The rains have well and truly broken with some huge storms dominating the month at Ithumba. The rain has filled up the Orphan's mud wallow which is now so deep that the elephants can actually swim. With hot days punctuating the rain storms the swimming sessions have become extremely popular with our dependent orphans at Ithumba, but also with the big ex orphans and their wild friends too. After a good swim, where they actually submerge themselves completely, the orphans head to a well topped up red earth pile. Sliding down the powdered earth and spraying it all over themselves is the perfect accompaniment to a find midday mud bath.
Despite the rain and waterholes stretching throughout the north now enabling the wild elephants to disperse hundreds of miles without water limitations some of our old faithfuls remain behind with their orphan friends and continue to visit the stockades and the midday mudbath time. Strong friendships are being formed between our ex orphans and the wild elephants of the north of Tsavo and these can be witnessed daily.
All our elephants have been in high excitement for much of the month with play dominating most days. The little bulls enjoy the sparring games, the charging games and the mud rolling games, while the females enjoy scratching games, charging the vulnerable, like little dik diks, and mud rolling too. Our ex orphans visited often throughout the month as did Suguta’s group to ensure the whole Ithumba Unit remained close and bonded.
The hyenas have been around which visibly sent chills down the spines of all the elephants, whether wild, ex orphans or our little dependent babies, as they all recalled Sabachi’s horror when he was so brutally attacked by hyenas. The Keepers were quick to lead the small and vulnerable orphans far afield so that they did not have to linger with that horrendous memory and stress. Wild dogs have been regular visitors to the orphans stockade waterhole too.
Ex orphan Lualeni has become more independent of Yatta’s group and tends to cruise with her adopted calf Ololoo. She visits the stockades with Ololoo regularly and mixes with the dependent babies regularly, more often than not with dishonorable intent, trying to baby snatch to increase her baby quota. The Keepers keep a beady eye on Lualeni’s visits to ensure that she does not go about her tricks.
The keepers have detailed this fun month in the daily diaries coupled with lovely photographs they have taken throughout the diaries while out in the company of the orphans and these can all be viewed in the daily diary entries.