Keepers' Diaries, March 2017
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
Our most significant news from Ithumba was the birth of a sweet wild born baby girl whom we have named “Kama” (after the Hindu God of Love) to Ex Orphan Kinna. Kinna was only a week old when she came to us from Meru having been found stuck in mud, and now is a healthy 17 year old with a baby of her own. Nothing endorses the success of our Orphans’ Project more as being able to follow the progress of our Ex Orphans now living wild, simply because they choose to keep in touch with their human replacement family who have raised them with the same loving tender care they would have experienced from their natural Elephant family and especially when they bring back their precious wild-born young to share with their erstwhile Keepers, who remain based at the Rehab facilities busy steering a fresh batch of Ex Nursery young back where they rightly belong. We are delighted to welcome sweet little Kama into the herd. On the morning of the 24th March, Kinna arrived with her Nannies Chyulu, Lenana, Naserian and Loijuk in attendance, visiting the stockade compound to proudly show off their new charge, who must have only been born a few hours before, to their human family waiting there with beaming smiles. As the small group drew closer, the other Ex Orphans were just as excited to meet the new baby. Nothing can be more soul-stirring than to experience the volume of trumpeting and bellowing from euphoric Elephants, who are simply ecstatic to welcome and meet a new little family member. Young babies “Wiva” and “Gawa”, born to Ex Orphans Wendi and Galana, had to contend with the attention they have enjoyed to date being diluted, but Wiva consoled herself by following Kama around everywhere as well, becoming a doting miniature Nannie, while Gawa decided to stick close to her mother.
01 March 2017
The stockade compound was flooded with Ex Orphans and wild elephants when the orphans were let out of their night stockades this morning. The Ex Orphans settled to share the lucerne with them before the juniors left for browsing leaving the Ex Orphans behind. Kalama escorted the juniors to the bush where she engaged Vuria in a pushing game before returning to join her friends.
At mud bath time, the weather was windy and none of the orphans participated in wallowing. The orphans only drank their milk and water before returning back to the browsing field. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to feed in the upper Kalovoto area. The clouds cleared giving way to sun shine. Barsilinga and Tusuja took a break from feeding to relax under a tree and resumed browsing when they felt that the temperatures was right for them to wander in search of pasture again.
02 March 2017
It was a peaceful morning for the orphans when they left the stockade. They settled for lucerne and shortly later were joined by Tumaren. Tumaren belongs to Olare’s group and we were not sure why she didn't visit the stockade with the rest of her group. Tumaren wasn't in a good mood as she kept on throwing back kicks to whichever orphan passed behind her. When the orphans were through with feeding on lucerne, Narok led the way to the browsing field as Tumaren headed east, probably to check on her group. The sun was hot and therefore the orphans fed under trees while trying to hide from the scorching sun.
At mud bath time, five wild bulls were in attendance. The orphans participated fully in the wallowing exercise with the exception of Orwa, who opted to stay out of the water. After mud bath, Lemoyian, Barsilinga and Kamok headed for soil dusting while Roi, Shukuru and Garzi opted for a scratching exercise. In the afternoon, the sun was still hot and Bomani with Boromoko took a break from feeding to relax under a tree, and resumed browsing only when they felt that the temperature had dropped a bit.
03 March 2017
Eight wild bulls were drinking water from the stockade water trough when the orphans were let out in the morning. While feeding on lucerne, the orphans were joined by Makireti, Kilabasi, Kasigau, Chaimu, Kilaguni, Tumaren, Naisula, Kitirua, Taita, Murka and four junior wild bulls. Soon after the orphans were through with lucerne, Shukuru led the team to drink water before heading out to the bush to start what appeared to be a hot day a head. Narok came across a tree stump that was of right size to scratch her belly on, while Siangiki concentrated on uprooting roots of a shrub to feed on.
At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by the senior Ex Orphans and sixteen wild bulls. The entire herd participated in wallowing together and half an hour later parted ways. In the afternoon, Narok and Shukuru relaxed under the same tree as they dusted themselves while Kauro and Orwa relaxed under another tree few metres away. In the evening, Lemoyian and Kithaka spent some time in a strength testing exercise that ended quickly when Vuria intervened by pushing the two boys away.
04 March 2017
Soon after leaving the stockade, the orphans settled for lucerne and were joined by Mutara and Olare’s groups. Then the senior Ex Orphans in Yatta’s group in the company of twelve wild elephants showed up. Olare’s herd escorted the juniors to the browsing field where Kibo played with Orwa. Boromoko exercised his strength by trying to bend a tree down but he couldn't move it even an inch. He then surrendered and moved to join Kandecha in browsing.
At mud bath and milk feeding time, the orphans were joined by the Ex Orphans and wild elephants. The sun was so hot causing the entire herd to participate in wallowing. Given the high number of about eighty four elephants at mud bath, the wallowing was done in turns in order of seniority since they could not all fit in. There was drama when four warthogs tried to access the mud bath too. Kithaka spotted them first and without hesitation charged and went for them. The warthogs didn’t wait to be trampled on but ran as fast as their legs could carry them.
In the evening, the Ex Orphans reported early when they got wind of fresh lucerne at the stockade. They were given a treat of the fresh lucerne when they arrived at the stockade. On the way back to stockade, Laragai, Teleki and Orwa joined the Ex Orphans briefly before getting into the stockade for yet another night.
05 March 2017
The orphans settled for lucerne soon after coming out of their stockades. They were joined by Rapsu and two wild friends to eat lucerne. After feeding the juniors, led by Laragai, left for browsing and settled to feed in Kone area. The sky was clear and the sun became hotter in each passing moment prompting Sirimon and Naseku to take a break from feeding to relax under a tree that had a good shade. Shortly before ten o'clock in the morning, the juniors were joined by Rapsu and Hatari, a junior wild bull that spends time with the Ex Orphans. Kamok, Bomani and Tusuja briefly relaxed under a tree before resuming browsing.
At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by the senior Ex Orphans and ten wild elephants. After mud bath, Shukuru headed for soil dusting while Ololoo engaged Vuria in a strength testing exercise that saw Vuria lose the game to Ololoo. In the afternoon, the sun was so hot making all the orphans want to converge under a tree that had a good shade, to hide from the scorching sun. They started browsing again later when it got a bit cooler.
06 March 2017
Challa, in the company of two wild bulls, joined the juniors in the morning soon after the orphans were let out. They shared lucerne together briefly before parting ways. At the browsing field, Naseku and Teleki took a break from feeding to scratch against the nearby trees. Lemoyian had brief strength testing exercise with Kithaka that didn't last for long since Bongo passed by and pushed both of them away.
At eleven o'clock in the morning, the orphans attended mud bath as usual. The sun was really hot making all the orphans want to play in the water. After mud bath, Lemoyian played with Sirimon, Naseku scratched her ear against an acacia tree while Barsilinga and Bomani headed for a soil dusting exercise.
Back out in the bush, the orphans paired up to dust themselves. Narok paired with Lemoyian, Teleki with Laragai, Shukuru with Sokotei and Bongo with Garzi. The sun was getting hot and the orphans converged under a tree to hide from the scorching sun. Later in the day, Shukuru, Lemoyian and Kamok dodged the keepers and returned back to the stockades on their own at five o'clock in the evening, as the keepers frantically looked for them around the Kanziku area where they had all been. It was only after they received a call from the keepers back at the compound that three of the orphans had returned that those out in the bush were relieved, and brought the others back to the stockade to join those naughty three! The fun and games continued when Teleki, Laragai, Orwa, Vuria and Bomani refused to get into the stockade but joined Chaimu, Kilaguni, Challa and a wild elephant that were just feeding lucerne outside the stockade. Shortly before dark, the five orphans were bundled into the stockade after they attempted to elope with Chaimu, Kilaguni, Challa and the wild elephant. This is an early sign of these orphans who are going off milk that they are almost ready to leave, and sooner or later might leave their human family to join their friends in the wild, where they belong.
07 March 2017
Soon after leaving the stockade, the orphans were joined by Rapsu, Kenze, Buchuma, a wild elephant and Chaimu and Makireti’s groups. As the herd was busy feeding on lucerne, four wild dogs emerged from the south east of the stockade. The wild dogs drank water then disappeared again. Rapsu and Buchuma walked to the water troughs for a drink and shortly afterwards were joined by Laragai. When the orphans were through with lucerne, Shukuru led the way to the browsing field. Barsilinga settled to feed with Boromoko while Shukuru took a break from feeding to perform a soil dusting exercise. At mud bath time, the sun was really hot and therefore the orphans had no option other than to get into the water for a cool off. Only one wild bull attended mud bath with the orphans.
After mud bath, Barsilinga headed for soil bathing while Sirimon came across a tree stump that was of right size to scratch his belly. In the evening, the Ex Orphans showed up at the stockade for water. Amazingly enough, Kamboyo who had gone missing for close to two years was with the herd!!! Kamboyo could be seen sniffing at the Ex Orphans trying to reconnect with them again. Soon after having enough water, Kamboyo left with the herd. Hopefully he might stick around for a little while longer; only time will tell if he will or if this was a short visit! Shortly before dark, the wild dogs came back again and drank some more water before disappearing.
08 March 2017
Mutara’s group appears to have spent the night just close to the stockade and joined the juniors early in the morning. The two groups shared the lucerne peacefully and thereafter headed for browsing together. Kanjoro and Garzi spent some time in a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by the Ex Orphans and later Kamboyo and two wild bulls. Kamboyo later left with his two wild friends. Lemoyian spotted four warthogs and made sure that they didn't come close to the mud bath whilst they were there. He blocked them and later chased them away. The warthogs only returned when Lemoyian and his friends left the mud bath. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in Kanziku area. Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe took a break from feeding and relaxed under a tree before resuming browsing. In the evening, Roi led the way back to the stockade.
09 March 2017
Half Trunk in a company of another twenty wild elephants were drinking water at the stockade water trough when the orphans came out this morning. Narok, Bongo, Laragai, Teleki, Orwa, Bomani and Vuria, who are off milk now, bent the rails of the gate and broke one as they tried to force their way out. When the wild elephants had enough water, they left back into the park. Only one wild bull remained at the water trough and Laragai joined him to drink water. Shortly later, Olare and her group emerged from the eastern side of the stockade and joined the juniors.
At mud bath time, only Rapsu, Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau attended mud bath with the juniors. After mud bath, Orwa engaged Kithaka in a strength testing exercise that saw Orwa emerge as the winner. Shukuru, Boromoko, Sokotei, Olsekki and Kamok participated in a soil bathing exercise before returning back to the browsing field. Later in the day Orwa, Olsekki, Roi and Naseku took a break from feeding and relaxed under a tree with Naseku dusting herself from time to time. In the evening, Roi led the way back to the stockade.
10 March 2017
Fifteen wild bulls were taking water at the stockade water trough when the orphans were let out. After drinking water two of the wild bulls joined the juniors to eat lucerne. Shortly afterwards, the juniors headed to Kanziku area for browsing while the wild elephants headed east of the stockade. The orphans had a peaceful morning and settled to browse without any major disturbances.
At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by six wild bulls and one of the bulls was aggressive and tried to deny the orphans from accessing the drinking water. One shout from the keepers made the wild bull retreat though, therefore allowing the orphans to have a drink. In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area where they were briefly joined by three wild bulls. Without the keepers knowledge, Boromoko, Sokotei and Sirimon sneaked off and followed the bulls. When it was time to gather the orphans to take them back to stockade, Boromoko, Sokotei and Sirimon were nowhere to be found. The keepers took the remaining orphans back to stockades then went back to search for the missing three. They found them shortly after six o'clock in evening comfortably browsing with the wild bulls! The keepers called the orphans as the bulls fled upon hearing the voice of the humans. By so doing the keepers had an easy time of taking the three boys back to the stockade.
11 March 2017
Galana, her baby Gawa, Naserian, Lualeni, Ololoo, Taita, Meibai, Chaimu, Kilaguni, Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau joined the juniors for lucerne soon after the orphans were let out from the stockade. Gawa ran into trouble with Enkikwe when she stepped on a pile of lucerne the young boy was feeding on and Enkikwe pushed her away. Shortly later, Olare’s group checked in and Garzi engaged Kalama in a pushing game that saw Garzi lose to the experienced Kalama. After feeding on lucerne, the orphans left for browsing leaving the Ex Orphans in the stockade compound.
At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Galana and her small team. The sun was really hot and the orphans participated fully in the wallowing exercise. Kauro then led the way back to the browsing field. Later in the day, the sun became unbearable and the orphans converged under a tree to hide from the scorching sun. They resumed browsing later when it was a bit cooler. In the evening, Naseku led the way back to the stockades.
12 March 2017
Early before dawn, the stockade compound was flooded by over hundred elephants that were coming for water. Once the elephants had taken enough water, one by one they left back into the park leaving the Ex Orphans in Olare’s group, Mutara’s group, Chaimu’s group and Makireti’s group in the stockade compound feeding on lucerne with the dependent orphans. Only four wild elephants were brave enough to stay and join them in feasting on lucerne. Kibo was pushed by one of the wild elephants when he tried to play with one of the wild juniors his age. When it was time to leave the compound for browsing, Vuria, Kamok and Orwa lagged behind with the junior Ex Orphans only to rejoin their friends an hour later. At the browsing field, Garzi settled to browse with Naseku while Siangiki settled to browse with Olsekki. Lemoyian joined Narok as Barsilinga settled with Tusuja. Only four wild elephants attended mud bath with the juniors. It was not very hot so only Shukuru, Barsilinga, Bongo and Lemoyian decided to go into the water to wallow. In the evening, Vuria, Bongo, Narok and Bomani dodged the keepers and ended up returning back to the stockade at around seven o'clock late in the evening. The group has started showing plenty of signs that they might soon leave their human family. This group of seven who are not drinking milk anymore are always reluctant to return back to the stockades in the evening. It's so dry at the moment and we always keep encouraging them to get back to the stockade until we have proper rains and we are sure they will be safe and healthy in the wild.
13 March 2017
It was a quiet morning today with orphans coming out of their stockades and heading to the lucerne area in a happy mood. They met with three Ex Orphans waiting for them, Rapsu, Kilabasi and Makireti, with one junior wild bull. They all shared lucerne together whilst Kauro started scratching on some rocks. The group later walked to the bush for browsing.
Barsilinga was browsing with Kauro (these two have identical wrinkles on their faces). The rest were busy struggling to browse in the dry bushes. In this dry weather with no sign of rain yet, the orphans are walking long distances with their keepers in search of good browse. Still in the bush this morning, Kilabasi and Makireti came to join the orphans with Kilabasi trying to communicate with Orwa while browsing. Later on, Kithaka led the group to mudbath for their milk.
Whilst walking to the mud bath area Bongo and his tight group tried to remain behind with no interest in walking straight to the mudbath like the others because they are almost independent and are not given any milk at all. At mud bath it was very hot and the majority of the orphans played in the mud. Kilabasi, Makireti, Bongo, Garzi and Shukuru were the most playful elephants of the day. Some warthogs came running in to the mud hole which scared the orphans and they ran out into the bush. A buffalo who was also in the area ran away as well when he saw the orphans running.
Back in the bush, Barsilinga was scratching on a tree with Orwa whilst his friends hid in the shade from the hot sun. Kauro was scooping and tossing soil on his head and back together with Bongo in a different place. It was very hot and most of the orphans were hiding in the shade. When it was a bit cooler later on they browsed for a bit more before heading back home in the evening. Lemoyian and Barsilinga were busy scooping and tossing chunks of soil on their heads and some in the air with Boromoko and Shukuru too. Boromoko later led the group back home in the evening. At the stockade today we had Wendi's group with a few wild bulls who came to drink water and then left.
14 March 2017
No Ex Orphans or wild elephants disturbed the dependent orphans whilst they were having their lucerne today. Kauro started scratching his neck on the rocks while others were busy eating Lucerne. They later went to the water trough to drink water before heading out into the Park.
Each orphan was busy striving to search for nice browse as it’s very dry everywhere. Sirimon was stripping the bark off a tree as he searched for food. Later Kithaka led the group to mudbath.
Enkikwe led the first group for milk. It was very hot and when everyone had finished his or her bottle they walked straight to the mud hole for swimming. Kithaka, Bongo, Vuria, Naseku, Lemoyian, Laragai and Shukuru were the most playful elephants of the day. Vuria and Kithaka were drinking water directly from the water bowser’s pipe! Kithaka was scratching his bottom after a long play in the mud. The group later walked to the bush with Barsilinga scratching on a tree before he decided to dust himself with Orwa.
It was very hot and everyone was hiding under a tree, they later started coming out one by one in search of food. Sokotei was playing with dust while Shukuru was actively stretching her neck as she walked towards her friends. The whole group later started walking back to the stockades for their evening milk. Bongo’s group of orphans who are becoming more independent were not actively and happily walking home, hanging behind as if they didn’t want to return. They started browsing afresh and later followed their friends. Very few Ex Orphans appeared in the stockade today. We only had Buchuma, Tomboi, Rapsu, Taita and Meibai.
15 March 2017
It was not quiet like yesterday but a busy morning today when the orphans walked straight to the lucerne field and found it full of elephants from Ex Orphans to wild ones. It was very difficult to even feed the orphans with lucerne, and monitor the interaction between the orphans, Ex Orphans and wild elephants too. There was lots of commotion in the field with everyone wanting to be given lucerne. We had all of our four wild-born babies from Ex Orphans in the mix too, namely Mwende, Yetu, Wiva and little Gawa. All the babies were actively competing for lucerne as well! Kamok started scratching on the rock before they left for the bush.
As usual everyone was striving to search for the food as it is very dry everywhere. The keepers walked with the orphans in search for some greener food but it was quite hard to find. They browsed slowly as they headed towards mudbath.
It was very hot again today and they all went in the mud hole after their milk bottles. Shukuru, Naseku, Kithaka, Lemoyian and Kamok played vigorously with Shukuru performing the best games and she was the most playful elephant of the day. She was burying her head deep inside the mud, in and out, several times in a playful game. They all came out of the mud at the same time with Barsilinga scooping and tossing soil on his back and some into the air as they headed back into the bush. Kithaka started play-fighting with Garzi while Shukuru led the others to the bush for browsing.
It was still very hot and most of the orphans hid in the shade from the direct sun. Later on they came out browsing here and there before heading back home in the evening.
In the stockade compound a wild family herd with a one year old baby came and a few minutes later Yatta’s group came in as well with Wendi, Mulika and Galana and their babies in the group. They were very thirsty and they drank water and stayed around for a little while. Later on, after dark, they walked back to the bush. We were also visited by a pack of wild dogs in the late evening which was nice.
16 March 2017
It was a bright morning today with orphans walking out of the stockades to the lucerne field. They met Olare’s group of Ex Orphans and started interacting with them. Later on Yatta’s group came in with Galana and her baby with them. The dependent orphans were still interacting with them and Bongo carried a bunch of lucerne and ran away. Kauro started scratching his back and bottom on the rock. Wiva was on the other side scratching her trunk on the same rock and trying to charge at others. Olsekki scratched his belly while Kamok was playing and hugging Wiva. The dependent group went to the water trough, drank water and started walking out to the bush.
Out in the bush everyone was busy. Shukuru was concentrating on browsing and bottom scratching at the same time. It’s very dry everywhere and the keepers walk with the elephants for long distances searching for food. The group later headed to the mud bath for their milk.
We had a group of wild bulls with Yatta’s group at mud bath today, including Wendi and Galana with their babies. The two babies were actively playing in the mud hole, separately from their mothers. There was special interaction between the Ex Orphans and the orphans with the wild bulls inside the mud bath. Shukuru, Bongo, Naseku, Boromoko, Vuria, Tusuja, Sokotei and Olseki played vigorously and were the most playful out of the group.
In the bush it was very hot and most of the elephants were hiding in the shade. They later came out and started browsing again. At the stockade Yatta’s group came to drink water and stay in the shade for some time. They later walked back to the bush. Barsilinga on the other hand led the orphan group back home with some of Bongo’s group trying to remain behind with Olare’s Ex Orphan group. It’s not the first time for them to hesitate coming home in the evening, seeing as they have been weaned off milk.
17 March 2017
It was a quiet morning today when the dependent orphans came out of the stockades to feed on the lucerne and found no one else in the area. They were very happy as they enjoyed the lucerne without being disturbed by their Ex Orphan friends or any wild elephants. Kamok and Kauro were scratching on the rocks whilst Shukuru politely fed in between Olsekki and Vuria. Later some wild bulls came in and drank water at a distance from the babies before leaving again. The orphans later left to the bush for browsing led by Shukuru, the matriarch.
In the bush, Kithaka and Barsilinga started play fighting, with Sirimon and Lemoyian also playing peacefully. Narok was rolling on the ground in her own game whilst Boromoko rest his trunk on Kauro. It was very hot and Shukuru and Orwa hid in the shade away from the others. Later on, Boromoko led the group to mud bath.
We only had 4 wild bulls that joined our dependent orphans, they enjoyed mud bath very much. Most of our orphans led by Bongo and Shukuru were very active, playing in the mud bath. They came out and started dusting themselves. Naseku and Shukuru rolled in the dust as if they were going to be given a prize of who was the best roller! They later all walked back to the bush to browse.
It was very hot and dry with all the elephants trying to search for some food to eat. They browsed until evening when Barsilinga led them back home. We also had Wendi’s group in the stockade who came to drink water and left.
18 March 2017
It was a busy and active morning as a group of Ex Orphans and wild elephants arrived at the stockade compound very early in the morning in search of water and tasty lucerne grass. The Ex Orphans accompanied the dependent orphans to the lucerne field and started feasting together. Kauro started scratched on the rocks. Wendi with her baby Wiva were among the Ex Orphan group and they all interacted together before walking out to the bush.
It is so dry in the bush and the orphans were struggling to find something to eat. They separated from the Ex Orphans and wild elephants and everyone was busy searching for vegetation to fill their stomach. Shukuru was very busy breaking big branches to strip some bark from them. The group later headed to the mud bath.
At mud bath a group of 8 wild bulls arrived and after watching them for awhile the keepers noticed one with an arrow injury. They immediately called the anti-poaching team to come and confirm, but when they arrived the bull started walking back into the bush and disappeared. He was so very scared and he was running away from us. They searched for him until very late into the evening but without success, and will continue the search tomorrow.
Our orphans played in the mud hole for sometime as they interacted with some wild bulls and got out to dust bath before walking back to the bush. Kithaka started playing and climbng on Olsekki during the dust bath time. The group later walked back to the bush for more browsing.
They were all very busy searching for food. Oltayoni and Kamok were hiding under the shade of a tree. The group later met with Ex Orphans Murka, Kitirua and Naisula and started browsing together. In the evening, the orphans walked back home but Orwa remained with Murka’s group and came back to the stockade later. Orwa, Bongo, Vuria, Teleki, Laragai, Narok and Bomani are increasingly showing signs of joining their friends in the wild some time soon. We had also a group of wild elephants who visited the stockade late in the evening. We are expecting rain in the area hopefully sometime next week.
19 March 2017
The orphans enjoyed their milk this morning and ran down to enjoy their lucerne without being pushed here and there by any Ex Orphans or wild elephants. Shukuru started scratching on the rock with Kauro separately. They were very excited and went straight to the water trough to have some water before walking to the bush for browsing.
Barsilinga and Vuria were very active and started playing as they rolled on the ground. Shukuru was stretching to reach fresh food in the bushes. It's very dry and Lemoyian was trying to dig for some tree roots to eat. Vuria on the other side was scratching and as a result was bending the tree as he scratched. Kamok led the group to mud bath.
It was very hot and all the orphans ran to enjoy the mud hole. The babies played vigorously in the water before Yattas’ group arrived with their babies and some wild bulls in tow. Wiva came in with the group running to the mud hole and started splashing mud all over her body. Wendi came in after she felt Wiva had played enough and took her out to the water trough to drink water in between the big wild bulls and the Ex Orphans. Gawa came running in and went straight to the mud hole and started playing there with the other wild bulls and Ex Orphans. The dependent orphans later made their way back to the bush for browsing.
They were all seriously browsing and searching for the green pasture. Lemoyian seemed happy enough and was enjoying the green vegetation he found. Shukuru was seen hiding in the shade from the hot sun. The rest were very busy browsing and later on they slowly walked back home, to the night stockades, with full stomachs.
At the stockade we had Yatta’s group back for water, and Wendi and Galana with the group of wild bulls too. It’s very hot everywhere and this is the only place they can get water and enjoy a mud bath.
20 March 2017
Half Trunk in the company of twenty wild bulls were busy drinking water at the stockade water trough when the orphans were let out in the morning. Olare’s group and Mutara’s group joined the juniors in feeding on lucerne. Shortly later a wild herd with a one year old baby arrived and it decided to join the orphans and in particular had a good time with Laragai, before heading back to join its family.
Garzi and Kithaka had a brief strength testing exercise that saw Garzi emerge as the winner. Lemoyian settled to feed with Bongo and from time to time, Lemoyian would put his trunk into Bongo’s mouth. Orwa settled to feed with Kauro as Vuria came across a bent tree that he used to scratch his belly on. At mud bath time, ten bulls were in attendance and one of the junior bulls was hostile to the orphans as he kept on pushing them away from the water trough. Garzi, Siangiki, Bongo and Lemoyian ganged up against the warthogs that were trying to access the mud bath. The warthogs ran away only to come back when the orphans had gone back to the browsing field. Siangiki and Olsekki lay down to relax for a very short time and then when they were back to their feet, the duo followed their friends. In the evening, thirty wild elephants came for water at the stockade water trough. Noticeable were Half Trunk and the father to Mwende and Yetu.
21 March 2017
The senior Ex Orphans in the company of twenty wild elephants were relaxing at the stockade compound early before dawn. When the water was turned on, the elephants started drinking straight away. Noticeable among them was the elephant with an arrow wound on its right side of the belly. A message was sent to the vet to come and help remove the arrow and treat the wound. Shortly later, four buffaloes came for water followed by four wild dogs. The elephants charged at the buffaloes and wild dogs making it difficult for them to drink the water. After feeding on lucerne, Shukuru led her group to Kanziku area while the Ex Orphans remained at the stockade compound. It was a peaceful morning as the orphans settled to browse calmly without any major disturbances.
At mud bath time only Shukuru, Siangiki, Naseku, Bongo, Kamok and Barsilinga participated in wallowing. Shortly after mud bath, the elephant with the arrow wound was treated close to Imenti hill. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area. Bongo, Sokotei and Bomani took a break from feeding and relaxed under a tree until the temperature dropped to more favourable level, when they resumed browsing. Only two wild elephants showed up in the evening to drink water at the stockade water trough.
22 March 2017
It was a quiet and peaceful morning with only Tomboi, Makireti, Kasigau, Kilabasi and a wild bull joining the orphans for lucerne early in the morning. Soon after feeding on lucerne, Shukuru led the group to the water trough where they armed themselves with enough water that would take them through the entire morning. Makireti’s group joined the juniors at the browsing field. Boromoko came across a bent tree that he used to scratch his stomach on, while Oltaiyoni settled to feed with Naseku. Olsekki settled to feed with his friend Siangiki and at eleven o'clock in the morning, Roi led the first group to the mud bath. The sun was hot making all the orphans want to get in the mud bath. Sokotei had fun with Olsekki when Olsekki lay down in water and he came over to climb on him. After mud bathing, Siangiki, Boromoko, Sirimon, Shukuru, Sokotei and Enkikwe spent sometime time scratching against the nearby trees while Kithaka and Garzi had light pushing game. Shortly later, all these activities came to an abrupt end when Naseku, who had walked in to the bushes, gave a false alarm by trumpeting as she ran in the direction of the keepers. The other orphans ran towards Naseku with their ears raised to check what was happening, but to their surprise, when they caught up with Naseku she was totally calm and relaxing under a tree as if nothing had happened. In the afternoon, Vuria and Kasigau had a light strength testing exercise that saw Vuria bow out after the going got tough for him. In the evening, Yatta and Mulika’s groups visited the stockade and soon after drinking water, they all left back into the park again.
23 March 2017
Fifteen wild bulls were drinking water at the stockade water trough when the orphans were let out in the morning. Makireti and Chaimu’s groups joined the juniors for lucerne and later on Olare’s group checked in. Four wild dogs also passed by in search of water and disappeared immediately after drinking. After feeding on lucerne, the junior Ex Orphans headed east while the dependent orphans headed west of the stockade. It was a hot day and the orphans concentrated on browsing without any games or messing around. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by four wild bulls who were not very hostile. The bulls allowed the juniors to share water with them. Later, Narok, Garzi and Vuria stood close to one of the wild bulls and watched how mud bathing is done and later started imitating the wild bull. After mud bath, Barsilinga opted for soil dusting exercise, Roi played with Olsekki while Kauro scratched his belly against a nearby acacia tree. In the afternoon, the sun became unbearable prompting the orphans to converge under a tree with a nice shade and only resume browsing later on when it was a bit cooler.
24 March 2017
The day started slow with only the dependent orphans settling for lucerne. At seven o'clock in the morning, the day started getting busy when the Ex Orphans and wild elephants started streaming in the stockade compound. A few Ex Orphans were missing like Kinna, Chyulu, Lenana, Naserian and Loijuk which is normal as some prefer to lag behind. At around nine o'clock in the morning, Kinna was spotted in the distance with a small group and beside her was a tiny baby that was born probably the previous day, since the Ex Orphans had not turned up to the stockade! We were so excited to welcome this new addition to our Ex Orphan herd and special Ex Orphan Kinna who came to us 17 years ago as a 1 week old baby. We are so proud and excited this Ex Orphan has made another step into her wild life, by having her very own young baby. When Kinna drew closer to the stockade, she was welcomed with trumpets and bellowing from her friends. Lenana, Chyulu and Naserian gave the baby the required heavy security by being the best nannies and making sure that she was always surrounded. The funny thing was Wiva sneaking in and nursing from Kinna! Kinna allowed her but things changed later when Wiva appeared to be obsessed with Kinna’s milk. Kinna would not allow this behaviour as she had to feed her own baby and she started kicking Wiva away whenever she tried to get milk from her. Wiva had no option other than to go back to her mother.
At the browsing field, Sirimon engaged Garzi in a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw and at mud bath time, the orphans were joined by five wild bulls. The sun was really hot making all the orphans want to wallow. Sirimon enjoyed a free ride from Olsekki while still in the water while Lemoyian, whose tusk is loose and appears to be painful, tried to avoid a pushing game with Kithaka. Lemoyian understood that if his tusk comes into contact with Kithaka’s, it would really hurt and that is the main reason why Lemoyian has slowed down in playing pushing games with his friends. One day it might fall out just like Bongo’s. After mud bath, Roi went to a nearby tree stump that was the right height and used it to scratch her belly. In the evening, Kinna brought her baby again to the stockade. The little girl we named ‘Kama’ and we are so excited to see her. She was escorted by Mwende, Yetu and Wiva.
25 March 2017
Olare and her group joined the juniors to feed on lucerne in the morning but the two groups parted ways when they were finished. Out in the bush, Kithaka and Barsilinga started their day activities by engaging each other in a pushing game but it didn't last for long. At around nine thirty in the morning, it started getting hot, making Shukuru, Narok, Olsekki, Lemoyian and Laragai feed under the trees as they tried to avoid the scorching sun. Roi led the first group to the mud bath while Naseku led the second one. None of the wild elephants paid a visit to the mud wallow while the orphans were enjoying their cooling mud bath. Kithaka and Lemoyian were the last ones to leave the mud bath after the rest of their friends had gone back to the bush to browse. In the evening, shortly before returning back to the stockades, Kauro participated in a lone soil dusting session. Kinna and Kama with all her friends visited the stockade for water with Chyulu and Wiva being the nannies to Kama. After getting enough water, the Ex Orphans left back into the park.
26 March 2017
The stockade compound was flooded by over one hundred elephants simply coming for water this morning. Soon after the dependent orphans were let out, the Ex Orphans joined them as the wild elephants concentrated in drinking water. Laragai had the opportunity to meet Kama though very briefly, as she is in high demand! All the attention has now been directed to Kama leaving Wiva and Gawa with hardly any! To keep herself occupied, Wiva follows Kama around most of the time. Gawa as usual keeps herself close to her strict mother. Roi and Tusuja had brief strength testing exercise that ended soon when Makena pushed both of them away.
Out in the bush, Naseku teamed up with Roi to feed while Kithaka and Barsilinga had a pushing game that ended when Kithaka surrendered. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by the Ex Orphans again and wild elephants totalling one hundred and ten! It was like all the elephants in the world had come to mud bath. Noticeable were Half Trunk and Pembe, an elephant that was treated six days ago for an arrow wound. Pembe was looking fine and recovering well. Kama had the opportunity of her first mud bath ever since she was born three days ago. Wiva ran in trouble with Shukuru when she tried to mock charge at her. Shukuru walked towards Wiva and slapped her with her trunk, making her run to join Kama and Kinna. Laragai spent some time with Gawa as Lemoyian, Kamok, Roi and Oltaiyoni opted for a soil dusting session. In the afternoon, the sun was unbearable and the orphans took a break from feeding to relax under the trees. They only resumed browsing when it was cooler again.
27 March 2017
The orphans left the stockade early as usual and settled for Lucerne. They were joined by a wild mother elephant and her two kids and two buffaloes that came for water. After feeding on lucerne, the wild mother and her two kids left back into the park. The orphans headed to Kanziku area where they settled to browse. It was a hot day and the orphans concentrated on browsing without any major distractions.
At mud bath time, all the orphans fully participated in the wallowing exercise. Naseku headed for a scratching soon after mud bath as two wild elephants checked in and joined Orwa, Bongo, Sirimon, Barsilinga, Siangiki and Shukuru to drink water. The afternoon was quiet and hot. The orphans spent most of their time browsing under trees to avoid the scorching sun. The Ex Orphans reported briefly at the stockade to drink water. Kinna and Kama are doing well and Wiva has established herself as one of Kama’s nannies, despite being only a year and a half old!
28 March 2017
It drizzled early before dawn making it a cool morning. The orphans settled for Lucerne without any interruptions from any outsiders. It appeared that the drizzle kept the wild elephants and former orphans away. Towards nine O’clock in the morning, the clouds cleared giving way to sun shine. The orphans didn't get bothered by the heat but continued to browse knowing that in the next one hour or so they would be at mud bath for cool a cool off. It was a quiet mud bath with no wild elephant in attendance. Soon after mud bath Shukuru and Tusuja opted for a scratching exercise while Kithaka and Lemoyian engaged each other in a pushing game. Lemoyian surrendered making Garzi take over to handle Kithaka. Lemoyian stood aside and watched the two duel as his support went to Garzi. Finally Kithaka surrendered and walked away.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the lower Kalovoto area and in the evening shortly before dark, the Ex Orphans in the company of twenty five wild elephants reported for water at the stockade water troughs and left after they had drunk enough water.
29 March 2017
The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans left the stockade and settled for the lucerne. Shortly later, the juniors were joined by the Ex Orphans and together they shared the lucerne. Enkikwe, Narok and Orwa spend some time scratching on the nearby rocks before Laragai led them to the browsing field.
Out in the bush it was all quiet, but it was very hot and all the orphans concentrated mainly on browsing. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by four wild bulls. The orphans participated in wallowing with bulls and thereafter headed for soil dusting. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area. The sun was still hot and Shukuru, Teleki, Boromoko, Siangiki and Olsekki relaxed under trees that had good shade as they waited for the temperature to drop so they could resume browsing.
30 March 2017
The weather was cloudy in the morning today. The orphans settled for their lucerne soon after leaving the stockade. Makireti and Kilabasi had spent the night just outside the stockade. Missing in the group was Kasigau who appears to have taken time off to be with another group. Eleven wild elephants checked in for water as the orphans were busy feeding on lucerne. One of the junior wild bulls opted to join the dependent orphans for lucerne and forgot about the water.
At mud bath time the weather was still cloudy but the clouds cleared half an hour later. This prompted Boromoko, Teleki, Siangiki, Bongo and Laragai to get in the mud for a cooling exercise. Shortly later, the orphans were joined by Kenze, Orok, Nasalot, Taita, Buchuma, Tomboi and a wild bull. Buchuma and Orok got into the water and had strength testing exercise with Oltaiyoni standing close by watching the two play.
31 March 2017
The Ex Orphans reported in the morning and joined the dependent orphans to feed on lucerne; after feeding the groups parted ways. At the browsing field Sokotei started his day’s activities by scratching on nearby rocks and later soil dusted himself. Kithaka got jealous of Sokotei and so came and pushed him away from the rock he was scratching on. Vuria settled to feed with Garzi as Kauro settled to feed with Roi. Oltaiyoni paired with Tusuja as Lemoyian opted to feed under trees in order to avoid the scorching sun. At mud bath time it was all quiet without any wild elephant visiting. Due to hot the temperature the orphans all participated in the wallowing exercise in the mud bath. Soon after mud bath Sirimon and Siangiki settled to scratch against the same tree while Shukuru and Tusuja moved to scratch on another. Bomani and Kithaka settled for soil dusting as Kamok led the way back to the browsing field. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the lower Kalovoto area.