Keepers' Diaries, November 2012

Select your unit:

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

While there have been several heavy rainstorms in the community area abutting Tsavo’s Northern boundary, which changed the normally dry Kalovoto watercourse into a river on the 25th, and in isolated areas of the Park, sadly Ithumba itself had received only two light showers during the month and both weeks apart. By the end of November the browsing areas utilized by our Keeper Dependent Orphans remained bone dry, which is most unusual. Hence the handout of Lucerne has had to continue (mercifully funded by a very kind and caring donor). The Juniors were joined by the Ex Orphans daily but for the few days following those light showers ( i.e. from 4th- 9th and from the 13th- 14th . The Ex Orphan herd as a whole was last seen on 21st, when Yatta’s baby, little “Yetu” enjoyed running around Kandecha and Ololoo, leaving the two Juniors with outspread ears wondering what she was up to! Thereafter Yatta and the main Ex Orphan herd left the area completely along with their wild friends and all the wild elephant herds in search of greener pastures elsewhere. However, Kora, Lualeni, Naserian and Rapsu opted out of the great trek and returned to the Stockades, where they were a daily fixture until the end of the month, choosing to remain close where they obviously felt safer and had access to both Lucerne and water. They even slept the night of the 29th actually within the compound. We believe the reason that these 4 Ex Orphans opted out of accompanying the others further afield is because Kora has been poison arrowed before (returning to the Stockade for treatment), and Lualeni is his best friend who remained with him throughout his convalescence. Rapsu and Naserian are believed to have been with Selengai when she died from a poisoned spear wound not far from the Stockades, probably desperately trying to help her return to the Stockades. Sadly, she never made it, but those particular Ex Orphans turned up that day at the Juniors’ mudbath, all visibly upset. Since “Elephants Never Forget” we believe that this explains why they have chosen to remain close despite the obvious temptation of greener pastures elsewhere.

While there have been several heavy rainstorms in the community area abutting Tsavo’s Northern boundary, which changed the normally dry Kalovoto watercourse into a river on the 25th, and in isolated areas of the Park, sadly Ithumba itself had received only two light showers during the month and both weeks apart. By the end of November the browsing areas utilized by our Keeper Dependent Orphans remained bone dry, which is most unusual. Hence the handout of Lucerne has had to continue (mercifully funded by a very kind and caring donor). The Juniors were joined by the Ex Orphans daily but for the few days following those light showers ( i.e. from 4th- 9th and from the 13th- 14th . The Ex Orphan herd as a whole was last seen on 21st, when Yatta’s baby, little “Yetu” enjoyed running around Kandecha and Ololoo, leaving the two Juniors with outspread ears wondering what she was up to! Thereafter Yatta and the main Ex Orphan herd left the area completely along with their wild friends and all the wild elephant herds in search of greener pastures elsewhere. However, Kora, Lualeni, Naserian and Rapsu opted out of the great trek and returned to the Stockades, where they were a daily fixture until the end of the month, choosing to remain close where they obviously felt safer and had access to both Lucerne and water. They even slept the night of the 29th actually within the compound. We believe the reason that these 4 Ex Orphans opted out of accompanying the others further afield is because Kora has been poison arrowed before (returning to the Stockade for treatment), and Lualeni is his best friend who remained with him throughout his convalescence. Rapsu and Naserian are believed to have been with Selengai when she died from a poisoned spear wound not far from the Stockades, probably desperately trying to help her return to the Stockades. Sadly, she never made it, but those particular Ex Orphans turned up that day at the Juniors’ mudbath, all visibly upset. Since “Elephants Never Forget” we believe that this explains why they have chosen to remain close despite the obvious temptation of greener pastures elsewhere.

Lualeni came alone to join the Juniors at their noon mudbath on the 3rd, and escorted them to the Kalovoto area where the Senior Ex Orphans were believed to be browsing that day. She then escorted the Juniors back to the Stockades in the evening, where she awaited the arrival of the Yatta’s Senior Group to rejoin them again. Zurura was another Ex Orphan who came alone to the Stockades at the beginning of the month to enjoy the Lucerne, but was amongst the main herd thereafter.

It was so hot on the 24th that Makireti and Ishanga, relative newcomers to Ithumba who have obviously not yet fully acclimatized to such conditions, had to resort to drawing out stomach water to spray behind their ears and cool their bodies down. On very hot days the Juniors have enjoyed their “gooey” black Cotton artificial mudbath, which is fed from the overflow of the Stockade drinking trough, and in the dry season is not quite as tempting as when it transforms into a proper waterhole. However, Ololoo never misses out being very fond of wallowing and water generally. All enjoyed the few damp puddles left by the two light showers which were obviously much more popular at this time of the year.

This month Leaders of the Junior group, besides their main Matriarch Suguta, have been females Makireti, Melia, Kalama and Chaimu with young bull Kandecha who always knows the time, usually leading the way to the milk and mudbath venue to get the ball rolling. The Junior Boys have enjoyed their usual Pushing Tests of Strength, with Ololoo taking on Kilaguni several times despite being much smaller, but by the end of the month he was making progress in this respect. Makireti had a friendly bout with little Chemi Chemi, allowing him to win the contest, which made him feel good. Kilaguni is usually the victor over Sabachi and Kasigau.

We sincerely hope for rain in December, and pray also that our Ex Orphans will all eventually return intact, and that the poisoned arrow Poachers will be otherwise occupied planting their crops!

November 2012 day to day

01 Nov

Mist covered Ithumba hill, but still no sign of rain, despite it being the beginning of another month. As the Juniors went for their Lucerne supplement, the Ex Orphans joined them and wild elephant friends went to drink at the Stockade trough. The Juniors were joined by 5 wild elephants at their noon mudbath.

Ex orphans at the stocakde feeding on Lucerne

Orphans at the mudbath

Kijana and Ishanga

Select your unit:
View keepers’ diaries for another month?