Keepers' Diaries, May 2020

Umani Springs Reintegration Unit

The Kibwezi Forest is a green utopia year round, which is one of the many reasons we chose it as the location where our most vulnerable orphaned elephants could find their place in the wild. We have watched in anticipation recently as our first orphans from the Umani Unit, dubbed ‘the nightclub crew’ by our Keepers because of their night time antics, start to take their first tentative steps towards independence. These are tentative, as they still like the comfort and security of knowing they can return to the stockades or browse with the orphans and their human-family, the Keepers, at any time during the day. Faraja, Ziwa, Ngasha, guided and led by the capable female Zongoloni, who we feel sure has been earmarked by Murera to keep an eye on the three bulls, love exploring further afield and fraternising with wild friends, but Zongoloni does like to check-in with the dependent herd at least once a day. They have been aptly named due to the good times they seem to enjoy throughout the nights, with plenty of trumpeting heard every night in front of the Umani Springs eco lodge at the salt lick as they enjoy the company of each other and wild friends. 

01 May 2020

As the orphans made their way to the forest this morning, they startled a herd of buffalo that had been grazing quietly. Taken by surprise, the buffaloes panicked and started to run towards the orphans. Defiant boy Faraja stepped up to protect his herd. He began a slow charge towards the buffaloes and on the way struck a branch with his head to scare them off. The trick worked and the buffalos dispersed, running off in different directions away from the orphans. The orphans then carried on browsing in peace.  

Lima Lima found a scratching tree and busied herself, finding the exact spot to scratch her back. At the mud-bath, Ngasha emerged the swimming star of the day; he found a water pool and splashed and wallowed as his friends watched from a distance, as they decided against swimming today.

02 May 2020

The orphans were eager to start their day today. They decided to browse along the Kenze Hills, as they knew they would find fresh vegetation if they got there early enough.  

As they were slowly making their way to the hills, Lima Lima picked up a very sweet and juicy branch. Pleased that she had found such a tasty treat so early in the morning, she held onto it, chewing it and slowly savoring it. Faraja, not wanting to miss out, decided he would use his strength to try and pry it out of Lima Lima’s mouth. Lima Lima was determined not to give in without a fight; she held onto the tasty branch and so ensued a kind of tug-of-war with Lima Lima at one end and Faraja at the other end of the branch. The tussle continued for a while until Faraja realized Lima Lima was not going to give up that easily. 

03 May 2020

Today it was Faraja’s turn to find a tasty treat. He came upon an area of very thick shrub. He got so immersed in enjoying this sweet browse that for a while the Keepers couldn’t see him. Eventually they followed the sound of loud munching and found Faraja thoroughly enjoying his browse.  

It was turning out to be a hot day and all the orphans made their way to the 11am milk feed. Jasiri made a bee-line for the dust mound. He expertly dusted his back and the rest of his body to keep the pesky insects away. Jasiri stayed in the sun only for short while before retiring to cool off under the shade of a tree, to protect his light skin. He continued to keep the flies away by flapping his ears.  

Mwashoti had been browsing by himself for a while but then sought out Murera. He made his way to where he could see Murera was enjoying her browse. Mwashoti rumbled at Murera to catch her attention and after a while they were seen rumbling and having a very interesting conversation.

04 May 2020

Murera and her friendly young boy Mwashoti had a great time in the forest today, looking for fresh browse.  

Today, Alamaya felt the need to show his off dominance to one of the older girls. Sometimes male elephants play these mock games to test their strength, and it’s almost a learning curve for them, for when they go out in to the wild. A few wild elephants were passing by and curious to see what the commotion was, approached Quanza and Alamaya but decided to detour when they saw it was just a friendly pushing game.

Murera took the opportunity to have a long wallow at around noon. She splashed and swam trying to cover her body with as much mud as possible; knowing that the day ahead was long and having adequate mud cover protects her skin from the scorching heat.  Soon the rest of the orphans joined Murera in the water and they stayed there for quite a while before leaving to carry on with their browsing activities.

05 May 2020

The orphans were in a valley of rocks when they heard the Keepers call them. Alamaya, who has very keen hearing, immediately stood to attention, turning his head, spreading his ears to detect what direction the call was coming from. As soon as he located the Keeper, he slowly walked back to where the Keepers were waiting.

Today we noticed that Jasiri was spending a lot of time with his four friends, Zongoloni, Faraja, Ngasha and Ziwa. The Keepers observed that the ex-orphans would follow Jasiri and then they would switch and Jasiri would follow them, almost as if to prepare Jasiri for when he decides to follow them out into the wild. As evening approached and the orphans were making their way back to the stockades, Murera walked slowly, trailing behind the rest of the herd waiting for Jasiri. The Keepers hung back too but when they did not see Jasiri, they ushered the orphans towards their respective quarters. Sonje, who shares her room with Jasiri, was a little bit surprised not to see him come back in the evening, but was happy that he was now joining his friends out in the wild.

 Jasiri continues to show positive signs of becoming more independent like his-age mates by staying out with his friends longer and longer. He has been reluctant for some time, but it seems he is gaining confidence. He often re-appears the next day, with his friends, to join the orphan herd at the 11am milk feed, where he knows they Keepers always welcome him with a milk bottle.

06 May 2020

Playful Jasiri was there in the morning to greet his friends. He made a beeline for Sonje, excited to share with her his adventures from the previous night. They were very happy to see each other and it was heart warming to see Sonje welcome Jasiri with a lot of trunk hugs. Jasiri spent quite some time with Sonje, playing and rumbling. Sonje being one of the matriarchs is so proud of his progress and was delighted to see him this morning.  

Lima Lima’s mind is always on when she can get her next bottle feed. She sometimes tries to sneak past the Keeper’s and get to the milk before the others do, and has learnt that if she wastes too much time, the partly-independent orphans may try to steal her bottle if they have already finished theirs. This is why the Keepers will often see her charging in first before any of the other orphans.  

07 May 2020

As soon as the orphans exited their rooms this morning they were eager to start their browsing activities. Zongoloni arrived with her boys and a few wild friends too. The orphans greeted them all and Zongoloni was keen to show her stockade dependent friends all the new areas she had discovered for browsing. As the orphans were exploring new areas, Ziwa appeared to become quite protective of the orphan herd and kept making sure there were no wild elephants around.

The orphans were a bit undecided this morning, so as they approached the crossroad, they contemplated on whether to make their way to the Umani Hills or choose a different route. Whilst considering their options, the younger babies found some muddy waterholes and immediately started to wallow in them. The rest of the herd soon joined them. They all splashed and stayed in the mud, scratching their bottoms until it was time for their 11am feed.  

With their minds on their milk feed, the orphans broke out into a bit of a run to see who got to the feeding area first. With the help of the Keepers, Alamaya and Mwashoti got there before the older orphans.

08 May 2020

The shrubs in the forest are quite tall now, making it difficult for the Keepers to see little elephants like Alamaya. They call out to the orphans, almost like morning roll-call at school, and the shaking of the shrubs as the orphans browse, reassures the Keepers that the elephants are nearby. At one stage the Keepers could not see him and continued to call out. Alamaya, in his own funny little way, stuck his head up and spread his ears to show himself to the Keepers.  

Murera saw Alamaya making his way to the Kenze Hills, and decided to follow him in case he needed protection from the big bullying boys. The orphans continued to browse in the Kenze area, then moved towards Kibwezi Forest, but aiming for areas that provide plenty of drinking water. The orphans quenched their thirst from a broken water pipe. Quanza broke away from the rest of the herd to head out to the grasslands where she found some very soft grass that she had been looking for a very long time.

09 May 2020

Alamaya and Quanza stood very close to each other, away from the rest of the orphans, in what seemed like a very private conversation. Not wanting Mwashoti to join in, Alamaya walked over to him and pushed him away when he saw Mwashoti approaching them.  

Murera, the ever caring and considerate mother figure, saw a big dead branch hanging off a tree. Not wanting her babies to suffer any injuries, in case the branch were to fall, she walked over to the tree and pulled the branch down.  

All the orphans made their way to the mud-bath. Zongoloni was the first one in, desperate to cool off, she wallowed and rubbed her bottom on the mud. Murera did a quick head count, because sometimes Ziwa likes to sneak off, but today all her babies were present and accounted for.

10 May 2020

Alamaya and his friend Quanza stood at the stockade entrance watching Ngasha walk towards them. Ngasha has been away for two days and both Alamaya and Quanza received him with joyful trumpets and lots of trunk hugs.  

After their milk bottles, the orphans saw that a big herd of wild buffalo had taken over their water trough. There was a great commotion as the orphans chased the buffalo back into the forest, with loud trumpets, and reclaimed the water trough for themselves.  

It was soon time for the orphans’ mud-bath. Everyone congregated except for Jasiri and his friend Ngasha who stayed at the water trough, undecided which activity was more interesting - inspecting the water trough or wallowing, but the decision was soon taken out of their hands as the clouds covered the sky making the temperature too cold to wallow.

11 May 2020

Alamaya and Lima Lima made their way to the new water trough that has been built for other wild animals to use. They found the water trough filled with clean fresh water, coming from the broken water pipe. So as not to waste the spilling water, we built a little trough there for the wild animals to drink from and also not hurt themselves.

Sonje decided to take over the lead role from Ngasha today; it seemed as though Ngasha was leading the orphans towards the hills, but it was too hot to do that today. Sonje instead directed the herd towards the forest, which seemed a better option, as they could browse and stay cool under the shade of the trees. The Keepers also supported Sonje’s decision. 

12 May 2020

Jasiri seems to have embraced his new found independence. He’s been joining the other partly independent orphans regularly and looks fatter and very much content. He’s also been seen interacting with other wild bulls too. It’s been about four months since the others have been staying out and it seems Jasiri will be doing the same soon. The five partially-independent orphans haven’t completely gone wild as Zongoloni likes to return home, almost daily, to see her friends.

Lima Lima made her way to the water troughs to quench her thirst. Ngasha followed her, hoping his friends would join him. He waited for quite a while, but when he saw no one was coming, he headed off to the Chyulu Hills to browse and fill his belly.

13 May 2020

This morning Shukuru was so busy with her lucerne pellets, that the other orphans got tired of waiting and decided to start walking slowly towards the Hills, it was only when the Keepers called out to her, that she realized that everyone was already walking off. She quickly picked up on their scent and decided to follow but then decided she would rather browse somewhere else, and was happily accompanied by her Keeper who remained with her for the day.

Shukuru likes to spend a lot of time on her own as she likes to walk at her own pace, taking her time browsing, and she therefore keeps away from the slightly more rambunctious boys like Alamaya and Mwashoti. Shukuru will be pleased when Luggard, a very gentle boy from the Nairobi Nursery , will join the Umani herd soon. Shukuru and Luggard know each other from the Nairobi Nursery.

14 May 2020

Lima Lima made her way through the Kibwezi Forest to where the big rocks are. She looked down to see Mwashoti there with a Keeper. Curious Lima Lima made her way down the rocks, slowly, to join Mwashoti.  

Murera likes to keep an eye on all the orphans. Today she lost her way a few times, trying to keep track of all her babies, but got back on track after using her trunk to catch their scent.

Mwashoti sometimes underestimates Alamaya’s strength. Alamaya is quite sensitive about his tail, so when Mwashoti playfully pulled on the stub, Alamaya was ready to defend himself. Mwashoti anticipated Alamaya’s move and so decided to turn the game into a playful one. The boys are always play-fighting and testing each other strengths. Despite their play-fight today, they boys remain good friends.

15 May 2020

Today Zongoloni arrived at the stockades with a wild elephant bull, called Ndugu. She played the role of hostess, introducing Ndugu to the Keepers and her friends. Ndugu is a very gentle and friendly bull. He remained calm and placid as he interacted with the orphans.

Murera kept her distance from Ndugu, leaving Sonje to get acquainted with him. Ndugu was very welcoming and engaged Sonje. Faraja wasn’t very happy with this and tried to separate the two, pushing Sonje to lag behind so that Faraja would be able to spend more time with Ndugu. Ndugu happily took over the big boys and lead them to the mud-bath area where Ziwa and Jasiri wallowed and Ndugu watched.

16 May 2020

This morning as the orphans were browsing along the hills, Murera seemed to be in her own world browsing and walking slowly. She was walking so slowly that she didn’t realise that the Umani herd and walked off in a different direction and she suddenly wasn’t sure where they went. She could be seen smelling the air, and then we saw her catch the scent of the others. As she began walking towards them, Zongoloni was already making her way back down to find Murera and the two met along the path. 

Meanwhile, Sonje was at the top of the path waiting for Zongoloni and Murera and trying to get the orphans organised so that they could all head down for their midday bottles of milk together. Ziwa and Faraja, however, were not interested in having milk today and chose to stay on the hills browsing. 

After all the orphans finished their milk bottles, Quanza was very eager to head over to the waterhole and wallow in the mud. She appeared to convince Mwashoti to join her and they could both be seen splashing around in the mud before heading off towards the Chyulu Hills with the rest of the Umani orphans to continue browsing. 

17 May 2020

Alamaya is growing into a confident young bull and he appears to enjoy his new found independence as he enjoys going for walks through the Kibwezi forest, seemingly unworried as to whether or not he would come across any wild herds or big elephant bulls. As he was strutting along he came across Lima Lima whom was enjoying a nice neck scratch on a tree and she was curious to see where he was going so she decided to follow him.

It was a very humid and hot day in the forest and Murera didn’t seem to enjoy the heat; she decided to change the orphan’s direction and head towards one of the mud baths within the forest to cool off. However, along the way they came across a troop of baboons that seemed to bother them and she gave up her plan of walking towards the mud bath and decided to continue towards the hills. 

18 May 2020

The orphans were stirring very early this morning, eager to start their day. As the Keepers finished getting ready, the orphans quickly ate all their Lucerne pellets. Once everyone was ready to go, the orphans began to make their way to the hills. Along their path Jasiri found a luscious green bush that he wanted to grab some branches from. Little did he know, there was a large baboon sitting on the other side of the bush. Suddenly the baboon popped his head up, giving Jasiri the biggest fright and causing him to run off trumpeting and calling out to his friends. Once he was back with the Umani orphans, he quickly calmed down. 

As the orphans arrived at the mud bath for their midday bottles of milk, Lima Lima was the first to grab her bottle and quickly down her milk. This afternoon, however, she did not want to give her bottle back to her Keepers as she was enjoying suckling it and grabbing every drop of milk. When the Keepers tried to get it off her, she would run away, so they just let her be and she eventually dropped it after a couple of minutes. 

After the orphans finished their milk Ngasha walked over to the water trough to have a drink. He was soon joined by all his friends, but he was being quite the greedy boy and was not eager to share his space and kept chasing them away. As he was being quite naughty, Murera came over and seemed to warn him to stop with a deep rumble, and then all the orphans were able to join him for a drink of water. 

19 May 2020

Faraja seemed to want to spend his morning browsing quietly away from the other bulls, whom were all being rather playful. Ziwa and Ngasha were engaging each other in a strength testing match, pushing and chasing each other around the forest. Whilst they were busy, Faraja sneaked off and found a luscious branch to chew on, that appeared to have been dropped by another wild elephant. Ziwa and Ngasha quickly turned their attention to this branch and kept trying to get it off him, but Ngasha was far too quick and manged to run off and keep it all to himself. Having failed, Ziwa and Ngasha returned to their game. 

The orphans know when it is time for their milk, and Murera and some of the older girls always seem to take it upon themselves to organise the younger boys so that they don’t delay getting to their milk bottles. Murera quickly got Mwashoti and Alamaya ready and they were both waiting patiently by her side. She then turned her attention to other bulls and Jasiri was the first to be ready as he did not want to miss out on his bottle. As Ziwa, Zongoloni, Ngasha, Faraja and Jasiri are all becoming partly independent, spending nights away from the stockades, they do not always come down for their milk and sometimes they do miss the feeding time. This is all part of them growing older and gaining complete independence. Shukuru always tries to get extra milk and she seems to know that when they do not show up, the Keepers will give her some of the extra milk bottles, but today she was not so lucky as all the independent orphans came to the mud bath today as well, and so had their milk bottles. 

20 May 2020

This morning Mwashoti decided to walk with Murera as Sonje was busy checking on the partly-independent orphans. Murera and Mwashoti started to make their way towards the hills, when Zongoloni walked off in her own direction. As Zongoloni often leads the four boys back out into the forest at night, she seems to enjoy choosing her own path and is not always so eager to follow the other girls. Murera and Sonje rarely take any notice as they know that the four boys are just as independent, and they have the other dependent orphans to care for. 

Lima Lima, however, can sometimes seem to annoy Murera and Sonje, especially when she convinces Alamaya and Mwashoti to follow her instead of them. It will be interesting to see if the dynamic changes when the Umani herd has new arrivals. Lima Lima remains the protector of the Umani orphans’ herd and is always sure to watch over her Keepers and the orphans, making sure everyone is safe. 

21 May 2020

Alamaya appeared to be on a mission to scare the monkeys away today, even though he himself wasn’t so sure about them. He kept running up to them with his ears flapping and holding his head high to make himself appear bigger. At first, they weren’t too worried but as he began to flap his ears and appear bigger, they decide to rather run away. Having succeeded with his mission, Alamaya confidently walked back to Sonje. 

The orphans enjoyed their morning browsing on the Umani hills, and when it was time for them to head down to the mud bath, they were happily making their way slowly, grabbing greens along the path. 

After their milk and mud bath, Faraja could be seen rolling around on the dust mound. He appeared to be in complete bliss as he scratched his back on the soil and rolled around covering his body in dust. He stayed there until the Keepers and orphans were ready to carry on back to the hills for the afternoon. 

22 May 2020

As the orphans were making their way out to Kenze hills, Alamaya found the perfect spot of shade along the path and he stopped dead in his tracks. Having stopped in the middle of the path, the other orphans could not get passed him, so they all began to browse on the bushes around. Alamaya and Mwashoti had a little bit of tussle as they both went for the same branch, Mwashoti appeared to give in first and decided to leave Alamaya to it. 

When it was almost time for the orphans to head home for the evening, Faraja appeared to be eager to head back get his evening bottle of milk. Much like Shukuru he has now learnt that if some of the others don’t come back for their bottles and head straight out for the night, he will be able to get an extra bottle too. This evening as they were back at the stockades, Faraja, Shukuru and Lima Lima all managed to get an extra bottle. 

23 May 2020

Murera appeared to very upset with Alamaya today as he had been disobeying her the day before and throughout the night. He appeared to keep refusing to follow her and wanted to always head off in his own direction or kept trying to follow Zongoloni and this morning, she seemed to be ignoring him. Every time he tried to come close to her or rumble at her, she would look away. It took him quite a while to convince her to forgive him, and he could be heard rumbling at her. 

Eventually when the orphans were out on the hills, Murera appeared to forgive him. When she was eating some acacia roots, she allowed Alamaya to come over and share in her feast. He didn’t seem too keen on the roots but was happy to be spending time with her again. 

24 May 2020

Alamaya and Mwashoti seem to be missing the older boys and are always so excited to see them return in the mornings or throughout the day. When Alamaya saw them arriving in the morning her began to trumpet and rumble loudly in excitement. Ziwa and Ngasha quietly walked over to greet everyone and they were soon joined by Alamaya, Mwashoti, and Murera. With the excitement all the orphans began to rumble and trumpet. 

Whilst the orphans were down at the mud bath Murera walked over to the water trough to have a drink. It was not long before she was joined by the rest of the orphans. They all seemed quite thirsty as they drank for quite some time, and the Keepers could hear them releasing the water from their trunks as they ate their lunch. Once the Keepers were finished with their lunch, they all made their way back to the forest. 

25 May 2020

It was a great morning as the orphans were led to the Umani springs by Sonje. As they got to the springs, they all began to forage and browse. It was not long before the Umani orphans were joined by a wild bull whom was in the company of Zongoloni and Faraja. All the orphans were happy to welcome their new wild friend to the herd and they could be seen greeting him. Sonje was first to greet him, making sure he wouldn’t bully any of the orphans but Murera decided to stay back and watch over the Keepers. 

26 May 2020

This morning, Alamaya was eager to find the greenest and most delicious shrubs he could, and he appeared to be in a hurry to find them before any of the others. He was closely followed by Faraja who was also munching away on the delicious greens but was not as pressed as the young bull he was following. Murera and the others were not too far behind but were also happily browsing and walking. At one point, Faraja seemed to hear or smell something as he stopped dead in his tracks and put his trunk high up to smell his surroundings and put his ears out to listen carefully. After a short time, he seemed to realise there was nothing around and proceeded to follow Alamaya. 

As the orphans came down for their midday bottles of milk, Zongoloni and Ziwa were seen walking in the company of their wild friend Ndugu. Ndugu is a phenomenal wild bull, who often used to visit the orphans and was one of the first wild bulls to visit the Umani stockade set up, which is why the Keepers gave him he name ‘Ndugu’, meaning ‘brother’. As he approached, the Keepers noticed that he was walking with a limp and he looked to have quite a severe injury to his leg. The Keepers immediately called the Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit to come and have a look at his injuries. The Tsavo Vet was on site within a couple of hours and they managed to dart and treat Ndugu. His injuries appeared to be caused from a fight with another bull, perhaps larger in size. 

27 May 2020

This morning as the orphans were let out of their stables, the Keepers were trying to find the wild bull Ndugu, to check up on him and see how he was doing post-treatment. Fortunately, Ndugu had not wondered far off and the Keepers were able to locate him easily. He seemed to be doing okay and was busy browsing in the forest near the stockades, enjoying all the fresh greens post treatment. The Keepers would continue to keep an eye out for him. 

It was such a hot day that Alamaya could not wait to head down to the mud bath. As the orphans finished their midday bottles of milk, they could all be seen charging towards the water hole, eager to get in the water and cool off. They spent a significant amount of time wallowing in the water and lathering themselves in mud, protecting themselves from the scorching sun. For the rest of the afternoon the orphans were sure to remain in shady parts of the hills, keeping cool as they browsed and before heading back to the stockades for the evening. 

28 May 2020

Lima Lima this morning, chose to walk in the centre of the Umani herd, with some orphans to her front and some behind, and the Keepers spread between the herd. The Umani orphans are always careful to set the right pace so that slower orphans such as Murera and Mwashoti would not be left behind and were always in the company of the Keepers or other orphans. 

As the orphans began to browse in the forest, Mwashoti appeared restless and decided to take the lead and head further afield to the Chyulu Hills. As he was leading the way, a dik dik family ran straight in front of him and he got the biggest fright and ran off, trumpeting loudly. As Lima Lima heard him and saw him charge off, she ran over to check he was alright and calm him down. As he was now with Lima Lima, he quickly calmed down continued to the Chyulu Hills where they browsed with the rest of the Umani orphans herd. 

29 May 2020

After finishing their midday bottles of milk, the orphans were all having the best time down at the dust bath. Ngasha was amongst the first to start rolling around on the dust mound and Faraja was quick to walk over and join him. They could be seen rubbing against each other as they rolled around, covering each other in dust. It was a happy moment for the Keepers watching them all have so much fun. 

In the afternoon, the orphans were joined by Ndugu who was still showing some discomfort from his wounds. Alamaya was the first to greet the giant as he arrived and stood under some shade. The two appeared to interact with each other for quite some time, gently rumbling at one another. Ndugu was very calm and gentle around the Umani orphans and seemed happy to share his shade with the young bull. The orphans too felt safe with him around as with his phenomenal size he could be intimidating to other wild bulls. 

30 May 2020

Shukuru and all the Umani orphans woke early today, eager to start their day and head out to the hills. The were joined by Zongoloni and the boys whom all led the orphans out to the Umani Springs. As they reached the springs, Shukuru was eager to have some quiet time near the water and did not want to rush off like the rest of the orphans, eager to start browsing. Shukuru followed them at her own pace, in the company of her Keepers and eventually she caught up the orphans whom were now all busy browsing. 

Shukuru found some fresh roots near where the orphans were browsing, and she could be seen breaking them off and eating them bit by bit. She appeared to be as quiet as possible so as not to attract anyone’s attention as she did not want to share.  

31 May 2020

It was such an exciting morning as the Keepers and Umani orphans were awaiting the arrival of Luggard and Enkesha. As the orphans came out their stables, the Keepers were getting things ready for the arrival of the translocation lorry and Lima Lima, all too curious, was watching them closely. As the lorry pulled up the excitement could be felt through the air. Lima Lima was so excited that she was standing right outside the lorry’s doors waiting to see who came out. First to appear was Enkesha who came charging off the lorry catching Lima Lima’s attention, followed closely by Luggard. 

Luggard seemed a little confused by his surroundings at first but he was quickly comforted by his Keepers and all the older girls Murera, Sonje, and Lima Lima. Shukuru, Zongoloni, Mwashoti, Jasiri, Ngasha, Alamaya and Ziwa were all too curious too and were following Enkesha and Luggard also trying to greet the new arrivals. 

Enkesha was quick to lead the orphans out to the forest, not even knowing where she was headed, she was already comfortable in her new home. When they got out to the forest Luggard and Enkesha immediately began to browse on all the fresh greens, and with the heavy rains, they had so many to choose from. Zongoloni even came over to dote upon the new arrivals and she could see giving Luggard a big trunk hug. Luggard and Enkesha could not move without one of the Umani orphans doting on them. 

Luggard and Enkesha fit straight in to the Umani orphans’ routine and even enjoyed a mud bath with all of them. In the afternoon, however, some of the bulls started to play a little rough, wanting to grab hold of Luggard and Enkesha and the Keepers had to usher them away. They don’t realise how much bigger and stronger they are. Murera and Sonje were always nearby as well, keeping them safe and taking good care of them. It had been a long day for the babies and certainly an overwhelming one at that, so after mud bathing Luggard and Enkesha spent the afternoon in the shade of some trees with Murera, Lima Lima and Sonje. We didn’t want Luggard to walk too far on his first day and get too tired. Sonje and Murera both suffer from similar compromised legs to Luggard, so they will always be able to keep to the same pace as him, and he will always have company for that reason too. That is perhaps why, so far, Mwashoti has been so kind to the new arrivals as well! In the evening when all of the orphans walked home for the night, with Enkesha and Luggard in the lead and Murera and Sonje behind, Murera flatly refused to go into her own bedroom, not wanting to be apart from them for a minute, so she was fortunate enough to even spend the night with the babies. Their first day at Umani was a huge success.