The month of November has seen the Kibwezi Forest transformed into a garden of Eden thanks to the rains breaking. A profusion of vegetation, butterflies, dragon flies and wild flowers have made this month an extremely fun time for the orphaned elephants. Because of the transformed landscape there has now been plenty of time for frivolous games without the serious business of finding food dominating their days. They have this month spent time wallowing in the many waterholes scattered throughout the forest, and a favourite pass time is charging the many butterflies that have emerged since the rain. Each day the Umani Springs baby elephant orphans leave their night stockades in a jovial mood ready for fun and games.
This month has seen a number of wild elephant encounters for the orphans too with visiting wild herds coming mostly at night to the stockades to drink from the water trough and to communicate to the orphans. One day a stunning big wild bull was bold enough to visit the orphans during the day while they were mud wallowing, but sadly he heard the Keepers before reaching the orphans and peeled away silently back into the forest, still not entirely comfortable with the human presence. This will change as we have seen at Voi and Ithumba and the wild herds in the Kibwezi Forest will soon learn about the orphans and their unique situation, and begin to understand that the Keepers mean them no harm.
One night this month there was an encounter with a leopard feeding on its kill, a bushbuck, high in the branches of an acacia tree next to the stockades which unnerved the babies, particularly Lima lima who demanded the Keepers emerge from their tent to investigate. Also a tortoise managed to freak them out while feeding in the palm forest causing a stampede! Even the shrill call from the hornbills one day saw the babies hurrying back to the safety of their human family. While they are settled in their new environment having all arrived in the Kibwezi Forest to begin the new Umani Springs Rehabilitation Unit in June of this year, there are times when events still catch them off guard!
Murera is getting stronger all the time, and sometimes this month she has appeared so grown up that she has confused her Keepers even, with them on a couple of occasions mistaking her for a big wild elephant emerging from the forest! She is very much in charge of her mini herd and quick to dish out the discipline when required as well as comfort and gentle love in equal amounts. Our little herd of elephants compromising of Lima lima, Quanza, Zongoloni, Sonje and Murera are an extremely happy and content little unit. The Keepers daily diary entries covers their antics this month in detail.