Keepers' Diaries, May 2018
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
After a few solid weeks of rain the area around Ithumba is now very green and dense bush. The white impomea flower is everywhere and the creeper covers bushes and trees like a soft lace blanket; from above the ground looks as if it has little patches of snow melt it is so prevalent! Having moved six orphans to the Voi Reintegration Unit, Angela felt it was time for three of the more mischievous orphans in the Nursery to be moved to the Ithumba Unit. Not only was the timing perfect in light of the plentiful vegetation and abundant water since the rains, but Esampu, Mteto and Mundusi were particularly unruly in the Nursery without the older ones to keep them in check, and it was clear they needed guidance and some discipline all of which the older orphans at Ithumba would ensure they get.
01 May 2018
When the gates opened, Lemoyian led the way out without taking his milk while Laragai tasted it then spat it out and left. Only Kithaka accepted to take the milk after he and his group were taken back to the stockade for the night following the attack and killing of one of their own by lions. Maramoja, who is the youngest female, teamed up with the older girls Kamok, Roi and Naseku and seemed to be listening to their stories.
Barsilinga, Sirimon and Lemoyian who had been used to doing whatever they wanted for some weeks, found it very difficult to follow the keepers instructions and kept distancing themselves from the rest of the group. At mud bath time it wasn’t very hot and the orphans only had their milk then returned back to the browsing field. In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse and Namalok and Sapalan decided to sneak away from the keepers. Upon realizing the two were missing, the keepers started searching and found them browsing a short distance away. When the keepers tried to call them, Sapalan and Namalok realized that their plan had backfired and tried to escape from the keepers. At last the keepers managed to bring them under control and they followed them back to the stockade.
02 May 2018
Mutara and her group joined the orphans early in the morning and escorted the juniors to the browsing field. Garzi had a brief strength testing exercise with Kanjoro while Maramoja settled to browse with Mutara as she seemed to like to spend time with this older female and learn from her. Shortly later, Maramoja walked away, seemingly content as she was swaying her head and trunk. As usual, Barsilinga, Garzi and Sirimon split from the rest of the herd and left to browse a short distance away. Kauro and Dupotto scratched against nearby trees while Mutara decided to have fun by rolling on the ground. Her game attracted Lemoyian, Karisa, Namalok, Kithaka and Pare who joined her in rolling on the ground. Tusuja teamed up with Kainuk in an effort to learn some new pushing tactics. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse and returned back to the safely of the stockade at five o'clock in the evening.
At around six o'clock in the evening, some of Olare’s group showed up at the stockade after being away for a long time. Those who showed up were Melia, Tumaren, Kibo, Kandecha, Kitirua, Kalama, Chemi Chemi and Kilaguni who belong to Chaimu’s group. Narok’s group is suspected to be with Siangiki and Olsekki who still haven’t shown up.
03 May 2018
The sky was clear in the morning indicating either the rains have gone or have taken a break. The street wise Karisa with his trunk up led the way out of the stockade followed by the independent Sapalan. Soon after arriving where they settled to browse, Mutara’s group, who has remained intact up to now, joined the juniors. Sapalan settled to browse with Lemoyian, which made the keepers more alert since the two might have been planning how to dodge them.
At mud bath time, the juniors were joined by a lone wild bull who left shortly after drinking water. In the afternoon, Mutara took Laragai’s group with her to go and try to look for Siangiki, Olsekki and Boromoko, but later returned after being unsuccessful in their search. In the evening, the orphans came across a small pool of water that Karisa, Wanjala, Kamok and Namalok used to cool themselves down in, before Kauro led the first group back to the stockade for yet another night.
04 May 2018
The sky was crystal clear in the morning when the orphans were let out. Mutara, Suguta, Kainuk, Turkwel, Sities, Kanjoro and Kilaguni welcomed the juniors out and walked with them to the bush. Kanjoro as usual met with Garzi and they had a strength testing exercise that ended again in a draw. Kauro started his day's activities by performing a soil dusting exercise using his versatile trunk. Shortly later, his game attracted Suguta who joined him, and then forced him out from where he was performing the soil dusting exercise. Kauro wasn't pleased but he had no choice other than to respect his elders wish.
The orphans settled to browse and Kilaguni and Kanjoro visited a nearby dam and had an early wallowing session while engaging in strength testing exercise. The orphans were visited briefly by Yatta’s herd including baby Yoyo, Mulika, Mwende, Kinna, baby Kama, Galana, baby Gawa, Ithumbah, Loijuk, Makena, Lenana, Narok, Yetu, Lualeni, Kilabasi, Makireti, Zurura, Wendi, baby Wiva and Rapsu. After mud bath, the orphans headed to the lower kalovoto area where they settled to browse for the rest of the day. Mutara’s group parted ways with juniors and left.
In the evening, a few minutes to seven o'clock, Siangiki and Olsekki who had been missing for nine days, arrived in the company of Mutara’s group Orwa, Bomani, Vuria and Kilaguni. Though darkness was approaching, the wounds that were as a result of an attempted lion attack on Siangiki’s back and tail were now clearly visible. The two were bundled into the stockade to join their friends and application of green clay to the wounds was to commence the following day. Laragai’s group is almost complete; now we are just waiting for Boromoko to show up since he has joined the senior ex-orphans.
05 May 2018
Nasalot, baby Nusu, Zurura, Chyulu and Naserian, Orwa and Bomani welcomed the juniors out when the gates were opened. The ex-orphans checked on Enkikwe briefly and after being satisfied with his condition, the small group left again. Orwa and Bomani remained behind to communicate with those in Laragai’s herd who are staying in the stockades at night again. Siangiki's small wound on the top of her tail was cleaned and the necessary medication applied before she was let out to join her friends. Out in the bush Siangiki remained nervous and from time to time attempted to run away, probably due to the bad experience she had with the lions. When one looks at the wounds now, it is obvious that the lion jumped on top of her back. The sharp Siangiki made a quick calculation and ran through thickets leaving the lion with no option than to fall to the ground after being hit by trees and bushes. It was a miraculous escape since the lions were determined to make a meal out of Siangiki. The orphans tried to comfort Siangiki each time they passed close to her by placing their trunks on her. Mutara and her group were not left behind and joined the juniors throughout the day as they tried to chat and give comfort to Siangiki.
06 May 2018
Karisa left with a branch in his mouth when the gates were opened. As he walked down to the water trough, he met with Roi who took the branch from him. Karisa couldn't protest or complain since Roi was his senior and doing so could earn him a punishment. Karisa, with his crooked tail raised, headed to the water trough to drink water and cool his anger. Mutara’s group came to check on Siangiki who nearly lost her tail to the lions. The group watched as the deep wounds were cleaned and later accompanied her to the browsing field. The herd had a peaceful morning and were joined by Enkikwe up to mud bath time when Enkikwe parted ways with the group. Karisa briefly engaged Galla in a strength testing exercise that ended when Tusuja intervened by pushing the two boys away. Namalok had a brief chat with Roi and Kamok and later in the afternoon, the orphans converged under a tree to relax as the temperature rose. In the evening, Lemoyian, Sirimon, Barsilinga and Garzi refused to go back to stockade with the rest of the team but reported later at 7pm.
07 May 2018
The orphans left the stockade early as usual. Enkikwe and Siangiki's wounds were cleaned and treated. Olsekki, who is a great friend of Siangiki, stood close by watching and waiting for her. Olsekki, Enkikwe and Siangiki came to Ithumba in May 2016 and have maintained their friendship ever since. In their group of three, Olsekki counts himself lucky he too has not been attacked by the lions and stays close to his friends at this hour of need. The orphans were joined by Mutara’s group, Rapsu and Kilaguni. Kauro settled to browse with Mutara while Olsekki settled to browse with his friend Siangiki. At mud bath time, the orphans were briefly joined by a lone wild bull while Mutara’s group travelled to pay a visit to Enkikwe who was feeding close to the stockade. Kainuk touched Enkikwe’s bad leg as she tried to comfort him. In the evening Barsilinga, Lemoyian, Sirimon, Garzi and Laragai dodged the keepers on the way back to the stockade and returned at 7pm after they felt that the day had come to an end and it was dangerous to hang out in the dark on their own
08 May 2018
Sapalan was the first one to leave the stockade. Karisa was unhappy for being overtaken by Sapalan since he is always the first one to leave. To show his dissatisfaction, Karisa pushed Sapalan from behind. The quiet and independent Sapalan didn't retaliate but quickened his pace to make sure that Karisa didn’t catch up with him. Watching Sapalan run away, Karisa turned to vent his frustration on Rapa. Rapa decided to avoid Karisa by retreating and taking a different route.
On the way to the bush Galla engaged Tusuja in a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. Enkikwe settled on a suitable rock that he used to scratch his buttocks. Still limping but recovering slowly, Enkikwe followed his friends out. Later, the orphans were joined by Mutara and her group. At mud bath time, the orphans had a spectacular wallowing with Enkikwe reminding himself of the good old times when he was physically fit before his encounter with lions that almost made away with his leg. Though he didn't get into the water to wallow, he just stood at the edge splashing water on himself using his trunk, and at the same time watched his friends. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area. Enkikwe teamed up with Tusuja while Olsekki enjoyed a nice soil dusting session. Enkikwe's first full day in the bush with his friends ended well and he returned back safely. Enkikwe's knee ligaments were affected during the attack and this means that once the wound heals, he will never be able to walk properly again, meaning that he will limp for the rest of his life.
09 May 2018
Mutara arrived early at the stockade compound and stood at the exit point where the orphans come out. Mutara exchanged morning greetings with some of the orphans before leading them to the bush. For a second day running, Enkikwe was determined to follow his friends to enjoy their company. After having treating her tail Siangiki also followed her friends out with Olsekki acting as her body guard. The orphans had a quiet morning as they only concentrated on browsing. On the way to the mud bath the dependent orphans were joined by the senior ex-orphans. Boromoko, who we thought was with this group, was missing and we wondered where he could be. He has an independent mind and left with the senior ex-orphans at the beginning of the rainy season. Only time will tell where he is and we hope in the meantime he is with some wild bulls. In the meantime all we can do is keep an eye open for him and ask the rangers on patrol to look for him too.
The ex-orphans had a spectacular wallowing session which saw Enkikwe jump into the water as well. He swam as if he had no injury at all and probably compensated for the many days he had gone without mud bathing. After mud bath, there was a tug of war between the ex-orphans and the keepers as the senior ex-orphans wanted to snatch Sapalan, Oltaiyoni, Namalok, karisa, Kithaka, Sirimon, Barsilinga and Garzi. The keepers managed to get Sapalan, Oltaiyoni, Namalok and Karisa back while the senior ex-orphans managed to go with Kithaka, Sirimon, Barsilinga and Garzi. Later in the evening, the four boys withdrew from the senior ex-orphans and came back to the stockade.
10 May 2018
Mutara’s group as usual reported in the morning as the orphans were preparing themselves to go into the bush. They surrounded Enkikwe and had a brief chat with him. We thought they were trying to ask him if he was okay going out with the others for the whole day, and if it was putting strain on his leg. We think Enkikwe likes the exercise and socializing with his friends again. It is good for him to use his leg and get it moving, although he will never walk the same.
An hour after the orphans left for browsing, the senior ex-orphans led by Yatta passed through the stockade compound in the company of three wild bulls, with one bull being in musth. Makireti’s group and Narok’s group have now merged with senior ex orphans but we are not sure for how long. At mud bath time, all the orphans including Enkikwe, who is really enjoying the company of his friends after being kept back at the stockades for over 2 months, had a spectacular wallowing session. After the orphans had enough, Kithaka, Tusuja, Oltaiyoni, Ukame, Kauro, Namalok and Wanjala headed for red soil dusting. Tusuja decided to quit the soil dusting exercise when Kithaka tried to climb on him without asking him for permission. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse and Maramoja decided to team up with Laragai for a conversation. We could hear them rumbling away. At around 3.30pm, the weather changed, and the sky opened up and we had rain for nearly half an hour that measured 16 mm.
11 May 2018
Yatta, Kinna, baby Kama, baby Yoyo, Yetu, Naserian, Sidai, Orwa, Bomani and Teleki were at the stockade compound when the orphans were let out. Yatta and the babies Yoyo and Kama stood at the entrance as if they were counting the orphans one by one as they came out of the stockade. Enkikwe was the last one to leave and amazingly enough, the ever playful Kama decided to gang up with Yoyo and hold Enkikwe captive for almost a minute. The two rascals attacked Enkikwe from the sides knowing that due to his injury he could not turn quickly to get them. After Yoyo and Kama had terrorized Enkikwe for long enough, the two naughty ones ran away knowing that Enkikwe had no way of catching up with them, since he cannot run fast.
The ex-orphans escorted the juniors to the browsing field and after parted ways. Karisa and Naseku at had a brief chat that ended with a strength testing exercise. Wanjala, who was feeding close by, was jealous of the two having a nice pushing game and so came forward to disrupt their peaceful game. On the way to the mud bath, the orphans were again joined by Yatta and her small group. The two groups had a spectacular wallowing before parting ways again. Zurura and Kenze also attended mud bath with Zurura checking on Enkikwe before walking away. In the afternoon the orphans browsed for the rest of the day.
12 May 2018
The street wise boy Karisa led the way out to the browsing field while Sapalan followed him closely behind. The sky was partly cloudy and the orphans had a quiet morning as they only concentrated on browsing without any distractions. Shortly before mud bath time, Karisa who was browsing close to the quiet Sapalan, decided to climb on him. This didn't go down well with Kamok who was feeding next to them. Kamok stepped forward and saved Sapalan from the boisterous Karisa by pushing him away. Kamok couldn't understand why Karisa would try to annoy the quiet Sapalan wouldn’t hurt a fly. Karisa didn’t wait around to be pushed by Kamok again and decided to run away. At mud bath time, Tusuja, Lemoyian and Galla enjoyed riding on their friends as they tried to swim in the water. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kone area where they continued to enjoy feeding on the plentiful vegetation available at the moment due to the current rains.
13 May 2018
It was a bright morning with a clear sky which was an indication of a hot day ahead. Ukame, the hot-tempered girl, led the way out. On the way to the browsing field, Karisa and Tusuja ran into trouble with Ukame when the two boys tried to overtake her. Ukame couldn't let them do that and she saw this as an act of disrespect towards her. Ukame turned and chased the two boys all the way to the back.
Out in the bush Garzi and Sirimon took a break from feeding to participate in a strength testing exercise that lasted for quite a while. The rest of the group concentrated on browsing. Ukame settled to browse with Naseku, while Tusuja settled to browse with Roi. In the afternoon, the orphans browsed in the lower Kalovoto area where Enkikwe took a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. It was great to see him coping so well. Later in the evening, Olare’s group in the company of a junior wild bull showed up at the stockade compound and left shortly later after ascertaining that all was okay and there were no injured orphans there that needed their comfort or attention.
14 May 2018
Mutara’s group in the company of Vuria and Kilaguni, who appear not to stick to one group in particular, reported at the stockade early in the morning. Sities, Mutara, Turkwel and Kainuk watched as Enkikwe and Siangiki received their morning treatment and after led them to the browsing field where Kilaguni played a pushing game with Suguta. Their game attracted Kanjoro and Garzi who started their own. Tusuja settled to browse with Lemoyian and they had a lengthy chat. Perhaps Tusuja was interrogating Lemoyian about what happens in life outside the stockade. Sapalan settled to browse with Naseku while Karisa browsed with Oltaiyoni. At mud bath time the herd was joined by Orwa, Kalama and Bomani bringing the ex-orphans to eleven that attended the mud bath. Shortly after mud bath time was over, Vuria had a disagreement with Kalama that was settled through pushing each other. Vuria lost the fight to Kalama and decided not to pursue the matter. Mutara took the entire herd to the western slopes of Ithumba Hill where they settled to browse throughout the remaining part of the day.
15 May 2018
The sky was bright with no cloud cover in the morning. Enkikwe, who is now slowly picking up the rhythm of his friends, followed them straight to the browsing field. The weather indicated a sunny day a head. Kithaka teamed up with Wanjala while Oltaiyoni settled to browse with Sapalan. At around ten o'clock in the morning, the temperature escalated prompting the orphans to take a break from feeding and seek shelter under a tree because of the scorching sun. On the way to the mud bath, the orphans were joined by Mutara and her group. Soon after the orphans had their milk, Zurura and Rapsu in the company of four wild bulls joined the orphans in a cooling-off exercise in the mud bath that lasted for quite some time. In the afternoon, the orphans settled on the western slopes of Ithumba Hill where they were joined by the senior ex-orphans and wild bulls, one of which was in musth. Later, drama started when the keepers tried to withdraw their juniors from the ex-orphans. The bull in musth appeared suddenly and charged at keepers. The keepers ran in different directions as they escaped from the wrath of bull in musth. One of the keepers fell and sprained his leg but was fine.
16 May 2018
It has been over a week now since the lions were heard. The orphans strolled nonchalantly out from the stockade led by the street wise boy Karisa, the herd slowly but surely made their way to the browsing field. It was a quiet morning and the orphans had no news to share among themselves and so it was browsing all the time. Enkikwe, though still limping, is now able to keep up with his friends. Later in the day, the orphans were joined by Mutara, Kanjoro, Kainuk, Turkwel, Sities, Suguta and Kilaguni, Kibo, Chaimu, Tumaren, Melia and Chemi Chemi. On the way to the mud bath Enkikwe tried to compete in running for milk with Rapa and Pare but he didn't succeed getting to the milk point first because he was limping. Enkikwe just hoped that a time will come when he will be able to beat the juniors. After having their milk, Pare and Naseku had a disagreement that ended in a pushing game. Naseku, who is older, was determined to win under all circumstances since by being defeated by the junior Pare would look ridiculous and show him up! At mud bath time, the orphans participated fully in the wallowing exercise. Enkikwe decided not have a mud bath. Mutara, Sities, Kainuk and Turkwel went to Enkikwe and held a brief chat, we thought to express solidarity and love to him. Enkikwe seemed very happy they had taken the time to come and check on him and rumbled with delight. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse up to five o'clock in the evening when Dupotto led the first group back to the stockades.
17 May 2018
Bomani, who appears to have withdrawn his membership from Narok's group, reported early before dawn to join with Laragai’s group. We not sure of the status of Narok’s herd as they have all separated. Narok was seen hanging out with Yatta’s herd and we think Orwa and Vuria have joined another herd. After the juniors were let out, Pare exchanged morning greetings with Bomani by entwining their trunks. Shortly afterwards, Bomani offered to lead the way to the browsing field.
Galla settled to browse with Rapa. The two didn't feed together for long though as Rapa couldn't tolerate Galla’s behaviour. Galla kept trying to take what Rapa had been working so hard to feed on for himself. Kauro settled to feed with Sirimon who is an independent boy and they engaged in a brief chat that was interrupted by Laragai, who happened to pass by and shove Kauro aside to make room. Kauro wasn't happy about the bossy behaviour of this older girl, but there was nothing he could do since by protesting he would be inviting the wrath of Laragai! Kauro parted ways with Sirimon and headed to feed on his own. At mud bath time the orphans fully participated in the wallowing exercise, and after they were briefly joined by two wild bulls but they were a bit scared of them, and so they walked towards the keepers. In the evening, Bomani returned with the orphans back to the stockade and since he had no group to join outside, he was so happy when he was allowed to spend the night in the stockade with the juniors.
18 May 2018
Galana, baby Gawa, Tumaren, Kibo, Chemi Chemi, Lualeni and two wild bulls were relaxing outside the stockade when the orphans were let out. One of the bulls was over protective towards Galana which meant that there might be some chemistry between the two. Galla exchanged morning greetings with Chemi Chemi as Tusuja said hi to Lualeni. Lualeni watched and supervised the whole process of cleaning and applying the green clay to Siangiki and Enkikwe's wounds. Once she was satisfied with what the keepers were doing, Lualeni then followed her friends who had by then disappeared from view. The orphans had a peaceful morning and concentrated on browsing throughout. At mud bath time, only Rapsu and Chyulu showed up and went past without bothering with the juniors. The orphans had a prolonged wallowing session with Tusuja and Galla spending some time in the water enjoying a strength testing exercise. Their game continued onto dry land, whilst Naseku and Karisa were involved in a disagreement that ended in a pushing game. Karisa, who thought that he would win over Naseku just because they are the same size, was surprised when he ended up as the loser. Ukame led the herd to a soil dusting exercise and after Roi led the way back to the browsing field. It got quite hot in the afternoon and at one point the orphans converged under a tree and continuously flapped their ears to keep cool.
19 May 2018
The orphans came out of the stockades today and went out to browse. Siangiki and Enkikwe received their usual morning treatment of their wounds and then went to join their friends. Olsekki and Naseku browsed together. Bomani was still with the dependent herd as he had stayed the night with them and we had not yet come across any older orphans like those from Narok’s group, that he might want to join. The orphans later walk to Kone dam on their way to the mud bath and had some water.
All the orphans got into the mud wallow after their milk bottles and started wallowing. Siangiki and Enkikwe had their own separate and shallower bath to the side of the mud hole. Then all the orphans came out and walked back to the bush to browse. Barsilinga as usual didn’t want to stay with the younger orphans and kept sneaking away and walking off from the group. Today he managed to sneak off with Laragai, Sirimon and Sapalan. The keepers looked for them until dark when Barsilinga, Laragai and Sirimon decided to come back at around 7pm on their own accord, but Sapalan was left behind. He came back later at 1am with Mutara's herd, and we locked him inside one of the stockades. Sapalan wants to stay out with the older elephants because he has already weaned himself off the milk and considers himself a big boy! But they are still bringing him back, perhaps because they think he is still too young.
20 May 2018
The orphans walked straight out to the bush again this morning after their milk bottles. Bomani is still with the group after his original herd, Narok’s group, has been nowhere to be seen, but also because they seem to have split up and gone in different directions and joined up with different herds. He still enjoys being with the dependent orphans in the bush. Enkikwe still struggles to keep pace with his friends. Siangiki and Olsekki were busy browsing together in the bush.
At mud bath the orphans had their noon milk bottle and then walked to the mud hole to wallow. It was so lovely to watch as they all enjoyed swimming with Kibo among them. He was the most playful one in the mud bath. Enkikwe was covered with mud all over and tried to get back in the water to get clean. The rest of the orphans walked to the dust bath and started playing. After they felt they were fully covered they walked back out to the bush to browse.
Even once back out in the bush they came across a small muddy puddle and started to play in it. Tusuja started play fighting with Galla. Mutara's herd passed by in the distance and Barsilinga started rumbling to join them. Finally he sneaked away with Lemoyian and Sirimon. The keepers followed their foot prints and saw they had joined Mutara’s herd. It started to get very late so they decided to leave them out for the night with Mutara.
21 May 2018
The orphans came out of the stockades in the morning after their milk bottles and walked out to the bush. Siangiki and Enkikwe had their wounds washed and treated as usual and then joined their friends out in the Park. Siangiki is always browsing with her friend Olsekki and this morning was no different as they could be seen browsing alongside one another. Bomani was still with the dependent group and was browsing on the rocks; he liked the grass that grows there. Barsilinga, Sirimon and Lemoyian were very relaxed today and did not try and sneak off. They sneaked away yesterday with Mutara’s herd but came back later at night to join their friends. Lemoyian was very friendly towards Enkikwe and was browsing next to him. Later all the orphans walked towards the mud bath.
All the orphans had their milk bottles, walked to the water trough to drink water and then they all got in to the water hole to swim and play. They all enjoyed the bath with Garzi and Ukame enjoying climbing on their friends. Enkikwe was enjoying a separate shower to the side. When they were done all the orphans came out at once and went to dust themselves with soil. Galla started play fighting with his friends before they all went back out to the bush to browse. Kamok hid under the shade of some trees from the hot sun whilst the others browsed and later she led them back home to the stockades for the night.
22 May 2018
It was a slightly chilly morning this morning when the elephants walked out to the bush after their morning breakfast of milk bottles. Enkikwe and Siangiki had theirs wounds washed and treated and then joined their friends. All the orphans busied themselves with browsing, and Kibo was with them for a second day in a row. He is such a friendly bull and keeps comforting Enkikwe, sympathetic of his injury, and stays with him a lot whilst they browse. Namalok was spotted scratching his stomach on a tree as the others began to make their way towards the mud bath area. They came across a dam on their way and started playing in it. When they were done having a small bath they continued to the main mud bath.
They had their noon milk bottle and walked straight to the water trough to have some water. The mud bath looked very inviting as the day had warmed up significantly, so they walked in to have a swim. Karisa decided to ride on Tusuja while he was swimming but later Tusuja took his revenge and climbed on Karisa back on dry land. Kibo was still with them in the afternoon. He walked with Enkikwe and comforted him as they seemed to have a chat with each other.
In the afternoon they were all busy browsing, but at the last minute, Barsilinga, Garzi, Lemoyian and Sirimon walked away from the group and disappeared. It seems it is up to Barsilinga when he and his friends walk away and we have a feeling he is the ring-leader. Nevertheless they decided to return to the stockades themselves around 7pm and they were locked in too.
23 May 2018
The orphans came out of their stockades this morning and met with ex-orphans from Mutara's herd who were waiting for them. They were with Kilaguni and Chaimu as well. Kilaguni and Kanjoro started play-fighting while Kainuk rolled on the ground as she played happily, lying on the lucerne like it was a mattress. Siangiki and Enkikwe had their wounds washed and treated as usual. Then they walked as a group out to the bush to browse.
They all stayed together for the whole day browsing in the bush. They played in a dam of water and had a drink there too. They all then walked together to the mud bath for milk. After milk they all went into the mud bath to swim. They had a fun time which we could tell from all the trumpeting that went on. After swimming they got out to go and dust themselves to seal in the mud layer. Later Rapsu and Kenze arrived accompanied by a wild bull who was quite aggressive. The three ex-orphan bulls walked to the mud hole and started playing in it. The wild bull play-fought with Rapsu and then with Kenze.
This afternoon all the orphans were very active and happy to be in one big family. They browsed together the whole day and were taken back towards the mud bath when it became quite hot, so they could cool-down. They swam from one end to the other. Sities, Mutara, Kainuk, Turkwel, Kilaguni and Kanjoro were the most playful ones today. They got out and went to the dust bath and hyperactively rolled around trumpeting. The whole group later walked back home with Barsilinga, Lemoyian, Garzi and Sirimon among them, which was nice as we wanted them to stay close to the stockades. Mutara's group escorted them to the stockade and stayed around for a while after the orphans were all locked in.
24 May 2018
It was a very busy morning today as we were visited by Mutara's herd with Kilaguni among them. He is always with Chaimu but today he appeared alone with Mutara's herd. He was very active and he started play-fighting with Kanjoro. Enkikwe and Siangiki were washed and treated as usual and follow their group to the bush. There were no games this morning as all the orphans were busy browsing separately. Maramoja was up on the top rocks browsing, enjoying the breeze up there.
The orphans had their milk and walked straight to the mud wallow to swim. They played vigorously and swam from one end to the other. Back in the bush it was very hot and all of the orphans concentrated on browsing again. As it was so hot they later circled back to the mud bath for a second time to cool down again. They enjoyed it very much as it was very hot and clammy. They later walked back to the stockades in the with the four boys Barsilinga, Lemoyian, Garzi and Sirimon among them. They were locked in as well and Laragai was trying to open the gate to let them out as usual but she didn’t manage as it was locked with a padlock to Laragai-proof it! Mutara's group later arrived and they started playing outside the stockades.
25 May 2018
It was quiet today when the elephants came out of their respective stockades to the bush. They walked out without eating any lucerne as they knew there was fresh food to find in the bush.
They met with Mutara’s herd and joined up with them, which delighted Barsilinga as he enjoys browsing with everyone altogether as he doesn't like staying just with the young ones . They all browsed together and later walked to the mud bath together too.
It was the usual routine at the mud bath as the dependent orphans had their milk and walked straight to the water trough to drink water after, and when everyone had their milk they walked to the waterhole for a swim. They all enjoyed the swim with Galla climbing on Namalok while Kainuk climbed on Rapa. They swam across in a line and walked out to the dust bath to protect them from the sun and insects. Kainuk rolled on the ground and looked like she was having such fun.
Back in the bush, they were all busy browsing and still together as one group. Barsilinga, Garzi, Sirimon and Lemoyian were still with them as well. It was very hot and again the orphans decided to have a second mud bath. From there the dependent orphans walked back to the stockades and Bomani joined them. Mutara's group arrived at the stockade soon after the dependent orphans were inside, and Bomani joined them.
26 May 2018
This morning we were visited by Zurura at the stockades just after the orphans had their milk. He was on his patrol with Rapsu and Kenze. The orphans walked straight to the bush after their milk. Enkikwe and Siangiki had their wounds washed and treated as usual and then joined their friends. Kithaka was in a very naughty mood this morning.
Out in the bush, Turkwel was rolling on the ground while Orwa watched her. She embraced Orwa as she stood up. The two groups later walked to the mud bath for milk and mud bath.
The dependent orphans had their milk and walked to the mud bath after having some water. They were all very active as they played. Kinna’s group including her baby Kama then arrived. Kitirua was acting as Kama’s security guard. Rapsu was the most playful one in the mud bath as he was as rolling around as he swam. When they were done the orphans along with Mutara’s herd walked back to the bush to browse. There was a female wild elephant among Kinna’s group who was trying to scare away the keepers and trying to charge at them. Mutara's herd accompanied the orphans back home in the evening.
27 May 2018
The sky was crystal clear as the orphans left the stockade in the morning. Garzi, Barsilinga and Sirimon, who rarely have milk even though they have been coming back to the stockade recently, had spent the night out with Orwa and Bomani who reported in the dead of the night and comfortably slept just outside the stockade. Garzi, Barsilinga and Sirimon didn’t spend much of their time feeding with the other orphans. After briefly feeding on lucerne, Laragai led the way to the browsing field. The weather was sunny and the vegetation is now slowly turning yellowish in colour, an indication that the rains may have come to an end in the area. The orphans had a quiet morning with Sirimon, Garzi and Barsilinga dodging the keepers, but Orwa and Bomani decide to stay put with the rest of the orphans. At mud bath time, the orphans had a spectacular wallowing session with Karisa and Wanjala stealing the show by competing who could ride on many of their friends as possible. Their game ended up as a draw as they only managed to ride on two friends each before the show came to an end. Shortly after having enough of mud bath, Orwa led the team to soil dust. Sapalan, who never wastes time in meaningless activities, led the way to the browsing field as his friends followed behind him. In the evening, the orphans returned back to the stockades without Barsilinga, Garzi and Sirimon. The three boys returned back at midnight.
28 May 2018
Shortly before the 6am milk feed time, Kauro couldn't wait for his milk any longer. He picked up a piece of stick and put it in his mouth and pretended that he was now having his milk by suckling on the stick. The gentle boy was happy to see the keepers approaching him with the real thing. He dropped the stick and enjoyed taking his milk. After the morning milk, the orphans settled to feed on lucerne before heading to the browsing field. Karisa had brief strength testing exercise with Galla and then Karisa attempted to ride on Galla. This is the same Karisa who used to be quiet and shy. These days the street-wise boy has gained confidence and is more interactive with his herd. Out in the field Siangiki and Olsekki who are great friends settled to feed together. The two played the same game of competing who could kneel and use their mouths to uproot the grass.
Out in the field, the juniors were joined by Mutara, Suguta, Kainuk, Turkwel, Sities, Kanjoro and Kilaguni. The ex-orphans browsed with the juniors until mud bath time when they escorted them for a cool-off exercise at mud bath. The herd had a prolonged mud-bath given that the sun was so hot. Kilaguni and Kanjoro stole the show by pairing up as the tailless team who were left wallowing even after the rest of the herd had quit and left. In the afternoon, Mutara’s group parted ways with the juniors and met them again in the evening on the way back to the stockade.
29 May 2018
Ukame, the hot-tempered girl, was the first one to leave the stockade as she was followed closely behind by Roi. The orphans settled briefly for lucerne before Maramoja led the way out. Rapa and Karisa had a light strength-testing exercise that went on for quite some time. In the process, as Karisa was retreating to gather momentum, he stepped into a small ditch that made him lose his balance. Rapa applied a little force that meant Karisa fell over. As Karisa struggled to his feet, Rapa watched in disbelief how a little knock meant Karisa had completely fallen over, not knowing that it was just sheer luck that meant Karisa had initially lost his balance. Rapa was very happy as he has never won any contest since coming to Ithumba five months ago! Later, Rapa settled to browse with Tusuja where he boasted about how he managed to humiliate Karisa. Tusuja invited Rapa to a wrestling game but to keep his winning streak going, Rapa opted to part ways and went to feed with his friends Pare and Maramoja. The rest of the day was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing without having any visitors join them. In the evening, Kithaka, Sirimon, Lemoyian, Garzi, Barsilinga and Laragai who have been putting up a bit of resistance to being locked in the stockade after testing freedom for some time now, devised a method of how they will make their displeasure known to the keepers. A few meters from the stockade, the six orphans pretended to be drinking water at water troughs nearby as the keepers stood at the gate waiting patiently for them to come in. To the keepers’ surprise, the six juniors turned and headed back to the browsing field. The keepers tried to call them to come back but this only worsened things as the naughty herd increased their pace and disappeared into the bushes. Indeed they had passed the message to the keepers that they don't want to be locked in. Siangiki and Olsekki watched from the stockade as their friends disappeared into the bush. Olsekki and Siangiki did not wish to be out at night after the ordeal that Siangiki went through when she met with the merciless lions. The six rebels reported back at midnight after they had their fun out in the bush; they are just like six naughty teenagers!
30 May 2018
Soon after having his milk, Karisa jumped over to where Sapalan and his friends usually spent the night. Karisa tried to hold the tail of the quiet Sapalan to try and climb on his back. Sapalan resisted by running away from Karisa. Karisa then turned to Pare who defended himself fiercely by repelling Karisa. Makireti, Chemi Chemi and Kilabasi were relaxing outside the stockade with Laragai. Laragai had totally refused to get into the stockade with her friends and opted to spend the night out, reporting in the dead of night and comfortably sleeping just outside the stockade. Soon after the orphans were let out, Garzi and Chemi Chemi engaged each other in a strength testing exercise that lasted all the way to the browsing field. An hour later, Kinna, baby Kama, Nasalot, baby Nusu, Galana, baby Gawa, Melia, Kenze, Bongo, Kalama, Chyulu, Kibo, Kandecha, Tumaren and two wild bulls made a brief stopover at the stockade. They later showed up at the mud bath as well, to find out if there were any new comers. After they were done with their investigation, a wild bull rumbled and Kinna and the rest of the group followed. The juniors headed to browse in the Kalovoto area up to five o'clock in the evening when they returned back to the stockade.
31 May 2018
It was a quiet morning when the orphans left the stockade. Led by Naseku, the orphans briefly settled for lucerne before Maramoja led the way out. An hour later, a group of ex-orphans led by Kinna briefly joined the orphans. In the group there were three huge elephants that seemed to have an eye on a female ex-orphan. Shortly later Kinna steered the group towards the east as the keepers tried to call their babies back so as to avoid confrontation with the wild bulls. Barsilinga, Kithaka, Garzi, Lemoyian, Sirimon and Laragai refused to heed the keepers call and opted to run away with Kinna and her herd. The six rebels later showed up at mud bath before disappearing again, only to reappear late in the evening at the stockade. In the afternoon, Kauro engaged Galla in a strength testing exercise while Tusuja played with Enkikwe. The disciplined Oltaiyoni later had her own game of running and charging at some bushes, a game that also attracted Olsekki and Karisa.