Suguta’s group, (originally comprised of Melia, Tumaren, Chaimu, Murka, Kitirua, Naisula, Ishanga, Olare and Kalama along with bulls Kilaguni, Sabachi, Kibo and Chemi Chemi) no longer return to sleep in the Stockades at night, and have become part of the main Ex Orphan Unit, which, this month, has mainly joined the Junior Keeper Dependent Youngsters in Splinter Groups of just some, but not all, of the Ex Orphans. Suguta’s group returned to drink at the Stockades on the lst, on the 7th and again on the 8th, when they had Kasigau and Kilabasi with them.
Kasigau and Kilabasi upgraded themselves to the main Ex Orphan Unit fairly recently, encouraged to do so by Lualeni However, they now appear to be having second thoughts, and this month have spent several days back with the Keeper Dependent Juniors Group. On the 9th Suguta’s group were with the main Ex Orphan herd led by Yatta and on the l0th they were with Lualeni, Ololoo, Rapsu, Kamboyo, Tomboi and Madiba. On the 11th Suguta brought her group to the mudbath with 5 wild bulls, whose company Bongo and Kanjoro greatly enjoyed, so much so that they opted to remain behind with them when the Juniors left, but caught up later. That evening Suguta returned to drink at the Stockades with her group, escorted by Ex Orphan Bulls Kora and Tomboi who then left with her.
Missing from the main Ex Orphan groups for many months have been Big Boys Napasha and Buchuma, so it was wonderful to see Buchuma again, who returned on the 27th with his male peers Ex Orphans Rapsu, Madiba, Orok who had Kasigau and Kilabasi in tow who remained with the Juniors yet again. The Juniors have enjoyed the company of some of the Ex Orphans in Splinter Groups on almost all days of the month, save just a handful while Yatta, Mulika and the main unit have also been in contact but not on a daily basis. At the mudbath one day Laragai tried to push Mulika’s calf, little Mwende, but Mwende was no push-over, and gave a good account of herself.
March is the hottest month of the year in Tsavo, so the noon mudbath has been popular with both the Keeper Dependent Juniors, especially Bongo and Kanjoro, as well as a large Splinter Group of Ex Orphans on the 3rd, comprised of Wendi, Lenana, Sunyei and Sidai and bulls Challa, Kora and Orok. On that day Kanjoro enjoyed tuition from the Ex Orphans about Pushing Tactics, and the Ex Orphans spent the entire afternoon browsing session amongst the Juniors. Not so popular with the Juniors is when the Ex Orphans monopolize the Lucerne Hand- out in the mornings prompting the Juniors often leave them to it, rather than risk being pushed around. Strangely enough, Shukuru is not that fond of the Lucerne and often opts out altogether.
Light showers of rain that fell during the first l0 days of the month brought great relief, especially for the Ex Nursery newcomers such as Bongo, Laragai and Narok who have becoming accustomed to the change of temperature. A very heavy rainstorm of 40 mls on the 14th brought on a much needed flush of fresh green browse, and left all the orphans extremely happy. On that day the Juniors were joined by a very pregnant Ex Orphan, Kinna, accompanied by Lualeni, Mulika and her baby, plus Bulls Kora, Ololoo, Orok, Kamboyo, Madiba and 4 wild friends, After this the Ex Orphans were absent for a few days, and the Juniors enjoyed a peaceful time! But the weather soon turned hot again, so much so that the Juniors enjoyed a second mudbath during the evening of the 20th on their way back home, having been welcomed that morning by an Ex Orphan delegation comprised of Sunyei, Nasalot, Wendi, Lualeni, Kilabasi, Kasigau, Galana and Bulls Kora, Challa, Tomboi, Kamboyo, Taita, and Meibai all of whom were waiting outside their Night Stockade in the morning. From the 2rdh on- wards, Lualeni and her small group of Ex Orphans have been paying special interest in the Juniors, making the Keepers suspect that Lualeni is again up to her old tricks of enticing Keeper Dependent Juniors to upgrade themselves to her group and the main Ex Orphan herd. This appears to have been her allotted role for some time!
On the 26th, when the Keepers rounded up their charges to escort them to the noon mudbath, Bongo could not be found, so two Keepers remained behind to go in search of him. They soon caught up with him browsing happily apart from the others, in his usual independent manner! He will be a willing candidate for Lualeni!
A female Elephant mother with a tiny calf came to drink at the Stockades at the beginning of the month, and wild bulls as well as Yatta’s wild recruit, Kijana, have also been visitors to the Stockade trough. 5 Wild dogs passed by at the beginning of the month for a drink. The month ended only with no fresh sighting of Big Boy Napasha, who has long been independent of the main Ex Orphan group, but it was a great relief to welcome back Buchuma who has also been absent for many moons.