Keepers' Diaries, May 2013
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
Ex Orphan Napasha (now 11 years old) who had been missing from the Ex Orphan herd for over a month, appeared again amongst all his Ex Orphan peers and accompanied by 7 wild male friends to join the Juniors at their noon mudbath on the 17th. It was a great relief to see him again, whole and well. Later that day he and his peers, as well as the wild hangers-on browsed with the Juniors during the afternoon until 3 p.m. when they parted, leaving faithful Lualeni and Kamboyo to escort the Juniors back to their Night Stockades. The next day Napasha came alone to the Stockades for a drink, and in the evening Tomboi also came to drink on his own, without his Ex Orphan peers.
01 May 2013
The orphans’ day followed the usual routine, emerging from their Night Stockades at dawn, and after taking water and enjoying their milk and supplements, heading out to browse, with a break at noon for the usual mudbath. Food and water remains plentiful following reasonable rains in the North, the mudbath transformed into a swimming pool which the orphans, and also the wild elephants, thoroughly enjoy. In the evening “Rafiki” (the Big wild bull who was the Orphans’ first wild friend) turned up along with the Ex Orphans. Still missing amongst Yatta’s group was Napasha.
02 May 2013
After the usual Stockade Games, and their morning milk and supplements, the Orphans headed out to browse as usual. At the mudbath the Orphans only took water, but declined the wallow.
03 May 2013
It was a hot day, so the orphans browsed under shade where possible this morning. All enjoyed the mudbath at noon, and returned to browse during the afternoon. In the evening the Ex Orphans, accompanied by Rafiki and 4 wild elephant friends passed by the Stockade compound.
04 May 2013
Soon after the Juniors had left the compound on a cloudy morning, Ex Orphan Bulls, Buchuma, Rapsu and Challa showed up briefly. During the mudbath hour Kilaguni and Kasigau engaged one another in a Pushing Game, which was disrupted by the intervention of Sabachi. A light drizzle fell left the orphans happy as they browsed their way back in the afternoon, Chemi Chemi deciding to take on Suguta in a Pushing Game which Suguta easily won.
05 May 2013
It was an uneventful day, the Juniors just going about their business as usual. It was too cool for a mudbath, so the Juniors just enjoyed their milk and a drink at the Mudbath trough before returning to browse during the afternoon.
06 May 2013
Today the orphans browsed the Kone area. It was another cool day, so there was no wallowing at the noon mudbath hour.
07 May 2013
Another uneventful day when the Juniors concentrated on browsing. In the evening a Splinter Group of a few Ex Orphans turned up and interacted briefly with the Juniors before they went in for the night.
08 May 2013
Having taken water and their supplements, the Juniors headed out to browse. Kilaguni and Ololoo enjoyed a Test of Strength that ended in a draw and later Sabachi challenged Makireti, winning that bout. Although it was a warmer day, none of the Juniors were interested in wallowing.
09 May 2013
Unlike yesterday, the Juniors all enjoyed going into the mudbath pool today where they had fun before returning to feed during the afternoon. Shukuru led the way back in the evening.
10 May 2013
The orphans left their Night Quarters in a jovial mood, swinging their trunks from side to side as they headed out to browse. Once in the field Sities found a pile of loose earth and enjoyed a dustbath. At the mudbath only Ololoo, Kandecha, Kalama, Kasigau, Chemi Chemi, Kilaguni and Ishanga went in to wallow, while the rest took water from the trough. Out in the field the Juniors were joined by Lualeni, who escorted them back to the Stockades in the evening.
11 May 2013
Lualeni and Wendi, escorted by Rapsu joined the Juniors out in the bush during the morning. Wendi looked very tired, having been pursued by Bulls recently. She kept on lying down to take a nap. The three Ex Orphans accompanied the Juniors to the mudbath venue and remained with them throughout the afternoon, escorting them back to the Stockades in the evening.
12 May 2013
The orphans were happy as they left their Night Quarters this morning, swinging their trunks from side to side, and indulging in Pushing Games on the way out to browse. Kilguni engaged Kasigau and later Ololoo. Wendi passed by the Stockades pursued by a wild bull, and turned up again at the mudbath, still being followed by the Bull. There it was a matter of “hide and seek”, Wendi doing her utmost to offload her pursuer. In the evening Rafiki came to the Stockades, later joined by Yatta, her baby, Yetu, Nasalot, Mulika and her calf, Mwende, Wendi, Sunyei, Galana, Naserian, Chulu, Sidai, Lualeni and Ithumbah along with Ex Orphan bulls Rapsu, Buchuma, Taita, Tomboi, Kenze, Zurura, Challa, Orok, Meibai, and three wild male friends.
13 May 2013
Wendi and Rapsu joined the Juniors in the morning, and were later joined by Rafiki searching for Wendi. As soon as Wendi spotted Rafiki, she left the Juniors in a hurry, heading for Kone. Ten minutes later two other Bulls turned up, also obviously searching for Wendi and at 8 a.m. the rest of the Ex Orphans passed by the Stockade accompanied by 4 wild bulls. Still missing in the Ex Orphan herd was Napasha who has been absent for a month now.
14 May 2013
Again the orphans left their Night Stockades in a jovial mood. At mudbath time only Ololoo went into the mud. Later Wendi followed by Yatta’s wild recruit Kijana came ahead of the other Ex Orphans, who followed later. Wendi and Kijana disappeared into the thicket as Yatta and little Yetu, Nasalot, Mulika and her baby, Mwende, Sunyei, Galana, Naserian Sidai, Lualeni, Loijuk, Makena, Lenana, Chyulu, Ithumbah and Bulls Rapsu, Buchuma, Madiba, Challa, Orok, Kora, Kenze, Kamboyo, Zurura, Meibai, and Sabachi plus 11other wild elephants emerged and passed by the mudbath.
15 May 2013
Ololoo and Mutara began the day by engaging in a Pushing Game after which the Juniors left to browse. At 9 a.m. Wendi emerged from the South with a Bull in pursuit. Both disappeared towards the East.
16 May 2013
Wendi and a different wild bull were at the Stockade compound at dawn, the bull standing at the Stockade water trough. Brave little Kanjoro charged at the wild bull several times before the wild bull warned him to behave. Kanjoro then ran off trumpeting, charging and knocking down small bushes before being joined by Wendi and the other orphans, all of whom headed out together to browse. (The wild bull went in an easterly direction).
At the mudbath the orphans were joined by Yatta, Yetu, Kinna, Nasalot, Mulika, Mwende, Taita, Tomboi, Sunyei, Galana, Madiba, Nserian, Rapsu, Buchuma, Challa, Sidai, Orok, Kora, Lualeni, Kenze, Loijuk, Kambopyo, Zurura, Lenana, Makena, Chyulu, Meibai, Ithumbah and 12 wild bulls but still missing was Napasha. After the mudbath the herd left together heading for the slopes of Ithumba hill where they browsed until 3 p.m. when the Ex Orphans and their wild friends separated from the Juniors heading towards the Imenti Waterhole. Back at the Stockades Sabachi appeared to have a stomach ache, constantly lying down and writhing in pain. He was given a de-wormer.
17 May 2013
Ex Orphans headed by Yatta, Mulika and their wild born babies, brought Napasha and 7 wild bulls to the noon mudbath ahead of the Juniors. Napasha has been absent for over 40 days, and it was good to see him again in one piece, fit, fat and healthy. With Yatta, Mulika and their young, were Nasalot, Kinna, Sunyei, Galana, Naserian, Sidai, Lualeni, Loijuk, Lenana, Makena, Chyulu and Ithumbah as well as bulls Madiba, Rapsu, Buchuma, Challa, Orok, Kora, Kenze, Kamboyuo, Zurura, and Meibai
18 May 2013
Soon after leaving the Stockade, Ololoo engaged Kasigau in a Pushing Game and later took on Kandecha. At 9 a.m. Napasha came alone to the Stockades and having taken a drink, returned in the direction in which he had come. In the evening Tomboi turned up alone for a drink.
19 May 2013
Olololoo and Kilaguni began the morning with a Pushing Match. The orphans browsed out in the field quietly for the morning until mudbath time. In the afternoon they were joined briefly by 3 wild bulls until Chaimu led the Juniors back in the evening.
20 May 2013
for the Juniors it was a quiet day, but for the arrival of Ex Orphan Nasalot, who joined them briefly before linking up with the other Ex Orphans who passed by the Stockade later. In the evening Kanjoro led the Juniors back home.
21 May 2013
The Ex Orphans came to drink at the Stockade water trough after the Juniors had already left for the bush. The Juniors browsed calmly throughout the day, feeding interrupted only by the mudbath.
22 May 2013
Yatta’s wild recruit named “Mgeni” joined the Juniors at the noon mudbath, when only Olare, Kanjoro, Sities, Kasigau, Ololoo, Kalama and Chemi Chemi wallowed, while the rest stood under shade. Later the Juniors left Mgeni at the mudbath and returned to feed until Shukuru led the group back in the evening.
23 May 2013
Today out in the field Chemi Chemi engaged Mutara in a Pushing Match while Kilaguni took on Kibo and Kalama found a suitable rock against which to scratch herself. At mudbath time only Mutara, Chemi Chemi, Ololoo and Kasigau wallowed. In the evening Napasha came to the Stockades accompanied by 2 wild bulls, plus Ex Orphans Kamboyo, Buchuma, Meibai, Kora, Kenze, Orok, Taita, Tomboi, Rapsu and Zurura and Ex Orphan girls Yatta, Mulika and their wildborn babies, Kinna, Wendi, Galana, Sunyei, Loijuk, Sidai, Chyulu, and Ithumbah.
24 May 2013
Ololoo and Kilaguni spent most of the day engaging one another in a Pushing Match before the Juniors headed to the Kone area where they settled to browse. At around 7.30 a.m. the Ex Orphans joined the orphans briefly and passed by the murrum dam where they took water before heading out into the bush.
25 May 2013
Once out of their Night Quarters, the Juniors headed straight to the water trough. Later Kasigau took on Ololoo in a Strength Test while Kandecha engaged Kilaguni. Shukuru and Murka found a suitable rock against which to scratch themselves. Later in the afternoon the Ex Orphans accompanied by 6 wild bulls came to the Stockades to drink.
26 May 2013
The Juniors headed to the Kone area to browse, having taken water at the murrum dam. At 11 a.m. as they were going to the mudbath venue, they met up with the Ex Orphans who were heading towards the Stockades. In the evening a wild female herd with a 6 month old baby came to drink at the Stockades.
27 May 2013
It was a quiet and peaceful day for the Juniors who browsed peacefully throughout. In the evening the Ex Orphans plus 3 wild elephants showed up at the Stockades.
28 May 2013
In the morning Ishanga and Murka found suitable rocks against which to rid themselves of ticks. Shukuru led the way to the mudbath but only Kanjoro, Ololoo, Kasigau and Kalama wallowed while the rest relaxed under shade. Meanwhile a lioness strolled past the orphans without them noticing it.
29 May 2013
As the Juniors headed out to browse, again they were swinging their trunks as a sign of happiness. Once at the field Ololoo monopolized Kandecha in a Pushing Match. At 11 a.m. it was Sities who led the group to the mudbath venue, after which the group browsed the slopes of Ithumba Hill before returning in the evening.
30 May 2013
The Juniors enjoyed a peaceful browsing day. The Ex Orphans showed up in the morning and in the evening a large bull who was minus a tail (called “Big Kilaguni”) came to drink at the Stockades. He was last seen last year during the dry season.
31 May 2013
The weather is turning cool now as we go into the cool season of Tsavo. The Juniors browsed peacefully searching out green fodder without interruption from any of the Ex Orphans or wild elephant visitors.