Keepers' Diaries, March 2015
Umani Springs Reintegration Unit
The month began with a lovely visit from a wild herd with a number of small babies. They were very interested in the orphans, but the presence of the Keepers was troubling for them, but they were bolder than usual and there was rumbling and interaction between the two before the orphans left their stockades. The wild elephants are definitely getting use to this strange situation of elephants with humans and growing tamer each month. The orphans sometimes choose to follow the wild herds and then at other times appear to avoid them. The Keepers let the orphans determine what they want to do.
01 March 2015
It was very good day as we started the new month of March 2015, the wild herds with their young ones came looking for the orphans at the stockades before the orphans headed out for the day. Jasiri was very brave boy as his name suggest, he took on the brave eye going towards the wild elephants thinking that he was a big boy. He was not worried about the wild group of elephants that were hiding around the bushes. They were obviously dying to come closer but were worried about the Keepers.
It was time for the midday feeding and the bottles were already spread and waiting for the babies, Zongoloni came on running, taking her usual corner where her two bottles are being placed for her to pick, keepers did not know that even Jasiri had been taught by Zongoloni how to feed grab his bottle on his own and drink his milk without and help from the Keepers.
When Jasiri arrived he did not want a keeper helping him hold the bottle, he was rumbling and shaking his head causing moisture to seep from his gland on his temple, which indicated to the keepers that he was not happy with the keeper trying to help him. We stepped aside after noticing that and saw Jasiri holding the bottle with his trunk and taking the bottle nicely up from the floor just like Zongoloni. Amazingly Zongoloni is teaching the others and for the first time we have elephants not only holding their bottles on their own which we have seen before, but lifting them up from the ground totally unaided and helping themselves to their milk feeds.
From there after all the babies went straight for wallowing into the mud, with Lima Lima kicking the water to mix the mud well, and while in the process of mixing the muddy water ,the baby crocodile was disturbed from all the kicking water and came out running away and ran over Quanza’s back as she was lying in the water. When Quanza felt something walking on her back, the mudbath show ended prematurely as the orphans took off out of the water in all directions. The Keepers had to call them continuously to calm them all down.
02 March 2015
Sonje with Quanza were the first ones to leave their stockades with Zongoloni following as their headed to their Lucerne treats. The Lucerne was not in place and Murera started complaining loudly.
The Keepers hurriedly pushed the wheel barrow of Lucerne in place to satisfy the demanding babies.
Once the Lucerne was spread on the ground the babies to start feeding, with Murera taking a big portion onto her side leaving the young babies with little Stock. Quanza took Ngasha away fearing that Murera was in a bad mood. Jasiri and Faraja were determined today to coax the orphans herd to the area they wanted to go, around the hills where the wild elephants liked to browse and where they were trumpeting in the night. The bush patrols continued with babies heading to the waterhole due to hot weather, they all had a wonderful Wallow and swim with the keepers watching their herd with pride.
03 March 2015
After getting to the forests under the leadership of the brilliant girl Lima Lima and her friend Quanza, the boys followed them behind looking where the girls were leading them to for the browsing, while still walking a bushbuck barked its alarm call from the top of the hills scaring Ngasha who was very
afraid and turned screaming loudly getting confused not knowing proper directions. This had Lima Lima responding quickly together with help of the keepers who also rushed calling his name. By the time the Keepers found him Lima Lima was there already calming him down.
Faraja came walking to the waterhole where he found the others already enjoying their wallowing and mud bathing. Faraja was staying behind with Murera who today did not want to wallow but instead concentrated on scratching rubbing her belly that was having some flies and ticks hanging. After a full time of wallowing the babies turned away and walked to the clean drinking water trough. It was another very hot day, March being the hottest month of the year.
04 March 2015
Orphans woke up, but looking very thirsty in the morning, all were running to the waterhole to have water but they found none in the water tank because of their wild friends who came in the night and drunk it all, and so the Keepers pumped more water to accommodate the babies. They have water in their stockades, but they were determined for more from the trough. After having enough water some went for a morning dust bath before walking away for the forests. Jasiri who felt very energetic began mounting on his best friend Lima Lima, who as not bothered by him being on her back.
Murera appeared a very happy mother this morning. She was playing on the ground and raising her neck up, facing the sky while on the ground rubbing her belly, she was stretching her veins and joints stimulating good blood flow.
Sonje took away her adopted baby Zongoloni, going into the forests looking for root tubes, shrubs and tasty bits to feed on and the boys were following Ngasha who was taking them to the keepers but Faraja and Jasiri knew he was leading them to the bushes, and browse on some greens branches, later on, Ngasha looked around for good shade to take cover from the hot weather, which was necessary to help protect Faraja and Jasiri’s light skin, as these are two very special and rare albino baby elephants.
05 March 2015
When the Keepers opened the gates this morning Murera was funny and blocked the gate preventing the babies from running out and reaching the Lucerne stocks. The keepers knew her plans and intervened. She was bullying the boys wanting the Lucerne for herself. Since the boys arrival Murera has turned quite jealous.
Sonje today spent a good long time standing and blowing dust on her back and Zongoloni who depends on Sonje's decisions was ready to go but stood by the mudbath waiting patiently for Sonje to finish so that together they could proceed. Lima Lima was on the other side testing water with her trunk and as the water was warm she took a mudbath. Jasiri decided to leave the dusting area and followed Lima Lima who by this time had finished what she was doing. Amos is Lima Lima’s favourite Keeper and today was a special day for her as Amos had returned from having a few days off.
She was glued to his side at all times today, not letting him out of her sight. The boys hung around Lima Lima too, so Amos was the Pide Piper today.
06 March 2015
Throughout the night elephant rumbles and trumpets were heard from the side of Umani Hill as the wild herds frolicked.
The orphans were listening and interested. The elephant sounds were still happening in the morning and Sonje made the decision to head in the opposite direction today obviously not interested in meeting up with the wild elephants. The Keepers climbed some tall trees to get a better view of what was transpiring. All morning the orphans were changing direction but eventually ended up at their
Midday mudbath place and there they enjoyed their much loved milk feed.
Today the Keepers were surprised to see the orphans chase the baby crocodile from their waterhole. They have had enough for sharing obviously.
Quanza later after a very successful and happy long wallow headed off into the forest with the baby boys trailing her. Lima Lima was hanging close to Amos, while Zongoloni stayed with Murera and Sonje.
07 March 2015
The stomach of the elephants was already full in the early morning hours after feeding on the lucerne. The morning was leisurely with the babies lying on the ground, rolling and playing and just
enjoying their environment without the pressure of browsing. Jasiri is feeling like the dominant male in their midst and persistently pursues his mounting games, even mounting Sonje, but draws the line at mounting Murera knowing full well he will get into serious trouble should he try. Lima Lima today spent time on the scratching stone dislodging ticks.
The young boys Faraja and Ngasha were playing with Zongoloni and Quanza.
Jasiri showed the keepers again today how good he was at picking up his milk bottle.
The Orphans were not happy going to the normal waterhole today but changed to the other waterhole with the baby crocodile. Croc chasing has become a very enjoyable pastime for them, and we are amazed the crocodile has not relocated. It was not long before the baby crocodile was running for the reeds to get out of the way of eight romping baby elephants.
08 March 2015
Jasiri is becoming quite a pain to the girls with his mounting games, but it is something they can control and discipline him if necessary.
Today was one of those days where he was over doing things and Murera intervened and disciplined him in order to keep the family happy.
Murera found a bushbuck feeding on the Lucerne and whispered to Zongoloni who immediately charged the waterbuck with Ngasha not far behind.
They trumpeted with ears out and frightened the bush buck away and both returned to Murera satisfied they had done their duty. They fed uninterrupted. Today was an extremely hot day and much of the time was spent resting under the forest canopy. The hot earth was too hot to dust with today.
09 March 2015
The elephants were trailing their trunks on the ground looking for tiny morsels to pick up and feed on.
They also spent a good long time drinking water from the trough.
Lima Lima today lagged behind, encouraging the boys to head off in a different direction to some soft acacia trees.
Her intention was to split the group of boys from Murera and Sonje. Lima Lima wanted to lead the boys, Jasiri, Ngasha and Faraja. Lima Lima tried so hard pushing Ngasha to the waterhole with Ngasha reluctant due to the water being cold, but forceful Lima Lima continued to push him until he
eventually half heartedly splashed his belly and legs. Ngasha is Lima lima’s best friend and does like to please her. As the Keepers took their lunch under the trees Murera had a good long mud wallow with the orphans giving the baby croc a rest today as they took cover from the hot sun and slept on their feet in the shade.
10 March 2015
Another hot day with the sun beating down had the orphans heading out for their day in pairs, with Lima Lima dashing around checking on all the groups. Ngasha was teaming up with the Keepers today while the others peeling off with their friends.
Lima Lima then followed Ngasha wanted to why he was not following the others. Murera was slow today, feeling the heat obviously so she was leading up the rear, but her dear friend Sonje was checking on her regularly making sure all was in order. Zongoloni took charge of the two albino boys making sure they had a good mudbath caking themselves with mud so that they did not get burnt with this hot weather. Today the mud wallow took a good long time with everyone enjoying their swim.
11 March 2015
Murera left the stockade with her brave eye today, walking with purpose into the bush, head held high, ears out, and the others followed confident that she was completely in control. Ngasha is frightened easily with even bird calls sometimes scaring him. Today they spent time doing different things, some feeding, others dust bathing and lolling about, with others scratching on fallen tree trunks.
The morning passed by happily in the company of their Keepers before they headed to their mud wallow as the temperatures rose.
They had a very long mud wallow this time with the baby crocodile bobbing up and down in the water as the elephants thrashed about – they seemed content to share today and because of the increased temperatures everyone stayed in the water for a very long time before exiting and resting in the shade. The late afternoon was once again browsing time with them finally heading home in single file with Lima Lima leading the way home.
12 March 2015
Today was a mud wallowing extravaganza. So much mud that the keepers thought maybe one of the babies would become completely stuck. Fortunately this did not happen, but all the orphans and Murera had a lovely time enjoying the cool mudwallow today and then walking a short way away to fill up on reeds and the fertile long grass growing at the waters edge.
The crowned cranes stood close by with their now fast growing chick and watched the action.
13 March 2015
The early morning began with all the orphans trying to quench their thirst after feeding on their favourite food the Lucerne. The wild elephants have developed a liking for it too coming in the night to feed on the leftovers. We have found some kudus and bushbuck enjoying it too.
After the morning fill of water and Lucerne, and of course their beloved milk bottle it was time to head out.
Ngasha took the lead following the keepers footsteps as he tried to lead the orphan group around the hills but this enthusiasm was not shared by Quanza and Lima Lima.
They did head for the hill nevertheless, and on of Umani hill a strong wind came blowing very strongly so much so that some trees fell to the ground. The trees fell down making a very unique sound as it echoed through the forest leaving Lima Lima scared on the hill, then Lima Lima trumpeted loudly and the whole group hurtled down the hill, even Murera bashing through the undergrowth as they made their way down the hill to their mudbath where the Keepers finally caught up with the group. The morning had taken its toll, and they still remained disturbed.
This soon dissipated with the arrival of their Keepers and the babies had very nice wallowing mixing up with the baby crocodile, who eventually ran away from the waterhole after sensing danger when the orphans were kicking water getting ready for some rolling games, with the baby crocodile trying to jump on the waves and get outside. It stepped on Lima limas back today which sent them all crashing out of the mudbath again!
It must be said this is a very brave crocodile as every day it seems his life is turned upside down.
14 March 2015
The energetic Jasiri, showed his naughtiness' today in the playground as immediately he saw Sonje rolling down on the ground at far distance he rushed there for some mounting games secure in the knowledge that Murera was not very close to them. He kept disturbing until Sonje eventually got bored with him and pushed him away.
He realised this was serious and stopped.
Sonje is a great comfort to all the orphans, particularly the girls as she imparts love and joy without the grumpy nature of Murera who commands great respect as she does not tolerate nonsense. Sonje on the other hand is very long suffering.
As the babies walked through the forest they lifted their trunks in the air. The Keepers were not sure what they were smelling so everyone remained alert, but then it became clear that it was the water pouring from a broken water pipeline in the forest that comes from the spring to the communities outside of Kibwezi that they had smelt and located. The wild elephants had been there before them.
15 March 2015
Sonje had a very serious scratching session dislodging the ticks that were still on her. The other babies, took their milk to the water trough and had their fill, all pushing and barging to have a long cool drink. Sonje on the other hand was trying to catch her keepers eye to give them a good exhibition on top of the elephant loading bay, where she was contorting her body to give herself a perfect scrub and tossing huge clumps of earth in the air too. Sonje decided too where everyone was going today and Murera agreed following a safe distance behind.
Quanza led the orphans to wallowing points for the babies to cool down and they enjoyed a good dust bath, so much so the Keepers had to retreat they could not breathe so much dust was kicked up and thrown in the air.
16 March 2015
Sonje and Quanza today decided to lead the other babies to, a very deferent browsing area, from which they got some other wildlife's grazing there, like buffaloes with some kudus around that hill. The Kenze hill was with plenty of soft greens for the babies and Sonje knew it before, it was very green there. Murera got there with her keeper behind her to make sure Sonje met and saw her, because Sonje without seeing Murera would be a problem to the keepers, the day won't go easy.
After browsing on the hill for awhile, Ngasha and Zongoloni felt hungry for the bottle of milk also felt the hot weather then decided it was time for the bottle feeding and wallowing time so that they made their way to the feeding direction after confirming that the time was just the right for doing so. They turned around looking for the keepers to lead them there.
Zongoloni spotted the keepers were sited and also Lima Lima was near the keepers waiting for keepers to get up and walk them there for the bottle feeding and taking mudbath.
When the orphans had already taken their bottles ,Ngasha continued to the waterhole testing if the water was warm and not cold, but Zongoloni with Jasiri and other boys just got into the wallowing and enjoyed the mudbath, leaving Murera on the sideways of the waterhole splashing her knees,
Zongoloni kept the babies running to the dusting soil, and the moment they fell on the dust rolling their bellies and throwing some soil on their back, Faraja with Ngasha did not wait any more after felling the soil on their back was so hot that, they left it and go for the forest under shades with the keepers. When it was time to go home, Murera and Sonje put the babies together like they were having a meeting and immediately they dispersed, all the babies ran towards the waterhole near the lodge as it is in their daily routine programme, that when it's too hot, the babies had to go for the second round wallowing on to the waterhole before winding up going home in the evening.
17 March 2015
Today was a lovely day, sun shining and hot weather again. The orphans had the water fill
Emptying the trough and then as the birds called from the tree tops they headed out to browse. Murera and Sonje were feeding on some tubers and Jasiri, Ngasha Faraja too were enjoying some lovely fresh grass, however the grass was in a particularly lumpy field making walking challenging. It seems they sensed this was difficult for Murera and changed direction and headed to their favourite sand pile. The salt lick located near the sand pile had the remnants of the visitors from the previous night, elephants, and bushbuck and buffalo being the obvious. They tossed up dust and had a generally lovely dusting session with all of them partaking.
18 March 2015
Quanza led the babies up to the hills where she found lots of the green stuff for browsing, then followed by Lima Lima closely breaking big branches and they all enjoyed their fill.
Ngasha left Lima Lima to go away and join Faraja who was climbing the slopes of the hill slowly, browsing together with Quanza.
Lima Lima was too preoccupied by putting her trunk in the others mouths to know what they were eating that she forgot to concentrate on herself. As the sun sunk and the shadows grew longer the herd filed their way home for a good rest at their beautiful stockades.
19 March 2015
Jasiri, now trying to become friendlier to Sonje these days since realizing that Sonje knows playing and entertain the babies much better than Murera who happens to very bully to young babies. Whenever he sported Sonje lying down on the ground, he runs very quickly and jumps on the back of Sonje mounting her, and Sonje feels nice. He got a scratching tree then after taking the scratch, he followed Sonje who was lying down and waiting for young babies to come and play on her back. the Jasiri jumped on her back very quick and enjoyed scratching his belly on Sonje's back, Ngasha also saw Sonje on the ground and tried to go to Sonje's back but Jasiri ran there so quick, pushing Ngasha away from Sonje his darling girlfriend, he was so jealous to Ngasha.
Quanza walked with Sonje and across a branch, they tried to break the branch down a branch but the keepers sported millions and millions of bees hanging on the branch of the tree that they were struggling to put down, Sonje was almost touching the bees but keepers took them off that place fearing being invaded by the bees and every one would on danger the moment bees would start stinging. From there, the orphans ran away up to the wallowing waterhole hiding their backs on the water for the bees not to find them outside the drylands, so that wallow and change body colour from grey to dark colour. After patrolling the forests for the whole day, orphans felt it very hot and it was good time to go for the second round wallowing again before walking back home to the stockades, the babies prefer drinking water at the waterhole near the lodge house number three, while keepers waits them finish and start walking them back.
20 March 2015
Sonje was very scared with the strong blowing wind that was felling down trees, scaring all the babies forcing them to run back to the stockades.
They were looking around totally mystified by events, and feeling very vulnerable, all but Murera who knew this was quite normal. Her calm slowly filtered through the others and calm returned. Sonje then was feeding on a branch and got another terrible fright when she suddenly noticed a green snake Resting close by where her trunk was wrapping around the branch.
Today it was so hot that the orphans had two rounds of mudbathing.
21 March 2015
Zongoloni had an itchy bottom, she came out very quickly running straight to the scratching rock to help her release her itchy body, she went scratching bottom and her side, while Murera took the babies to a busy dusting session with all the babies under her control. When Sonje walked away from the dusting soil, she spotted an acacia tree that was flowering, near the dusting point so she
on picking the tiny leaves.
Quanza and Zongoloni were playing human kids overturning the stone that was on their way to the bushes, as they were turning the stones, they turned a stone that was had flying ants under, Zongoloni left there running away then Quanza followed running to Lima Lima who was playing with Faraja and Jasiri.
The babies all, feared and ran away going to the waterhole to drink water and onto the wallowing, before they could start wallowing ,Ngasha who was in front stopped to test if the water was warm enough for the wallowing activities, they wallowed but the day turned to be very hot so Jasiri, Faraja and Zongoloni felt it was wise to go back for the drinking water and wallow, to cool down their bodies before walking back home for the night after walking a number of kilometres the whole day, the orphans were looking tired only to walk back home after the long day.
22 March 2015
The playful Jasiri got an easy ride immediately they came out from their night stockades. He found Sonje, playfully lying down on the ground waiting for any baby who would come and get a ride from her then Jasiri clambered on her and then would not stop until when Murera and Ngasha saw him, they went straight to push him over, to leave Sonje alone, but it was like Sonje was happy with Jasiri
mounting her back, when she got up and went again for Jasiri to continue with his game plan. All the babies went down lying on the ground after finishing, feeding on the lucernes' behind the stockade's everyone was lying down so happy while the other of the boys, Faraja, Ngasha and Jasiri got up
walking towards the waterhole for clean water for drinking. After taking clean water, Ngasha and Jasiri turned around their bottoms to scratch on the rock, before walking to join the other babies who were on the dusting soil throwing dust on their back a few meters away from them. When they walked to the waterhole after the midday bottle feeding time, it was a joyful moment for the orphans taking the wallowing with more seriousness' enjoying the waterhole and some were trying to swim into the waterhole but there was not enough water.
Murera came out from the waterhole and stood thinking on the bank, then she sat down on the ground raising her head high up looking to the sky with her mouth wide open, then turned her face looking straight to the bushes after sensing something walking closer towards the waterhole, and within a few minutes before anyone could walk away and look on, Ngasha with Lima Lima spotted a wild bull elephant walking towards the waterhole, the bull was very big flapping his ears going to the waterhole feeling a lot of heat, but he became fearful after noticing the keepers and some visitors who were watching him, he turned away and dissolved into the bushes.
23 March 2015
When the morning began, the babies were looking so sweet and all the babies were happy and ready to encounter the big day ahead of them. Lima Lima came on with the naughty character that did not go well with Sonje, she thought being ,a mini matriarch she was big enough to jump on Sonje's back and rub on her belly, Sonje said it was very unfortunate to the young baby girl Lima Lima to play on her back, she turned around to teach her discipline ,when Sonje turned back she jumped onto Lima lima’s back, just so she could feel what it was like and did not try it again. Lima Lima could do nothing but scream for help from the keepers to intervene and push Sonje back to leave her alone, when she got out from being squashed down by Sonje, she ran away, back to his keepers and to where Ngasha was hanging around to browse. Sonje then walked aside trumpeting very loudly and charging on, any
tiny objects that were around the bushes. When the boys heard her trumpeting so much, they joined her and the charging continued so loud that even baboons and monkeys began shouting in the middle of the forest, leaving Murera as the team referee, making them charge more vigorously, with very loud trumpeting from Murera.
Lima Lima then turned to the keeper for fun, and nobody knew what Lima Lima was telling her keeper but could only see abroad smile from his loving face as he was standing next to her. Happy Lima Lima knows how to make her Keepers smile broadly and be happy. After the fun and games the rain
started to drizzle. As they walked home a baby baboon was riding on the back of his mother and the herd charged them causing a commotion.
24 March 2015
Lima Lima heard the wild elephants walking around the night stockades with a small baby screaming in the middle of the dark night, walking closer under her mother's belly for protection. Lima lima tried going round stockade trying to get a place to sneak out. While the Keepers were still in the tent they heard some noise and clicking from the gates. They came out to have a look on what was going on
and found, the tricky Lima Lima was trying to open up the gates and walk to meet the wild friends.
The wild friends heard the keepers talking and then ran away breaking trees down in the process.
Murera, led the babies to the bushes a long day feeding with just a short wallow today. While the evidence of the wild herd was everywhere our orphans did not catch up with them by day.
25 March 2015
Babies began their day by listening to stories from their keepers who were talking to them. The babies flocked together and stood by the story telling keeper, who sat in the middle of the orphans telling stories as if to his own children. They did not want go much further from the story telling keeper, who was seated down. When the story was over, Ngasha did not want to leave and was just interested in the keeper's finger which he demanded to suck on. Eventually they went on their way. Jasiri appeared running and looking for his friend Sonje, who was lying on the ground playing, Jasiri went jumping up on her back, rubbing his belly vigorously on Sonje's back.
26 March 2015
Ngasha came out rushing out of the stockade to join Murera and Jasiri at the lucerne corner while Sonje enjoyed scratching her back against a tree near to the electric fence. She made sure to stay away from the live wires so as to not get shocked.
While enjoying their Lucerne handout the orphans were joined by a baby bushbuck whom Murera, Sonje and Lima Lima chased away not wanting to share any of their supplemental feed.
The orphans spent the day browsing in the forest before going to the mudbath for their milk feed. Zongoloni, Quanza and Lima Lima charged ahead and downed their bottle before resting in the shade of a tree. Unbeknownst to them a wild bull was resting under the same tree. Lima Lima left to lead the keepers and the other orphans to the wild bull who had left by the time they arrived
27 March 2015
The orphans were very thirsty this morning and made a beeline for the waterhole and water trough to drink as much as they could.
Lima Lima was in a playful mood today and engaged Jasiri in a strength testing game. The two had a fun bout with Jasiri emerging as the leader before Quanza decided to come in and help Lima Lima who was being pushed quite a bit by Jasiri who is stronger than her. Lima Lima conceded defeat and left with Quanza to rejoin the rest of the group who were enjoying an early morning dustbath before heading out to the forest to browse.
At the 11m milk feed Jasiri decided to play a game of chase with the keepers and ran around with his empty milk bottle hoping that miraculously more milk would appear for him to drink. He then dropped his bottle and ran to rejoin the group who had headed back to the forest to browse and reset in the shade as it is very hot at the moment.
28 March 2015
The elephants had their morning bottle of milk after which Zongoloni and Sonje raised their trunks to sniff and see if the Lucerne had been put out for them to enjoy. They pushed at the stockade gates in eagerness as they wanted to get out and enjoy their supplemental feed. Once let out, they rushed to the Lucerne corner where they were joined by the others. Murera seemed to enjoy the Lucerene the most and was the last to leave the area and was led by the keepers to the forest to join the rest of the orphans who had already headed out and began browsing.
At the moon milk feed Quanza, Faraja, Jasiri and Ngasha all enjoyed a dustbath before being visited by some county officials who had come to visit Lima Lima and the others orphans. Lima Lima and Ngasha were the first to go up and greet the visitors some of whom were scared and were quick to back away, which in turned scared the orphans. Murera rushed in to see what the problem was and calmed the orphans down bringing them together before leading the group back to the forest to browse for the afternoon.
29 March 2015
Faraja came out rushing out of the stockades this morning to the bushes where he picked at some of his favourite dry leaves. It was not long before he was joined by Jasiri who walked around the tree to find some greener leaves which he enjoyed before the group headed out to the forest for the day.
It was a very hot day and the orphans tried to spend as much time under the shade of the trees as they could. Murera and Sonje were the only ones that did not seem to be bothered by the heat and browsed where the best vegetation was before heading to the noon mudbath for their milk feed after which the keepers fed them some root tubes from the acacia trees.
The afternoon was spent browsing. On the way back to the stockades the orphans veered off to the waterhole before the keepers led them home.
Lima Lima has to return to the stockades last as if not she will always try to steal milk from the others after drinking her share and as such the keepers always have a huge task to prevent her from running ahead. Today Ngasha was moving very slowly and as such came to the stockades together with Lima Lima.
30 March 2015
Wild elephants came to visit the babies last night and the orphans raised their trunks in greeting reaching out to smell their wild peers who only stayed for a few minutes before running off leaving the orphans agitated. Murera paced her stockade as Sonje, Zongoloni, Lima Lima, and Jasiri all pushed at the stockade doors wanting to get out and join the wild elephants.
In the morning the boys in the group were quick to pick up the trail taken by the wild elephants. Ngasha picked up some of the wild elephants dung putting it into his mouth. This is one of the ways that elephants find out what trees in the forest are good to eat which will come in handy as they become more independent in the coming years.
31 March 2015
It was a long day for the babies in the forest as they were busy looking for browse to feed on and fill their bellies. Lima Lima thought that she heard her name being called for milk feeding and started to make her way to the mudbath followed by Zongoloni and Sonje who arrived after Lima Lima had finished her share and was hanging around to see if there may be a chance for any more milk.
None of the orphans partook of the mudbath today as it was a rather cold day and instead had a dustbath.
Lima Lima led the orphans back to the forest for the rest of the afternoon. Murera was the last to join the group followed by the keepers.