphans were a bit shy with the wild elephant herd today and refrained from interacting with them fully. Ndotto used his confidence and successfully touched trunks with a tiny wild elephant calf. The wild herd then left after having their fill of water, and the orphans left the water hole about twenty minutes after that to continue browsing.