Keepers' Diaries, March 2010

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Ithumba Reintegration Unit

Ithumba has received a lot of rain during the course of the month which has seen many of the natural waterholes, as well as all the cracks and crevices, being filled with fresh clear rain water. The Orphans have had a lovely time slipping and sliding in the water soaked earth and have often forgone their usual mudbath in favour of one of the many natural ones found along the way. The Tsavo landscape has transformed into a lush green haven and the orphans have been spoilt for choice of places to browse. The abundance of vegetation and water means that even the wild elephants have ample places to feed and quench their thirst and as such they have not been visiting the Stockade water trough as the did during the drought when it was not unusual for large groups of wild elephants to visit during the course of the day. Kora and Lualeni continue to enjoy spending time out with Wendi’s group. On the 6th Naserian also took the plunge and spent her first night away from the safety of the stockade in the company of Wendi’s group. This has left the milk dependent group with three males and five females, one of whom will eventually take over Naserians’ Matriarchal duties.

Ithumba has received a lot of rain during the course of the month which has seen many of the natural waterholes, as well as all the cracks and crevices, being filled with fresh clear rain water. The Orphans have had a lovely time slipping and sliding in the water soaked earth and have often forgone their usual mudbath in favour of one of the many natural ones found along the way. The Tsavo landscape has transformed into a lush green haven and the orphans have been spoilt for choice of places to browse. The abundance of vegetation and water means that even the wild elephants have ample places to feed and quench their thirst and as such they have not been visiting the Stockade water trough as the did during the drought when it was not unusual for large groups of wild elephants to visit during the course of the day.
Kora and Lualeni continue to enjoy spending time out with Wendi’s group. On the 6th Naserian also took the plunge and spent her first night away from the safety of the stockade in the company of Wendi’s group. This has left the milk dependent group with three males and five females, one of whom will eventually take over Naserians’ Matriarchal duties.

Yatta’s Group has been rejoined by Mgeni, after an absence of several months, and seems to have another wild bull in their midst who accompanied them to the Stockades on several occasions. Perhaps the newcomer is a friend of Mgeni’s.

On the 27th Yatta, Kinna, and Nasalot caused unrest in the young group as they tried to steal Meibai who is a favourite of Loijuks. The two are inseparable and are often found browsing next to one another. Yatta, Kinna, and Nasalot attempted to kidnap Meibai by surrounding him and cutting him off from Loijuk. She realized what was going on and tried to prevent them from taking Meibai but was pushed aside. Upon realizing she was out numbered Loijuk rumbled loudly calling for the Keepers assistance who came to the rescue and returned her precious “baby” to her.

Sian continues to be somewhat weaker than the rest of the group, and often chooses to avoid any rough play distancing herself from the others during mudbaths and other physical games. She is often the first to enter the mudwallow leaving as the others join in watching their antics from the sidelines. She is however feeding well and takes the lead when the orphans are on the move.

Kenze and Zurura, the older remaining bulls in the Junior Group, continue to engage one another in strength testing and pushing games. Meibai who is the youngest of the milk dependent group and much smaller than Kenze and Zurura wisely chooses to stay near the girls who love to baby him. On the 28th Kenze joined Naserian, Lualeni and Kora for a couple of hours before rejoining his group. On the 29th Naserian tried to entice Zurura to spend the night out but he was having none of it and is obviously not ready for such a big step.

On numerous occasions Makena has taken to leading the Junior Group home to the stockades in the evening and seems to enjoy being in this Matriarchal role which the older orphans do not seem to mind relinquishing to her.

March 2010 day to day

01 Mar

The month began with heavy rains from the night before which continued throughout night stopping in the early morning. The orphans expressed their joy by swinging their trunks and bumping into one another as they walked to the fields. Even Sian, who is normally subdued, joined the others in their celebrations. They all enjoyed the natural mudbaths created by rainwater so much so that they showed no interest in their usual noon wallow. Makena led the way back to the stockades for the night.

Orphans playing with rain water

Sian and Kenze feeding

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