Keepers' Diaries, March 2016
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
The same heat that has gripped the whole of the country this past month has necessitated several wallowing sessions a day for our orphans at Ithumba, as well as prolonged sessions of taking siestas under trees with ample shade. They always head to their mud bath as part of their routine and milk feeding time at noon, but often pass by there again or at the Kone Dam in the late afternoon for another refreshing dip in the water.
01 March 2016
Taita, Tomboi, Buchuma and a wild bull were relaxing outside the stockade when the juniors left for browsing early in the morning. Narok entwined her trunk with Taita in morning greeting as she headed to the bush. At the browsing field, the orphans were joined by Suguta, Kanjoro and Mutara. Orwa engaged Kanjoro in a pushing game while Vuria opted to start his day by performing a soil dusting exercise. Bomani teamed up with Shukuru to browse whilst Kainuk stuck to Turkwel. At mud bath time, the juniors were joined by Yatta and Mulika’s groups. The mud bath was brief and as soon as it was over, the juniors left for Kanziku area where they settled to browse. The Ex Orphans did a bit of soil dusting and thereafter headed towards Imenti area. In the afternoon, Vuria charged at two dikdiks that ran past him. Vuria, with assistance from Lemoyian, tried to run after the dikdiks but they couldn't catch them. The dikdiks dodged the two boys and disappeared into the thick bush. In the evening, the heat was too much for the orphans and so they opted to pass by the mud bath where all of them participated in an evening wallow.
02 March 2016
The sky was as clear as crystal in the morning and this was an indication of an impending hot day. After leaving the stockade, the orphans settled briefly in the stockade compound as Narok, Lemoyian, Bomani, Barsilinga, Kainuk and Bongo kept themselves busy by scratching against the nearby rocks. At the browsing field Bomani settled to browse with Barsilinga as Bongo engaged Vuria in a strength testing exercise. On their way to mud bath, the orphans were joined by Lualeni. On arrival at the mud bath, Lualeni caused a commotion when she tried pick up a bottle of milk from the bucket. It was a tug of war as the keepers tried to pull the bucket away with Lualeni insisting that she wanted to taste the milk. At last the keepers managed to take the bucket away as Lualeni surrendered hoping that there would be another day she could try her tricks again. The sun was really hot and all the orphans got into the water to cool themselves down. After mud bath, Lualeni escorted the orphans back to the browsing field and an hour later, she left.
The orphans settled down to browse on the western side of Ithumba Hill. In the evening when the keepers were gathering all the orphans to take them back to the stockade, they realized that Laragai, Kithaka and Lemoyian were missing. The keepers combed the area but their efforts were thwarted by Madiba who came across their path. Madiba decided that the area the keepers were combing was a no-go area and charged at them. The keepers took the orphans back to stockade less three, so as to let Madiba cool down. The search resumed again an hour later. At seven o'clock in the evening the search came to an end when Laragai, Lemoyian and Kithaka were found on the road towards the Bandas, totally unconcerned about the late hour that they were still out. In November 2013, Laragai was among a group of orphans that disappeared for three nights without being seen and this day she nearly made Lemoyian and Kithaka repeat that same event. The three orphans were walked slowly back to the stockade where they found Narok and Barsilinga wondering what might have happened to them. Narok was among the group that disappeared that time before and since then she has never repeated such a thing.
03 March 2016
The sky was partly cloudy in the morning. Makireti, Kilabasi, Kilaguni and Kasigau had spent the night just outside the stockade. Kilabasi stood at the entrance and welcomed the orphans outside as they came out one by one. The first one was Narok who entwined her trunk with Kilabasi as Orwa stood patiently behind waiting for his turn. After arriving at the browsing field, the boys were apparently in a playing mood. Lemoyian played with Bomani as Garzi engaged Barsilinga in a pushing game. Teleki challenged Kilabasi while Bongo and Vuria settled their old scores by pushing one another. Shortly later Garzi quit playing with Barsilinga and joined Turkwel in a game of rolling on the ground while Kasigau engaged Orwa in a strength testing exercise that saw Orwa lose to Kasigau. An hour later, the orphans were joined by Lualeni who left shortly after saying hello to the juniors.
At mud bath time the temperature was moderate and only Kilaguni, Makireti, Bongo, Kanjoro, Teleki, Kilabasi and Garzi participated in wallowing. In the afternoon the orphans settled in Imenti area. At one point the temperature skyrocketed prompting the orphans to converge under a tree as they continuously flapped their ears. When the temperature dropped to a more favourable level, the orphans came out from their hideout and resumed browsing. In the evening, on their way back to the stockade, the orphans passed by the mud bath where they all participated in an evening cool off.
04 March 2016
A wild female and her two year old baby were drinking water at the stockade water trough when the orphans were let out. Kanjoro, Mutara and Suguta joined the juniors on the way to the browsing field. Orwa engaged Kanjoro in a pushing game that didn't last for long while Barsilinga played with Garzi. At around ten o'clock in the morning, Olare’s group passed Kanziku area where the juniors had settled to browse. The group made away with Orwa but left Chaimu and Naisula as replacements. Chaimu and Naisula escorted the juniors to the mud bath. The temperature was low and only Bongo the water boy decided to wallow. In the afternoon, the clouds cleared giving way to sun shine. Kithaka, Lemoyian, Vuria, Garzi and Teleki opted to feed under the trees so as to escape the scorching sun.
An hour later, Chaimu and Naisula left to undisclosed location only to emerge later at the stockade with Orwa. Chaimu and Naisula then inspected the area which their group uses as their bed whenever they report to the stockade late at night. This was a clear indication that the two would spend the night outside the stockade after handing Orwa over to his friends and keepers.
05 March 2016
Kanjoro, Mutara and Suguta joined the orphans in the morning. Bongo went immediately to Kanjoro for a strength testing exercise. The game went on for quite some time until Bongo surrendered. Orwa engaged Mutara in a pushing game but lost to her. Barsilinga, Kithaka and Lemoyian kept themselves busy by scratching on nearby rocks. At the browsing field, Orwa took some time to play with Kithaka while Kanjoro invited Teleki to have a strength testing exercise. Barsilinga settled to browse with Lemoyian as Narok fed close to Turkwel.
At mud bath time only Shukuru, Suguta, Kanjoro, Mutara, Bongo, Teleki, Narok and Sities decided to go wallowing. After mud bath, Bongo and Vuria had a light strength testing exercise. As the orphans were leaving, the Ex Orphans with three wild elephants checked in at the mud bath. Laragai joined the Ex Orphans and got lost in their midst without the keepers knowledge. The keepers realized later that Laragai was missing and so came back at to the mud bath where they found her with the Ex Orphans. It was Laragai that dodged the keepers a few days ago with Lemoyian and Kithaka too. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans settled to browse in Kone area up until late afternoon when the temperature went up dramatically. This prompted the orphans to pass by the Kone dam where they decided to wallow in the cool water again.
06 March 2016
It was a happy and active morning as the orphans came out of their respective staples jumping here and there. They met up with the partially independent trio and Olare’s Ex Orphan herd as soon as they came out as they were waiting just outside the gate for them in the bush. They immediately started peaceful play fighting games before moving out. Orwa was actively playing with Kasigau and later with Kilabasi. Vuria was playing with Kandecha, Kilaguni with Kithaka and later Kasigau;it was so enjoyable when Mutara started playing with Kilabasi and Makireti trying to convince Mutara to join them. Naisula and Chaimu on the other side were rolling around on the ground playing and making the other elephants more active.The Ex Orphans later marched away from the orphans with Orwa trying to follow them, but later he came back to his group.
On our way to the mudbath we met up with Madiba, the slightly hard-line Ex Orphan who tries to scare the keepers and sometimes chase them, although he would never cause harm. At the mudbath some of the orphans like Bongo played vigorously with Mutara.We had also two wild bulls who were playing with Madiba arrive later.
Back in the bush it was very hot and the orphans stood under the shade; no one was playing.They later came out and started browsing. At the stockade we had Kilaguni's group of partially independent who arrived very late in the evening and gathered around the water hole for some time.
07 March 2016
It was an active morning as the orphan elephants came out of their stockades and met with Kilaguni’s group who they started playing with.The boys were slightly more active today than the girls as Kilaguni, Kasigau, Kandecha, Kibo and Orwa the dependent orphan were conducting the most play fighting between them. The partially independent orphans later separated themselves and walked away from the babies.
The orphans set of to browse heading to the mudbath. At a waiting area before the feeding point Lemoyian was scratching on a baobab tree with Vuria as they played before mudbath time; they looked happy as they waited for their milk bottles. Once at the mudbath the majority of them played vigorously with Vuria, rolling in the mud. Later in came Rapsu, the Ex Orphan, with another wild bull and they started playing in the water as well. Mutara came out of the water and started scratching on the visitors’ concrete seat in style. Orwa and the wild bull later scratched on different trees. The orphans later headed back to the bush to browse until evening.
In the stockade we had Wendi's group with Wiva, Mulika with Mwende and Yatta with Yetu arrive late in the evening. Wiva looks strong and good health; they drank water and left back to the bush.
08 March 2016
It was a quiet morning for the orphans. Barsilinga scratched on a rock while Vuria rolled on the ground before they all headed to the bush. Vuria and Shukuru greeted each other and had a talk. Vuria later started playing with Orwa and finally Kithaka.Laragai then led the group to the mudbath for their milk.
At the mudbath some Ex Orphans arrived - Orok, Buchuma, Challa, Madiba and two wild bulls; they played vigorously in the mudbath. The orphans came in after drinking their milk and joined them too.They all played well together and after they had finished wallowing the dependent babies left for the bush, leaving the Ex Orphans behind. Challa played heartily with a wild bull and enjoyed the mud bath.They later set off to the bush to browse.
Back in the bush,the orphans enjoyed browsing despite the hot sun and humidity. Later in the evening, the orphans came across a small water pool and played in it to cool down their bodies, before walking back to the stockade for their evening milk.
09 March 2016
Last night we received some heavy rain and the orphans came out of their stockades quietly this morning, feeling the cold air. Most of them, i.e. Kithaka, Barsilinga, Bongo, Bomani, Vuria, Garzi, Shukuru and Sities were scratching in different styles on the rocks before they headed off to the bush.Vuria and Garzi started scooping and tossing chunks of soil on their backs and some in the air.Kanjoro and Bomani were having a talk while Suguta struggled to break a big branch off a tree whilst browsing.
On their way to the mudbath they came across a dam formed from the rain water and they started playing in it. Bongo played the most out of all the elephants. At the mudbath almost all of them played in the water. Vuria was trying to mount on Bongo whilst he was swimming. No Ex Orphan or wild elephants were at the mudbath today.
Back in the bush all the orphans were peacefully browsing despite the heavy rain that fell; but it only lasted a short while. Barsilinga and Vuria were playing with each other before they all started to walk back to the stockades. Neither the Ex Orphans nor the wild elephants came to the stockades today.We recorded 26ml of rain today.
10 March 2016
The elephant orphans left their stables this morning and walked majestically down to the scratching rock.Orwa and Vuria started play fighting and Bongo intervened to help his close friend Orwa. Ultimately, Orwa walked away leaving Bongo to continue the game with Vuria. Later, Laragai started talking to Orwa and Turkwel came to listen to the communication.
During their time in the bush, Kithaka started scratching on a tree while Lemoyian enjoyed the early morning browse nearby. Orwa and Bomani took a break from browsing to scoop and toss soil chunks in the air and onto their backs.On their way to the mudbath, the orphans came across a pool of water and enjoyed unscheduled water playtime session before continuing to their destination.
In the mudbath, Vuria, Bongo, Mutara, Suguta and Kanjoro played peacefully without disturbance from either the ex-orphans or wild elephants. They all eventually exited the mudbath slowly with Vuria and Bomani scratching on a tree to remove any ticks. The group then followed the keepers back into the bush for more browsing. It was very cool after yesterday’s rain and all the elephants enjoyed the cooler climate. After a quiet and cool day with no rain or visits from the ex-orphans or wild elephants, Vuria led the way back to the stockade.
11 March 2016
The sky was clear as the orphans nonchalantly left the stockade; an indication of a hot day a head. Orwa scratched his head against the only remaining acacia tree at the stockade compound while is good friend Bongo participated in a strength testing exercise with Vuria which he lost. Bomani and Laragai walked down to the water trough where they loitered for a while to make sure they had drunk enough to last them all morning. In the browsing field, Garzi settled to browse with Kainuk as the rest of the juniors scattered all over the field for browsing.
Shortly before mud bath time, the orphans came across stagnated water that they used for a mini mud bath; a welcome relief from the hot day. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined briefly by the Ex Orphans and Narok went to stand close to Wiva who was suckling from her mother, Wendi. After mud bath Kanjoro engaged Ex Orphan Meibei in a pushing game but he lost to Meibei. Teleki was standing close by and he too tried to challenge Meibei but he also lost to the much older elephant. After Teleki lost to Meibei, he decided to tackle Makena thinking that she was softer than the other two but he was surprised when he lost yet again. Orwa and Ololoo had their own game of pushing one another that ended in a draw after which they parted ways.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kone area where Bongo teamed up with Shukuru for browsing. The afternoon was hot and in the evening the orphans stopped at Kone dam where they all participated in an evening cooling off by getting into the water to wallow.
12 March 2016
Wendi with several members of the former orphans were at the stockade compound early this morning. This group consisted of Wendi, Wiva, Nasalot, Galana, Makena, Loijuk, Chyulu, Zurura, Challa, Sunyei and Sidai. It’s not clear whether this is a new group in the making since Mulika and Yatta, the matriarchs, were not present. If it’s not a sub-group then Yatta and Mulika with the other Ex Orphans had embarked on a special mission. Narok exchanged morning greetings with Nasalot soon after leaving the stockade then she met with Sidai and they entwined their trunks in morning greetings. Orwa kept himself busy by engaging Makena in a strength testing exercise. As the juniors left for browsing, Orwa lagged behind with Wendi and her group as he enjoys the company of his seniors.
After having enough fun with Makena, Orwa slowly followed the rest of the orphans out into the bush.
It was a sunny day but the orphans weren’t bothered by the sun and concentrated on browsing. At the mudbath only Teleki, Bongo and Kanjoro enjoyed a good wallow whilst the rest stood at the edge of the mudbath drinking and watching the three boys. Vuria picked up a piece of stick and used it to scratch in between his forelegs. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse around the Imenti area and in the evening they were joined by Challa who escorted them back to the stockade.
13 March 2016
Mutara, Suguta and Kanjoro have been spending time away from the stockades as they grow more independent. These three older orphans were waiting for the juniors when the gates to the stockades were opened. Mutara started playing with Orwa, and Kanjoro with Vuria and later accompanied the juniors to the bush.
In the bush, they browsed together quietly except when Kanjoro became over excited and raised his ears because he saw Turkwel kicking his friend Orwa. Bongo came across a water hole and invited all his friends who like playing in water and started playing in.
At the mudbath most of the orphans didn't wallow because they had played in Bongo’s waterhole in the bush so they soon headed back out to browse.
In the bush, the juniors met up with Wendi's group and they all browsed together for sometime. Big boys Orok and Buchuma took the time to have a play fight, much to the awe of the little bulls in the midst. Wendi’s group followed the juniors back to the stockade and all the keepers were happy to see Wiva is a very active, playful and healthy baby elephant. This evening, Sities decided to follow Suguta's little group as she is a good friend of Mutara and did not return to the stockade with the younger orphans; a sign she is ready to slowly become more independent.
14 March 2016
The day started with joy as the orphans came out of their respective stockades happy and full of fun. All the elephants found a sparring partner and everywhere you looked the elephants were playing in groups of two. Vuria was testing the strength of his usual partner Bongo, Laragai with Garzi, Orwa with Kanjoro, Lemoyian with Kithaka and Bomani with Barsilinga. It was like a play field where everyone was competing to win.
In the bush, Kainuk was scratching in style while Orwa next to her was very busy browsing on a tree so tall he was forced to climb a rock to reach the fresh leaves. Later the group came across a small dam of water and they all had an early mud bath.They all got themselves good and muddy with Vuria rolling round in the mud for maximum coverage.Mutara with Shukuru also played vigorously but separately from Bongo and the other orphans. Kanjoro then rubbed himself on a tree to remove excess mud and annoying ticks.
In the mudbath, Kanjoro, Vuria, Narok, Mutara, Laragai, Sities and Teleki played in the water and when Kanjoro tried to exit Vuria kept trying to push Kanjoro back in to continue their play. In the evening they also played in another dam on their way back home. At the stockade, Mulika and Yatta visited the orphans with Mwende and Yetu and one wild bull.
15 March 2016
It was a lovely morning as the orphans left their stockades with Narok leading the first group and Laragai leading the second group. Lemoyian and Kithaka spent some time play fighting as did Orwa and Vuria and Laragai pushed Bomani whilst Teleki stood by watching them. Bongo then played with Orwa until he took a time out to have a scratch before the group left for the bush.
In the bush, Bongo led the junior group to a dam which had very little water and a lot of mud. They all rolled around and coated themselves in the cool mud. Barsilinga and Turkwel in particular attempted to scratch and roll in some new and different styles.
Teleki led the group to the mudbath where they all played peacefully without any visits from either the Ex Orphans or wild elephants. Bongo and Vuria were play fighting in the mudbath while Orwa mounted Bomani which encouraged Bongo to mount Vuria who in turn mounted the younger boy, Garzi! The boys were full of fun and games today.
In the bush the orphans met a wild group of five elephants, including Half Trunk who is known to the orphans and keepers, but they didn’t stay long together. Again in the afternoon the orphans came across a small dam with warm water and took some time away from browsing for another wallow and play. When all the elephants had enough of browsing and wallowing Bongo led the group back to the stockade.
16 March 2016
The elephants played some very joyful games as they left their stockades this morning - Bongo and Vuria's game was the most interesting one. Vuria later started rolling around on the ground and crawling like a tortoise. Bomani started pushing him back down to the ground whenever he tried to stand up. It was like a bullying game and Orwa joined in and started mounting on Vuria, making him turn around for a play fight. After some time, Bongo came back to intervene and Orwa surrendered. Vuria and Bongo were left in the field playing. The group walked ahead and started a scratching competition on a nearby tree which Vuria seemed to win.
Out in the bush Suguta was rubbing her foot on a bent tree. Shukuru, Laragai and Narok led the group to a small dam and they all started playing in it. Later Sities led the group to the mudbath. They all entered and starting crossing the mud hole, forming a line to get out the other side like wildebeest crossing the river Olare. Later Kithaka started a good scratching session nearby. Back in the bush, Barsilinga staged a drama and started running around here and there for no apparent reason. The keepers watched him and he seemed to be searching for a group to join because it was just after they had met with Ex Orphans and they had left that he started running around. Later they came back to the stockades in the evening.
In the stockades we had Wendi's group with Yatta and their babies, and Madiba and Kinna as well. They drank water and left. We also had one wild big bull arrive late this evening, who also came and drank water before departing. We had no rain today.
17 March 2016
There was bright sunrise along the horizon this morning which greeted the orphans as they browsed quietly outside their stockade area, waiting to walk to the bush to browse after their morning breakfast. Garzi started rolling on the ground, Barsilinga was scratching on a rock while Vuria and Bongo as usual were play fighting. The fight between the two became more serious with each one using all his strength. The group later walked to the bush to browse. Kanjoro, Mutara and Suguta joined the group when they came across a small dam of water and started playing in it. They later headed to the mudbath for their milk where as usual Bongo went for a bath.
Back in the bush, they browsed happily but the temperature was very high which forced them to head back to the dam for a bath as they headed home.
In the stockade we had Wendi's group with her baby Wiva; they drank water and left. Madiba was also in the group. There was no rain today.
18 March 2016
As soon as the elephants left their stockade this morning they immediately started playing. Laragai was rolling on the ground while Bomani climbed on her. Vuria was play fighting with Bongo and Teleki, Bongo, Bomani and Narok were having a meeting together. Laragai was trying to kick Bomani from behind! Orwa, Bongo and Vuria also played together and Lemoyian mounted on Turkwel – fun and games all round! Rapsu the Ex Orphan came in for water in the stockade and left. The orphans however headed to the bush to browse.
In the bush, Mutara, Kanjoro and Suguta came in to join the group. Shukuru was struggling to peel back the bark from a tree branch. Sities was struggling to browse higher for the fresh leaves. Barsilinga was in his stubborn mood again and running here and there for no reason. The group came across a pool of water and used it to cool down their temperatures as it was another very hot day. Most of them played in different styles. The group later headed to the mudbath for milk.
At the mud bath some of them played vigorously in the water with Bongo and Vuria leading the swimming squad. They only bathed for a short time though and came out. Back in the bush the orphans browsed seriously before they made their way back to the stockade. Kithaka led the group. There was no rain today but there were a lot of overhead, passing clouds.
19 March 2016
The sky was clear as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from the stockade. The clear sky was an indication of an imminent hot day ahead. Barsilinga started his day by scratching on rocks as Turkwel led the rest of the orphans to the browsing field. At the browsing field, the orphans had a quiet morning as they concentrated on feeding. At around ten o'clock in the morning the heat of the sun became unbearable and Sities and Bongo the water boy came across a small water pool. The two were very happy and enjoyed splashing around in the water and splashing mud behind their ears. A short while later, the rest of the group joined in and they all wallowed briefly before making their way to the mud bath.
On the way, Bongo came across a bent tree that he used to scratch his belly on. At mud bath, surprisingly because of the high temperature, only Bongo decided to go wallowing. The rest stood at the edge of mud bath just relaxing and drinking water. Barsilinga stood with his back legs crossed due to an abscess on his hind ankle of the left leg which we are treating. It was still a hot day so Barsilinga walked to a nearby tree where he relaxed under the shade. He was later joined by Orwa and Kithaka. Kainuk picked up a stick and used it to scratch her chest. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse to the west of Ithumba hill. In the evening, Barsilinga managed to dodge the keepers and disappear with Sities who has now joined Suguta and her group. The keepers caught up with him late in the evening and walked him back to the stockade.
20 March 2016
The sky was once again as clear as crystal, a sign of a hot day ahead. The orphans, led by Turkwel, passed by the water trough to arm themselves with enough water to see them through the entire morning. Barsilinga spent some time scratching against the only remaining acacia tree in the stockade compound. On the way to the browsing field, the boys developed a playing mood. Vuria played with Bongo while Lemoyian mount climbed on Laragai, who decided to lie down to play. Kithaka engaged Orwa in a pushing game but ended losing the game. Orwa later played with Turkwel as Kainuk pushed Garzi out of the way. Barsilinga, Kithaka and Narok browsed together for sometime before parting ways. Buchuma joined the juniors briefly before heading to another location.
At around nine o'clock in the morning, Sunyei, Kenze, Meibai, Kasigau, Kilaguni, Makireti and Kilabasi showed up at the stockade and left immediately after drinking water.
At the browsing field the orphans were joined by Makireti and Olare’s groups who were being accompanied by Rapsu. At mud bath time half of the herd participated in wallowing as the rest relaxed under the nearby trees. After mud bath Kilaguni and Kandecha engaged one another in a pushing game. In the afternoon, the herd settled to browse at Kanziku area and two hours later, Olare and Makireti’s groups parted ways with the juniors.
21 March 2016
Challa was relaxing outside the stockade this morning when the gates opened for the juniors to come out. Barsilinga, who was the first one to leave the stockade, passed close to Challa and stretched his trunk out in greeting. A short while later Narok, the brave girl, came by and entwined her trunk with Challa in morning greeting too. Barsilinga walked down to the acacia tree and kept himself busy there by scratching against the tree whilst stretching his trunk up to pluck the acacia leaves. Bongo and Vuria met at the water trough and before drinking water, they started a pushing game that went on for quite some time. Bomani came close to the two boys and watched them for a few minutes before proceeding to browse.
At the browsing field Shukuru, Laragai, Lemoyian and Orwa shared the same tree to feed from. At mud bath Barsilinga opted for soil dusting rather than going into the water. Laragai and Teleki had an enjoyable moment in water as they wallowed close to each other. Bongo and Vuria had a good time as they tussled in the water. Kanjoro and Garzi joined Barsilinga in soil dusting and thereafter headed back to the browsing field. The orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area and in the evening, passed by Kone dam where they had an evening wallow. Soon after the orphans returned to the stockade, the weaver birds reported at their favourite tree, the acacia tree in the stockade compound. Their arrival signals the beginning of the rainy season is approaching.
22 March 2016
After leaving the stockade early in the morning, Bomani and Lemoyian entwined their trunks in greeting. Turkwel, Kithaka and Barsilinga walked to the nearby rocks and enjoyed scratching their buttocks. Shortly later Orwa engaged Turkwel in a pushing game that ended in a draw. Afterwards, Orwa lay down to play. Bomani, who was standing close by, came forward to climb on Orwa. Orwa's game of rolling on the ground attracted Turkwel’s attention who also went down and started a rolling game. Bongo came and tried to push Turkwel but Turkwel didn't show any interest of playing with Bongo and so she continued rolling on the ground. Bomani quit mount climbing on Orwa and went to engage Garzi in a strength testing exercise.
On the way to the browsing field, Bongo engaged Vuria in a strength testing exercise that ended soon after Bongo surrendered. At the browsing field Garzi came across a fallen tree that he used to rest his back leg on whilst feeding. Lemoyian settled to feed with Laragai as Kainuk settled to browse with Turkwel. At mud bath time only Teleki, Laragai, Vuria, Mutara, Kanjoro and Sities participated in wallowing. Shukuru led the remainder of the group in a soil dusting exercise. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kone area. It was all quiet as the orphans browsed throughout the remaining part of the day without any major events.
23 March 2016
The orphans settled down to eat lucerne soon after they came out of their stockades this morning. Chaimu, who appears to have taken over Mutara's group, came in with Mutara and her friends to the stockade compound and joined the juniors. The keepers did not realise that the group, now consisting of Chaimu, Mutara, Suguta, Kanjoro and Sities, were on a recruiting mission; this would not become apparent until later in the day!
The orphans settled to browse at Kone area. Chaimu fed close to Vuria and later joined Barsilinga in feeding. Narok spent some time soil dusting before leading the way to the mud bath. On the way to the mud bath, the herd was joined by Yatta, Yetu, Ithumbah and Rapsu. There was a drama when Yetu tried to overtake Laragai. Laragai blocked Yetu by all means including throwing back kicks her way. The reason behind the drama was Laragai believing that Yetu might take her milk. The sun was hot and only Kanjoro, Garzi, Teleki and Bongo participated in wallowing. Lemoyian and Narok relaxed under a nearby acacia tree while Rapsu opted for a soil dusting exercise.
On the way back to browsing, Shukuru came across an anthill that she used to scratch her buttocks on. In the evening Mutara, assisted by Chaimu, finally managed to win the hearts of Kainuk and Turkwel. When it came time to return back to the stockade Kainuk and her long time friend Turkwel fled with, what is now, Chaimu’s group and did not return back to the stockades.
24 March 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade, the orphans joined Challa, Kilaguni, Lualeni, Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi just outside the stockade. It appears that the group arrived late at night and decided to spend the night just outside the stockade. The herd settled to share lucerne together and a short while later Chaimu, Mutara, Sities, Kanjoro, Kainuk, Turkwel and Suguta arrived. Chaimu was happy to meet Kilaguni who for a long time had formed a group of only two members. After feeding on lucerne, Turkwel and Orwa spent some time in a strength testing exercise as Narok scratched her buttocks against the nearby rocks. Later Orwa engaged Chaimu in a pushing game that ended in a draw. Orwa, who likes a challenge, moved on and met with Kasigau who he had a play fight with. Kasigau won that fight and Orwa went on to practice more so that the next time he would be the victor.
On the way to the mud bath the herd was joined by Napasha, who had been away for several months. At mud bath time Napasha spent a long time wallowing, perhaps to compensate for the days he had been away without taking a bath. Barsilinga opted for a soil bath as Lualeni, Challa, Kasigau, Kilabasi, Bongo and Mutara joined Napasha in wallowing. Later the herd returned back to the browsing field leaving Challa and Napasha behind. Two hours later, the partially independent group parted ways with the juniors and left to an undisclosed location.
25 March 2016
The sky was partly cloudy as the orphans settled down to eat lucerne in the morning. A short while later the orphans were joined by Makireti, Kasigau, Kilabasi, Chaimu, Kilaguni, Suguta, Mutara, Kanjoro, Turkwel and Kainuk. Makireti and Kilabasi lay down to relax since they had been feeding the whole night. Makireti led the group to the water trough where they drank enough water to take them through the entire morning. On the way to the browsing field, Bongo and Orwa who love to challenge one another went straight into a strength testing game. The game did not go on for long as Kainuk intervened by pushing the two boys away. The herd browsed calmly throughout the entire morning.
At mud bath time only Bongo, Vuria and Teleki decided to wallow. Barsilinga led the rest of the group in a soil dusting exercise. Laragai, who prefers to have a private moment during her mud bath, walked to the far end. She took water and splashed it behind her ears, then waded through the water to join her friends that were soil dusting. In the evening as usual, the partially independent group parted ways with the juniors and left to unknown location.
26 March 2016
Kithaka left the stockade with a branch in his mouth and kept himself busy by chewing on it as he waited for the keepers to distribute lucerne. Shortly later, Suguta, Turkwel and Kainuk joined the juniors. Turkwel had a brief moment of communicating with Teleki who kept putting his trunk in Turkwel’s mouth.
On the way to the browsing field Narok, Turkwel and Shukuru came across loose soil that they used to have a dust bath in. Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi met with the juniors as they hurried to the stockade to drink water. Orwa greeted them nicely as he entwined his trunk with Kilabasi and Kasigau as they passed close to him. In the browsing field Bongo and Vuria engaged each other in their usual pushing game; Bongo surrendered after Vuria attempted to mount on him and so walked to play with Turkwel as Vuria went to play with Orwa. At mud bath time the temperature was moderate and only Laragai and Bongo wallowed while the rest led by Shukuru and Mutara participated in soil bathing. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kone area and in the evening the orphans passed by the Kone dam where Shukuru and Narok went for an evening wallowing session.
27 March 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade, Bomani stood at the exit gate and tried to block Kithaka from leaving. It took the intervention of the keepers for Kithaka to be allowed out by Bomani. After finishing feeding on lucerne, Narok threw some lucerne on her head as spare food for later; she kept picking at it to feed on the way to the browsing field. Bongo and Vuria engaged each other into a pushing game that didn't last long as Kanjoro intervened by pushing Bongo away.
At the browsing field Turkwel and Mutara competed of who amongst them had the highest reach in terms of plucking leaves from a tall shrub. It appears that Mutara won because she is much taller and has a longer trunk compared to Turkwel. Kanjoro settled to browse close to Laragai as Bongo browsed close to his playmate Vuria. At mud bath time the orphans only took their milk and drank water, thereafter participating in soil dusting and not wallowing in the water. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area. Lemoyian spent most of his time browsing close to Barsilinga while Bongo browsed close to Suguta.
28 March 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade Vuria knocked down Kithaka who had been standing at the exit gate. Kithaka felt bad for he didn't understand the reason as to why he had been pushed. There was nothing he could do since Vuria was senior to him so he just walked away. The orphans joined Mutara who has formed her own group after Chaimu left to join Makireti’s group. Mutara 's group includes Sities, Turkwel, Kainuk, Suguta and Kanjoro.
Laragai was tossing the lucerne up in the air and some landed on her head making her look like she had worn a lucerne hat. Shukuru spent some time scratching her buttocks on the nearby rocks while Kanjoro played with Narok. Bongo tried to play with Bomani but Bomani was reluctant, so Bongo went on a mission in search of another playmate. On the way to the browsing field Turkwel engaged Orwa in a pushing game as Suguta played with Mutara.
At around ten o'clock in the morning, Mulika and Yatta’s groups with four wild elephants reported at the stockade to drink water. After drinking water, the herd relaxed under the acacia tree for sometime before leaving again.
At mud bath time, only Bongo, Sities, Teleki, Mutara, Shukuru, Kanjoro and Teleki wallowed in the mud pool. Kithaka and Barsilinga went to relax under a tree as Laragai walked up to the water trough where she welcomed two bulls that were coming to drink water. As soon as the two elephant Bulls drew close to water trough, Laragai moved away to give the Bulls the respect they deserve. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse west of the Ithumba Hill until evening when they returned back to the stockades.
29 March 2016
Olare and Mutara groups arrived at the stockade compound late at night and decided to spend the night just outside. In the morning, after the gates were opened, they all went in the stockade to see if there were any leftovers. There was nothing left for them to feed and so they went out to wait for lucerne. Kibo played Narok as Sities disagreed with Bongo and before long Sities chased Bongo away.
Later Kibo played with Vuria as Shukuru and Kithaka spent some time scratching on nearby rocks. The orphans had a quiet morning and at mud bath time the sun was hot and only Laragai Garzi, Bongo, Vuria and Teleki participated in wallowing. Barsilinga Narok and Lemoyian opted for a soil dusting exercise. In the afternoon, the herd settled to browse in Kone area and in the evening the herd passed by Kone dam where they had an evening wallow. Shortly later the partially independent group led by Mutara parted ways with the juniors.
30 March 2016
Mutara and her group of six joined the juniors for lucerne in the morning. Orwa and Kithaka had a brief moment of strength testing that saw Kithaka surrender to Orwa. Orwa then moved to tackle Kanjoro and their pushing game went on for a long time until it ended in a draw. Shukuru spent some time soil dusting while Vuria engaged Bongo in a pushing game. At mud bath time the juniors were joined by Napasha, Kilaguni, Chaimu and five wild bulls. Laragai played with Kilaguni for some time and after the brave Laragai walked up to the wild bulls and started sniffing at them. Barsilinga and Lemoyian decided to conduct their scratching close to the wild bulls but as they faced the opposite direction. They chose to scratch against that bench for safety and if the bulls turned aggressive towards them they would have access to an escape route. After mud bath, Napasha, Kilaguni and Chaimu joined the juniors for the afternoon and parted ways an hour later. The sun was hot and the orphans relaxed under a tree until the temperatures went down. In the evening, the orphans passed by Kone dam where they decided to go for a late wallowing session.
31 March 2016
It was a quiet morning with the orphans settling down to eat lucerne without any other Ex Orphans or wild elephants coming in to disturb them. Barsilinga settled to feed on lucerne with his back legs crossed which was a sign of complete relaxation. Bomani took some minutes to lie down on the ground to play as the rest continued with feeding. At the browsing field, Orwa and Lemoyian decided to share food from one tree. Later in the day Laragai engaged Bomani in a pushing game that saw Bomani surrender shortly after the game started. Orwa played Vuria and awhile later Teleki intervened and pushed Vuria away so he could play with Orwa. At mud bath time Laragai ran with her final bottle and dropped it close to the water after emptying its contents. Only Bongo and Narok went wallowing in the water though. Lemoyian and Shukuru opted to scratch against the nearby trees while Kithaka led the others to relax under a tree. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the area of Kanziku. Laragai, who took some private time to herself, fed a few metres away from her friends and after she had enough time on her own she returned to join her group again.