Keepers' Diaries, May 2017
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
Most of this month at Ithumba has been dominated by the disappearance of Kelelari, Karisa, and Dupotto a week after their translocation to Ithumba from our Nairobi Nursery on the 14th May. Kelelari had lived a wild life for over four years or so before being rescued, and apparently relishing his new surroundings in the expanse of Tsavo, we believe he performed a perfect ‘kidnap’ whisking his best friends away with him.
01 May 2017
Narok and Teleki visited their junior friends early in the morning. Enkikwe left the stockade holding a branch in his month and only dropped it when he joined his friends Siangiki and Olsekki. Narok spend shared some lucerne with Shukuru as Kauro settled for his lovely exercise of scratching on some rocks. Shortly later, Teleki and Narok escorted the juniors to the browsing field where Teleki and Sirimon took a break from feeding to participate in a mud bathing exercise. Their wallowing game attracted the rest of their friends who came to join them.
At mud bath time soon after drinking their milk, the orphans were joined by Orwa, Bongo, Bomani and Vuria. Sokotei and Lemoyian kept themselves busy by engaging in a strength testing exercise that ended when Lemoyian attempted to mount on Sokotei. In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse at upper Kalovoto area and in the evening Kithaka engaged Barsilinga in a strength testing exercise while Olsekki, Garzi and Lemoyian enjoyed a soil dusting exercise. Later, Olsekki engaged Sirimon in a pushing game that ended in a draw. On the way back to the stockade, clouds that had been gathering gave way to showers that yielded to 10mm of rain.
02 May 2017
Narok and her partially dependent group joined the juniors in the morning and soon after sharing morning feed, they all headed to the browsing field together. The sky was clear as the orphans concentrated on browsing. Shukuru and Siangiki took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. Their game also attracted Teleki and Bongo who joined them in soil bathing exercise as Sokotei opted for a scratching game against the nearby trees. Sirimon and Olsekki had a brief strength testing game that ended when Bongo intervened by pushing them away. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at upper Kalovoto area where Orwa and Barsilinga enjoyed a pushing game while Kauro had lone game of soil dusting. Later, Orwa engaged Bongo in wrestling game that ended in a draw.
03 May 2017
Narok and her recently independent group reported early in the morning and joined their juniors in feeding on the lucerne. It was lovely to greet them in the early morning light, all looking so content and happy. Naseku, Tusuja, Lemoyian, and Garzi took a break to scratch on the nearby rocks. Later, Narok led the way to the browsing field. The orphans settled to browse at Kanziku area and shortly before eleven o'clock in the morning, Garzi Teleki Enkikwe and Orwa came across a drying water hole where they briefly participated in a mud bathing exercise. At mud bath time, Kauro settled at his lovely spot where he always scratches his belly. Teleki spotted him and became jealous of the lovely tree stump that Kauro was using to scratch his belly, pushing Kauro away. This action angered Kauro but since Teleki was his senior there was not a lot Kauro could do, so he stood by in frustration waiting for Teleki to finish what he was doing. In the afternoon Tusuja settled to browse with Boromoko and Siangiki and Bomani.
04 May 2017
Oltaiyoni and Tusuja started their day by scratching on the nearby rocks while Lemoyian engaged Kithaka in a pushing game. Later Laragai led the way to the browsing fields. The orphans settled to feed around the Kone area when Kithaka decided to settle scores with his great friend Barsilinga but their game ended in a draw. At mud bath time, Kauro ran into trouble with Boromoko and Sirimon at the water trough. It all started when Kauro tried to squeeze in between the two to drink water. Boromoko and Sirimon consider themselves more senior than Kauro and clearly felt that it was disrespectful of Kauro to squeeze in between them when there was more room on the other side of the water trough. The two ganged up and managed to drive Kauro away. Kauro left for his favourite scratching tree, biding his time there before returning to drink water after Boromoko and Sirimon ambled away.
In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse at the western side of Ithumba Hill. In the evening, Naseku, Sokotei, Laragai and Kamok took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise.
05 May 2017
In the morning, soon after the juniors left the confines of their night stockades to head out to the browsing fields, Yatta, her baby Yetu, Nasalot, Makena, Wendi and her baby Wiva, Lenana, Ithumbah, Kinna and her recently born baby Kama, and Chyulu all arrived, for a surprise visit. With the rain, abundant food and filled waterholes the Ex Orphans are spending lengthy time away between visits. On this day the Ex Orphans grabbed some lucerne, reported in to say hello to the juniors, and then moved off west of the stockade, leaving the juniors wondering why they were in such a hurry.
For the juniors the morning was serious business, with full focus on feeding and enjoying the plentiful browse thanks to the onset of rains. Once the orphans reached the mud bath area they were joined by Narok’s group of semi-independent orphans; this group are spreading their wings now, and are now staying out at night, having recently upgraded themselves. While they are enjoying their freedom they are still much attached to the juniors and their keepers, and being still so young they visit regularly with their junior friends, and tend to catch up most days. Shukuru, Bongo, Laragai and Sirimon were tempted to participate in the mud bathing, and savored every minute while the others chose to rest up in the shade.
In the afternoon the weather changed; clouds gathered and it began to drizzle. By the time the orphans reached the stockades the rain fell heavily in sheets, and continued until about eight pm at night. In that short time two inches of rain fell which is a blessing, and was more rain in a single storm than what we have experienced in two years. We hope we get more storms like this one this rainy season.
06 May 2017
It was a very wet morning today as a result of heavy rain falling the previous day, this being much needed in Ithumba and hopefully able to fill up many waterholes throughout the area. The orphans instinctively knew to walk slowly because of the sodden and slippery mud, careful not to slip and fall. They first settled for their routine lucerne handout, but were more interested in heading out to browse and feed given now that the vegetation has changed significantly around Ithumba, with everything a profusion of green, celebrating the rain; for the elephants this was more food than they had been used to for a very long time.
Barsilinga was the first to begin his day with rolling games, caking himself in the red mud. His game attracted both Naseku and Sokotei who were distracted from their feeding and gravitated to participate in fresh-mud rolling games. Later the orphans came across a pool of rain water and this proved too tempting, so muddy water games continued. This was all before they proceeded for the eleven o’clock milk feeds. Lemoyian developed an itchy foot along the way and stopped to scratch it on the base of a tree, and he did this for some time until he was satisfied. After taking their midday feed Kamok, Lemoyian, Siangiki, Enkikwe and Olsekki participated in mud bathing. Enkikwe clambered on Olsekki’s back looking for a free ride, but he soon slipped off due to all the slippery mud.
In the afternoon the orphans settled to feed in the Kanziku area and the keepers rested close by, proudly watching over their happy elephant herd. Tusuja and Garzi took a break to clamber onto slippery termite mounds, and this game entertained them for a good long time. Eventually as the hour grew late, the herd gathered together and slowly trudged homewards to their night stockades, all satisfied with full stomachs, yet still with space for their much loved evening milk feed.
07 May 2017
Narok and her group reported to the stockade early before the juniors were let out. Soon after the gates were opened, the juniors joined Narok and her group and only a short while later the orphans followed her group out of the compound. Boromoko and Sokotei were playing a pushing game which ended when Orwa intervened and pushed the two boys away. Kauro and Roi enjoyed a relieving scratch on the nearby rocks as Kithaka and Naseku settled to feed on the same shrub while Enkikwe browsed with Sirimon. Shukuru likes to share her food and moved to feed with Enkikwe who had finished browsing with Sirimon. Later, Barsilinga rolled on the ground and when he was up on his feet engaged Kithaka in a pushing game but it proved too much for Kithaka and he moved away. Boromoko settled to feed with Garzi and they seemed to be communicating about something as they put their trunks in each other’s mouths.
When it was time to head for their noon milk feeding, the weather was chilly and none of the orphans wanted to go in the mud bath. After drinking their milk, Lemoyian and Naseku walked to the water trough to drink water while the rest returned back to the browsing field. Oltaiyoni settled to feed with Roi while Shukuru settled to feed with Laragai. In the evening the chilly weather turned into a rain shower and this awakened the playfulness in all the orphans. Barsilinga, Kauro, Sokotei, Kamok, Sirimon and Enkikwe rolled on the ground and enjoyed the showers and the cool weather. Boromoko and Olsekki had a brief strength testing exercise that ended when Boromoko surrendered.
08 May 2017
Narok and her group joined the orphans at stockade compound soon after they came out of their stockades. Narok settled to feed with Naseku and Barsilinga as the two seemed to enquire from Narok how it was going since they joined the wild. Tusuja had a private conversation with Boromoko before the two were seen walking away from the rest of the herd. Teleki and Vuria briefly enjoyed a little wrestling game before deciding to browse instead. An hour later, Narok and her group parted ways with the juniors and disappeared. Garzi came across a bent tree that he used to scratch his belly on as Tusuja and Oltaiyoni queued to use the same tree to scratch themselves too. Sokotei took a break from feeding to have a lone game of rolling on the ground. At mud bath time Boromoko pushed Kauro out of his way, just to pass by. Kauro wasn't happy about it but hoped that a day would come when he will be no longer be pushed around like a ball. The weather was cloudy and the orphans didn't waste time but returned back to browse soon after drinking their milk and having some water. Boromoko settled to feed with Enkikwe while Kauro teamed up with Kamok. In the evening Sirimon and Enkikwe finished up the field activities by engaging in a pushing game that ended in a draw.
09 May 2017
Laragai who is torn between returning to the wild and remaining as stockade dependent orphan, managed to open the gate early before dawn and let Kithaka, Barsilinga, Garzi and Lemoyian from their night pen! The four boys, who are still milk dependent, didn't walk far but remained around the compound until morning when they got their six o'clock milk feed. Hardly a day passes without Kauro going to scratch himself on his lovely rock; today he enjoyed scratching his buttocks while still holding some lucerne in his mouth. A little while later, Shukuru led the orphans out of the compound.
At mud bath time, there was a commotion when Lemoyian decided to forcefully try and take Tusuja’s bottle of milk which he was holding himself and enjoying the contents of! Tusuja was quick to finish and didn't let go off the milk bottle, even as Lemoyian continued to push him to surrender it. Tusuja only dropped the milk bottle when he was done with the milk.
Out of the blue the Ex Orphans started arriving, mostly consisting of the females. Present in the group was Yatta, Mulika, Mwende, Yetu, Sunyei, Nasalot, Sidai, Lenana, Chyulu, Ithumbah, Makena, Loijuk, Kinna, her baby Kama, Galana, her baby Gawa, Wendi and baby Wiva, Ololoo, Meibai, then Orwa, Bomani, Teleki, Narok, Vuria and Bongo, as well as Makireti, Kilabasi, Kasigau, Kenze, Taita, Zurura, Naserian, Lualeni and five wild elephants. Barsilinga entwined his trunk with Nasalot to greet her as Laragai, Olsekki, Garzi and Shukuru walked to say hi to Wiva. Later Garzi played Ololoo as Olsekki settled to familiarize with himself with Lenana. Gawa teamed up with Lualeni and Naserian to wallow in the mud bath and shortly after, Gawa imitated Ithumbah by lying next to her and rolling on the ground. In the afternoon, the juniors were joined by Makireti, Kasigau, Narok and Kilabasi. It appeared that Narok had left the other boys with the senior Ex Orphans to see if she could fit into Makireti’s group. Boromoko tried to challenge Kilabasi but he was overpowered. Later in the evening, Makireti and her group escorted the juniors back to the stockade.
10 May 2017
Narok, who had teamed up with Makireti’s group the previous day, was waiting outside the stockade early in the morning to greet the juniors. As soon as the gates were opened for orphans to come out, Narok happily joined them to share lucerne. Once they had finished and were out in the Park browsing, the orphans were joined by Makireti’s group and they all browsed peacefully together up until it was time for their noon milk feeding and Tusuja led the way. After she had finished her milk, Narok walked with Makireti to a nearby tree where the two relaxed as they appeared to communicate to each other. Kilabasi walked the orphans to a nearby small pool of water where she demonstrated to the orphans how mud bathing is really done! The orphans surrounded her as they tried to catch a glimpse of what she was doing. They then started splashing water behind their ears from the same pool of water, but decided not to fully immerse themselves. After mud bath, Makireti’s group escorted the juniors back to the browsing field. Boromoko settled to feed with Roi while Oltaiyoni settled to feed with Olsekki.
11 May 2017
The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans left the stockade soon after drinking their morning milk. The partially independent group Narok, Orwa, Bomani, Bongo, Teleki and Vuria arrived just in time to share the lucerne with the juniors. Shortly later, Narok led the way out to the bush. Once there Narok and her group, plus Tusuja, Boromoko, Oltaiyoni and Kamok took a break from feeding to play in the mud. The orphans drank their delicious milk then went back to browsing where Shukuru, Barsilinga, Naseku, Boromoko, Kamok, Siangiki and Olsekki played in a small pool of water that had formed from the rain. Later in the afternoon, the weather changed. Clouds gathered very fast and it started raining. The rain stopped at six o'clock in the evening then started again at around seven thirty and continued up to ten o’clock at night, giving us 70mm of rain!
12 May 2017
It was very wet all around following the heavy rain received the previous day. The orphans briefly settled for lucerne as Shukuru, Garzi and Kamok opted for a scratching exercise on the nearby rocks. At the browsing field, the orphans had a quiet morning as each one of them concentrated on browsing over anything else. At eleven o'clock in the morning Tusuja led the first group to the mud bath for the milk feeding. Soon after Olsekki, Tusuja and Enkikwe experimented with entering the big mud wallow but got nervous of all the water in it! The three boys opted instead to play at the edge of the mud bath. In the afternoon, Naseku, Boromoko, Oltaiyoni and Siangiki played on an anthill. Boromoko attempted to ride on Siangiki who was rolling on the ground. Siangiki wasn't happy about this and decided to get up and end that game! In the evening, the weather changed and it started raining again. Barsilinga, Naseku, Lemoyian, Shukuru, Kithaka and Garzi stopped feeding and started a game of rolling on the ground. When the rain stopped, the orphans stopped their game as well and slowly started wandering back to the stockade.
13 May 2017
Given that the bush is so wonderful and green at the moment, the orphans headed straight to the browsing field soon after drinking their morning milk, obviously in a rush to munch away on the delicious new vegetation. Tusuja started the day’s activities by rolling on the ground as Garzi and Kamok relieved an itch against the nearby trees. Shukuru, who believes in the spirit of sharing, settled to feed with Boromoko as Barsilinga engaged Kithaka in a brief strength testing exercise. At eleven o'clock in the morning, the orphans headed for their milk and after returned back to the browsing field. They then settled to browse in the Kanziku area and they had a quiet afternoon.
In the evening, Laragai was reluctant to return back to the stockade, and from time to time rose her trunk up in the air trying to locate her older friends in Narok’s herd who joined the wild nearly a month ago. She trailed the stockade dependent group from a distance and when she arrived she refused to go inside. The keepers gave her time to think about what she wanted to do and eventually she decided to go inside the stockade, and the gate was closed.
14 May 2017
The orphans had a quiet morning as they settled to browse in the Kone area. They had settled to browse close by so as to welcome the new nursery babies that were en route from the Nairobi Nursery. At ten o'clock in the morning, Kelelari, Dupotto and Karisa arrived. Kauro, Naseku and Tusuja, who were meant to welcome the new arrivals, were delayed in reaching the stockades so Karisa, Dupotto and Kelelari walked down the road to meet them. Upon meeting up, Karisa said hello to Kauro then turned and followed Kauro to his group. After all the orphans had their milk, Lemoyian tried to bully Kelelari while Boromoko attempted to climb on Karisa. Later, Dupotto tried to greet Lemoyian in a peaceful manner but Lemoyian threatened to push her so she decided to move away from him.
Back out in the bush Barsilinga and Kithaka briefly engaged each other in a pushing game while the rest of the group came across small water pools that they used to cool themselves down in. Later, Kithaka decided to enjoy his own game of rolling around on the floor. Sirimon came forward and used Kithaka as scratching surface and scratched his belly on him. Kelelari joined Enkikwe to play in the same water hole as Naseku moved further away from the rest and rolled on the ground on her own. Later in the afternoon, Sirimon ran into trouble with Kelelari when he attempted to climb on Dupotto. Kelelari came and pushed Sirimon off from Dupotto and this angered Sirimon! He threatened to teach Kelelari a lesson but he was surprised to find Kelelari ready to tackle him. It's not a surprise that Kelelari appears to be a threat to the likes of Lemoyian, Sirimon, Enkikwe and Sokotei who think that any new comer should always be below them; in the coming weeks perhaps Kelelari will establish himself as dominant over those boys who are always full of themselves! By evening Dupotto, Karisa and Kelelari had completely settled down and one would think that they have been around in the stockades at Ithumba for several months they were so at peace with their new surroundings.
15 May 2017
Narok, Orwa, Vuria, Bomani and Bongo arrived at the stockade early before dawn in anticipation of meeting with new babies. Teleki was missing from Narok’s group and appeared to have teamed up with the senior Ex Orphans. When the babies came out Narok was the first one to welcome them and entwined her trunk with Kelelari and later moved to stand with Karisa. The orphans settled to browse in the Kone area with Karisa, Kelelari and Dupotto seemingly quite at home with their new environment. At mud bath time, Kauro led the first group to the eleven o'clock milk feeds. The group consisted of Tusuja and Oltaiyoni as Karisa led Dupotto and Kelelari in the second group. At mud bath only Bongo went into the mud as the rest of the group went back to browsing. Polite Kauro teamed up with three warthogs to graze on the grass but only after he tried to charge at them and the warthogs refused to go.
At around three o'clock in the afternoon and without the keepers knowing, Narok, Bomani, Vuria and Bongo visited and took Tusuja, Siangiki, Enkikwe, Sirimon, Olsekki, Kithaka, Garzi and Lemoyian. Orwa remained with the rest who were feeding close to the keepers. Orwa’s presence made the keepers think that his friends were just close by as well and it was a surprise when they started gathering the group to take them back to the stockade, and they realized nearly half of the group was missing! They searched for them high and low but to no avail and they took the others back to the stockades. Later in the evening Narok brought the missing group back to the stockade and after making sure that the keepers had received them okay, Narok and her group wandered off back into the park.
16 May 2017
It was the second day for the new arrivals at Ithumba and Karisa led the way out. At the stockade compound lucerne was provided for the orphans but they were not that interested and they mainly threw it around and up in air with their trunks as they rushed out to feed on greens out in the bush. Garzi briefly played with Kithaka as Narok and her group teamed up with the juniors. Barsilinga tried to challenge Laragai to a pushing game but he lost to her. He then moved on to play with Bongo but ended up losing to him as well. At eleven o'clock in the morning and time for milk feed, Dupotto teamed up with the first group while Karisa and Kelelari teamed up with Kamok in second group. After getting their milk, Kelelari and Karisa moved to the water hole where they splashed water behind their ears to cool off. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to feed in the Kanziku area where Barsilinga, Lemoyian and Kamok teamed up together to browse. The day ended peacefully and in the evening, Narok and Laragai escorted the juniors back to the stockade.
17 May 2017
Kamok was the first one to leave the stockades this morning. Bongo, Vuria, Narok and Laragai spend their night just outside the stockade. The four joined the juniors and walked with them to the browsing field. Kithaka engaged Barsilinga in a strength testing exercise that saw Barsilinga, who is growing very fast, emerge as the clear winner. Boromoko, Tusuja and Kamok settled to feed together and later, Boromoko decided to take a break from feeding to roll on the ground. Shortly before mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Bomani, Orwa, Makireti, Kilabasi and Kasigau who escorted them to the mud bath. Dupotto made sure that she was in the first group while the inseparable Karisa and Kelelari were in forth group. The two always stick together whether it's feeding time or if they are just walking out in the bush. After having their delicious milk, Olsekki and Enkikwe took it in turns to challenge Kilabasi but ended up losing it to her. Later Kilabasi engaged Orwa in a pushing game but that one ended in a draw. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to feed in the Kanziku area and had a quiet afternoon. Shukuru received another injection of medicine which has seen her grow so much stronger since January this year.
18 May 2017
The orphans headed straight to the browsing field soon after leaving the stockade. Barsilinga started his day by scratching on the nearby rocks before engaging Kithaka in a pushing game. Boromoko engaged Roi in a light strength testing exercise and later engaged Olsekki in a pushing game as Karisa rolled on the ground in happiness. In the afternoon the orphans were joined by Narok and her group. Lemoyian attempted to climb on Boromoko but he didn’t like this and turned to defend himself by engaging Lemoyian in a pushing game. Their game ended in a draw as they both walked away from each other. In the evening, Narok and her group escorted the juniors back to the stockade.
19 May 2017
Soon after drinking their morning milk, the orphans headed straight to the browsing field after refusing to feed on the lucerne which was provided for them. On the way Kelelari tried to challenge Oltaiyoni but quickly surrendered when Oltaiyoni turned to him with a serious face and threatened to teach him a lesson. The orphans were joined by the partially independent orphans Narok, Bongo, Bomani, Orwa, Laragai and Vuria. Vuria engaged Bongo in a friendly pushing game as Dupotto joined Kamok to browse on the shrubbery. Boromoko settled to feed with Sirimon as Laragai settled to feed with Kauro. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Ex Orphan Rapsu and a wild friend but they parted ways soon after mud bath. Only Kelelari and Karisa briefly splashed water behind their ears before following their friends to browse some more. In the afternoon the orphans settled to feed in Kone area where Oltaiyoni took a break from feeding to dust herself. The rest of the day was quiet.
20 May 2017
At around seven o'clock in the morning the orphans had settled to browse two hundred metres west of the stockade. All over sudden, panic set in amongst the elephants. Some scattered while others ran towards the keepers. The keepers started gathering the scattered ones and came to realize that Kelelari, Dupotto and Karisa were not amongst the other orphans. The keepers began immediately trying to trace their foot prints since no one had seen the direction the new babies had run in. The prints became very confusing when the keepers came across the foot prints of so many elephants. In the end the foot prints led them to Olare’s group in between Ithumba and the Kanziku fence line; the group had been missing for close to two months. They were also with Narok’s group. Narok and her group had parted with the juniors in the stockade compound the previous day, late in the evening. We started to believe that the three babies had run off with Mutara’s group who also ran away from the incident that startled them all and were not seen for the rest of the day.
Yatta and Mulika’s groups, who appeared to be coming to meet the new babies for the first time, arrived at mud bath early at around ten o'clock in the morning. The groups were in the company of Makireti’s group who had probably informed them of the new arrivals, since Makireti and her group had already met them. Yatta and Mulika’s groups consisted of Yatta, Yetu, Nasalot, Mulika, Mwende, Kinna, Kama, Ithumbah, Taita, Kenze, Chyulu, Sunyei, Zurura, Sidai, Meibai, Teleki, Ishanga, Wendi and Wiva. The Ex Orphans didn't stay for long at mud bath, probably after realizing that the new babies were not present. Only Yatta remained at mud bath to greet those juniors that were there. Only Boromoko decided to go mud bathing while Yatta communicated with Olsekki and Roi. Shortly later, Yatta left to rejoin her own herd. The search for the missing three went on until dark with no positive results and will resume in the early morning.
21 May 2017
We woke to a stressful morning after Karisa, Dupotto and Kelelari failed to turn up overnight and the search for them continues. Only Olare and her group arrived during the night and slept just outside the stockade compound. Soon after the orphans were let out, Olare’s group joined the juniors and escorted them to the browsing field. The orphans settled to browse on the eastern side of Ithumba. A little while later Olare’s group left them again. It was a dull day as everyone tuned their mind to locate the lost babies. The search was intensified in all directions but still there were no signs of the new babies. At mud bath time, Yatta, Mulika, Galena and Narok’s groups were in attendance. The only group that was not seen was Mutara and her friends. Meibai played with Narok as Wiva assigned herself the sole responsibility of taking care of Kama. After mud bath, the Ex Orphans headed towards the eastern side of Ithumba Hill while Kamok led the juniors to the Kanziku area where they settled to browse throughout the remaining part of the day. The search of the three new babies still yielded nothing and was called off at dark when the visibility became poor.
22 May 2017
With their new friends still missing, the orphans headed towards the Kone area where they settled to browse, as the team intensified their search towards the main power line. Kithaka started his day’s activities by scratching on a bent tree as his friends settled to browse. At mud bath time, Kamok led the first group since the new babies who are always given first priority were not there. After having their milk Tusuja and Sirimon went into the mud and splashed water behind their ears before joining their friends who were slowly making their way back into the Park to browse.
In the afternoon, Kauro settled to feed with Oltaiyoni and in the evening Kauro led the first group back to the stockade. At around six o'clock in the evening Kinna and Kama in the company of Olare’s group showed up at the stockade. It's not clear why Kinna has abandoned Yatta’s Ex Orphan herd for now and decided to stick with Olare’s group. Shortly later, Kinna led the way west of the stockade as Olare and Melia played the role of nanny to Kama.
23 May 2017
Roi and Tusuja started their day by scratching on the rocks close to the stockade. Out in the bush Garzi settled to browse with Boromoko while Barsilinga settled to browse with Sokotei. Later, Olsekki, Roi and Naseku teamed up to soil dust. Enkikwe came across some nice grass that forced him to go down on his knees to enjoy it even more. At mud bath time the sky was cloudy. The orphans drank their milk then moved some metres away where they started playing around in a small mud pool. Tusuja scratched on Sokotei who was rolling in the mud. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse on the western side of Ithumba Hill. Later in the day Sirimon took a break from feeding to dust himself all on his own. Another day came to an end without any trace of the new babies and the search continues.
24 May 2017
Another morning broke without the appearance of the new babies and the DSWT pilots continued to search from the sky as well as other ground parties patrolling on foot. Kauro led the way out in the morning as Barsilinga and Kithaka left the stockade with branches in their mouths, which they dropped upon reaching the browsing field so as to enjoy the fresh greens. Roi began her day by scratching on a nearby rock before settling to browse on all the green vegetation. Boromoko had a brief chat with Sirimon before teaming up with Barsilinga to dust themselves with soil.
At around ten o'clock in the morning, Shukuru came across a small pool of water from rainwater that she used to splash behind her ears to cool off. Olsekki developed an itch between his front legs and so picked up a stick to scratch it with. A short while later, Olsekki dropped the stick and engaged Enkikwe in a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. At mud bath time, Kithaka and Barsilinga engaged each other in a pushing game soon after leaving the mud. In the evening, the orphans were briefly joined by the senior Ex Orphans before parting ways.
25 May 2017
The orphans left the stockade early in the morning soon after getting their milk. Out in the bush excitement was in the air as the orphans engaged in various games. Barsilinga engaged Kithaka to a pushing game as Boromoko played with Lemoyian. Kamok scratched on the nearby rocks as Sirimon played with Tusuja. Narok and Bomani joined the juniors and the excitement continued. Barsilinga quit playing with Kithaka and moved to play with Sirimon and later tackled Garzi who was running around charging and trumpeting. An hour later, the excitement came to an end and the orphans settled down to browse. At mud bath time Kauro kept on raising his trunk up with his ears wide open, trying to listen to something. We thought that he might have detected the whereabouts of the missing three new babies. We headed in the direction Kauro was pointing his trunk with high hopes of finding the lost babies. Upon searching the area, we just found that it was Yatta and Olare groups feeding in that area. Later in the day, Kithaka played Laragai as Oltaiyoni, Naseku and Siangiki spent some time soil bathing.
26 May 2017
The orphans left the stockade in a jovial mood expressed by swinging their trunks from side to side. They were joined by Bomani, Narok and Vuria who came late last night and slept outside the stockade. The three appear to have parted ways with Bongo, Orwa and Teleki who have been seen with Yatta’s group. Only time will tell if this is a temporary parting or it’s a permanent thing. Sirimon attempted to climb on Boromoko as Kithaka engaged Garzi in a pushing game. Kauro had a brief chat with Enkikwe as Sirimon turned to play with Tusuja. At the browsing field, Kauro settled to feed with Barsilinga as Kithaka settled to feed with Lemoyian. At mud bath time, Shukuru had a spectacular wallowing as Garzi and Lemoyian stood at the mud bath edge watching her. When Shukuru was done with bathing, she left to cover herself in soil. In the afternoon, the orphans settled in the Kanziku area and browsed calmly without any major observation.
27 May 2017
Bomani, Narok and Vuria joined the juniors in the morning after spending the night just outside the stockade. Kamok left the stockade with a branch in her mouth which she continued to enjoy up until she reached the bushes out in the Park. Bomani engaged Garzi in a pushing game while Narok tackled Barsilinga. At Roi settled to feed with Kauro as Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe teamed up together to browse. At eleven o'clock in the morning, the orphans were taken to mud bath where they had their milk and after went back to browsing on the shrubs. Later all of the Ex Orphans and partially independent orphans reported for mud bath apart from Mutara’s group and Chaimu and Kilaguni. In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area and in the evening were escorted back to the stockade by Narok, Vuria and Bomani. For the first time ever since it rained, a wild herd consisting of two adults and three calves visited the stockade for some salt. The herd was joined briefly by Narok, Bomani and Vuria. Vuria spend some time in a strength testing exercise with one of the wild juniors that was his size. Shortly before dark the wild herd left.
28 May 2017
Kauro bid goodbye to Tusuja and Naseku his roommates at two o'clock in the morning as he embarked on a journey back to Nairobi for observation. At six o'clock in the morning, the gates were opened for the juniors to come out. Narok, Bomani and Vuria, who spend most of their night just nearby, joined the juniors on the way to the browsing field. Barsilinga and Garzi passed by the water trough and had water before following their friends. After having enough water Garzi decided to scratch his buttocks on the water trough. At the browsing field Sirimon settled to browse with Shukuru as Olsekki settled to feed with Siangiki. Kithaka and Barsilinga had light pushing game while Roi took a break from feeding to scratch on a nearby rock.
Boromoko and Tusuja headed straight to mud bath after having their milk. The rest of the group headed for water where they were joined by Orok and a wild bull. The wild bull threatened to push the juniors if they didn't give him way. The juniors stood aside and gave the right of way to the older wild elephant. After the orphans returned back to the browsing field, the Ex Orphans in the company of wild bulls reported for mud bath and left when they had enough wallowing. The orphans settled to feed on the western side of Ithumba Hill and in the evening they passed by mud bath where they enjoyed an evening wallowing.
29 May 2017
Narok, Bomani and Vuria joined the juniors at the stockade compound soon after they were let out. Narok started a game of rolling on the ground. Her game attracted Naseku, Bomani, Lemoyian and Sokotei. Naseku leaned on Narok and later used her as a scratching surface. Lemoyian ran into trouble with Sokotei when he tried to ride on Naseku. Sokotei stood up and defended Naseku by challenging Lemoyian to a pushing game. Their game ended soon when Sirimon intervened and ganged up with Sokotei to drive Lemoyian away. Shukuru and Barsilinga had a brief chat as they entwined their trunks in morning greetings. Later, Barsilinga played with Garzi while Tusuja tried to challenge Sirimon.
Out in the bush, Lemoyian challenged Kithaka while Olsekki tackled Sirimon. Sokotei teamed up with Naseku to browse and later took a break from browsing to participate in soil dusting. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area where Oltaiyoni teamed up with Sokotei and Shukuru to browse on all the green vegetation around.
In the evening, back in the stockade compound, Oltaiyoni was transferred to join Siangiki and her group for the night. This was after she was noted to be terrorizing Roi and Kamok whenever she thought it her right to do so. Now she joins the ranks of Siangiki, Boromoko, Sokotei, Sirimon, Enkikwe and Olsekki.
30 May 2017
The orphans left the stockade in a slow measured walk today, unlike other days where they all rush to the bush without looking back. Narok, Bomani and Vuria who have become regular visitors went into the stockade when the gates were opened. Narok took Naseku and they left together while Kamok and Boromoko exchanged morning greetings by inserting their trunks into each other's mouths. Kithaka took some dry lucerne and started throwing it over his head as Barsilinga approached him for a pushing game. Lemoyian attempted to mount on Naseku but he was brought down by Narok.
Out in the Park Bomani and Roi took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. Kithaka and Barsilinga went into their usual pushing game that ended in a draw. At mud bath time, only Boromoko and Garzi went into the water as the rest stood at the edge of the mud bath as if they were spectators. Afterwards, Garzi found Barsilinga eagerly waiting to have a pushing game with him, a game that didn't last for long as Garzi appeared not to be in the mood. The orphans then settled to browse just a few metres away from the mud bath. In the afternoon the temperature skyrocketed making the orphans want to return for a proper swim in the water; this time all the orphans participated in wallowing. After they browsed slowly on their way back to the stockade.
31 May 2017
Garzi left the stockade with a branch in his mouth that he continued to feed on while enjoying scratching on the nearby rocks. Oltaiyoni had a brief chat with Olsekki as Enkikwe tried to pull some grass from Sirimon's mouth. The orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area until it was time for their next milk bottle at the mud bath. Barsilinga, Lemoyian, Shukuru, Sirimon, Siangiki, Vuria and Oltaiyoni really enjoyed the mud bath at length. Sokotei engaged Bomani in a strength testing exercise as Olsekki played with Garzi. Sokotei decided to take a break to roll on the ground but as soon as he went down on his knees Bomani was quick to throw himself on top of him. Olsekki came to Sokotei’s and both of them ganged up to fight Bomani. After mud bath, Lemoyian engaged Kithaka in a pushing game that lasted unil Lemoyian surrendered. Shortly after the orphans returned back to the browsing field, the Ex orphans in the company of eight wild bulls reported. Mutara and Chaimu’s groups were not there and we are still hopeful our new arrivals Kelelari, Dupotto and Karisa are with them. The Ex Orphans left two hours later after enough wallowing.