Keepers' Diaries, June 2021

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

At Ithumba, the stockades are divided into five ‘classes’ by age. Many of the oldest orphans in ‘Class Five’ are finding the courage to explore further afield without the reassuring presence of the Keepers. Mutara’s wild-living herd has been a catalyst for this development. While they come to spend time with their beloved Dololo, they also happily chaperone the Class Five orphans as they explore their independence.

01 June 2021

Maisha and Nabulu settled to feed on lucerne with their new friends at Ithumba. At least now they are beginning to like the lucerne, but they feed at a distance from the others to avoid being pushed by the seniors. Maisha was the matriarch in the Nursery but here she is one of the babies in the herd, and it has been an adjustment for her. We know when others graduate to Ithumba in the future, she will certainly take them under her wing, and care for them just like Roi, Maramoja and Kamok do now, to those younger than themselves. Nabulu is quite calm and intermingles freely with any one and has settled in very well. 

Siangiki, Oltaiyoni and Galla settled to share a pile of lucerne as the two girls tried to convince Galla to join their older class and perhaps Galla might be interested to graduate to this older group soon, as he too is starting to like exploring his independence.

Out in the bush, Barsilinga, Tusuja and Olsekki parted ways with their friends and decided to go on their own way. At around ten o'clock in the morning, wild-living orphan Orwa, in the company of a wild herd, showed up at the stockades and left later with the same group after drinking enough water. 

At mud bath time the orphans got into the water but only Nabulu, Esampu and Karisa fully participated in the wallowing exercise. The others just splashed themselves and then walked to the big soil mounds to dry themselves off, escorted by Mutara’s herd. Mutara’s herd then left and the dependent orphans carried on browsing. In the afternoon the clouds cleared and it turned quite hot, so the orphans took a break from feeding to relax under a tree. Musiara challenged Mundusi but their game was cut short by Kauro who pushed the two boys away. 

02 June 2021

A wild bull joined the orphans and Mutara’s herd group for lucerne in the morning. Olsekki, one of the biggest dependent bulls who is in his final class, decided to confront the wild elephant, but the wild elephant wasn’t bothered at all since he knew that Olsekki was just a boy trying to show off. When Olsekki received no response or any reaction from the wild elephant, he decided to go down to the water trough and join Barsilinga and Karisa to drink water. 

Shortly later, the orphans in the company of Mutara’s herd headed out to browse. At mud bath time, though the sun was shining, the orphans totally refused to go into the water. There was a cool breeze blowing that prevented them from doing so. Maisha and Nabulu were given water in their bottles since they couldn't compete with their older friends to access to water from the water trough. There was a lot of pushing and jostling and the new babies were wary of that. Kainuk stood close behind the girls as they were taking their water and placed her trunk on Nabulu’s back. Kainuk seemed to like the fact the two girls were getting their water from the bottles! 

In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse along the western slopes of Ithumba Hill where Sities, Suguta and Turkwel came up with a plan of leaving with Dololo without the Keepers knowledge. Galla, Kamok and Rapa also joined in. Fortunately the Keepers were able to find the girls and Dololo thirty minutes later after the other orphans had gone back to the stockades. The Keepers brought the whole naughty group back to the stockade. Dololo, Kamok, Rapa and Wanjala were allowed into the stockades while Sities, Suguta and Turkwel remained outside. Later, two herds of wild elephants showed up at the stockade for water. One family herd joined the ex orphans to feed on lucerne after drinking at the water troughs. 

03 June 2021

Ambo stood at the gate and tried to block Dololo from coming out this morning. Dololo wondered whether Ambo might dare to do such a thing when his adopted older sisters Suguta, Turkwel and Sities were around! Dololo just stood there smiling at Ambo and it seems Ambo suddenly thought wiser of his actions, and turned to let Dololo pass to prevent him from rumbling or yelling out, which would surely bring the older girls running to see what was upsetting their favourite boy. 

Out in the bush, Galla played with Mapia and the game came to an end when Galla attempted to climb on Mapia. Musiara, who is trying to prove how tough he is these days, engaged Rapa in a fierce fight that almost ended in a draw were it not for Rapa who used his vast experience to narrowly escape defeat by Musiara. Musiara normally walks from place to place very slowly, and you wouldn’t expect such a spirited fight from such a boy who is normally so slow! Musiara is a bull to watch in the near future. 

The orphans visited the Kone dam which is slowly drying up, and managed to play there for a bit in the mud before heading to the main waterhole. The temperature was moderate so the orphans only had some water from the trough after having their milk bottles, before disappearing into the bush again. 

The Keepers changed the direction the orphans were going in, towards an area they preferred for the orphans to browse in, but they were met with some complaints from Dololo's escorts in Mutara’s herd who wanted the orphans to go in another direction which would work to their advantage: to abscond with their favourite Dololo, which is exactly what the Keepers were trying to avoid! Mutara’s herd was left with no choice other than to follow the orphans in the direction the Keepers had chosen, or leave and walk their own way on their own; the escorts chose the former just to make sure they got to spend a little time with their favourite baby. 

In the evening, several wild bulls and a family herd visited the stockade compound for some water, and left later shortly before dark.

04 June 2021

Ambo left the stockade and headed straight out to browse as his friends settled to feast on lucerne. Nabulu and Maisha, who happen to sleep in the same stockade as Ambo, were happy to follow him. These two girls clearly remember him from their Nursery days! The Keepers called Ambo to come back and stop taking the new girls away. Ambo wouldn’t listen to the Keepers however and kept walking straight out to the bush. In the end the Keepers had to run after him and turn him back to join his friends who were eating lucerne. Sattao pointed his trunk at Maisha as if in warning to stop her nonsense of running into the bush and that instead she should join everyone to feed on the lucerne grass too – it is an excellent way to fill one’s tummy before venturing out into the bush. Musiara decided to have fun by sitting and playing on the ground. His game attracted his loyal older friend Maramoja who was accompanied by Barsilinga and Esampu. The three surrounded him until he was through with his game. 

Later the orphans settled to browse in Kone area and had a quiet morning. At mud bath time, the dependent orphans were joined by Tomboi and several wild bulls who are slowly starting to come back to visit the area for water as the dry season creeps in. The orphans didn't have a mud bath as it was too cold, but they did enjoy soil bathing before returning back to the browsing field. Mutara and her herd joined the dependent orphans for the rest of the day. 

05 June 2021

A certain young wild bull who has joined the ex-orphans was present during the lucerne feeding time this morning. This young bull is showing up almost every morning and every evening for the free lucerne. Out in the bush, Tusuja got annoyed with Lemoyian who came to climb on him as he was enjoying rolling on the ground. Tusuja got up and tackled Lemoyian, but the tough Lemoyian didn’t give in, so the two boys continued to fight until Suguta intervened by separating the two boys. Frustrated, Tusuja didn’t want to stick around so he rumbled to call his friend Barsilinga. Barsilinga was enjoying a pushing game with Enkikwe, but quit that game and responded to Tusuja's call. The two boys walked away only to return later in the evening when all the dependent orphans had already settled into their stockades for the night. 

Pare came across a bent tree that he used to scratch his itchy belly on. At mud bath time, though it was quite cool, Maisha, Nabulu, Lemoyian, Kilaguni and Esampu fully enjoyed wallowing in the water before joining their friends in a soil dusting exercise. 

In the afternoon, Ndiwa had her own lone game of rolling on the ground. The rest of the day was quiet and in the evening, ex-orphan Challa reported to the stockade compound, shortly later followed by some wild elephants who also came for a drink of water; this is an indication to us that the dry season is setting in, and sure quite how long it will last. 

06 June 2021

It was a quiet morning. Soon after leaving the stockades and having their lucerne, the dependent orphans teamed up with Mutara’s herd and headed to the Kone area where they settled to browse. 

Enkikwe and Maramoja, who have been promoted to the next class, settled to feed together and had a long conversation. Later, the two parted ways and Maramoja went to look for her favourite Musiara. 

Kilaguni reported early at the mud bath and enjoyed a cooling off exercise before the dependent orphans joined him after having their milk bottles. The drama queen Esampu got into the water and started trumpeting as she ran through the water. Her trumpeting got other orphans excited and they responded by trumpeting as well as they enjoyed a cooling off exercise, and later a soil dusting exercise. 

Sana Sana and Malkia walked and stood under a tree for some time, enjoying a girl to girl talk that ended when they saw Olsekki approaching. Karisa and Malima decided to dig a hole with their feet to make some loose soil, before proceeding to dust themselves. Later, Karisa engaged Ndiwa in light strength testing exercise. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing throughout the remaining part of the day without any major distractions. 

07 June 2021

After setting to eat lucerne, Ambo noticed Kanjoro and went to say hi to him. Ambo tried to engage Kanjoro in conversation, perhaps wondering where he disappears off to before reappearing again. Ambo left Kanjoro and went to join Esampu in feeding on lucerne. 

Out in the bush, Mundusi joined Karisa to browse but a short while later the Keepers noticed they were disagreeing over something, and they began a pushing game to settle their differences. 

At mud bath time, Maisha and Nabulu were in the first group and soon after having their milk, the two girls headed straight to cool-off in the mud bath. The rest of the group joined later, and then they all enjoyed a soil bath to dry off before heading back out to browse. 

Barsilinga, Tusuja, Olsekki, Kithaka, Garzi and a wild elephant showed up later at the mud bath. In the afternoon, Galla and Siangiki parted ways with the juniors only to show up later at the stockades, shortly before seven in the evening. Ten wild bulls visited the stockade compound for water and later left after having enough of the much needed water. 

08 June 2021

Kilaguni was still sleeping outside the stockades when the dependent orphans were let out. As soon as he heard them coming out, Kilaguni woke up and stood facing the lucerne store in anticipation of a good breakfast. Suguta and her group waited for their Dololo outside the gate, and escorted him for lucerne. Shortly later two groups of wild herds showed up and joined the orphans to feed on lucerne without asking permission from anyone. One of the females had a one month old baby. Interestingly Sities abandoned Dololo and decided to familiarize herself with the small baby, suggesting that she is just happy to be around any small babies! Esampu the drama queen wasn't left out either, but also placed herself in the queue so as to have a glimpse of the baby. When the lucerne finished, the wild herd left. Maisha and Nabulu decided to follow the wild herd since there were babies their size within the group, but the Keepers quickly intervened to make sure that the two girls didn't go with the wild herd. It was a cool morning and the orphans enjoyed their time browsing. 

At mud bath time the orphans had their milk then settled for soil dusting since it was too cold for them to get into the water. Sattao settled to play with Pare but their game was cut short by Wanjala who passed by and pushed Sattao so hard that he cried out. Wanjala was cautioned by the Keepers to stop bullying the small boys. 

In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse east of Ithumba Hill. Rapa, Sana Sana and Wanjala decided to feed far away from the others and when it was time to return to the compound the three couldn’t be found. An hour later the Keepers found them however and they were escorted back to the stockades for the night. 

09 June 2021

Garzi was still sleeping when the orphans were let out but woke up as soon as he heard the footsteps of the dependent orphans coming out. Maisha and Nabulu walked to join class four outside who were lining up for their milk along the wall. The two girls didn’t manage to squeeze themselves into the line however as the members there are strong and pushy. Nabulu and Maisha just stood behind the line with their trunks raised up hoping the Keepers would see them and offer them an extra milk bottle. Class four dispersed soon after having their share of milk, leaving Nabulu and Maisha still waiting to be noticed. When the two realized that no one was taking note of them, they walked and followed the others to feed on lucerne. 

After feeding on lucerne, the orphans left for Kone area where they settled to browse. Malima took a break from feeding to play on the ground and when she had enough, she resumed browsing. 

At mud bath time only Nabulu, Maisha, and Rapa went into the mud bath for a short wallow. The rest just washed their feet then headed for a soil dusting exercise. 

In the afternoon, Kuishi came across an acacia tree and decided to peel off and eat the rest of the loose bark that appeared to have been left behind by a wild elephant. In the evening, Barsilinga, Tusuja, Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe reported back to stockades early to try and get the lion’s share of the lucerne pellets put out for the orphans’ return. No one allowed them in however and they were made to wait for the rest of the group to come back so they could all go in and enjoy the pellets together. 

10 June 2021

After finishing their morning lucerne the orphans left for browsing and settled in the Kone area. The Kone dam has shrunk in the dry weather and is only mud now. Mapia enjoyed rolling in the mud before Jotto came over and ruined his fun by pushing Mapia out. Mapia didn't take this lightly however and he started a pushing match with Jotto. The two boys pushed each other for quite some time before Jotto surrendered and moved to play with Pare. Rapa intervened and separated Jotto and Pare. Shortly later Rapa climbed on Jotto and this led to a fight. Jotto lost to Rapa and moved away to resume browsing. 

Musiara settled to browse with his loving adopted sister Maramoja, while Ambo had a brief strength testing exercise with Sattao that ended in a draw. 

Four wild bulls joined the orphans at the mud bath to drink water. Mundusi was punishment by one of the wild bulls for disrespecting his seniors by being too brazen around them. Mundusi ran away from the water trough to avoid being punished again. 

On the way back out to browse, just like Dololo gets escorted by Sities, Kainuk, Turkwel and Suguta, Ambo was escorted by Naseku and Kamok. The orphans settled to browse east of the Ithumba Hill until five o'clock in the evening when Maisha and Nabulu led the first group back to the stockades. 

11 June 2021

It was a quiet morning today. The orphans headed straight out to browse soon after finishing their lucerne and fed quietly for the entire morning. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by one wild bull. Only Garzi, Nabulu and Maisha wallowed in the water; the others went to the mounds of loose soil to enjoy dusting themselves instead. 

After the mud bathing and soil dusting was over, the herd split into two. Mutara and her team took Roi, Oltaiyoni, Galla, Barsilinga, Tusuja, Olsekki and Siangiki and moved up towards the western slopes of Ithumba Hill, while the younger babies headed east. The class five members who had left with Mutara and her herd came back to the stockade compound of their own accord shortly after seven in the evening; and so begins their slow transition into living a more independent, wild life.

12 June 2021

Ex-orphan Kenze and a wild friend joined the orphans for lucerne in the morning. Olsekki was brave enough to engage the wild bull in conversation for he wanted to know more about life in the wild as that's where he’s heading sooner or later. Olsekki might want to get all the facts before he and his friends make a final decision about when to go wild! Kenze and his friend left as the dependent orphans started to wonder out to browse. 

Out in the bush the orphans encountered two buffaloes that at first scared Nabulu and Maisha. The two girls retreated, allowing the more experienced orphans to move forward and face the buffaloes. Rapa, Mundusi and Galla charged at the buffaloes who decided to take a different route. The three boys felt happy because they thought that they had won by redirecting the buffaloes. Afterwards, Rapa and Mundusi had a strength testing exercise that lasted for quite some time. 

At noon the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to step into the mud bathing water. The orphans and Mutara’s herd participated in a soil dusting exercise instead, before the older orphans left. Again Mutara’s herd headed west in the company of Olsekki, Siangiki, Oltaiyoni, Barsilinga, Tusuja, Galla and Roi, who appear to want to spend more time with the older ex-orphans and perhaps even join their herd. Meanwhile the dependent orphans headed towards Kanziku where they settled to browse for the rest of the day.

13 June 2021

Soon after having their lucerne, Karisa led the way out to browse. Ambo tried to engage Musiara in a strength testing exercise but Musiara appeared to have had no interest in such games. Kuishi intervened and seemed to inform Ambo that Musiara wasn’t interested in any pushing games. Kuishi separated the two boys. Ambo, who had woken up in a jovial mood, walked away swinging his trunk sideways in happiness, seemingly unperturbed that Ambo didn’t want to play with him! Kauro and Mundusi had a disagreement that ended in a play fight. After defeating Mundusi, Kauro went ahead to ride on Mundusi just to show his dominance. Mundusi wasn't happy but there was nothing he could do, other than wait for the day that perhaps he might be strong enough to take on Kauro properly! Pare settled for a strength testing exercise with Jotto and at the end came they seemed to come to some sort of agreement, without one having to win over the other, and thus they parted ways peacefully. The orphans had their milk at eleven o'clock in the morning and thereafter settled for water. Shortly later, eleven wild bulls arrived for water too. The orphans gave way out of respect for the bulls and moved instead for a soil dusting exercise. As the orphans returned back to the browsing field, Roi, Oltaiyoni, Barsilinga, Tusuja, Olsekki and Siangiki remained behind with Mutara’s herd to socialize with the wild bulls. As usual, the team returned back to the stockades later on in their own time.

14 June 2021

Melia, Kibo, Chemi Chemi, Kalama and Kandecha, who had been away for some time, reported in the morning and joined the orphans and Mutara’s herd to feed on lucerne. Jotto took his share of lucerne and walked down to the water trough in order to enjoy feeding without being disturbed. The orphans together with the ex-orphans settled to browse in the Kone area. 

Dololo had the pluck to challenge Sapalan who is a couple of years older than him. Sapalan didn't take this lightly and so turned to tackle the boy. Dololo decided to surrender moments later. Sapalan decided to lecture Dololo and let him know that he should never mistake his politeness for cowardice, and that he wasn’t concerned about the protection from Dololo’s big sisters in Mutara’s herd, he would reprimand him nonetheless!  

At mud bath time only a few orphans, including Nabulu and Maisha, wallowed in the mud bath. In the afternoon, Jotto and Pare had some disagreement that erupted into a fight. Its only when Olsekki passed by and cautioned the boys that they stopped fighting. In the evening, thirty wild elephants reported for water at the stockade compound. 

15 June 2021

It was a quiet morning. Musiara, Maisha, Nabulu and Ambo stopped feeding on lucerne and walked out to browse, leaving the others behind. Later, the rest of the herd joined them. Ex-orphans Kibo, Chemi Chemi, Kalama, Kandecha and Melia joined the team in the Kone area. Enkikwe and Kauro had strength testing exercise that didn't last for long. It was cold today and the orphans didn't participate in wallowing after having their noon milk bottles, but they enjoyed a soil dusting exercise instead before heading back out to browse. Zurura and two wild friends visited the mud bath and interacted with the orphans briefly before parting ways. As usual, the ex-orphans, Mutara and a small team headed by Melia took a different direction. Naseku, Kauro, Barsilinga, Tusuja, Siangiki, Olsekki, Roi, Oltaiyoni, Kamok and Galla followed the ex-orphans and as has become their usual routine these days, these class five members returned back to the stockades later in the evening their own time.

16 June 2021

A wild bull joined the orphans at the lucerne feeding area this morning. The bull was totally comfortable interacting with the orphans and keepers close by. As soon as the bull had enough, it was time for him to go and wash it down with some water at the water troughs, then he disappeared. 

Out in the bush, Dololo came across a nice rock that he scratched himself on. His scratching didn't last for long as Pare passed by and pushed him away. Dololo couldn't do anything as his minders were quite a distance away. After pushing Dololo away, Pare scratched on the same rock but was disrupted by Mundusi who had woken up in a playful mood. Mundusi wanted to have a pushing game that Pare willingly accepted. Their game lasted for quite some time before they finally parted ways to resume their browsing. 

Sattao settled to browse with Oltaiyoni and engaged her in a long conversation, perhaps as he wanted to find out why Oltaiyoni and her friends always come back late in the evening. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by eleven wild bulls who weren’t hostile and were quite friendly towards the babies. As it was a cool day the orphans didn’t wallow and instead had some water, a soil bath, and then returned back to the browsing field. Mutara and her group as usual took all the class five members with them, and Galla from class four and Ndiwa of class three too. Mutara and her team all returned later in the evening. 

17 June 2021

Ambo woke up in a playful mood. He started his playful morning by playing with Sattao, and then with Musiara. The game didn't last for long however as Musiara left and teamed up with Turkwel. Turkwel touched him with her trunk, lovingly and tenderly, and asked him if he was all right. Turkwel and Musiara stayed lovingly embracing one another for some time. 

Out in the bush, Karisa picked a fight with Pare that lasted for quite some time. Mundusi engaged Kauro in a pushing game that was disrupted by Oltaiyoni. Oltaiyoni didn't understand why the two boys were wasting time playing when it is so dry at the moment and they should concentrate on feeding. The two boys went in separate directions.

 At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to step into the mud bathing water. No wild elephants showed up either. After a soil dusting exercise, the orphans went back to browsing and had a quiet afternoon. In the evening, only three wild bulls showed up for water at the stockade water troughs.

18 June 2021

In the morning, Maisha only took one bottle of milk and refused to take the second one, an indication that something was amiss. As she walked out, Maisha appeared to be in some kind of pain and had a slight limp. Mutara and her group as usual joined the orphans to feed on lucerne. Later the herd settled to browse in Kone area. Maisha kept up with the others, but it seems that Malkia noticed Maisha had some kind of a problem and decided to keep Nabulu and Maisha company until mud bath time. 

The orphans had their milk but Maisha just took one bottle of milk and looked dull. After mud bath time, Angela Sheldrick instructed Maisha to be taken back to the stockades for close monitoring. As Maisha and Nabulu were being taken back to the stockades, Malkia and Enkikwe refused to be left behind and followed Maisha back to the stockades too. The rest of the group had a quiet afternoon with Mutara and her herd taking their new recruits for a walk out into the bush, but returned later in the evening with them. After an injection, Maisha took three bottles of milk in the evening, but is still looking dull. 

19 June 2021

Ambo and Musiara were feeling happy after spending the night feeding on the soft supplements that the Keepers were providing for Maisha. Instead of settling for lucerne like the others, as they felt satisfied already, the two boys were busy engaging in a strength testing exercise. After sometime, Musiara decided to opt out of the game, forcing Ambo to go and look for another playmate. Ambo landed on Sattao who was very willing to play. The two boys engaged each other in a pushing game but Maramoja separated the two boys and informed them that it was still early and they should both concentrate on browsing instead of messing around. 

At mud bath time, Challa and Zurura in the company of ten wild bulls showed up. Ten wild dogs were also present and sat at the edge of the mud bath and watched over the wild elephants as they enjoyed their mud bath. Ex-orphan Taita, who is 18 years old now and who has been away for some time, showed up later. The orphans had a quiet afternoon.

 Maisha and Nabulu were left at the stockades today as Maisha still isn’t feeling well. Mutara, Sities and Kamok came back early to the stockades to check on Maisha, but the Keepers didn’t allow them into the stockades and they stayed outside. At five o'clock in the evening the rest of the orphan herd arrived back at the stockades for the night. 

20 June 2021

The orphans settled for lucerne soon after leaving the stockades. No ex-orphans showed up for Lucerne today. Before leaving for browsing, Ndiwa walked to the stockade to check on Maisha. The gate was closed and Ndiwa only communicated with Maisha through the fence as she seemed to inquire if she was okay. Maisha didn't talk much but assured Ndiwa she was okay with quiet rumbles, as the Keepers doted on her. 

Out in the bush Jotto challenged Pare. Their game ended when Roi intervened and pushed the two boys away. At mud bath time, four wild bulls were present. Though the sun was shining, a cool breeze was blowing, preventing the orphans from taking a bath. Only Rapa and Kauro attempted to have a swim. It was surprising to see Kauro attempting to enjoy a swim as he is known not to like water at all, unless the heat is too much. The orphans participated in a soil dusting exercise before heading back out to browse. The orphans had a quiet afternoon and browsed calmly throughout the rest of the day. 

21 June 2021

Bomani, who has been away for sometime, is back now and it's not clear where he has been for all this time! He used to be Orwa's best friend but we aren’t sure what happened to end their friendship. After feeding on lucerne, the ex-orphans and dependent orphans parted ways, only to meet up again at the mud bath. Kamok and Olsekki had a strength testing exercise that lasted for quite some time. 

Bomani settled to pass the time with the dependent orphans and played with Sattao, Dololo and Karisa as he taught them pushing tactics that he had learned while he was away. At mud bath time, ten wild bulls were present and after a brief interaction with the orphans the wild bulls moved to one corner of mud bath and had fun there, while the orphans used the other corner, before going back out to the bush to browse. Barsilinga, Tusuja, Olsekki, Oltaiyoni, Roi, Kamok, Naseku and Siangiki teamed up with Mutara’s herd and ended up coming back to the stockades later. 

22 June 2021

It was a cold morning following light showers that we received at dawn. Mist covered the top of Ithumba Hill when the orphans left their stockades and settled for the morning lucerne. Only Mutara and Sities were present representing the ex-orphans. Later Turkwel and Lemoyian joined in. Olsekki engaged Lemoyian in a pushing game while Turkwel played with Barsilinga. Musiara teamed up with the gentle Jotto to feed. 

The orphans had a quiet morning as they concentrated on browsing without any major distractions. At mud bath time, eleven wild bulls were present. Only Mutara got into the water despite the fact that it was a cold day. When she had enough of wallowing, Mutara left the water and followed the orphans who had already gone back out to browse. Suguta was left behind talking to a wild bull she was admiring. 

Out in the bush, Pare decided to keep himself warm by enjoying a soil bath when Jotto joined him and requested for a strength testing exercise. Pare readily accepted since the exercise would keep him warm and busy. 

The Keepers, Angela Sheldrick and various vets continue to try and treat Maisha and find out why she isn’t well. She is still kept in the stockade compound while they monitor her.

23 June 2021

Turkwel and Lemoyian, who had spent the night outside the stockade, welcomed the babies out in the morning. Maisha stayed indoors together with her friend Nabulu. 

After feeding on lucerne, Kauro engaged Tusuja in a strength testing exercise that also attracted Enkikwe and Olsekki. Later Turkwel led the orphans to carry on browsing. Ex-orphan Taita passed by the stockade compound and happened to meet Maisha who was relaxing at the water trough. Taita sympathized with Maisha and wished her well before walking off out into the bush. Mutara, Sities and Kainuk also visited during the day to check on Maisha. 

At mud bath time, several wild bulls showed up and shared water with the dependent orphans before parting ways. The entire afternoon was quiet and the orphans concentrated on browsing without any major distractions. 

24 June 2021

Maisha collapsed early at dawn and the vet put her on drip. Nabulu left her friend and decided to leave with the rest of the group and left Maisha under the care of her Keepers. 

It was a chilly morning and Pare decided to have a soil dusting exercise while Enkikwe and Kauro decided to warm themselves up by having a pushing game. Ex-orphan bulls Challa and Zurura, in the company of three wild bulls, checked in at the mud bath and left a few moments later. 

Mutara and her herd took Siangiki, Naseku, Galla, Barsilinga, Tusuja, Roi and Oltaiyoni with them. These are the grown up boys and girls who are slowly making their way back to the wild and would like to learn as much as they can from the ex-orphans before making their final decision. This group returned back to the stockade around 7pm.

25 June 2021

The orphans settled for lucerne soon after leaving the stockade. Nabulu has taken to following the rest of the herd while her friend Maisha stays behind, and she doesn’t seem to mind too much. Mutara and her herd joined the dependent orphans shortly later. Dololo was happy to have his older ‘sisters’ with him. As usual, they kept him right in their midst. 

Later, Mutara led the way out to browse. Mundusi, who from time time tries to elevate his position by challenging his older friends, got a rude shock from Kauro this morning. Kauro didn't take Mundusi's challenge lightly and so decided to teach the young Mundusi a lesson in how to be respectful to his seniors. He pushed Mundusi so hard and chased him around until he thought he might have learnt his lesson.

After their noon milk feed, the orphans only had some water and attended a soil dusting session before heading back out to browse. After, as usual, Mutara and her herd took the class five members with them, and returned to the stockade compound with them later in the evening. The orphans had a quiet afternoon and concentrated on browsing throughout the rest of the day. 

26 June 2021

The day started as usual in the morning. Mutara and her herd were present at the lucerne feeding area. Sities took Musiara aside and whispered something in his ear. It is not clear what Sities said to Musiara. Musiara happens to sleep in the same stockade as Maisha and Nabulu. Mid way through feeding on lucerne, Nabulu, Rapa, Naseku, Kauro and Olsekki walked up to check on Maisha. Shortly later, the Keepers informed the five orphans that it was time to leave. From the look of their faces, the babies looked unsettled as if something was bothering them. Nabulu led the way out to browse but she was clearly worried her friend wasn’t better yet. 

Out in the bush, Olsekki engaged Sities in a pushing game that didn't last for long as Olsekki surrendered and went to browse instead. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Challa and a wild friend. The weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to step into the mud bathing water. 

Maisha, who had been put on a drip in the morning after collapsing, couldn't stand up and at 2pm, sadly, Maisha left us as we were trying to help her up. It was painful and heart breaking. For the last few days Maisha put up a spirited effort to battle the strange disease that was locking her jaws and muscles. It all started with a simple limp in her front legs, then progressed to painful muscles and later lock-jaw and stiffened back leg muscles. We are in disbelief and shock that our sweet Maisha is no more. The orphans that converged at the stockade in the morning to check on Maisha had done it on purpose. The orphans had come to say goodbye to Maisha as they knew that by evening they would not find her there. Poor Nabulu had led the team to say goodbye to her dear friend. 

In the evening, Nabulu took her milk then walked down to where Maisha took her last breath, sniffed the area, then walked up and a found a suitable place where she lay down for three minutes to mourn her departed friend, then she got up again and started feeding. It will take time for Nabulu to come to terms with what has happened to her friend, but elephants show remarkable powers of healing. The human family feels devastated losing the young energetic Maisha and are yet to comprehend why it happened. Angela and the vets are investigating. Just like Nabulu, it will take us some time to come to terms with the loss. May our lovely Maisha rest in peace. 

27 June 2021

This is the first morning for Nabulu to wake up without her friend. The two had only spent one month together at Ithumba since they were brought from Nairobi. Luckily some ex-orphans visited the stockades which cheered everyone up. It is quite amazing they arrived this morning, of all mornings, and just goes to show how much elephants remain in contact with one another. Ex-orphans Galana, Gawa, Loijuk, Lili, Lenana, Lapa, Makena, Kilabasi, Narok, Kitirua, Naisula, Ishanga, Tumaren and Ukame showed up at the compound. The small babies Lapa and Lili reminded Nabulu of the good times in the nursery while she was taking care of the young ones. Seeing these young babies made her very happy as she tried following them and interacting with them, and at one point nearly disappeared with the ex-orphans were not for the intervention by the Keepers. Nabulu really wanted to be close to the babies but this couldn't happen as they stayed next to their mothers and were always on the move. 

After being intercepted, Nabulu walked over to Malkia and teamed up with her to browse. Malkia has been very comforting towards Nabulu and stays by her. 

Esampu got it rough when she challenged Gawa as they are roughly the same size. But Esampu couldn't withstand Gawa’s strength and so surrendered. Kauro had a brief conversation with Ukame who left with the ex-orphans a few months ago. Perhaps Kauro wanted to know from Ukame how life is treating her now she is living in the wild. Kauro parted ways with Ukame and walked off to join the others. 

Ambo had a pushing game with Malima as Sattao played with Musiara. Pare decided to have his own game of rolling on the ground and Dololo, who was close by, thought it a clever idea to go and roll on Pare, which he would never be able to do if he were standing! At mud bath time the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to step into the mud bathing water after having their milk bottles. 

In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse east of Ithumba Hill. The rest of the day was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing. 

28 June 2021

Galana and her herd reported early at the stockade compound and waited for the orphans to come out. They shared lucerne together and in the process Mundusi ran into trouble with Gawa when he tried to pick some lucerne that was close to her. Gawa pushed Mundusi hard and since her mother was close by she knew that Mundusi wouldn’t retaliate. Galana left to drink water leaving Gawa with the dependent orphans. Mundusi was happy that Galana stepped out of the way, and he quickly mobilized a few bulls and went to attack Gawa. Gawa had no option other than to run away for her safety, leaving Mundusi feeling elated.  

Out in the bush, Siangiki and Musiara teamed up with Ukame to have a conversation that lasted for quite some time. Dololo challenged Pare to a pushing game that lasted for quite awhile too, before Dololo decided to surrender. 

At the mud bath the sun was shining though a cold wind was blowing. Nabulu, Esampu and Kauro did choose to wallow but the others opted for a soil dusting exercise instead. In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse east of Ithumba Hill. 

29 June 2021

A wild herd visited the stockades in the morning. Noticeable were two wild babies, one of them as young as five months old. As the other orphans were busy feeding on lucerne, Nabulu was busy enjoying interacting with the youngest wild baby. Shortly later, Esampu joined her and kept on tricking the baby to follow them but the baby was unwavering and wouldn't leave her mother. Nabulu stepped aside and held a brief meeting with Esampu to discuss how to win the baby over but they couldn't reach an agreement. The two girls kept on following the baby each using their own techniques but none worked. Nabulu decided to leave with the wild herd when it was time for the herd to leave. The Keepers were quick to intervene though, and blocked Nabulu from following the wild herd. 

Out in the bush, Mundusi decided to challenge Kauro, but Kauro wasn't in a playful mood and so shoved Mundusi out of his way. Dololo continued to enjoy love from his big sisters Sities, Suguta, Kainuk and Turkwel in Mutara’s herd. 

One wild bull visited the orphans while they were at the mud bath. The orphans only had their milk and some water then participated in a soil dusting exercise. Ambo tried to challenge Mapia but then decided to surrender. In the afternoon, Musiara decided to team up with Malkia to browse and at the same time, listen to any advice that would be helpful coming from Malkia.

30 June 2021

Soon after leaving the stockades, the orphans were joined by Rapsu and had lucerne together before heading to wash it down with some water at the stockade water troughs. Ambo led the way to the browsing field, closely followed by his friends Naseku and Kamok. Dololo enjoyed a strength testing exercise with Karisa but ended up losing to Karisa. Mapia played with Mundusi but their game ended abruptly when Barsilinga passed by and pushed them out of his way. Musiara had a brief conversation with Rapsu and wondered how long it would take for him to reach that height! Rapsu read Musiara's thoughts and informed him that he should be patient as he has a long way to go to reach the size of an 18 year old. 

After having his milk at the mud bath, Ambo walked to the mud and had a lone game of playing and rolling in the mud. Ten wild bulls were present at the mud bath. The orphans participated in a soil dusting exercise before returning back to the browsing field. 

In the afternoon, Enkikwe, Rapa, Wanjala and Sapalan quietly sneaked off and disappeared. Galana and her herd visited the stockades shortly before five o'clock in the evening. As the orphans were returning back home, the rascal Lapa stood in their way to greet them and escort them for a few metres before returning back to his mother. Enkikwe, Wanjala, Sapalan and Rapa returned back to the stockade around eight o'clock at night.