Keepers' Diaries, May 2011

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

As usual, in anticipation of the arrival of new Ex Nursery babies, all the independent Ex Orphans hung around the Ithumba Stockade compound for two days before the arrival of Olare, Kibo and Kandecha on the 13th, who were welcomed with the usual outpouring of love by the entire Ex Orphaned Group plus some wild Hangers On. When Murka, Naisula and Kitirua followed on the l9th, a wild bull of about l8, who has recently been a fixture in Yatta’s group, was there to oversee events and probably report back, for both the Ex orphans led by Yatta as well as a large Splinter Group led by Wendi turned up a little later to greet the new arrivals with the same enthusiasm and love.!

01 May 2011

On a cloudless, hot early morning all the orphans took a drink at the Stockade water trough before heading out to browse. After the mudbath, all sheltered under trees until the temperature dropped. Kilaguni and Sabachi attempted a Pushing Match, but Suguta intervened and separated the two boys.

02 May 2011

Today it was Suguta who led the Juniors out, heading westwards. As it was a cool day, all browsed peacefully throughout the morning, and enjoyed a noon mudbath, by which time the temperature had risen. In the evening the Juniors were treated to a visit from Wendi’s satellite group of Ex Orphans.

03 May 2011

It was a lovely morning. All the orphans were in a jovial mood, swinging their trunks from side to side as they headed out to browse led by Suguta. At the mudbath Kilaguni and Sabachi engaged one another in a Pushing Match which, on this occasion, was interrupted by the intervention of Tumaren.

04 May 2011

Soon after leaving the Stockades, Kilaguni and Sabachi enjoyed an uninterrupted Pushing Match this time, before settling down to browse. Soon afterwards Yatta, Mulika, Kinna, Taita, Nasalot, Orok and a wild bull came to drink at the Stockade compound and then left. After the noon mudbath, the Juniors, led by Suguta browsed on the slopes of Ithumba hill before returning in the evening.

05 May 2011

The Juniors settled into browsing the Kone area and after the noon mudbath Suguta led the Juniors to the slopes of Ithumba hill.

06 May 2011

Kinna, Orok, Buchuma, Napasha and 2 wild bulls turned up to drink at the Stockades early in the morning for a drink. Kinna, Orok and Buchuma then joined the Junior group who were browsing nearby, Kinna choosing to remain close to Kilaguni. At about l0 a.m. Yatta, Selengai, Mulika, Taita and a wild bull joined the Junior group, all heading for the mudbath at 11 a.m. Kinna escorted Kilaguni to take his milk and then to the water bins prior to joining all the others at the mudbath. The Ex Orphans browsed with the Juniors up until 3 p.m. before separating.

07 May 2011

Kilaguni put on a good display this morning, rolling around on the ground as Ithumbah led the rest of the Juniors out to browse. Upon realizing that he was left behind, Kilaguni ran to catch up. At 10 a.m. Wendi joined the Juniors, all keeping under shade, since the day had turned very hot. At the mudbath they were joined by Yatta, Mulika and a wild friend. After the mudbath Wendi and the other Ex Orphans went their way leaving the Juniors to browse as a group.

08 May 2011

The Juniors left the Stockades joyfully, Sabachi initiating a game of rushing around trumpeting in which all the others joined, making for a noisy morning. When the time to leave the compound arrived, there was a problem about where to go. Ithumbah and Chaimu headed in one direction while Suguta took another, so the Keepers made the decision, opting for where the majority wanted to go! Ithumbah and Chaimu were called back to join Suguta’s group.

09 May 2011

The orphans left the Stockades to the morning chorus of birdsong. They browsed calmly throughout the morning. Half the group participated in the mudbath while the rest just took a drink from the water bins and waited under shade until Ithumbah led the group back to browse for the rest of the afternoon.

10 May 2011

The Juniors enjoyed the usual Stockade activities until it was time to head off and feed. Kilaguni and Sabachi enjoyed a Pushing Match whilst the girls were occupied scratching their bodies against the Unloading Bay. Later Suguta headed to the Kone area where the Juniors settled down to browse.

11 May 2011

Soon after the Juniors had taken water at the Stockade trough, they were joined by Nasalot, which made Kilaguni very happy indeed, since he loves Nasalot so much. Nasalot remained with the Juniors all morning, Kilaguni attached to her side throughout.

12 May 2011

It was a hot and uneventful day for the Juniors, who had to keep to the shade in order to remain comfortable, flapping their ears constantly to generate air over their hot bodies.

13 May 2011

It was an important day for the Ithumba orphans, since the arrival of 3 more Ex Nursery babies was expected – Kibo, Olare and Kandecha. The Juniors remained close to the compound, joined at 9 a.m. by Yatta, Kinna, Wendi, Mulika, Selengai, Orok and Napasha. At 11 a.m. the truck carrying the new arrivals drew up against the unloading Bay and the new arrivals were given their milk and escorted to the water trough. Chaimu, Suguta, Melia and Tumaren then came for their milk ration, Tumaren immediately going over to greet the newcomers before taking her milk. Shortly afterwards the Ex Orphans arrived amidst trumpeting, rumbling and bellowing turning the compound into a theatre as each Ex Orphan tried to out do one another in securing a chance to be with the new arrivals. Later, Yatta, Wendi and Nasalot accompanied the Juniors to the field to browse while the rest of the Ex Orphans headed west of the Stockades. Kibo remained close to the Keepers but Kandecha and Olare intermingled happily with the older elephants. Nasalot, Kinna and Wendi escorted the Juniors back in the evening and oversaw them going into the Stockade for the night.

14 May 2011

The babies woke up after a good night. Suguta led them to the nearby rocks for a scratching before leaving for the field heading towards the Kone area. There they were joined by Yatta, Mulika, Sunyei, Selengai, Taita, Kora, Buchuma and Wendi plus a wild bull. As temperatures rose Olare, Kibo and Kandecha sought shade, unused to the Ithumba heat. At the mudbath the newcomers opted for a soil bath having taken water, obviously daunted by the size of the pool. Meanwhile more Ex Orphans showed up – Galana, Meibai and Orok. Kandecha engaged Meibai in a friendly Pushing Match. After the Juniors left the mudbath venue, Kibo still sticking to the Keepers, the Ex Orphans remained to enjoy a lengthy wallow.

15 May 2011

Olare, Kibo and Kandecha are acclimatizing well to life at Ithumba and led the group out a short distance to browse before Suguta took over and led the group to the Kanziku area. The day was too cool for a mudbath, so instead the group browsed the slopes of Ithumba hill for the remainder of the day before returning in the evening.

16 May 2011

Galana, Wendi, Chyulu, Lenana, Rapsu, Zurura, Taita and Buchuma joined the Juniors in the morning and browsed with the babies, teaching them which plants are edible and escorting them to the mudbath. Later the Ex orphans left the Juniors who browsed in the Kanziku area for the remainder of the day.

17 May 2011

It was an uneventful day for the Juniors who concentrated on browsing, enjoyed the noon mudbath and a dusting afterwards before browsing for the rest of the afternoon.

18 May 2011

Ithumba hill was clad in mist this morning, so the orphans enjoyed the cool, Chaimu and Ithumbah enjoying a dust bath which was interrupted by Kandecha who forced his way in. After the mudbath Tumaren led the Juniors to the Kanziku area where they browsed until the evening.

19 May 2011

It was another Big Day for the Ithumba orphans since we were expecting the arrival of 3 more Ex Nursery babies – Murka, Naisula and Kitirua. At 11 a.m. the truck drove in, Dame Daphne in attendance on this occasion, as was a wild bull who was drinking at the Stockade trough, and who is normally amongst Yatta’s group, so we knew the Ex Orphans were not far away! The reunion amongst the Juniors, all of whom had shared Nursery time together, was very touching with only little Ithumbah standing aside looking perplexed! Later they intermingled with the wild visitor, Kibo, Olare and Kandecha thrilled to be reunited with Murka, Kitirua and Naisula again, Kibo now ignoring the Keepers and in amongst his peers. At 2 p.m. Wendi arrived with Galana, Sunyei, Tomboi, Madiba, Zurura, Loijuk, Meibai, Rapsu, Sidai, Kora and Lualeni, Wendi coming to Dame Daphne who gave her a hug! Later Wendi went to inspect the Elephant Truck that had brought the babies. In the evening Yatta and her group arrived, accompanied by 3 wild elephants. Yatta, Napasha, Nasalot and Kinna were very interested in the new babies, who hurried past them and into the Stockade to take their evening milk feed. The four Ex Orphans remained close to the Stockade entrance surveying the newcomers.

20 May 2011

Soon after the Juniors had left for the field Kinna, Nasalot, Yatta, Napasha, Challa and 2 wild bulls came to the Stockade water trough for a drink. At 8 a.m. the babies were joined by Buchuma, Challa, Taita, Orok, Nasalot, Kinna, Mulika and Selengai who remained with the Youngsters until mudbath time, showing the youngsters how to feed on drying shrubbery. After the mudbath, the Senior Group departed. The Juniors enjoyed soil dusting along the side of the road as they returned in the evening.

21 May 2011

The Keepers took the Juniors in search of softer vegetation this morning. They were joined by Wendi’s group. It was a very windy day, and the sound of a breaking branch scared all the Juniors, while Wendi and the Seniors went to investigate the cause of the sound that had scared the babies and did not return. At the mudbath Yatta’s group joined the youngsters and soil dusted afterwards with them.

22 May 2011

Galana, Sunyei, Meibai, Zurura, Sidai, Lenana, Lualeni, Kora and Sunyei checked in at the mudbath just as the Juniors were leaving for the field again. Chaimu returned to join them briefly before returning to her group who were being escorted to the slopes of Ithumba Hill by the Keepers. The Ex Orphans caught up with them there and remained with them, escorting them back to the stockades in the evening.

23 May 2011

The Juniors browsed the Kalovoto area today, which is still green so the elephants enjoyed themselves there and were in no hurry to head for the mudbath, since it was a coolish day. In the evening, following the mudbath, Olare and Suguta led the Junior group back to the Stockades.

24 May 2011

On another cool morning, the Juniors left the compound joyfully, swinging their trunks and playfully bumping against one another. At the field Nasalot joined the Juniors, instantly making for Kilaguni – her favourite, despite the arrival of new babies to choose from! Kilaguni and Sabachi were determined to challenge one another to a test of strength, but Nasalot would have none of it, and kept separating them! Only Chaimu and Ithumbah took a mudbath today while the rest opted for a dustbath.

25 May 2011

It was another uneventful day for the Juniors who concentrated on browsing, but for a brief mud and dustbath at noon before returning to feed for the rest of the day.

26 May 2011

Lenana and Chyulu joined the Juniors early in the morning and led the Juniors out to browse. The Juniors followed their example in the choice of good plants, watching them carefully, and emulating them. By l0 a.m. the day had turned so hot that Kitirua, Naisula and Murka had to draw up stomach water with which to cool themselves, but the mudbath was greatly enjoyed by all. Afterwards Lenana and Chyulu led the Juniors to the Kanziku area to browse, and escorted them back to the Stockades in the evening.

27 May 2011

Today the Keepers led the Juniors to the Eastern side of Ithumba hill. Kandecha and Sabachi engaged one another in a Pushing Game which ended when Kibo intervened to push Kandecha. As the day turned very hot, the Juniors headed for the mudbath early, where they enjoyed a lengthy wallow.

28 May 2011

Kilaguni and Sabachi enjoyed a Pushing Game this morning while Olare and Kibo rolled around on the ground until Ithumbah headed out to browse, followed by all the others. By l0 a.m. it was so hot that the Juniors took to shade. All enjoyed a lengthy mudbath again to cool themselves down, after which they took a dustbath before heading eastwards towards Kone to browse for the rest of the day.

29 May 2011

Today while Kilaguni and Kandecha pushed one another, Kibo and Sabachi did the same, while Tumaren, Naisula, Murka, Olare and Ithumba were busy scratching themselves against the Unloading Bay. Meanwhile Chaimu, Melia, Suguta and Kitirua enjoyed a long drink at the trough. The rest of the day passed calmly.

30 May 2011

It was a cool day today, so the Juniors concentrated on feeding, and at the mudbath venue, took a dustbath instead.

31 May 2011

Suguta led the Juniors out to the field, followed by the others in a jovial mood. Once out in the field Murka and Kibo browsed side by side until they needed to take to shade. Suguta, Ithumba and Chaimu dug under rocks to find cooler soil to throw over themselves. All enjoyed a lengthy mudbath due to the heat.