Keepers' Diaries, May 2018
Voi Reintegration Unit
It has been three years since the last orphans from Nairobi Nursery were moved to the Voi Reintegration unit. In December 2015 Arruba, Mashariki, Rorogoi, Elkerama, Suswa and Embu were relocated and since then have thrived in their natural environment. This month Mbegu, Ndotto, Ngilai, Godoma, Lasayen and Murit were earmarked to make the journey to Voi, which would help to even out the gender balance of predominately females currently at Voi too. With Tahri and Araba currently the youngest babies at the Voi stockades and with all the females jostling for their affection, some more ‘babies’ among the herd would be no bad thing. Now Panda, Mudanda, Kihari, Suswa and Rorogoi would have some other babies to molly-coddle too!
01 May 2018
The orphans began the day playing happily around the stockade compound following their milk and supplement feeding. They then made their way to the browsing grounds there they settled to feed on the eastern side of Msinga Hill. They came down the hill at 3pm and whilst heading towards the big water hole they came across a big wild elephant with two calves, followed by a wild elephant bull. They did not stop to interact with any of the wild elephants as they were in a rush to get to the waterhole.
Later in the day, Lentili and Kihari teamed up to tackle Tundani in a tough head butting, pushing competition. When they were done with their strength testing games the three rejoined the rest of the group who were busy browsing before returning to the stockades for the night.
02 May 2018
The morning was good with the orphan elephants coming out of their respective stockades and downing a morning milk bottle before proceeding to the supplement feeding area. Bada introduced a game of scratching against a rock in the stockade compound but none of the others came to join him as they were already making their way to the browsing grounds.
The orphans browsed their way half way up the northern side of Msinga Hill, with Ndii and Kenia browsing with their adopted babies Tahri and Araba. The orphan elephants came down in the afternoon, leaving behind Nelion, Nguvu, Mbirikani and Ajali who were busy browsing and did not want to join them. The orphans had a quick mud bath at the middle waterhole before rejoining their four friends for the rest of the days browsing activities.
03 May 2018
The day began with Dabassa and Layoni paying the juniors a visit. They waited for the babies to finish their morning milk bottle before joining them for the supplement feeding. The two boys then engaged some of the youngsters in strength testing games. Dabassa took on Kihari, followed by Ndii then Nelion while Layoni engaged Naipoki and Bada. The games lasted a while and Kenia got tired of waiting and decided to start making her way to the browsing fields and was quickly followed by the rest of the orphan herd leaving the two ex-orphans at the stockade. The orphans spent the day browsing peacefully.
04 May 2018
It was a perfect beginning to the day with the stockade dependent orphan elephants welcoming Dabassa and Layoni for copra cake and dairy cube supplement feeding. It was a long morning for Kenia and Ndii who thought that there were other games that the two older boys could play other than strength testing games which Dabassa subjected Ndii to today with Ndii putting up a good fight and using as much strength as she could to fight Dabassa who soon left her alone to engage Bada in a pushing game. When Layoni came to join the two Bada quickly left as it would have been an unfair game. The two ex-orphans followed the juniors towards the browsing fields before making their way to the big water hole.
05 May 2018
This morning the stockade dependent orphans concentrated on their milk and supplement feeding before taking off towards the browsing grounds. Mashariki and Mudanda wanted to engage in some strength testing pushing games but ran out of time as Ndii, Kenia and Kihari were already heading out for the day as they were taking advantage of the fact that Layoni and Dabassa did not visit and as such could not delay them.
On arriving at the western side of Msinga hill, Mbirikani took Tahri from Ndii so as to enjoy a private browsing session with her. Rorogoi followed them uphill and the three had a wonderful time browsing together. After about an hour, Ndii noticed the absence of her darling Tahri and started calling for her. Tahri came running down the hill to join Ndii followed by Mbirikani and Rorogoi.
The orphans browsed their way to the big water hole in the afternoon and had a lovely time wallowing and mud bathing before resuming with their browsing activities.
06 May 2018
The morning with the usual routine of milk and supplement feeding after which the orphans played hide and seek games followed by dust bathing before leaving for the browsing grounds.
Kore, the male orphan eland, rode onto Mukuki’s back in a mating attempt. Mukuki ran away from Kore before turning and engaging him in a fight in which they locked horns. Oltukai, the male buffalo, who is great friends with Kore, became upset when he saw the two fighting and took refuge close to Ngulia, the orphan zebra. When the fight was over Oltukai went to Kore for comfort and reassurance that everything was ok.
07 May 2018
The day began with the orphan elephants running out of their stockade, grabbing their morning milk bottle and gulping down the contents before proceeding to the supplement feeding area for copra cake and dairy cubes.
Ndii decided to browse quite far uphill giving Arruba and Lentili the opportunity of browsing with Tahri until Ndii came down to reclaim her baby for the rest of the mornings browsing activities.
The orphans browsed in single file as they made their way to the middle waterhole following their noon milk bottle which they took at the big waterhole.
Dabassa and Layoni managed to sneak through the elephant grid to reach the bushy side of the staff quarters. The two feasted on the very green grewia branches that they found there together with a lot of other vegetation. They had a lovely time feasting until the keepers came and got them to return to the main park where there is also an abundance of vegetation following the recent rainfall.
08 May 2018
The stockade dependent orphan elephants came running out of their stockades this morning to assemble for their milk bottle followed by supplement feeding. They then played briefly around the stockade compound before proceeding to the browsing grounds.
Kihari and Ishaq-B had a soft spot for Tahri and teamed up in effort to get Tahri away from her adopted mother Ndii. Ndii noticed them hanging around and was suspicious of their intentions. When she saw them approaching she charged at them and they ran off.
The orphans visited the big water hole in the afternoon where they had a lot of fun playing mud bathing games. After mud bating, they made their way to the northern side of Msinga Hill to browse for the rest of the day. Suswa and Embu separated from the rest of the orphans and headed off for a private browsing session. They rejoined the orphan herd as they made their way back to the safety of the stockades in the evening.
09 May 2018
It was a beautiful beginning to the day with the orphans downing their morning milk bottle before settling in to enjoy the supplement foods that had been put out for them. The orphans then left the stockade to browse, under the leadership of Lentili and Rorogoi. They browsed in single file on the western side of Msinga Hill, where they stayed for more than three hours.
As the orphans made their way to the big water hole they passed a small wild elephant family that was browsing quietly. Naipoki noticed them and wanted to join them but was pulled back by the others who were reluctant to do so. Embu saw the wild elephant herd while she was browsing half way up the hill and came down rushing down to join them but by the time she reached where they had been seen they had moved on and she rejoined the orphan herd.
10 May 2018
The morning began with the orphan elephants drinking a morning milk bottle before proceeding for their copra cake and range cube feeding. They then went ahead with their usual games around the stockade compound before leaving for the browsing grounds under Mbirikani and Arruba’s leadership.
Mudanda kept following and occasionally softly touching Tahri in an effort to take her away from Ndii, but Tahri ignored her gesture and kept close ties with her sweetheart Ndii. The grass was tall and the bush green following the recent rain storms.
Kenia, Ndii, Mbirikani, Naipoki, Kihari, Ishaq-B and Panda who are now old enough to be weaned off milk have begun the weaning process. Today the seven of them came running to the noon bottle feeding area full of expectation of their usual milk bottle but on finding no milk waiting for them they went for a drink of water instead.
11 May 2018
The morning started with the sun rising early above the horizon of Tsavo predicting a bright and sunny day. The orphans began their day as usual before heading to the northern side of the stockade to browse where they remained for a while before slowly browsing their way to the big water hole.
On the way Mbirikani and Ajali separated themselves from the orphan elephant herd and joined up with a wild elephant herd. Kenia, Ndii, Panda, Ishaq-B, Kihari and Naipoki who were the last to arrive at the water hole again came running up to see if they would be lucky enough to get some milk but they were once again denied any.
At the water hole Araba and Suswa took the central position and had a lovely time wallowing and swimming in the water. Naipoki and Arruba had a wonderful soil dusting session during which they rolled around and lay on one another. Kihari picked up a dry stick, put it into her mouth and then threw it up onto her back. Panda and Nelion took enjoyed a scratching game on the same tree at the same time, while Suswa scratched against a different tree.
Later in the day, the keepers followed the wild herd that Ajali and Mbirikani had joined. The wild herd went running off together with the two orphans who seemed perfectly happy to remain with their wild friends while the rest of the orphan herd returned to the stockades with their keepers.
12 May 2018
It was another wonderful beginning to the day with the stockade dependent orphan elephants concentrating on their milk and supplement feeding. Dabassa visited the stockade and approached Tahri to greet her but was prevented from doing so by Kihari and Mashariki who guarded Tahri to ensure she would not follow Dabassa.
The orphans spent the morning browsing on the northern side of the stockades while the keepers focused on looking for the Ajali and Mbirikani who had gone off with a wild herd yesterday. Although the two were not seen they are old enough to go wild.
Dabassa who had followed the junior orphan elephants left the orphans and made his way to the Mzima springs-Mombasa pipe line where Layoni was suspecting to be browsing.
13 May 2018
It was a perfect beginning to the day with the stockade dependent orphan elephants running out of their stockades in happy mood and grabbing their morning milk bottle which they emptied in a matter of seconds. Bada tried to engage Embu in a pushing contest after the supplement feeding, but Embu was not interested choosing instead to join the others in a game of hide and seek.
The morning was spent browsing peacefully half way up the eastern side of Msinga Hill. Rorogoi and Lentili enjoyed scratching their bottoms against a rock. Ndoria saw them having fun and went to join the two who ran off suspecting that Ndoria who is a huge tail bitter was coming to bite their tails.
The orphans visited the middle water hole where they had a brief mud bath, before continuing their browsing activities which took place close to the water hole.
14 May 2018
Another day began which found the orphan elephants busy playing in the stockade compound after their milk and supplement feeding. Suswa enjoyed a rock rubbing game, with Embu watching in great amazement as she stood in front of her. Soon after Suswa finished scratching, Embu took her to task over strength testing pushing game. Suswa held Embu’s head with her trunk while Embu stood there quietly and calmly. Embu then left Suswa in peace and went to enjoy a soil bathing game.
Bada who was busy enjoying a scratching session against a rock in the stockade compound was nearly left behind by the others as they made their way to the browsing grounds. He ran to catch up with the group and they all spent the day browsing together, forgoing the water hole as it was a rather cold day.
15 May 2018
It was a bright Tuesday morning as the gates of the stockade were flung open and the orphan elephants walked out cheerfully to get their morning milk bottle and supplement foods. Suswa who was walking slowly and in a lazy manner had her bottom knocked by Nguvu who was running for his milk bottle which resulted in the two having a bit of a pushing contest before settling for their milk which was being eyed by both Mashariki and Arruba.
The orphan elephants headed to the peak of Msinga Hill this morning to begin the days browsing activities. There was a cool breeze up there keeping them cool and comfortable as they browsed and they didn’t even stop for their afternoon milk bottle.
Panda was seen in close browsing ties with Tahri while Ndii ignored the two for the better part of the day. Naipoki and Kihari led the group down Msinga Hill and back to the stockades for the night.
16 May 2018
The morning began with the orphan elephants rushing for their morning milk bottle before settling for the supplement feeding. Panda then went and snuggled up to Tahri which upset Ndii who engaged Panda head on in a fight. Panda backed up to avoid engaging with Ndii as Tahri went close to her long time adopted mother Ndii.
Lentili who has been quiet for some time played her games in a rough manner today. She started by interrupting Rorogoi’s rolling around on the ground games which had Rorogoi running off after which she went and lay on Ishaq-B’s stomach preventing Ishaq-B from enjoying her morning games. Ishaq-B responded by trying to get out from under Lentili but was unable to do so.
The orphans spent the day browsing peacefully in the fields feeding on the all the lush green vegetation that was around them.
17 May 2018
The morning was superb with Ndii and Kenia changing guard of their adopted babies. Ndii warmed up to Araba while Kenia spent some time with Tahri. It was not long before Kihari, Naipoki and Rorogoi came up to Kenia determined to take Tahri away from her. Kenia who is usually quite peaceful prevented them from doing so by pushing them away.
Suswa enjoyed a wonderful scratching game as she scratched her stomach against a rock in the stockade compound. Panda also wanted a go and drove away Suswa claiming the rock for herself.
The orphan elephants browsed on the northern side of Msinga Hill under the leadership of Mashariki, Lentili and Bada. When the sun shone too brightly Rorogoi sought shelter from a big tree trunk before the entire herd visited the waterhole to cool off and enjoy a mud bath.
18 May 2018
It was a bright Friday morning with all milk and supplement foods waiting for the elephants when they came running out of their stockades. They then moved towards the northern side of Msinga Hill where Lentili and Embu explored further uphill than the others and enjoyed a private browsing session for more than three hours before joining the others as they prepared to make their way to the waterhole.
Naipoki who wanted to spend some time with Tahri was seen following Ndii and Tahri for more than an hour in an effort to get Tahri away from Ndii. Ndii made sure to thwart all her attempts but it was not long before Naipoki was successful and finally managed to steal Tahri away. The two enjoyed browsing together for half an hour. In the afternoon the orphans visited the big water hole where they had a lot of fun playing mud bathing games.
19 May 2018
It was a perfect beginning to the day as the orphan elephants assembled for their delicious milk bottle. Mashariki became a little greedy and wanted more milk. She kept on stretching her trunk to touch Arruba’s milk bottle in an effort to get it away from her. Arruba managed to finish her milk without Mashariki getting even a taste of it. Lentili was also seen requesting extra milk as she was the first to finish her share. She kept begging the keepers for more milk, asking to be given some of Mudanda’s share but was not given any by the keepers.
There were some brief wrestling games around the stockade compound before Suswa and Lentili led the orphan herd to the browsing grounds. The orphan elephants browsed on the flat areas of Msinga Hill after which they visited the big waterhole where they had a lovely time playing in the mud as it was a sunny day.
Lentili enjoyed a scratching session against the side of the waterhole. Her game caught the attention of Arruba who did her best to copy Lentili though Arruba’s technique was not as good.
The rest of the day was spent browsing close to the waterhole.
20 May 2018
It was a bright and sunny day and the orphan elephants were in a happy mood as they ran out of their stockade to down a morning milk bottle. They then settle to enjoy Lucerne grass pellets before playing around the stockade compound.
Naipoki and Arruba led the orphan herd to the browsing grounds and they spent the morning browsing in single file before visiting the middle water hole where they enjoyed an afternoon mud bath after their milk feeding.
The afternoon was spent browsing in the vicinity of a small wild elephant family. Kihari and Panda followed them in an effort to get close to a small month old elephant calf that was in the wild herd. After a while the keepers looked closer and they realised it was Lissa! She was with her small elephant family. Kihari and Panda succeeded in separating the small calf, Leo, from Lissa but her other daughter came in to recover her sister, and engaged Panda and Kihari in a pushing game. Panda had become somewhat attached to Leo and remained with Lissa when the rest of the orphans returned to the stockades. The keepers then had to separate Panda from Lissa's family and got her back to the safety of the stockades at 6:20pm.
21 May 2018
It was a wonderful beginning to the day as the keepers prepared for the arrival of three orphans from the Nairobi Nursery. The Voi orphans exited their stockades early in the morning and stayed close by awaiting the new arrivals.
At 9.15am, the truck ferrying the three orphan elephants from the nursery, mini matriarch Mbegu, the calm and polite boy Ndotto and his friend Lasayen, arrived. The Voi orphan elephants led by Kenia, Ndii and Kihari stood by in great expectation waiting for the babies to finish their milk so that they could rush in to greet them. The three led the rest of the Voi orphan elephants in receiving and embracing the three orphans from Nairobi with Kenia and Ndii being at the forefront of the welcoming ceremony. The meeting was very emotional with the bonding comprising of trunk touching and trumpet blasts. Arruba and Ndoria became a little jealous of the attention given to the new arrivals with Arruba pushing Mbegu and Ndoria pushing away Lasayen.
After the greeting Nelion and Lentili enjoyed showing off their skills as they rolled around and played on the red earth piles. Embu, Rorogoi, Mudanda and Mashariki took to the stockade water hole to showcase their wallowing expertise to the new comers. Tahri and Arruba remained reserved wanting to see what would change now that there were new babies for their “mothers” to coddle.
The entire herd then headed to the big water hole where they all enjoyed wallowing in the gallons of water. Ndotto took a wonderful mud bath with the Voi orphans while Mbegu and Lasayen watched seemingly still a little shy. Ndoria the tail bitter stuck close to Mbegu and Lasayen while the rest of the herd kept an eye so that she would not bite the tails of the new arrivals.
The orphan elephants then left the water hole for the browsing fields where Mbegu became more confident and enjoyed browsing with the Voi herd. The three new arrivals were in paradise in Voi as they feasted on the luscious grass, green bushes and colourful creepers while butterflies flew all around them.
In the evening Lissa and her two calves visited the stockade at 7pm and had a drink of water from the stockade water trough. They remained at the stockade compound for a while before returning to the park.
22 May 2018
It was Mbegu, Ndotto, and Lasayen’s second day at the Voi reintegration station and following a peaceful night they were ready to begin the day. Mbegu, Ndotto, Lasayen and Tahri were the first to take their milk bottle as they slept in the same stockade. The three arrivals chose to stay close to the keepers while occasionally interacting with the resident Voi orphan elephants.
After browsing for more than four hours, the small family unit that was joined by Panda and Kihari on the 20th, came to join the orphan elephants on Msinga Hill. On closer inspection the keepers noticed that it was ex-orphan Lissa herd that was browsing with the orphan elephants. Ndotto got a little scared on seeing elephants that were much bigger than him and nearly ran away but the keeps were able to keep him calm.
Lissa was with her last born who was about seven months old, and her second last born calf.
The other members of her herd, first born Lari, second born Lali and last born Luggard were absent from the group. Mudanda had a lovely time interacting with Lissa’s small calf and the two enjoyed playing and entwining their trunks while Lissa’s teenage boy engaged Ndii and Bada in strength testing games.
The dependent orphan elephants left Lissa’s herd behind as they made their way to the big water hole in the afternoon where they enjoyed a milk bottle followed by a mud bath. Mbegu was seen interacting with Ndii and the two browsed in one another’s company for most of the afternoon while Lasayen stayed close to the keepers.
23 May 2018
It was another busy morning full of activities as the team prepared to receive another three orphans from the Nairobi Nursery. The Voi orphans gathered close by as they waited for the arrival of Murit, Ngilai and Godoma. Mbegu and Ndii enjoyed a pushing game while they waited.
Today the moving truck arrived at eight o’clock in the morning. The truck got stuck close to the offloading platform which meant that a different method of unloading had to be used. The first door was opened and anchored onto the raised ground and the orphans came out one by one with Murit being the first one out, who was promptly warmly welcomed by Mbegu.
They three arrivals had their milk bottle by the truck with Godoma running away into the vehicle parking yard in fear upon seeing the very big Voi orphan elephants coming in to greet them. The keepers who came from Nairobi with the orphans rushed to calm her down and assure her that all was well. The group then quenched their thirst at the stockade water trough before enjoying Lucerne pellets.
Nelion and Mashariki went and played games on the piles of the red earth, before the journey to the big water hole started in earnest. On arrival the orphans encountered a wild elephant herd that was leaving the water hole after having had a drink and a bath. The wild herd ran off as the orphans were rather energetic and rambunctious in mud bathing today as all twenty six of them wallowed in the water. The orphans splashed, rolled and played happily before enjoying a dust bathing game.
Later Suswa and Godoma had a moment of entwining their trunks in a wonderful greeting before they resumed their browsing activities. In the evening Murit walked slowly home before settling to browse on the grewia branches that had been put into the stockades by the keepers.
24 May 2018
The stockade gates were flung open in the morning with Murit coming out in full of energy following a restful night. Mbegu, Lasayen, Ndotto, Godoma, Murit, Ngilai and Tahri who stay in the same stockade were the first to arrive for the morning milk bottle. There was a quick greeting to the seven youngsters by their older friends before the entire group settled for the supplement feeding.
Once the morning stockade activities were over the group followed their keepers with Mbegu and Godoma being at the front of the orphan herd. Godoma was seen interacting freely with the older Voi orphans as Mashariki and Naipoki embraced her during the browsing activities while Lasayen spent most of the morning browsing close to Ndotto.
Ndii enjoyed a strength testing competition with Mbegu after which she went up to Ndotto and embraced him keeping him by her side for a while which left Tahri feeling a little sad as Ndii had always showered her with affection above anyone else. Rorogoi was seen always touching and greeting Mbegu getting to know her as well as she could. Mashariki then came and did the same while Tahri kept in close contact with Mashariki as Ndii was busy with the new arrivals.
The orphan elephants had a lot of fun playing mud bathing game at the big water hole. Ndoria who doesn’t love water remained at the edge of the water and enjoyed a partial mud bath. Suswa who is also not very fond of the water was seen enjoying a wonderful wallow after which she spent some time browsing with Godoma while Mashariki and Ndotto enjoyed a soil bathing game in an erosion trench.
25 May 2018
It was a wonderful Friday morning as the orphans began the days stockade activities before heading to the browsing fields. Ndii came up to Mbegu hugging her as she drank her milk bottle while Godoma and Ndotto stood by watching their interaction.
Kenia took charge of the group leading them half way up the southern side of Msinga Hill where they settled to browse. The interaction between the new arrivals and the Voi orphan elephants seems to have improved greatly. At midday Murit, Lasayen, and Godoma hurriedly ran into the stockade mud bath as it was a bright and sunny day while Arruba and Embu enjoyed separate rock scratching games.
Mbegu led the new arrivals into the water for a bath where she was joined by Godoma and Ngilai while Ndotto chose not to join them. Nelion and Embu enjoyed a soil dusting competition in the piles of red earth while Ndoria slid into the water from the water hole terrace in an attempt to showcase her bathing expertise. Ndii took her darling Tahri for some soil dusting games, assuring the youngster that she and not been abandoned for the new arrivals. The rest of the days browsing activities took place close by with Mbegu occasionally separating the other five nursery arrivals from the rest of the group so that she could enjoy some leadership abilities.
26 May 2018
The orphan elephants were very happy as they exited their stockades this morning and emptied their milk bottles before proceeding for the range cube feeding. Mbegu’s herd interacted very well with Kenia’s for the days browsing activities.
The orphan elephants visited the stockade at noon, where the milk dependent orphan elephants enjoyed their afternoon milk bottle. Nelion and Ishaq-B engaged each other in a bathing competition, with the new arrivals watching them closely. Ishaq-B showcased her unique game of pocking the walls of the stockade water hole with her tusks while Godoma tried to copy her. Ndii saw their game and plunged into the water to challenge them, but was left surprised when the two sneaked out of the water leaving Ndii on her own. Arruba enjoyed a scratching session against one of the outcropping rocks in the stockade compound while Kihari lay down on the red earth piles as Mbegu watched.
Today the orphan elephants visited the middle water hole after the stockade bath, where Mbegu knelt down to wallow. Her game attracted Ndotto, Godoma, Ngilai and Lasayen who came to cheer on their mini-matriarch. The group then browsed their way to the big waterhole where Murit had a wonderful mud bath and became the day’s mud bathing star.
27 May 2018
It was a bright Sunday morning as the orphan elephants exited their stockades and downed their delicious milk bottle before their routine supplement feeding. There were some brief games after the morning feeding, with the orphan elephants following Mbegu towards the browsing grounds.
Upon arriving at the northern foot of Msinga Hill, Ndoria and Nguvu became naughty and attempted to take on Lasayen and bully him. Mashariki quickly came to the rescue and chased the two older orphans away.
In the afternoon Mbegu, Ngilai, Ndotto, Lasayen, Murit, Godoma, Tahri and Araba were the first to arrive for their milk bottle followed close by the senior members of the herd. The entire group then proceeded to the baobab water hole for a drink before entering the mud bath. Embu went right to middle of the babies and lay in the water rolling around while the new arrivals stood and watched her games but did not join in. Embu was soon joined by Arruba and her longtime friends Suswa who came and gave Arruba a huge trunk hug. Their wonderful game attracted Lasayen’s attention and they all enjoyed playing together. Mbegu and Ndotto came out of the water after splashing themselves with some mud and lay down on the red earth piles for a soil bathing game and were soon joined by Mudanda and Mashariki. Aruba went on for a fantastic scratching session against the baobab tree, before joining the others who were already moving away to the fields for the day’s final browsing session.
28 May 2018
Early this morning the orphan elephants had finished their milk bottle and supplements and were ready to head to the fields for the days browsing activities. Mbegu took the lead with Ndotto, Lasayen, Murit, Godoma, and Ngilai following closely behind her. Lentili, who is used to leading, broke through the group and took the leading position with Ngilai closely following her.
After a little while spent browsing on the northern grounds of the stockade, Murit and Ndotto found their way to the center of the senior members of the herd. Ndii stretched her trunk towards them welcoming them to the group.
As the hours passed the day became warmer and Mbegu and Godoma were seen drawing water up from the stomachs to spray over their bodies in an effort to cool down. Their actions signaled that it was time for the group to make their way to the waterhole with the seven juniors being the first to arrive for their afternoon milk bottle. The seven were then seen taking shelter under a tree as they waited for the rest to arrive and finish their milk sot that they could all enjoy a mud bath in the middle waterhole.
Embu was seen holding Ndotto's leg with her trunk while in a lying down position bravely pulling him towards her in an effort to get him to join her mud bathing games. Ndii was the shining star at the mud bath today as she jumped into the baobab water trough and lay down for a swim. Mbegu, Ngilai, Godoma, and Murit were wide-eyed as they watched her lovely swimming game. Ndoria attempted to jump into the trough to join Ndii, but her short height played to her disadvantage and she was unable to get over the water trough wall. Ndoria then chose to enjoy a scratching session on the side of the water trough while Ndii siphoned water with her trunk from the trough and sprayed it onto Ndoria.
Ishaq-B then took Lasayen for a wonderful mud bathing game, before joining the rest of the group for the final browsing session of the day which took place close to the waterhole. In the evening Mbegu enjoyed leading the orphans back to the safety of the stockades for the night.
29 May 2018
After the morning milk and supplement feeding, the orphan elephants teamed up in groups for games around the stockade compound, some played a hide and seek game, while others enjoyed sizing one another up in strength testing games. Ndoria became extremely competitive and quite aggressive towards Nguvu which resulted in Kenia having to intervene and restore peace between the two. Soon after the games came to and with Mashariki, Mudanda and Rorogoi taking the leading role towards the browsing grounds, where they spent the morning browsing in single file.
The day was warm and the orphan elephants had a lot of fun playing mud bathing games in the afternoon at the baobab water hole. The juniors came into the water first closely followed by the senior herd members. All the seniors were focused on impressing the six new arrivals from the Nairobi nursery with their mud bathing prowess. Lasayen and Murit interacted more with their senior friends than the four other new arrivals did. Arruba went rolled around in the water showcasing her bathing expertise to the juniors, with Kihari moving right in front of her, stirring the water with her foot and making it extremely muddy and difficult for Arruba to wallow which resulted in Arruba getting up and out of the water. Kihari took over Arruba's bathing position, in a bid to steal her spectators’ attention but was unable to do so as Naipoki, who had been watching everything that had taken place, came and sat on her stomach preventing her from showcasing any mud bathing skills.
Today was quite a bit of tit for tat taking place as Nguvu pushed Araba away from a scratching tree and was soon ousted in the same way by Mashariki who had seen what Nguvu had done and water to give Nguvu at taste of the same medicine.
Today, Tawi the orphan male eland had his usual fighting game with Ngulia. Tawi's long and sharp horns accidentally punched Ngulia near the chest injuring her slightly. The keepers quickly applied an antibiotic spray and some green clay to the wound and the two continued with their games.
30 May 2018
The orphan elephants walked left the stockade early this morning and headed to the browsing fields as soon as the milk and supplement feeding was over. Tahri interacted with Godoma and the two were seen browsing together and communicating in low rumbles. Kenia approached the two and embraced them tenderly touching them both with her trunk, giving them lots of love and affection.
In the afternoon, Mbegu, Ngilai, Lasayen, Ndotto, Murit and Godoma who arrived first for their noon milk bottle were escorted by a keeper to the baobab water hole where they found the big water bowser refilling the mud bath. The big size of the truck coupled with the huge down pour of water confused the youngsters who went running to their keepers who had to work hard to calm them down and assure them that everything was okay. Ngilai kept on occasionally lifting his trunk and sniffing the water bowser to make sure that it was not a big predator. Embu came in running into the mud bath and lay in the water stretching her trunk to grab Murit and Lasayen’s legs in an effort to get them to join her mud bathing games. In the end she managed to get Godoma to join her in some mud bath fun.
Ndotto became a little jealous of Lasayen's soil bathing games, and came in pushing him with his short tusks to get him to get up and leave his dusting position to him. Kenia enjoyed mud bathing games with Araba who continues to be Kenia’s favourite “baby” and has been reluctant to abandon Araba for any of the new arrivals which makes Araba very happy.
31 May 2018
Ngulia’s wound is showing great signs of healing well though she is careful around Tawi and quite cautious of her friend’s sharp horns. The two continue to be good friends though Ngulia is now shying away from Tawi’s fighting games, though this may change again with time.
Today’s browsing activities were quiet and uneventful. Lasayen and Murit were seen interacting more with the senior members of Kenia’s herd, enjoying the company of their older friends. As the day progressed it became sunny and warm and the orphans were seen moving under the trees to shelter themselves from the sun and enjoyed feeding on the tall grass that they found there.
At the baobab water hole, they enjoyed a mud bath following their noon milk feed. Kihari decided not to wallow and chose to instead enjoy a soil bathing game on the water’s edge. Tahri fell in love with Kihari's games and left the water to join her. Kenia felt jealous of Tahri’s interaction with Kihari and did her best to shift Tahri’s attention on to herself. Nelion enjoyed a scratching session as he rubbed his back against a big tree branch.
At the mud bath Ngilai and Godoma ran to the stockade pick up to see if they could somehow snag another milk bottle, but there was no milk to be had. The rest of the days browsing activities took place on the lower northern grounds of Msinga Hill.