Keepers' Diaries, November 2012
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.
01 November 2012
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.
02 November 2012
Only Zurura joined the Juniors at their Lucerne this morning. Suguta led the Juniors to browse the Kanziku area. At 1 p.m. the Ex Orphans came to drink at the Stockade, and at 3 p.m. a shower of rain made the elephants extremely happy. Chemi Chemi enjoyed rolling in the dampened earth.
03 November 2012
The Ex Orphans came early to share the Lucerne handout with the Juniors. Having finished it, the Ex Orphans headed towards the Kalovoto dry riverbed while the Juniors headed towards the Kone area. It was still damp, and not so hot, so the Orphans enjoyed every moment, only taking milk at the mudbath.
04 November 2012
The Ex Orphans did not show up today. Although there had been a little rain, it was still dry. The search for food dominates the days, so the orphans just took their milk at noon, and did not bother about the mudbath.
05 November 2012
The sky was clear, promising a hot day ahead. Melia led the Juniors out today to browse the Kanziko area. At the mudbath, although it was hot, only Ololoo opted to go into the mud, while the others decided to have a dustbath instead.
06 November 2012
While the orphans were browsing the Kanziku area, they were joined by Lualeni who escorted them to the mud wallow for their milk, but none of them went into the mud. Lualeni then took them to the Kalovoto area to browse. Shortly before 5 p.m. the Ex Orphans came to the Stockade compound, where they met up with Lualeni who had spent the entire day with the Juniors.
07 November 2012
Kilaguni and Kasigau had a strength testing Match today, but Kasigau had to surrender since Kilaguni proved too strong for him. It was a very hot day so all the orphans enjoyed the mudbath, after which Kalama led the way back to browse for the rest of the day before returning in the evening.
08 November 2012
Having taken their Lucerne, the Orphans browsed not far from the Stockades. Having seen the adult elephants breaking down trees, Olare decided to emulate them and with her forelegs up against a sapling, managed to break it down and feast on the leaves. At the mudbath only a few of the orphans went in, while the rest opted for a dustbath instead. Makireti led them back to browse for the afternoon.
09 November 2012
The Ex Orphans joined the Juniors at the Lucerne pile today, and later separated. Kandecha led the Juniors to the Kanziku area up until mudbath time, when Kandecha led the way. Later Kilaguni engaged Ololoo in a Pushing Game which was interrupted by Sabachi who pushed Ololoo away.
10 November 2012
The Ex Orphans were at the Stockades before dawn, waiting for the Juniors to be let out and to be able to share their Lucerne. The Juniors left for the bush later, leaving the Ex Orphans at the Stockade compound. Just before heading to the mudbath Makireti engaged Chemi Chemi in a Pushing Match and allowed Chemi Chemi to emerge the victor, which made him very happy. At around 4 p.m. a light shower cooled the evening.
11 November 2012
The Orphans met up with the Ex Orphans just outside the Stockades, and mingled with them for a short time, before heading on out to browse the Kalovoto area, leaving the Ex Orphans at the Stockades.
12 November 2012
Suguta led the Juniors out after their Lucerne handout, and because it was a hot day, all participated in the mudbath, after which they took a dustbath before Kalama led them out again to feed.
13 November 2012
Mist covered Ithumba hill on a cool morning. Since rain has fallen further in the Park (though not at Ithumba itself) all the wild elephants have moved to where the vegetation is turning green.
14 November 2012
The Orphans browsed the Kone area today before heading to the mudbath where Kasigau engaged Sabachi in a Strength Testing Game. Sabachi won the contest. At the mudbath Chaimu scratched her body against a tree, until Melia led the Group out again to feed.
15 November 2012
The Ex Orphans arrived early at the Stockades, and soon after two Buffaloes came to drink at the Stockade trough. The Juniors joined the Ex Orphans at the Lucerne pile, and later parted from them, heading out to browse, leaving the Ex Orphans at the compound.
16 November 2012
The Ex Orphans did not show up today, so the Juniors had the compound all to themselves, moving freely around between the Lucerne and the water trough. Chaimu led the way out to browse today, and Kandecha led the way to the milk and mudbath venue.
17 November 2012
The Ex Orphans came early to the Stockades, and mingled with the Juniors at the Lucerne pile until the Juniors headed out to browse, leaving the Ex Orphans at the compound. Since it was a cool day, the Juniors took only milk at the mudbath before heading out again to feed.
18 November 2012
As usual the Ex Orphans joined the Juniors for the Lucerne in the morning. The Juniors left the Ex Orphans at the compound when it was time to head off to feed. Since the day was hot, all participated in the wallow today, and it was still hot in the evening, so the Juniors enjoyed a second cooling wallow before returning to the Stockades.
19 November 2012
Having reached the browsing field, Ololoo engaged Kilaguni in a Pushing Match which lasted only a few moments before Ololoo was defeated. At the mudbath only Ololoo, Kitirua, Chaimu and Kilaguni went in to wallow while the rest opted for a dustbath instead.
20 November 2012
Again the Ex Orphans mingled with the Juniors at the Lucerne hand-out. Later Ololoo again challenged Kilaguni and this time the contest ended in a draw! In the afternoon they settled down to browse the Kanziku area before returning in the evening.
21 November 2012
When the Ex Orphans came to join the Juniors at the Lucerne pile, Yetu (Yatta’s baby) enjoyed played running around Ololoo and Kandecha, who raised their ears wondering what Yetu was up to. When she tired she joined her mother at the Lucerne. Wendi joined the Juniors at the Water Trough and escorted them out to browse, parting from them when they headed to the milk and mudbath.
22 November 2012
Three wild dogs came to drink at the Stockade waterhole this morning. Other than that, the day passed as normal.
23 November 2012
At the browsing area, Kilaguni engaged Ololoo again, and then mounted him. The Juniors decided to skip the wallow today, and having taken their milk, enjoyed a dustbath instead before heading back to feed for the remainder of the day.
24 November 2012
The Ex Orphans did not show up today. The day turned exceptionally hot, making Makireti and Ishanga draw up stomach water to spray behind their ears. All enjoyed the mudwallow today due to the heat, after which Tumaren led the way back to browse for the rest of the day.
25 November 2012
For the second day running no Ex Orphans showed up at the Stockades in the morning, but later passed by the water trough, before heading off to the bush again. The Juniors browsed the Kalovoto area, and were amazed to find the Kalovoto dry river full of running water after heavy rain had fallen in the community area in contrast to Ithumba. Since the day was cool, the Juniors only took their milk at the mudbath venue, and then concentrated on browsing again.
26 November 2012
Only Kora, Lualeni, Naserian and Rapsu reported early in the morning to share the Juniors’ Lucerne. The Juniors browsed the Kone area where Sabachi and Ololoo engaged each other in a Pushing Match. Temperatures were moderate, which suited the Orphans who only took their milk at noon, and opted out of wallowing.
27 November 2012
The same four Ex Orphans who came yesterday – namely Kora, Rapsu, Lualeni and Naserian – returned again today to share the Juniors’ Lucerne. At mudbath time only Ololoo, Kilaguni, Chaimu and Tumaren wallowed while the rest headed for the dustbath.
28 November 2012
Again only Lualeni, Kora, Naserian and Rapsu came early to share the Juniors’ Lucerne. It was a cool day so the Juniors only took milk, and no mudbath today.
29 November 2012
The same four Ex Orphans came to share the Lucerne again today and remained at the compound when the Juniors headed to the Kanziku area to browse. Only Kandecha, Ololoo and Kibo wallowed today.
30 November 2012
The usual four Ex Orphans spent the night in the Stockade Compound, and were there to join the Juniors when the Lucerne was handed out in the morning. The Juniors then left to browse the Kanziku area again, and having taken their milk at noon, headed to the Kalovoto to browse for the remainder of the day.