Keepers' Diaries, May 2016
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
The first day of the month proved a blessing for our Ithumba residents, human and wild alike, as we received 22mm of rain overnight. Though we were left with wetted appetites and wishing for more, at least it was a start to the rains which have all but eluded us so far. The rain served to settle the dust and cool the temperature, and whilst it rained again on the 5th and we received a drizzle on the 10th, other than that there has been very little rain this month in the Ithumba area.
01 May 2016
It was quite a relief in the morning when finally the area received 22mm of rain over night. Though we could have more, it certainly helped to settle the dust away and cool the area down. We now just have to wait and see if we will receive more or if that was the end of it. We face a long dry season ahead if it doesn't rain. The juniors left the stockade in a jovial mood. Lemoyian exchanged morning greetings with Laragai as Barsilinga walked straight to a nearby rock that he used to scratch his belly on. On the way to the browsing field, the orphans met with Tomboi who appears these days to have learnt the art of walking alone. Tomboi just lifted his trunk to say hi to the juniors and walked past them without stopping. Vuria, Teleki, Orwa and Garzi responded by rumbling. The orphans enjoyed browsing throughout the day in more favourable temperatures due to last night’s rainfall. They browsed on rocky terrain north of the stockade and it was a quiet morning without any major observations. At mud bath time, the orphans took their milk and water before proceeding back to the browsing field. Though it wasn't hot, the orphans took a break from feeding and relaxed under a tree for some time. Later, Vuria settled to browse with his friend Garzi while Bongo browsed far away from the rest of the group. In the evening, the juniors were joined by Mutara, Kanjoro, Sities, Kainuk, Turkwel and Suguta.
02 May 2016
The sky was clear as the orphans strolled nonchalantly out from their stockades. Bomani at one point blocked Garzi from coming out and even tried to push him. The cool Garzi did not want to invite trouble by retaliating and just stood without showing any interest. Garzi's action appeared to have worked because Bomani expected Garzi to retaliate but when he didn’t rise Bomani just turned and left. Lemoyian came across a nice shrub that he liked so much he went to the extent of going down on his knees to eat it using his mouth. Shortly later, Lemoyian walked to Laragai and tried to take a piece of lucerne from her. The no-nonsense Laragai did not accept this kind of behaviour and pushed Lemoyian away. As the orphans occupied the water trough ready to drink enough water to take them through the entire morning, Chaimu and Kilaguni in the company of Mutara’s group emerged from the east and joined the juniors.
On the way to the browsing field Orwa engaged Turkwel in a pushing game as Kilaguni played with Teleki. In the browsing field Suguta played with Mutara as Kainuk invited Orwa in a pushing game, which Orwa declined and instead walked to tackle Chaimu. Barsilinga spent some time in the moist soil dusting as Orwa withdrew from Chaimu and settled to play with Vuria; Chaimu then went to engage Teleki in a pushing game. On the way to the mud bath the juniors were joined by some members of Olare’s group, Kibo, Naisula, Murka and Kitirua. At mud bath time only Kilaguni, Naisula and Bongo participated in wallowing. The rest just drank water and returned back to browsing. In the afternoon the herd settled to browse in lower Kalovoto and in the evening Yatta, Yetu, Wendi, Wiva, Nasalot, Chyulu, Lenana, Naserian, Ololoo, Lualeni, Sidai, Ithumbah, Sunyei, Makena and a wild elephant reported to the stockade. The Ex Orphans left shortly after drinking water.
03 May 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade early in the morning, Laragai just stood at the exit gate and blocked the way for the junior boys to come out. Kithaka, Lemoyian and Barsilinga just stood a distance away and waited for the no-nonsense Laragai to move away from the gate. It eventually took the intervention of the keepers for Laragai to move! The three boys walked down majestically swinging their trunks as an expression of their happiness. Shukuru walked down to a nearby rock and used it to scratch her belly.
Whilst out browsing, Bomani and Garzi competed who amongst them could stretch his trunk the highest in order to reach the top soft leaves from a tree they had settled to feed on. Shukuru settled to browse with Barsilinga as Teleki took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. The soil dusting also attracted Bongo, Bomani and Barsilinga who joined in before resuming browsing. Shortly later Bongo joined Laragai in browsing while Orwa engaged Vuria in a brief strength testing game. At mud bath time, it was all quiet as the orphans only drank milk and water before converging under an acacia tree to decide what to do for the rest of the afternoon. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area where they were briefly joined by Tomboi. Tomboi took the juniors to a nearby waterhole that had a bit of water left in it. The juniors enjoyed playing in the mud for a long time. Vuria took advantage of Bongo who was rolling in the mud and jumped on his back to get a free ride. Tomboi left a while later leaving the juniors still rolling in the mud. After the orphans had enough of mud bathing, they scattered all over the field to browse for the rest of the day.
04 May 2016
The orphans settled for lucerne immediately after leaving the stockade. Orwa and Vuria exchanged morning greetings by entwining their trunks and later shared a shrub to feed on. Shukuru climbed up a rocky hill where she shook a tree with her tusks to get some of its leaves to eat. She didn’t do this for long though and soon walked back down to feed on what she was capable of eating without having to use a lot of energy. Barsilinga spent some time dusting himself before making his way deep into the bush. Lemoyian, Bomani and Teleki settled to browse together for quite some time while Barsilinga settled to browse with Laragai. At eleven o'clock in the morning, Narok led the way to the mud bath but on their way, the orphans came across a small pool that they used to cool themselves in by covering themselves in mud. By the time the orphans got into the main mud bath, no one was interested in getting into the water again! The orphans drank milk, water and after returned back to the browsing field. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse north of the mud bath. It was a quiet afternoon as the orphans concentrated on browsing without any major distractions.
05 May 2016
The orphans joined Tomboi outside the stockade soon after leaving their pens. Tomboi had arrived earlier and just relaxed waiting for lucerne. The juniors surrounded him with their trunks up in air in exchange of morning greetings. Barsilinga and Bomani opted for a scratching exercise rather than eating lucerne. After finishing the lucerne, Tomboi escorted the juniors to the water trough where the juniors drank enough water before heading out to browse. Tomboi parted ways with juniors soon after drinking water. After arriving at the browsing field, Orwa and Vuria locked trunks in a pushing game. Shortly later the juniors were joined by Mutara, Suguta, Turkwel, Kainuk, Sities and Kanjoro. Garzi spent some time feeding close to Vuria while Orwa teamed up with Kainuk. On their way to the mud bath, the juniors came across a small water hole that had water in it and decided to have an early mud bath. At mud bath time, the orphans only drank milk before scattering nearby waiting for their keepers to finish their lunch. Narok kept herself busy by scratching her buttocks against a nearby acacia tree.
In the afternoon, Barsilinga settled to browse with Lemoyian. Barsilinga kept trying to take food from Lemoyian’s mouth and this annoyed him so he moved away to feed on his own. Laragai, Shukuru and Narok came across a termite hill that they used to scratch on and lean against. Vuria played with Barsilinga but their game was cut short by Bomani who came behind Vuria and jumped on him. In the evening the weather was cloudy and within a short time the clouds released their burden to the ground. The orphans weren't bothered by the showers but continued to browse as if nothing was happening. Bomani fed close to Kithaka as Orwa spent time scratching his itchy ear.
06 May 2016
The sky was clear as the orphans left the stockade and settled to eat lucerne. The weather predicted a hot day ahead. Soon after feeding on lucerne, the orphans passed by the water trough and drank enough water for the morning. On the way to the browsing field Bongo engaged Vuria in a pushing game that went on for quite some time. At one time Vuria attempted to mount on Bongo but Bongo resisted and got away. A while later Bongo returned to face Vuria. Narok, who was feeding close by, was annoyed by these time consuming games between the two boys and she charged between them to stop them from fighting. The boys parted ways and went off to feed in different directions. Narok was satisfied that she stopped the two boys from fighting and that they went to eat instead, which is what they were supposed to be doing. Bomani, Teleki and Barsilinga took some time off from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. Later Vuria engaged Orwa in a strength testing exercise which Vuria lost.
At around 9.30 in the morning, Mutara and her group reported to the stockade water trough for water. They were soon joined by a wild bull that shared water with Suguta. After having enough water, Mutara led the way to search for the juniors and shortly before mud bath time Mutara located them in Kanziku area. Prior to arrival of the orphans at mud bath, five wild bulls checked in; one of them had benefited from treatment he received last year after an arrow head was removed from his left hind leg. Only a scar remained to show how lucky he was to have received such treatment after a sad encounter with a cruel poacher. The orphans arrived at mud bath and drank their milk before heading for water. Kithaka opted to relax under a tree as the rest converged close to the wild bulls. Laragai, who considers herself brave enough to be among adults, moved closer to the bulls. She did not understand that all bulls are not the same. One of the bulls could not understand why such a small elephant as Laragai was moving so close and disrespecting his space. He decided to teach Laragai a lesson by whipping her using his trunk. Laragai bellowed loudly as she scampered for safety. This drew the attention of her friends who followed her to see if she had been hurt. Later, Lemoyian led the way back to the browsing field.
In the afternoon the sun was hot making the orphans converge under a tree to hide from the scorching sun. As soon as the temperatures dropped to a favourable level, the orphans resumed browsing. In the evening, Lualeni, who appears to have found a boyfriend, showed up at the stockade with her wild bull friend and stayed only a short while.
07 May 2016
Lualeni reported to the stockade compound early before the orphans were let out. What happened to her wild bull friend from the previous day, we are not sure. When the gates opened for the juniors to come out, Lualeni walked straight into one of the stockades to help escort them out. They all settled to eat lucerne. The orphans were soon joined by Mutara’s group. The orphans, led by Lualeni, settled to browse in Kanziku area. It was a quiet morning as the juniors browsed while following Lualeni. At mud bath time, Lualeni escorted the orphans there too. Although the sun was hot, only Bongo decided to go wallowing. In the afternoon, Lualeni parted ways with the juniors, leaving Mutara’s group in charge. Lemoyian settled to browse with Laragai as Shukuru, Bomani and Bongo spent some time soil dusting.
08 May 2016
Lualeni reported at the stockade compound early in the morning again. Soon after the gates opened for the juniors to leave, Lualeni walked into the stockade and picked at a few leftovers before she was shown the door by the keepers. Lualeni settled to feed on lucerne with the juniors. Shukuru didn't pay attention to the lucerne but settled to feed on a nearby shrub. Shortly before Lualeni led the orphans to the browsing field, Shukuru, Lemoyian and Barsilinga spent some time scratching on nearby rocks. Soon after arriving at the browsing field, Bongo and Vuria went into their usual strength-testing game and thereafter Bongo settled to browse with Narok. It was a quiet morning and at around ten o'clock in the morning, the juniors and Lualeni were joined by a wild female of around eight years that looked quite nervous. On the way to the mud bath, the wild girl kept a distance of fifty metres, walking behind the orphans so as to avoid the keepers. At mud bath, although it was hot the orphans chose to stand by the edge of the dam to drink water and no one bothered to take a bath. Shukuru kept herself busy by scratching her ear against Barsilinga while Narok relaxed her trunk on Kanjoro. As the orphans left the mud bath heading to the bush, they met with Tomboi and a wild bull. The juniors surrounded the wild bull and greeted him by raising their trunks. The wild bull followed the orphans for a short distance and then parted ways with the juniors. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at upper Kalovoto area. The temperature had dropped slightly and that made the orphans concentrate on browsing and not play any games.
09 May 2016
Mutara and her group joined the juniors soon after leaving the stockade. Upon arriving at the browsing field Kithaka, Lemoyian and Barsilinga formed a team of three and fed separately from the rest of the group. Kanjoro briefly engaged Orwa in a pushing game while Vuria and his playmate Bongo browsed together without starting their usual pushing game. At eleven o'clock in the morning, Kithaka led the first group to the mud bath. The temperature was moderate and the orphans only drank water before returning to browse. Kithaka and Bomani had a standoff for sometime before Kithaka surrendered and gave in. Garzi and Bongo participated in a brief soil dusting game before going back to feeding. Lemoyian settled to browse with Orwa while Garzi teamed up with Shukuru. Later Orwa abandoned Lemoyian and went to share a shrub with Mutara. In the evening, Kibo, Naisula, Murka and Kitirua who belong to Olare’s group, showed up at the stockade and left immediately after having their fill of water.
10 May 2016
It was drizzling in the morning. The drizzle started early before dawn and by the time it ended we only recorded 5mm of rain. Kibo, Murka, Kitirua and Naisula appeared to have seceded from Olare’s group, and they reported to the stockade compound moments before the gates were opened for the juniors to come out. Murka then led her small group into the stockade to check whether there was anything left for them to feed on. Meanwhile the orphans converged under the only remaining acacia tree in the compound waiting for the drizzle to die away. Orwa, who was the last to leave the stockade, was welcomed by Naisula who engaged him in a light pushing game. When the drizzle died down Shukuru headed straight to the bush while Kitirua reminded herself of the good old days by scratching her buttocks on the edge of the water trough.
Soon after arriving at the browsing field, Kibo engaged Vuria in a strength testing exercise that lasted for quite some time. Kibo later turned on Bomani who was standing close by watching them. Bomani tried to defend himself but Kibo was too strong for him; he therefore decided to run away from this game before it went too far. Teleki settled to browse with Naisula while Barsilinga started a soil dusting exercise in the wet soil. The dusting game attracted Kibo, Bongo, Laragai and Orwa who joined in too. Bongo couldn't miss tormenting his playmate Vuria and he went to lie on him. Vuria complained bitterly and Kibo intervened by pushing Bongo away from him.
At mud bath time, the weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to step into the water. After drinking, the orphans returned back to the browsing field. Bongo and Shukuru had a brief red soil dusting game before following the others into the bush. In the afternoon, Bomani settled to browse with Kibo and later changed his mind and went to feed with Shukuru. Vuria decided to test his strength against Naisula while Teleki tackled Kibo. Both Vuria and Teleki lost their games to their seniors.
11 May 2016
Soon after drinking their morning milk, Kithaka and Lemoyian had some differences that led them to push one another. Once they were satisfied that they had resolved their issue, the two boys walked away from one another. The other orphans headed straight to the browsing field. Bongo settled to browse with Vuria and later developed an itch on his head which he scratched on a nearby tree. Shortly after, Bongo turned on Vuria and they had a pushing game for quite some time. Lemoyian settled to feed with Teleki as Kithaka came across a nice rock that he used to scratch his bottom on.
At eleven o'clock in the morning, Kithaka led Laragai and Barsilinga in the first group to the mud bath. Tomboi and Orok arrived at mud bath and headed straight to the water for wallowing without bothering with greeting the orphans. Soon after the orphans finished their milk, they walked and stood at the edge of the mud bath. They raised their trunks up as they faced Tomboi and Orok who were rolling into water. The weather was chilly and the orphans were trying to ask the two Ex Orphans if the water was cold. Teleki and Barsilinga kept themselves busy by engaging each other in a pushing game. Shortly after, Shukuru led the herd for a soil bathing game before returning back to the browsing field. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area where they were joined by Olare, Kandecha, Melia, Tumaren, Chemi Chemi and Kalama. This group didn't stay for long as they were looking for their peers who had seceded from their group. An hour later, the group returned with all members present. Olare had traced all her members and now she was happy to have the entire herd together again. Kandecha spent some time playing with Kibo while Chemi Chemi kept on chasing Narok around trying to climb on her.
12 May 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade in the morning, Bomani and Lemoyian entwined their trunks in morning greetings. Bongo and Vuria exchanged their morning greetings in the form of a pushing game and later, Narok led the way to the browsing field. Shortly later, Mutara’s group led by Sities joined the juniors in the lower Kalovoto area. Kithaka settled to browse close to Orwa who by then had found a nice rock that he was using to scratch his bottom on. Laragai browsed close to Vuria as Barsilinga scratched his neck against a tree.
As the day progressed, Orwa walked to Mutara and the two had a light strength testing exercise for sometime before Orwa surrendered. At around ten o'clock in the morning, Olare and her herd joined the juniors. Olare’s group, who is known to disappear for months whenever it rains, are now back residing in the area for the meantime. This group usually come back when it starts to get dry because there is always water to be found at the stockade area or the mud bath. Chemi Chemi engaged Vuria in a pushing game that lasted for a short time after Vuria surrendered when Chemi Chemi attempted to mount on him. Shortly before mud bath time, Orwa engaged Naisula in a pushing game while Shukuru took a break from feeding to have a soil bathing exercise.
At mud bath time, the sun was hot but only Chemi Chemi, Murka and Kandecha participated in wallowing, the rest of the herd headed for red soil dusting. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the western side of the Ithumba hill. Kithaka shared feeding a shrub with Bomani as Vuria settled to browse with his playmate Bongo. In the evening, the herd split into three groups. Olare took her group to the west; Mutara took her group to the north while the juniors headed back to the stockade for the night.
13 May 2016
Yatta, Makireti, Olare and their groups reported to the stockade compound early in the morning. As soon as the gates opened for the juniors to come out, Sunyei, Nasalot and Lualeni walked in to find out if there was anything left for them to eat. Soon when the orphans walked out, Laragai, who never sees eye to eye with Yetu, locked trunks in a fight. Naserian, who was close by, intervened by separating the two girls. Orwa likes a challenge and played with Nasalot and since Nasalot is much taller than him. Teleki engaged Makireti in a light pushing game that was interrupted by Kilabasi. Teleki then walked to Naserian and they entwined their trunks in morning greetings. Shortly later, the Ex Orphans parted ways with the juniors and headed west.
In the browsing field, the juniors were joined by Mutara and her group where Orwa teamed up with Mutara and Turkwel as Vuria played with Bongo. Later Shukuru settled to browse with Bongo while Bomani teamed up with Garzi.
At mud bath time, Vuria who is the fastest elephant we have, led the first group, Barsilinga led the second group while Bomani led the third one. The temperatures were moderate and the orphans only drank water then headed for a soil bathing game. An hour after the orphans returned back to the browsing field, fifteen wild elephants reported for water at the mud bath. This is an indication of how dry it is and how much more of the April rains we need to come. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at upper Kalovoto area where Laragai settled to browse with Teleki. Barsilinga took a break from feeding and leaned against a tree as a scratching purpose. The rest of the day was quiet.
14 May 2016
After leaving the stockade in the morning, Laragai tried to block the way for Barsilinga to come out. Barsilinga at first thought of pushing Laragai out of his way but then he thought again. Laragai is a girl that never gives up a fight easily and Barsilinga didn't want to start something he could not finish (or something that would embarrass him) so he left Laragai blocking his way until she moved on her own. Bomani and Lemoyian had a light warm up strength testing exercise that lasted for a short time until Lemoyian surrendered.
On the way to the browsing field, Orwa engaged Barsilinga in a pushing game while Bongo and Vuria, as has become their tradition, also locked their trunks in a pushing game. Teleki started his day by a performing a soil dusting exercise and later he started climbing on Vuria. As the day progressed, Vuria took a break from feeding and decided to have a game of rolling on the ground. Orwa, who was feeding close by, took advantage of Vuria lying down and came to roll on top of him. Vuria wasn't happy with this and once he was on his feet he started pushing Orwa in retaliation. The pushing game went on for quite some time until it ended in a draw. Kithaka came across a nice big rock that he used to scratch his belly on and after he joined Bomani to feed.
At mud bath, the orphans were joined by Tomboi and had water together. The weather was chilly and none of the orphans dared to go into the water. Shukuru had an itch foot and she walked up to a fallen log to scratch it. After she walked down to have a soil dusting exercise where she was joined by Narok and Garzi. To kill their boredom at mud bath, Bomani engaged Lemoyian in a pushing game while Vuria played with Bongo and later Orwa tackled Vuria. Tomboi escorted the juniors back to the browsing field and left two hours later. Bomani had a strength testing exercise with Garzi while Orwa took some time off from feeding to perform a soil dusting exercise.
15 May 2016
Early in the morning a wild elephant cow and her two offspring were at the stockade compound with Olare’s group. When the gates opened for the orphans to come out, Olare and her group walked in. Chemi Chemi lagged behind and inspected the orphans as they walked out. When all the orphans were out, one of the wild elephants approached the juniors and tried to charge at them. Vuria stood his ground and stretched his trunk towards the wild elephant as if to ask her what the matter was. Instead of the wild elephant answering, she tackled Vuria but Vuria was ready and they locked trunks as his friends stood close by, spectating. The wild female surrendered after seeing how much support Vuria had from his friends. Teleki engaged Naisula in a pushing game but surrendered shortly later. Orwa played Chemi Chemi while Melia played with Laragai. Orwa gave up playing with Chemi Chemi and walked to play with Kandecha instead. The wild mother led the way to the browsing field as the orphans walked slowly behind her. Upon arrival at the browsing field, the wild elephant cow charged at Laragai and Vuria who wanted to play with her children. A while later, the wild mum left with her offspring in tow.
Shukuru participated in a brief soil dusting exercise as Laragai scratched on nearby rocks. Later in the day, Vuria played with Bongo. At mud bath time the orphans were joined by a few members of the Ex Orphan group. Chyulu walked with Lemoyian to go and drink water. Laragai, who appears to be obsessed with fighting with Yetu whenever they meet, walked towards Yetu. Yetu didn't want any quarrel with Laragai today and retreated to allow Laragai to feel that she was boss. Orwa spend some time playing with Mwende while Teleki tried to learn some pushing tactics from Kinna. Ololoo played with Kanjoro as Tomboi played with a wild boy that was present. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in Kanziku area while the Ex Orphans left to an undisclosed location. Only Chyulu remained behind to have some quality time with her favourite Lemoyian. Laragai and Vuria soil dusted before resuming browsing. Bomani fed close to Kithaka while Laragai teamed up with Bongo
16 May 2016
Olare’s group was at the stockade compound early before dawn. Olare the group leader was missing and Melia was leading the group. As soon as the orphans left the stockade, Lemoyian led the way to the browsing field. At the browsing field, Kalama engaged Garzi in a pushing game that lasted for quite some time while Naisula played with Orwa. Lemoyian settled to browse with Barsilinga while Tumaren settled to browse with Laragai. Teleki settled to browse with Kibo and from time to time they communicated by putting their trunks in each other’s mouths. Later Teleki moved to feed with Chemi Chemi and all over sudden there was a misunderstanding between the two boys, which ended up in a fight. Kibo, who was close by, decided to intervene to end the fight but Teleki turned on him and they ended up starting another fight that saw Kibo emerge victorious.
At around nine o'clock this morning, Chaimu, Ishanga, and Kilaguni reported at the stockade. Soon after drinking enough water, the three left into the park again. At mud bath time, it was all quiet as the orphans drank their milk and returned back to the browsing field. In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area where Barsilinga teamed up with Teleki while Lemoyian browsed with Garzi.
17 May 2016
The sky was clear as the orphans left the stockade in the morning. Bongo invited Barsilinga for a pushing game but Barsilinga turned the offer down by walking away. Vuria was standing nearby and couldn't let this chance slip. He ran over and quickly engaged Bongo in a pushing game. Teleki had his own game of rolling on the ground that also then attracted Vuria. Vuria quit playing with Bongo and came to lie next to Teleki. Bongo wasn't happy by the way Vuria just withdrew from their game without notice. Bongo followed Vuria and climbed on him whilst Vuria was on the ground. Laragai tried to move Bongo away from Vuria but didn't succeed. Once Vuria and Teleki were up from their rolling game, Teleki turned on Vuria and climbed on him just to let him know who was boss. Narok scratched her buttocks against the water trough soon after drinking water.
In the browsing field, the orphans were joined by Mutara and her group. Orwa and Teleki took some time off from browsing to soil dust. At mud bath time, the sun was really hot and Bongo led Laragai, Narok, Bomani, Garzi and Vuria to wallow. While in the water, Bomani and Garzi had a sparring contest while Narok played Teleki. Orwa and Kithaka walked to a nearby tree that had a good shade. After mud bath, Shukuru led the orphans to a soil dusting exercise before returning back to the browsing field. The orphans settled to browse at lower Kalovoto area where Vuria and Bongo dusted themselves with red soil. In the evening, Kithaka led the way back to the stockade.
18 May 2016
Lemoyian and Bomani started their day with a pushing game while Narok walked down and had a soil bath. Teleki invited Vuria into a pushing game which Vuria accepted and their game went on for some time before they parted ways. Thereafter, Teleki went to play with Laragai while Vuria went to find his playmate Bongo. In the browsing field, Kithaka and Barsilinga came across a suitable rock that they used to scratch themselves on. Orwa went up to Kithaka and invited him for pushing game but Kithaka declined and walked away. Later in the day, Vuria engaged Teleki in a pushing game. At mud bath time, the juniors were joined by Tomboi and seven wild bulls. Vuria played with Barsilinga and later with Bongo. Orwa played with Narok and tried to climb on her. After mud bath, the orphans and Tomboi headed north while the wild bulls headed south. In the afternoon, Teleki and Barsilinga enjoyed a lengthy dust bath.
19 May 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade, Kithaka engaged Lemoyian in a light pushing game while Vuria played with Bongo. Barsilinga as usual went to his favourite rock and enjoyed scratching his belly. Kithaka shifted up a gear and left Lemoyian to play with Garzi, and later climbed even higher to play with Orwa. Kithaka withdrew however when he realized he was losing the game badly. Lemoyian kept himself busy by engaging Bomani in a pushing game but their game was cut short by Laragai who intervened by pushing the two boys away. Narok entwined her trunk with Orwa as Vuria and Bongo started rolling on the ground, but their game came to an end when Bongo started trying to climb on Vuria.
At the browsing field Lemoyian picked a fight with Teleki which surely he knew he couldn't win. Bomani, who was standing close by and watching, knew that Lemoyian was wasting his time because he wasn't strong enough to outdo Teleki. He pushed Lemoyian away to take up his position thinking that he was better suited to duel with Teleki. In the end, Bomani realized that even he didn't have what it takes to match Teleki so he quit the game too before it went too far.
Kithaka developed an itchy left forefoot and used a tree stump to scratch it. Orwa and Vuria took a break from feeding briefly to enjoy a light pushing game. At mud bath time the orphans were joined by Tomboi. Laragai, who likes her privacy at mud bath time, headed west of the mud bath where she drank water before she was joined by Tomboi. Only Kilaguni and Bongo decided to wallow and the rest opted for a soil bathing exercise. In the afternoon, the orphans were joined by Olare and Mutara’s groups. The rest of the day was quiet.
20 May 2016
Kithaka and Lemoyian started their pushing game immediately after drinking their milk this morning. Bongo and Vuria met at the browsing field where they engaged in a pushing game of their own. Later Vuria engaged Orwa in a light strength testing exercise. Barsilinga scratched on a rock he came across. Bomani and Garzi communicated for awhile by putting their trunks into each other’s mouths. Shortly later, this escalated into a pushing game which was interrupted by Lemoyian. Lemoyian picked on Bomani for the same game, so Garzi, a gentle boy, walked off to play with Barsilinga. Bomani quit playing with Lemoyian and snuck up behind Garzi to ride on him, but Garzi resisted and shook Bomani off. Teleki found a nice rock that he used to scratch his belly on.
At mud bath time the temperature was quite warm and Bongo led Orwa, Teleki, Shukuru, Garzi, Laragai and Vuria into the water to wallow. The rest opted for a soil dusting exercise. Kithaka had a brief pushing game with Bomani shortly before returning back to the bush. In the afternoon, the clouds cleared giving way to sun shine. The orphans relaxed under a tree for sometime before Lemoyian spotted two dik diks pass close by. He charged and ran towards the dik diks who ran for their dear lives. They disappeared fast leaving Lemoyian charging around in the bushes and trees.
21 May 2016
Two partially independent groups were at the stockade compound in the morning, Mutara’s group and Olare’s group. Olare’s group was being led by Melia since Olare is now attached to Yatta’s group and she is taking care of Wiva. No one is sure whether the attachment is temporary or it will turn out to be a permanent. As the partially independent groups were waiting outside, Chemi Chemi kept on harassing Mutara by trying to climb on her. It is as if Chemi Chemi was trying to tell Mutara that she has only just graduated from the stockades and she should show some respect to him as a senior. When the gates were opened for the juniors, Teleki stood to watch a game between Kibo and Tumaren. Kibo lost the game and walked away to try his luck on Naisula. Later Chemi Chemi lay down and Melia came over and used him as a scratching rock to scratch her belly. Kandecha had a strength testing exercise with Kilaguni that ended in a draw. Kilaguni then moved to play Orwa and ended up the winner. Kithaka settled to browse close to Chemi Chemi but Chemi Chemi pushed him away. Chemi Chemi then engaged Orwa in a pushing game but Kalama intervened and pushed the two boys away. Orwa stood his ground and tackled Kalama in protest of the interruption of his game. Their game went on for quite some time before Chaimu intervened by separating them. At mud bath time, the temperatures were moderate and only Bongo went wallowing, the rest opted for a soil dusting exercise. On the way back to the browsing field, Garzi engaged Bomani in a pushing game. The rest of the day was all quiet as the orphans concentrated only on browsing.
22 May 2016
Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi arrived at the stockade compound in the dead of the night. This group of three known as Makireti’s group, slept outside the stockade and woke up in the morning when they heard the gates being opened for the juniors to come out. As soon as the gates opened Makireti and Kilabasi walked in to check for leftovers. Kasigau stood at the entrance and patted Narok's back with his trunk as Narok left the stockade. Outside Barsilinga walked and stood behind Narok. Narok did not like that and threw a back kick that landed on Barsilinga. Barsilinga didn’t wait for another kick from Narok and so walked away. Shortly later, Vuria played with Kilabasi as Kasigau attempted to mount on Narok. After Kasigau walked towards Teleki where he tried to take food from Teleki's mouth. Teleki didn’t tolerate Kasigau's behaviour and pushed him as he walked away. Bomani played Lemoyian as Kithaka played with Garzi. Later Bomani tried his hand at playing with Kasigau but Kasigau was too strong for him. At the browsing field, Vuria challenged Makireti but surrendered a short while later when Makireti proved to be too strong for him. At around ten o'clock in the morning, the juniors were joined by Melia and Mutara’s groups.
At mud bath time, the juniors were joined by five wild bulls. Laragai tried to play with Chemi Chemi but she was overpowered. Garzi tried his hand at playing with Naisula but lost the game and thereafter tried with Kitirua. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area. Narok and Barsilinga took some time off from feeding to participate in a soil dusting game while Teleki teamed up with Kithaka to feed.
23 May 2016
It was a quiet morning with no other wild elephants or independent orphans visiting. The orphans walked straight to the browsing field soon after leaving the stockade. Vuria and Bongo as usual exchanged their morning greetings in the form of a pushing game. Kithaka and Barsilinga were involved in a race to compete who among them would reach the browsing field first. Vuria won the pushing game and turned to climb on Bongo. Later Vuria settled to share food from the same shrub as Bongo whilst Bomani and Garzi had warm up exercise by pushing one another. Lemoyian settled to browse with Laragai while Shukuru and Barsilinga came across nice rocks that they used to scratch their bodies.
Ithumba and the wider Tsavo region remains very dry and the need for water brought all the Ex Orphan groups together at mud bath. The groups in the company of few wild elephants reported at mud bath early before the usual time and stayed until the juniors reported for their mid day milk feed. Only Narok and Bongo represented the juniors in the bathing exercise. Barsilinga, Kithaka and Lemoyian opted for soil dusting while the rest intermingled with the Ex Orphans. Narok spent some time exchanging greetings with a light pushing game with Chemi Chemi and Naserian. Kibo mounted on Naisula while Ololoo played with Meibai. After soil bathing, Kithaka had a light pushing game with Garzi while Orwa played with Melia. Wiva had the opportunity of interacting with Teleki and Chemi Chemi before she was quickly whisked away by her nannies. The groups parted ways with the juniors and left back into the bush. The juniors settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area. Narok settled to browse with Bongo, Kithaka with Garzi and Barsilinga with Laragai. Bomani soil dusted before going back to browsing. In the evening Olare’s group in the company of six wild bulls reported for water at the stockade.
24 May 2016
Two wild bulls and the partially independent group were taking water at the stockade water trough when the juniors were let out. As soon as the juniors came out, Orwa engaged Kalama in a pushing game while Barsilinga and Garzi put their heads together to decide which way to go. Vuria engaged Kitirua in a pushing game thinking that it was just as easy as playing with his playmate Bongo. The game turned out to be tough for Vuria though and he was left with no other option than to surrender to avoid being humiliated in front of his friends, especially Bongo. Lemoyian decided to stick to Turkwel and watch her to learn what particular vegetation she enjoyed feeding on.
At nine o'clock in the morning we thought that Yatta and Mulika’s groups appeared to have got wind of new babies coming, as they camped at the stockade compound for nearly one hour. When they didn’t arrive Yatta led the group away. Shortly later, the lorry carrying Enkikwe, Olsekki and Siangiki arrived. Kithaka, Lemoyian and Barsilinga were the first ones to meet with the new babies. Lemoyian with his ears raised led Kithaka and Barsilinga to meet them. Olsekki felt uncomfortable it seemed to be attracting the attention of the older orphans and he bellowed loudly. Laragai entwined her trunk with Siangiki as Vuria placed his trunk on Olsekki in attempting to bully him by climbing on him. The keepers shouted at Vuria to stop his naughty tricks and Vuria moved away from Olsekki. Soon, Mutara, Narok, Suguta and Sities arrived and all surrounded Olsekki. Shortly later, the orphans headed into to the bush with their new friends exploring Tsavo for the first time. Olare, who had attached herself to Yatta's group, came back and took control of the new babies. It’s interesting how Olare knew that some babies would come to Ithumba and for her to have a proper knowledge of how to handle them. Olare assisted by Laragai browsed close to the new arrivals showing them what to eat. It was so interesting to watch how quickly Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe settled down. They intermingled with the older orphans normally as if they had been in Ithumba for a long time.
In the evening, Lemoyian and Vuria spent some time in soil dusting. Later at five o'clock in the evening, Olare escorted the new babies back to the stockade. Olare was barred from getting in with them something that angered her leading to a protest. She protested outside the stockade by moving up and down, lying down and standing up until her group arrived in the company of the Ex Orphans with wild elephants too. Wendi and Nasalot walked up to the gate but the gate was closed and there was no way to access the new babies. The herd left shortly after dark probably hoping to meet with the new arrivals the next day.
25 May 2016
The sky was clear in the morning as Siangiki, Olsekki and Enkikwe exited their stockade for their first morning in Ithumba. Laragai and Bomani showed the new babies the way out and a little while later they were joined by Yatta and Mulika’s groups who arrived to meet the newcomers. Sidai, Lualeni, Lenana, Nasalot and Sunyei left Wiva so that they could spend some time with the three new arrivals. Wiva charged at Garzi but Garzi warned her not to try any funny behaviour by pointing at her with his trunk. Wiva retreated and went to lie down to play where Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe together with her nannies came and surrounded her trying to lift her up.
Laragai threatened to push Mwende as Ololoo played pushing games with Orwa. Teleki came over to watch Orwa play Ololoo at which point Ololoo abandoned his game with Orwa and climbed on Teleki who was able to get free and make his way towards Yatta. A while later the groups parted ways with the juniors heading east of the stockade where they were joined by Olare’s group.
The New babies showed more interest in spending time with the partially independent group than the dependent group. At the noon milk feed Olsekki tried to grab a third bottle of milk but the keepers were able to prevent him from doing so and led him to the mudbath. Though the weather was chilly, Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe enjoyed their first mud bath at Ithumba under the close supervision of Makireti. After mud bathing the three newcomers joined the older orphans for a soil dusting session where Chemi Chemi engaged Narok in a pushing game while Orwa played with Kasigau.
The afternoon was spent browsing at the upper Kalovoto area where Naisula engaged Siangiki in a light pushing game after which Siangiki spent some time browsing with Kainuk. Teleki mounted Enkikwe as Lemoyian pulled the Olsekki’s tail when he passed in front of him while they were browsing.
26 May 2016
Mutara’s group reported to the stockade early in the morning before the juniors had even been let out. As soon as the gates were opened, Narok who had spent the night with Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe led the way out. The orphans briefly settled to enjoy some lucerne before Shukuru led the way to the browsing field where Teleki engaged Kainuk in a pushing game while Olsekki and Enkikwe browsed with Bomani. Garzi played with Barsilinga as Shukuru came across a nice scratching surface area that she used to scratch her buttocks and Bongo had a brief strength testing exercise with his playmate Vuria.
At the milk feeding time Olsekki slipped and fell onto his hind as he ran for his milk and was able to get back to his feet before he could be overtaken by Enkikwe and Siangiki who were close behind him. Soon after drinking their milk, Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe headed straight for the mud bath where they joined Laragai, Kilaguni, Narok, Bongo, Chaimu, Kilabasi, Kalama and Orwa in wallowing activities. After the mud bath, Orwa engaged Kalama in a pushing game as Chaimu played with Kasigau and Teleki tackled Olare. Shortly before leaving for the browsing fields the juniors were joined briefly by Mulika and Yatta’s groups. Enkikwe, Siangiki and Olsekki walked up to the concrete bench that they used to scratch their bellies as they were surrounded by Naserian, Sidai, Nasalot and Yatta.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled at the Kanziku area to feed. Olsekki and Siangiki teamed up with Bomani for their browsing activities. Bongo took a break from feeding to enjoy a soil dusting session after which he engaged Vuria in a pushing game.
27 May 2016
Soon after leaving the stockade in the morning, Garzi and Lemoyian exchanged morning greetings in the form of a pushing game. Siangiki and Olsekki stood under the only remaining acacia tree in the stockade compound and stretched their trunks up in an effort to pluck the acacia leaves. Barsilinga walked to them and extended his trunk in greeting towards Olsekki and Siangiki. Mutara and her group joined the juniors at the stockade compound where Kanjoro engaged Teleki in a pushing game as Narok played with Lemoyian.
Once out in the browsing field Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe spent much of their time feeding close to Narok who happens to have come from the same area as the three new babies. At mud bath time Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe headed straight for a wallow after having drunk their milk. The three were joined by Teleki, Narok, Bongo, Shukuru and Bomani while Kithaka opted for a soil dusting exercise. Bongo and Teleki were the last to leave the mudwallow after which the two boys staged enjoyed some strength testing games. As the orphans were preparing to leave the mudbath area ten wild bulls came for a drink of water. Olsekki scratched his ear against Siangiki as Mutara rumbled loudly to signal the herd that it was time to go back to the browsing field at which point Garzi briefly engaged Barsilinga in a pushing game before following their friends.
In the afternoon, Olsekki settled to browse With Vuria, but left when Vuria started taking vegetation from his mouth and he chose to browse close to Narok instead. He was soon joined by Siangiki and Enkikwe. In the evening Yatta and Mulika’s groups in the company of six bulls and a wild herd consisting of females reported for water at the stockade compound.
28 May 2016
Yatta and Mulika’s groups reported to the stockade compound at the same time that the orphans were coming out of their stockades. Laragai met with Naserian and the two exchanged morning greetings as the rest of the orphans came and surrounded Naserian demanding morning greetings too.
Laragai saw Wiva standing close to her mother with the nannies nowhere in sight and took this opportunity to go and practice babysitting Wiva. Garzi joined in and stood close by watching Wiva and Laragai. Yetu, one of Wiva's nannies, wasn't happy to see Wiva with Laragai and Garzi and ran over at which point she pulled Wiva's tail to try and discourage her from associating with Laragai. Laragai who has never seen eye to an eye with Yetu warned Yetu to not dare to try and take Wiva away from her. Yetu rumbled for the other nannies to come and assist her and it wasn’t long before Loijuk and Mwende came to see what the problem was. As there was nothing alarming taking place that needed their attention they just stood close by watching Wiva interact with the orphans.
Orwa engaged Makena in a pushing game before going to play with Meibai who was enjoying a game of rolling on the ground. Suguta played with Ololoo as Orok played with Zurura.
At the browsing field Narok settled to browse with Lemoyian as Olsekki browsed with Enkikwe. At the mud bath Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe once again headed straight for wallowing after taking their milk. Once they had cooled down the three new babies walked up to the water trough for a drink of water. Bomani spent some time scratching against the acacia trees while Teleki rolled in the soil dust bathing. Laragai was quick to come over and enjoy a scratching session against Teleki who was still lying down enjoying the dust bath. In the afternoon the orphans converged under a tree to relax until the temperatures dropped to a favorable level so that they could continue their browsing activities. Olsekki, Orwa and Narok spent some time soil dusting before rejoining the rest of the group who were browsing close by.
29 May 2016
Mutara’s group joined the juniors soon after they exited their stockades. The sky was clear which was an indication of a hot day ahead. The two groups settled for lucerne and thereafter Kanjoro engaged Teleki in a morning strength testing exercise as Mutara played with Orwa. Bomani had a warm up pushing game with Garzi before going to play with Lemoyian. Kainuk had a light pushing game with Enkikwe as Vuria enjoyed playing with Bongo.
After the morning stockade activities Shukuru led the way to the browsing field where Barsilinga, Kanjoro and Bomani browsed together while Enkikwe settled to browse with Orwa. At eleven o'clock the orphans headed for the mud bath where they were joined by the Ex Orphans and ten wild bulls. One of the bulls 'Limpy', that had a snare removed from his right fore-foot nearly two weeks ago, was present and showed signs of great improvement. Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe headed to the mud wallow soon after taking their milk. The three new babies have now become accustomed to the routine at Ithumba. After the mud bath Teleki engaged Ololoo in a pushing game in anticipation of learning new fighting skills.
Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe left with the Ex Orphans but were spotted before disappearing out of view. The keepers started calling the three new babies who were at first hesitant to return but it was not long before they changed their mind and returned to the keepers under heavy escort offered by Sidai, Lenana and Chyulu.
Later in the afternoon the keepers realized that Laragai was missing and tracked her down only to find her baby sitting Wiva. Her name was called and Laragai came running leaving Wiva with her usual nannies. In the evening, the temperatures were still high and the orphans passed by the mud bath for an evening cooling off. This was good for Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe who appear to have been enjoying every moment of the mudbath, having come from Nairobi where the weather is totally different to that of Ithumba.
30 May 2016
The juniors were welcomed outside the stockade by Mutara and her group that had arrived at the stockade compound before dawn. Siangiki started her day with a soil dusting exercise while Enkikwe had a slight pushing game with Kainuk. Lemoyian tackled Bomani as Narok played with Bongo. At the browsing field, Bongo played with Vuria as Teleki engaged Kanjoro in a pushing game.
At mud bath time the juniors were joined by five wild bulls. In the afternoon the orphans spent all their time browsing and filling their bellies with greenery.
In the evening, before heading back to the stockades for the night, Barsilinga took a break from browsing to have a soil dusting exercise as Lemoyian teamed up with Laragai for a final bit of browsing.
31 May 2016
Tomboi and two wild elephants were at the stockade compound having a drink of water when the orphans were let out of their stockades. Siangiki, Enkikwe and Olsekki walked down to the water but hesitant to join Tomboi and the wild bull for a drink but after a few minutes Enkikwe was brave enough to go and join the two at the water trough while Olsekki and Siangiki rejoined their friends who were feeding on lucerne. A short while the wild bulls left and Tomboi with Enkikwe joined the rest of the orphans for some Lucerne after which Tomboi returned to the water trough followed by Siangiki, Olsekki and Enkikwe. Narok enjoyed a pushing game with Orwa after which Orwa mounted Narok while Teleki engaged Vuria in a strength testing game and Bomani took on Lemoyian.
At the browsing field Siangiki spent most of her time browsing with Laragai. Vuria met with Bongo and remembered that they hadn't tested their strength today and as such the two quickly locked their trunks in a pushing game. At mud bath time Enkikwe and Olsekki ran to the mudbath together with their second milk bottle dropping them only after they had downed the bottles contents after which they entered the water.
A short while after the orphans had drank the milk feed the juniors were joined by the partially independent groups (Olare, Chaimu and Makireti’s groups). Chemi Chemi engaged Orwa in a pushing game which Orwa after which he went to try his luck with Kitirua, a match that he also lost. In defeat he went and joined the rest of the orphans who were enjoying a soil dusting exercise.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at the Kanziku area. Teleki teamed up with Laragai for the afternoon browsing session. In the evening Barsilinga and Bongo stopped feeding to enjoy a soil dusting exercise before the orphan herd returned to the stockades for the night.