Keepers' Diaries, November 2015
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
This month a great number of wild elephants have been visiting Ithumba including Wendi and her sweet baby Wiva and their entourage of escorts. On the 2nd of the month the Keepers woke to find an elephant bonanza in the stockade compound, with over 80 elephants present comprised of both wild and ex-orphans alike. Mulika, Yatta and Wendi with their respective babies, namely Mwende, Yetu and littlest Wiva were among them. The dependent orphans always enjoy their company, intrigued by the youngest babies, and happy to share their delicious lucerne with all present.
01 November 2015
It was a quiet morning as we observed a group of ex-orphans and wild elephants in the stockade waiting for water. The orphans finished their milk and went to join the group. Wendi and her baby Wiva were among them. The orphans then ate their lucerne with the ex-orphans and interacted with them at the same time. Wiva was being very happy and active. Barsilinga scratched is itchy leg on a rock nearby but was later pushed away by Sunyei who took his place on the scratching rock. The orphans group then left the stockade area and made their way to the bush to browse.
It was quite a sunny day but there was also a cold wind blowing in. This made the elephants not want to walk very far because they were waiting for the time of mudbath so that they could cool down. Back in the stockade that afternoon we had four wild dogs who came to drink water and after that they left. In the evening Kithaka led the orphans group back home for milk.
02 November 2015
This morning was like an elephant day at Ithumba stockade as we had over 80 elephants all mixed up. Mulika, Yatta and Wendi with their babies Mwende, Yetu and the new one Wiva were among them. The orphans with some ex-orphans enjoyed the lucerne with Wendi's baby having fun as she rolled all over the ground happy and active. She was very jovial and playful with Nasalot who just rest her trunk on her back when lying down. The orphans later left and made their way to the bush for browsing. Back in the bush, they were very delighted when some rain started to fall. Most of the elephants started playing and scratching in different styles. Barsilinga later led the group back to the stockade at evening hours. We recorded 10 mm of rainfall today and there is still some sign of more rain tonight.
03 November 2015
Today in the morning we woke up and found the stockade compound empty and raining; all the orphans in the stockade were standing under the shade. After a little bit of time, it stopped raining and the keepers fed them their morning breakfast and let them out in the field with some lucerne. After some time, Wendi's herd came in with Yatta followed by her baby Yetu leading the group coming to the stockade. They shared the lucerne with the orphans as they interacted with each other at the same time. They was only one wild bull with them. Kithaka, Barsilinga, Narok, Vuria and Bomani were rolling in the mud enjoying that game while Orwa, Shukuru, Sities and Garzi were having a nice time scratching on the rocks; the orphans later set off to the bush for browsing.
In the bush Bongo, Shukuru, and Narok found some water pools and started playing in them making some a mudbath there. This attracted their friends and a small group came to join them. They were all happily playing peacefully in the mud as they rolled around and around. Later, Kithaka led the group to the mudbath for their milk feeding time.
After their milk, they started playing in the mudbath with Teleki and Vuria playing quite a rough game in the mud. Later in came Wendi's herd and Wendi walked inside the mudhole with her baby and started plashing some loose mud on her back. We were scared when she walked in with her baby as we thought her baby might get stuck in the mud, but later she came out of the mud hole easily. We recorded 8 mm of rain today and there might even be some more this evening.
04 November 2015
This morning the orphans left their respective stables and join the three ex-orphans Napasha, Kora and Meibai, who were also with one wild bull. The orphans came running out towards the keeper who was carrying lucerne and started competing for it. Orwa started mounting on some of the other orphans after he was satisfied with enough lucerne and turned looking for another activity. The group later headed to the bush for browsing.
Where they were browsing, Orwa started scooping and tossing chunks of soil on his head and up in the air. It was very hot after the first rain in the area and the elephants were walking in groups whilst they browsed. Barsilinga decided to lead the group to the mudbath. There Bongo led some of them to the mudhole for swimming such as Vuria, Garzi, Laragai, Kithaka, Bomani, Shukuru, Teleki and Sities. They later came out and followed their group back to the bush. Mutara the matriarch was scratching as she browsed and later even tried to climb a tree whilst browsing. Later, Kithaka led the group back home in the evening. Today we recorded 8mm of rainfall again.
05 November 2015
It was a quiet morning today with the elephant orphans coming out of their respective stables slowly heading towards where they ate lucerne in the field. They were given lucerne and started feasting on it. Shukuru besides eating was scratching herself and her closest friend Narok started copying her. Kithaka also joined the scratching squad and later the group set off to the bush for browsing. In the bush, Barsilinga and Kithaka started play fighting while Shukuru and Mutara just watched them. Later they all headed to the mudbath. When they arrived it was still cold but Bongo led some of the big group to the mudhole after they had drunk water. Laragai, Bomani, Vuria, Garzi, Sities and Mutara joined them, but others were afraid of going in the cold water and decided to set off back to the bush for browsing.
In the bush, the elephants came across a small waterhole and started playing in it. Orwa, Narok, Sities and Bomani started playing vigorous games; some time later they all got bored and decided to continue with browsing. Later on they headed back home for their evening milk. Today there was no rain but we are expecting it hopefully tonight. No ex-orphans or wild elephants came today after we had some rain.
06 November 2015
It was a cool morning today and the orphans walked out of their respective stables to walk down to the lucerne field. The keepers distributed lucerne to them as they ate. After a short time, in came a wild bull who was very thirsty, he drank water and left. Shukuru was trying to follow and take some lucerne branches with her; she dropped these inside a narrow hole in a rock, perhaps saving them as leftovers for later! The whole group later left to the water trough, drank water and later left for the bush to browse. In the bush Vuria started play fighting with Orwa. They stopped for awhile and later Barsilinga joined in the game. They played this game for a long time and later Barsilinga surrendered. Mutara later led the group to the mudbath for milk.
In the mudbath we had some chilly winds and it was quite cold which made the orphans not bother having fun in the mudhole. Kithaka started scratching his trunk on a tree stump while Orwa and Barsilinga were having fun playing. Mutara, Vuria and Sities came back slowly to the mudhole but Vuria hesitated to jump in. Kanjoro, Bongo and Garzi were walking to the top of the embankment dug beside the mudhole so as to reach some branches from a tree. Later Shukuru led the group back home for the evening. Back in the stockade 12 ex-orphans with one wild bull came to visit. They drank water and stayed for some time, later leaving after the darkness. There was no rain today in the area.
07 November 2015
It was an interesting morning with the orphans coming out of their stables and heading majestically towards the lucerne field. After a short time Tomboi, Buchuma and a wild bull came to join them. They interacted and communicated with the orphans for some time. Bomani started scratching on a rock with Orwa & Barsilinga separately. The orphan group later walked to the water trough, drank water and left for the bush. Bomani and Vuria started their normal play fighting while Orwa and Kainuk were sharing some food together. Later on, Orwa was scratching on a nearby rock while Sities played with a stick in her mouth with her trunk. Later the group headed to the mudbath for milk. By the time the orphans reached the mud bath the wind had picked up and was quite chilly so the majority of elephants decided not to swim. However the obvious Bongo, Mutara, Vuria, Kithaka and Kanjoro went into the mud and played for some time before coming out. The whole group later headed back to the bush.
Back in the stockade, we had a group of 31 ex-orphans with one wild bull who came in for water; Wendi and Wiva were among them.
08 November 2015
It was a quiet morning because we had some rain three days ago which means the ex-orphans and wild elephants disappear in the bush for a while. Vuria and Orwa had a lovely scratch on a rock while Barsilinga was trying to steal some water from Orwa's mouth he was drinking .The group later walked to the bush for browsing.
In the bush, Vuria started a pushing game with Orwa which took some time but ultimately Vuria was defeated and then Barsilinga started another mounting game with him too! Vuria turned around very angry with Barsilinga and started fighting him back. It was not a serious game but with time it became more serious until the keepers had to intervene and they were separated.
Later, the group came across a water pool and started playing in it, rolling in the mud. They played peacefully and later left to the mudbath.
At the mudbath it was chilly again which meant most of the orphans ignored the chance to swim. A bit later on Bongo was the first one to open the way to the mudhole for swimming. He was then followed by Kanjoro, Mutara, Sities, Shukuru, Vuria and Laragai. Orwa also started kissing and talking to Bomani and then they later all walked back to the bush for browsing.
Barsilinga later led the group back to the stockade in the evening for their milk. Back in the stockades we had Wendi's group with her baby; they came and drank water and then left. There was no rain today but out in the bush today we saw a beautiful flower in blossom which is a symbol of rain.
09 November 2015
It was very cold today in the morning when the orphans walked out from their respective stockades to the lucerne field. At the same time the ex-orphans Kilaguni, Chaimu, Makireti, Kasigau and Kilabasi came in. The group integrated with the orphans and together they feasted on lucerne. All of them looked in very good condition. After some time, 6 wild bulls also came in to drink water and after that they left. Chaimu was playing with Vuria and Mutara. Shukuru and Narok who are always together greeted each other. Kainuk was feeding from the top of the rock to reach some tasty branches. The group then left to the bush for browsing together with Kilaguni’s group of five elephants.
In the bush, the elephants were walking and searching for fresh, green leaves which had started growing and sprouting after the first rain. Orwa was spotted browsing slowly from a tree with fresh leaves. Mutara later came across a pool of water but didn’t play in it because it was cold. Later on, the group set off to the mudbath for milk.
At the mudbath no one played inside because it was very cold, but nearby Suguta tried to sharpen her tusks on a tree. Orwa was posing with his trunk resting on Vuria's back. Two wild bulls joined them to drink water and after that they left. Then the orphans met five wild bulls who they interacted with – there was such a clear difference between the wild elephants and the funny little group of orphans. They interacted for some time until the orphans separate themselves from the wild herd and walked away on their own; it was Barsilinga who led the group back home in the evening. There were signs of rain today but it didn’t break through.
10 November 2015
It was a wonderful morning today with every orphan elephant being quiet and concentrating on eating their lucerne after drinking their milk. Suguta started scratching on the rock with Teleki and Laragai in different places. The group later left to the water trough to drink water, Orwa trying to sip water from Bomani's mouth and Vuria from Barsilinga's mouth. The whole group was led by Shukuru back to the bush for browsing.
At the mudbath, we had four wild bulls with a group of ex-orphans. Challa started play fighting with Tomboi and some of the ex-orphans played in the mudbath. The orphans did not like to play in the mud because it was cold, but later only Bongo stepped in and started swimming. Later on, Kithaka, Barsilinga, Vuria and Sities found a small pool of mud and started playing. Kithaka on the way was scooping soil and throwing it in the air as he splashed. Barsilinga was browsing next to Narok and Kainuk today; he was also having fun and playing with Garzi. Later on, Barsilinga led the group back home. There was no rain today.
11 November 2015
It was an interesting day with the orphans coming out of their stables in groups as a family in a jovial mood and very active. They met with Kilaguni’s group outside the lucerne area who welcomed them in a very happy and social manner. Kasigau was resting his trunk on Kithaka’s back before they set off to the bush. The orphans later started walking one by one to the water trough and after that set off to the bush for browsing. In the bush, Kanjoro was browsing next to Bongo, most of the time they are together similar to Barsilinga and Kithaka. The group later started walking slowly as they browsed towards the mudbath. Barsilinga, Lemoyian and Kithaka were in the first group to the mudbath.
At the mudbath, Wendi's group came with Wiva and it was lovely to watch all the elephants together. The area was so full with elephant with wild herds among the ex-orphans. Yatta and Mulika with their babies Yetu and Mwende were also there. The wild elephants played vigorously in the mudbath with the ex-orphans. Wiva, our last born baby at Ithumba, looked happy and active scratching on a nearby tree and on her mother’s forelegs. She was guarded by strict security guards of Kina, Sunyei, Sidai, Lenana, Galana, Chyulu, Nasalot and other wild bulls. The orphans left back to the bush leaving behind a big congregation of wild and ex-orphan elephants.
In the bush the orphans stayed active with Vuria trying to look for a friend to play with. Orwa started mounting on him. Later Shukuru led the group back home in the evening. There was no rain at all but we are still expecting some to fall soon.
12 November 2015
Today was an interesting morning when the orphans finished their breakfast and joined Chaimu, an immediate ex-orphan who had been left in the stockade area by his group, Kilaguni’s herd. They interacted and communicated with her as they all ate lucerne. A section of them walked to the water trough to drink some water and later the whole group started their journey to the bush. Turkwel was struggling to stretch higher and higher searching for green and fresh leaves from a tree. Kithaka and Orwa started play fighting. A bit later Garzi joined them and started playing with Kithaka. Finally Bomani came in to separate them and started greeting them both, it was lovely to watch their communicating between one another. The whole group later set off for the mudbath.
At the mudbath we had a big group of ex-orphans with Wendi and her baby amongst them, as well as Yatta with her baby Yetu and Mulika with her baby Mwende. We had also a big group of wild elephants with one huge wild bull who was acting quite aggressively around the mudbath. They all interacted and played vigorously in the mudhole. Vuria was the most fun elephant in the mudhole - he was playing as he rolled around in the mud with his trunk up and splashing water. Lualeni was very tired and resting her heavy trunk on a branch of tree. The orphans later started walking back to the bush for browsing. Wiva started running towards her mother who was walking away without her. She looked so active and healthy.
Kithaka led the orphans elephants back home in the evening and back in the stockade we had a one wild bull and three female wild elephants with a baby; they drank water and left. We had no rain and no signs of it today.
13 November 2015
It was an interesting morning when the orphans walked down to the lucerne area. Lemoyian started scratching on a rock and the birds started singing as the keepers and elephants welcomed the new day, such as the Hidada ibis’s, Eagles and Redwing starlings. Weaver birds chattered in the trees overhead. At the same time 3 buffaloes came to the water trough to drink before running away. Shukuru led the group to the bush for browsing.
Once there Vuria, the notorious playful one, started rolling on the ground and looked almost like he was doing press-ups with his trunk up, before rolling around opening and closing his eyes. Later on, they set off on their way to the mudbath for milk.
At the mudbath we had a huge group of wild elephants with some ex-orphans including Wendi and her baby Wiva with Yatta and Mulika with their babies too. Vuria after the milk started play fighting with Teleki. The wild bulls initially dominated the mudbath but later the ex-orphans joined them together with our orphans. They were played vigorously and happily. Wiva was very active today, scratching on the cement seat in the mudbath, trying to take off some ticks from her face. Bongo joined the two wild bulls in the mudhole with Vuria. Later on they set off on their journey back to the bush for browsing. We also had five wild bulls in the stockade coming for water later that afternoon. There was no rain and it has remained dry as usual. Barsilinga led the group back home in the evening.
14 November 2015
Very early in the morning, we had 3 huge wild bulls in the stockade area, one which only has one tusk. They were very thirsty and just drank water before leaving for the bush. The orphans walked down from their stables to the lucerne area and started feasting on it. They enjoyed lucerne without disruption from either the wild or the ex-orphans groups. After having their fill of lucerne, they started walking one by one to the water trough to drink. Suguta started smelling and waving her trunk in the air. In then came 3 buffaloes who scared the orphans and they started running around. The buffaloes only drank water and left back to the bush though, and the orphans made their way to the bush for browsing.
In the bush Kithaka, Barsilinga and Vuria were browsing together. Vuria started play-fighting with Orwa as they rumbled in a low tone, a sign of communication, then the group headed to the mud bath. No other elephants came to the mudbath today.
Back at the stockade, in came a big group of ex-orphans and wild elephants together. Wendi with Wiva were among them. They drank water and stayed for more than one hour, but later they left back to the bush. Another different group of wild elephants came into the stockade for water later in the evening and after left for the bush. No rain today.
15 November 2015
It was a very cold and quiet morning after we had a heavy night of rain. We recorded 25mm of rain in the stockade area. The orphans walked down from the stockade to the lucerne field and they were not as active as usual, perhaps because of the cold.
After eating lucerne, they all walked to the bush. Vuria started rolling in the mud, scooping and throwing soil on his body. He later started crawling in a tortoise style. He was very much more active and his friends Kainuk, Shukuru, Mutara, Kithaka, Bomani, Lemoyian and Garzi joined him; he started playing and mounting on Kithaka. Shukuru also was very active playing and throwing her trunk around in the air. The group later walked slowly towards the mudbath for milk. At the mudbath it was still cold and none of them wanted to play in the mudhole; a few of them just drank water and left. Our truck couldn’t enter the mudhole because of the mud but we connected the pipe from the truck at the main road, down to the mud bath water trough. Orwa started play fighting with Barsilinga while Suguta scratched on a tree.
Back in the bush, the orphans met up with a group of ex-orphans and wild elephants; they interacted for only a short time before parting ways. The orphans started browsing as they headed home.
Back in the stockade we had Tomboi, Kilaguni, Kasigau, Kilabasi, Makireti and Chaimu. All the rest are fine and ok and there are some more signs of rain today.
16 November 2015
It was a very cold and quiet morning after we got 18 mm of rain over night. The elephants came out of their stables with Shukuru walking direct to the lucerne area. They started feasting on lucerne and Kanjoro began his morning by scratching on a nearby rock. The group later headed to the bush.
They were all quiet but busy searching for the fresh, green pasture. Vuria started rolling around on the ground while Barsilinga scratched and Sities struggled to browse as high on trees as she could. Kithaka also went down to his knees and start rolling in the mud while Barsilinga, Lemoyian and Teleki watched him. The group later headed to the mudbath.
They were not very active at the mud bath because of cold weather. Bongo was trying to sip some water spilling from Bomani's mouth as he drank. The group later walked back to the bush for browsing. Vuria was scooping and tossing some soil on his body whilst lying down and rolling around. Turkwel was pushing a tree to make it fall down but it didn’t. The group later walked back home for the evening milk feed. Back in the stockade, we had Wendi's group with her baby Wiva arrive; they were given some lucerne because of Wiva who looked very happy and active, scratching on a nearby rock. We started having some rain and in total we recorded 25mm today.
17 November 2015
It was a quiet morning today. The orphans came out of their respective stables quietly and walked to the lucerne. After awhile, they headed to the bush. There Bongo and Vuria started playing in the mud. They made a small water pool and started playing and rolling whilst Barsilinga also played in the red soil nearby, splashing his body. He was with Lemoiyan but Lemoyian was not that active. Later on, Vuria joined in and started scooping soil and throwing it on Barsilinga's back, then Barsilinga turned around and started mounting and then scratching on Vuria, when he was lying down to scoop the soil. A different group of Narok, Kainuk, Orwa, Bongo, Lemoyian and Bomani were busy playing and actively rolling in the new, fresh mud as they waited for mudbath time. Bomani was kicking Kanjoro's head while playing, and then they all headed to the mudbath. At the mudbath they were not very active, Mutara tried to kiss Bongo while Suguta was scratching on the tree and they headed back to the bush without anyone going into the mud bath. In the bush it started drizzling with rain and the elephants were much happier and started playing in the red soil. Kithaka and Bongo were flamboyantly active and played vigorously. Shukuru led the herd back home in the evening. We recorded 10 mm of rain today. Neither the ex-orphans nor any wild elephants were seen in the area today.
18 November 2015
Tomboi was waiting for the orphans as they came out of their stables today, to share lucerne with them. Whilst eating, Bomani started scratching on a rock with Barsilinga. The group led by Shukuru headed to the bush to browse. Once there, Orwa and Vuria started playing by pulling each other’s trunks. It was quite a cold day and overall the elephants were not very active. At the mudbath they seemed to be so quiet, only Kithaka and Vuria started play fighting just for some minutes before heading back to the bush for browsing. In the evening, Kithaka led the herd back home. We recorded only 3mm of rain today.
19 November 2015
After the orphans came out of their stables, Barsilinga was having a nice rub on the rock while Orwa was pushing Narok away from the lucerne. Then the group walked away to the bush for browsing. There Orwa and Barsilinga started playing a strength testing game while Teleki scratched his ears on a tree. Shukuru was stretching high for fresh, new shoots of leaves up a tree. Mutara, Narok, Shukuru, Sities and Turkwel started having fun and playing a rolling game along the dirt track. Sities and Narok seemed to enjoy the game much more than the rest. Later on, Lemoyian led the group to the mudbath for milk.
After their milk, Bongo led them to the mudhole, but he was the only one who wallowed as the rest were much more reluctant and decided just to watch Bongo.
From the mudbath, they all rushed to the bush looking for the new vegetation shoots; all the orphans were breaking, cutting, pulling, pealing at the new shoots and chewing for the rest of the day as each one wanted to fill his or her stomach. There was no more play time until Barsilinga led the group back home in the evening. No ex-orphans or wild elephants were seen today and we had no rain again today.
20 November 2015
Orwa started scratching and mounting on Garzi while Barsilinga was enjoying a neck scratch and Teleki a back scratch in the early morning this morning. Laragai led the group to the bush for browsing.
In the bush, Orwa started play fighting with Vuria while the others were very busy browsing. Kithaka later led the group to the mudbath for milk and to wallow in the mudhole. Once at the mudbath it so cold that no one decided to play in the mudhole. No wild bull or ex-orphans was seen either in the mudbath or in the stockade area. The orphans left back to the bush with their keepers after their lunch.
Each orphan was very busy browsing in the bush to fill their stomachs. Narok and Vuria started scooping and tossing chunks of soil in the air and some on their bodies. Bomani and Sities were stretching high to reach new, fresh vegetation sprouting from the rain. Sities was also standing at an awkward angle whilst she browsed and scratched simultaneously; it was very interesting to watch! Kithaka later led the group with Barsilinga back home in the evening for milk and bed time. There was no rain today.
21 November 2015
As usual, it has been very quiet this morning with orphan elephants quietly eating their lucerne after their morning breakfast of milk. Barsilinga and Kithaka were having a hind scratch on one rock while Orwa and Narok enjoyed their neck scratch. Later, Shukuru led the orphans back to the bush for browsing.
Here they all enjoyed browsing in the cool weather before they headed to the mudbath for milk.
At the mudbath it was still very cold and no one bothered to wallow; in fact they all walked in a group back to the bush with their keepers after lunch. A short while later it started raining and the elephants became much more active than before. Sities, Kanjoro, Lemoiyan, Vuria, Bongo, Narok, Mutara, Orwa and Teleki played much vigorously in a small water pool that had formed in the bush. Turkwel started scratching her belly on a bent tree and as soon as she left Lemoyian went to the same tree to have a neck scratch. After he has finished Orwa took over for a belly scratch! Kithaka, Vuria and Turkwel were trying to make a chain of their trunks by Kithaka waving up in the air, Vuria putting his trunk in Kithaka's mouth with Turkwel putting her trunk in Vuria's mouth. It was quite funny to watch this little game unfold. Later on, Barsilinga started whispering to Kithaka and Lemoyian and they started walking, followed by the other orphans, back home. No ex-orphan or wild elephants were seen today. We got 10mm of rain in total today.
22 November 2015
It was a quiet morning as the sun rose up clearly on the horizon. The elephants quietly came out of their stables one by one to the lucerne field, with Shukuru running fast towards the keeper carrying lucerne. Kithaka later led them to the bush.
In the bush it was very cold and the elephants were not very active until mudbath time. Here they became much more active after they had finished their milk and had some water. Sities and Bongo found a pool of water and started playing in it; they were then joined by the rest with exception of Orwa and Barsilinga. They all played vigorously and they liked it because it was a small pool of water which was warmer than the big mudhole full of cold water. They enjoyed it so much and even Shukuru was rolling around with her legs up in the air and her ears wide open. They all rolled in different styles and it was fun to watch them. Later, Mutara led them back in the bush for more browsing. No ex-orphans or wild elephants were seen in the stockade area or mudbath area.
In the bush it had started becoming greener and greener and all the orphans were having a nice time browsing looking for all he fresh green stuff to fill their stomachs. They were extra busy today, not like on other days. We recorded 15mm of rain last night.
23 November 2015
It was a very quiet morning with a very thick mist hanging in the air today. The orphans came out and walked to the lucerne field as normal. Barsilinga started having a thigh scratch whilst Teleki knelt down to scratch in a tortoise style. Our ex-orphan Tomboi came in to join them. Suguta started having a belly scratch while Orwa and Kainuk started play fighting. Suguta and Sities were struggling to reach for fresh green food on trees whose branches were a bit too high. Barsilinga and Vuria were having a chat whilst Tomboi rolled on the ground in the red soil; the group later headed to the mudbath.
At the mudbath we had Bomani, Shukuru, Vuria, Teleki, Narok and Barsilinga. Vuria started mounting Barsilinga whilst wallowing in the mudhole. They were later joined by Bongo, Laragai, Garzi, Kanjoro, Suguta and Sities. The whole group later walked out running as they headed back to the bush for browsing.
They were all busy browsing when Kanjoro came across a water pool and started playing. Then the whole herd became excited and decided to join him. They played vigorously with everyone trying to change their skin colour from grey to red. Orwa came out and started scratching his belly using a stick with his trunk and holding his right foreleg in the air. Vuria rolled around in the mud like a crab with his whole body full of mud. Then Shukuru led the group back home in the evening. Tomboi left the group at that time. There was no rain today.
24 November 2015
All the orphans ate their lucerne nicely this morning, Barsilinga enjoyed a good scratch and then they all walked into the bush. There we had a good play fighting show from Orwa and Vuria. They played for some time until Vuria finally surrendered. He started sharpening his tusks by piercing them in the soil and then came back to play with Orwa again. Bongo, Kithaka and Garzi found a water pool and started playing in it. Laragai, Bomani and Kanjoro started rolling on the ground as they scoop and tossed soil in the air. They all then walked slowly to the mudbath. There we met Napasha, Tomboi and Challa playing in small rainy water dams in the field near the mudbath. Later, Wendi's group with Wiva came and walked straight into the orphans group. They interacted for a short time and then they walked away. Back in the bush, Barsilinga was rolling around in the grass whilst Garzi tried to mount him. Wendi's group came into the stockade in the evening and drank water; then Wiva started playing with her mother and trying to kiss her. She was making circles around her mother and after some time, the group left again. There was no rain today.
25 November 2015
Kainuk was scratching her neck on a rock this morning while Barsilinga enjoying a thigh scratch. Laragai took a bunch of lucerne and hid herself in the far corner to feast on it on her own without being disturbed. Vuria, Orwa and Garzi drank some water before they left for the bush; Shukuru led them.
In the bush, Vuria was browsing next to Orwa while Kithaka and Barsilinga browsed together. Sities scratched his ear while Bomani started having fun with a stick by kicking it along the ground. Kithaka then led the group to the mudbath. Once there the majority of them led by Mutara, the matriarch, wallowed peacefully in the mudhole. We had Bongo, Kanjoro, Vuria, Teleki, Laragai, Sities, Kainuk and Garzi there too. They played vigorously for a short time and then came out running back to the bush to follow their fellow friends who had left earlier.
Back in the bush everyone was trying to search for the fresh green food. It was like in a competition for browsing. Later Kanjoro led the group back home in the evening for milk. We had only Tomboi come for water in the stockade today, and we had no rain.
26 November 2015
It was a quiet morning with the elephants walking down to the lucerne field after their morning milk. The weather was cool with some heavy clouds in the air. Barsilinga started scratching his hind legs while Kithaka scratched his neck quite hard. Later Shukuru led the group to the bush for browsing. After a short time, heavy rain started to fall and the elephants started running here and there. It took a long time for the rain to finish and some of the elephants had scattered around the bush. The keepers managed to round them all up and by the time they had found the last group the rain had started again. All the orphans and the keeper walked straight to the mudbath for milk. At that time we still had some drizzle and the elephants were still excited and restless, but later they came together and settled down, and started to walk together as one group until the evening Laragai led the group back home. No ex-orphans or wild elephants were seen near the stockade area. We recorded 65mm of rainfall today.
27 November 2015
It was so quiet and cool after yesterday’s heavy rain that poured over the whole area. After the orphan elephants were done with their bottles, they peacefully walked down to the lucerne field to feast. Orwa started putting his trunk in his mouth in anticipation while a keeper tried to untie the lucerne strings. Kainuk climbed up a rock and started feasting from the top while Kanjoro enjoyed a good scratch. Later
Barsilinga and Kithaka led everyone to the bush.
Vuria was browsing next to Garzi as they are always firm friends. Mutara had a height advantage over the others in order to browse for very high fresh pastures. Kanjoro was playing with Bomani while Suguta peacefully played with Orwa. Vuria, Turkwel and Kainuk were browsing while standing on top of the rocks in the bush. Bomani started scooping and tossing some soil chunks in the air and some on his back. Bongo later came across a water pool and started playing in with Kithaka.
At the mudbath, most of them were happily playing despite the cold temperature. Bongo was mounting Orwa whilst trying to swim at the same time. Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian didn’t play with Kithaka who was scratching on a tree in the mudbath. The group later headed back to the bush. There Kainuk began scratching her ears on a tree while Shukuru and Garzi browsed together. Laragai later led the group back home in the evening for milk. We got some rain drizzle of 3mm only today, but there are still signs of rain tonight. All other orphans are fine and well but we did not see any ex-orphans or wild elephants in the area today.
28 November 2015
After the usual breakfast of lucerne in the morning, Bongo started playing. A flock of geese also visited the stockade this morning. Zurura led some of the ex-orphans to the stockade area where he started clearing the way for them by charging the innocent geese, who politely flew away. After the breakfast and some games, Bomani and Mutara lead the others to the bush to browse. Yatta and rest of the herd arrived a few seconds later where they headed straight to the water trough to quench thirst. Little Wiva grabbed that chance to suckle from her mum as she knew there was a long day ahead.
The ex-orphans left the water trough in hurry, just as they had arrived, heading to the bush led by Kinna with little Wiva running after her. The young orphans settled to browse as soon as they reached their destination. The keeper dependants browsed for the better half of the day and just before 11am they started to walk to the mudbath for their noon milk feed. After downing their milk bottles, the young ones ran towards the mudhole where Bongo, Mutara, Teleki and Mutara led them in for a cheerful wallow.
Kithaka led the others for the second round of browsing. There were no playing activities because they were all busy grabbing as much vegetation as they could to fill the stomach. That's all for the day.
29 November 2015
As the orphans left their stockade Barsilinga started rubbing his hind legs on a rock with Bongo. Lemoyian led the rest of the herd to the bush. Sities started rolling on the ground in red soil and Lemoyian, Barsilinga, Vuria, Narok, and Mutara joined her. Narok was waving her trunk in the air as she rolled in the red soil. It was so interesting to watch as Mutara kicked around in the air, catching some of the others with her kicks by mistake. They were left with some red patches on their bodies from her feet! Bongo came across a water pool and started playing in it. They all looked happy as they walked towards the mudbath.
Some of them like Orwa, Mutara, Narok, Shukuru, Vuria, Bongo, Sities, Laragai and Kainuk played despite the cold, and later walked back to the bush. Back in the bush Orwa started mounting on Vuria while others rolling in red soil along the road. Vuria and Barsilinga were the most playful of them all. Orwa started playing with Garzi too and then Sities joined in. No ex-orphans came in the stockade today and there was no more rain today.
30 November 2015
It was a lovely morning this morning as the elephants walked down to the lucerne field. Vuria climbed up the rock as he followed bits of lucerne that had fallen there. He looked so beautiful with his heavy trunk and pointed tasks and smiling face. Teleki started playing with Bongo but soon ended the game in fear of being knocked down. Vuria joined Barsilinga in having a neck scratch. Bomani scratched his belly and Mutara browsed with Suguta. It was very green in the area with different species of lovely birds.
Out in the bush Vuria was climbing a rock with Barsilinga, Lemoyian, Kithaka, Orwa and Garzi. Suguta struggled for fresh pasture from a tree. Kainuk was very active and rolled on the ground playing. They later headed to the mudbath. Here Mutara, Narok, Vuria, Bongo, Sities, Garzi, Laragai, Kainuk, Lemoyian and Orwa played vigorously. Lemoyian pulled Mutara's tail in the water. Later they all came out and walked back to the bush. Suguta started scooping and tossing chunks of soil in the air as Barsilinga enjoyed the fresh pasture with the other elephants. No wild elephants or ex-orphans came into the stockade area today and there was also no rain.