Keepers' Diaries, November 2016
Ithumba Reintegration Unit
The characteristic hot and dry weather of the dry season of Tsavo continued into the month, but as the month wore on, humidity built up, promising the onset of rain at last. At the beginning of the month the orphans felt the heat during the day, so even those such as Kithaka and Orwa, who don’t normally like the water, were going into the mud bath to cool down. The wild flowers began to bloom, which is one of the first indicators that rain was imminent. The first drizzle arrived on the 5th of the month; delighting little Boromoko who sipped the fresh rainwater from the rocks. The build up of rain clouds continued and it rained again on the 13th and by the 15th the meaningful showers arrived, bringing relief and happiness to the orphans who relished the soft, wet earth and new puddles in which to play. From that moment on the orphans preferred to play and wet themselves in the large rain puddle close to the water hole, instead of bathing in the larger and colder main mud wallow. Whenever it rained, the orphans, and especially Orwa, Bomani, and Bongo, and even Shukuru as well, relished playing in the mud. On the last day of the month it rained heavily accompanied by thunder and lightning which caused some confusion among the orphans, so the Keepers had to round up all their charges again and walk them slowly back to the stockades for their afternoon milk. That day 42mm of rain was recorded.
01 November 2016
It was a quiet morning with the orphan elephants walking out of their respective stockades after drinking their milk. They met with Suguta’s group of Ex Orphans and joined them by feasting on lucerne. Suguta and Narok seemed to be having a chat and we wondered if Suguta was trying to convince Narok to join them in the wild. Zurura came in and joined them before they left for the bush. Later on Boromoko, one of the youngest ones, led the group to the bush for browsing. Narok and Shukuru were scooping and tossing chunks of soil in the air and some on their heads.
Still in the bush, Bomani was climbing on Sirimon while Orwa and Sokotei were playing. Kithaka was scratching on a rock while Shukuru was rolling on the soil. Later a wild bull came in who joined them for a while before they headed to mudbath; Sokotei led the group.
At mudbath, Olsekki showed off his intelligence by picking a bottle of milk by himself and drinking it! It was very hot with all of the orphans playing in the mudbath including Kithaka and Orwa who don’t particularly like water. They all came out in a line to the dust bath and started playing in the dust. They later headed back to the bush for browsing.
It was still very hot and everyone was struggling to catch up with browsing as fast as they could. Sokotei later led the group back home in the evening. Back in the stockade, we had Wendi's group with a few wild bulls who came for water and left.
02 November 2016
The orphans didn’t have any visitors this morning when they came out of their stockades and made their way to the lucerne area to feed. Then in came a group of 7 wild bulls who came to drink water and later left. The orphans were peacefully feasting on Lucerne without being disturbed by either the Ex Orphans or any wild ellies. Orwa was scratching his neck with Laragai. The orphans later walked into the bush for browsing.
In the bush everyone was busy browsing while Bomani was scratching behind his ears. Lemoyian led the group towards the mudbath.
Here they all got in the mud and started playing. Everyone had some patches of mud on his or her body. They later exited the mudbath in a line walking to the bush whilst only Orwa and Shukuru enjoyed a dust bath.
Back in the bush, it was very hot so all the orphans were hiding under the shade before they came out for browsing again. They later browsed for a bit in the sun before walking back home in the evening. They all looked active with everyone trying to lead everyone else when heading back home for their evening milk.
03 November 2016
This morning all the orphans enjoyed the fresh, green lucerne which came in yesterday evening. Enkikwe started scratching his neck and belly whilst Narok watched him. However the peace was disrupted when the Ex Orphans from Wendi and Olare’s group arrived. They all started sharing the lucerne together. Wiva was very active and playful and she later walked to the rocks where she started scratching. Naisula on the other side seemed to be communicating with Bomani. The orphans later walked away with keepers for the bush. The Ex Orphans didn't stay long after the orphans left but went in a different direction.
Out in the park all the orphans were extra very busy struggling to search for the food to eat in the hot and dry area. Boromoko and Barsilinga were scratching on the same tree at the same time. Shukuru and her friends were busy browsing on the other side and a short while later they all walked to the mud bath. Sirimon and Sokotei led the way.
At mud bath we had 8 wild bulls who came in to drink water and some started playing the mud hole. After their milk the orphans joined the wild bulls in the mud hole but the wild bulls later walked away. One wild bull later came back to the mudhole and joined the orphans for a very short time before walking away again. The water bowser arrived with fresh water and the orphans, who had not previously been able to have any as the wild bulls had drunk it, came over and started drinking water straight from the bowser! They later walked back to the bush to browse .
Back in the bush, Bongo was stretching his trunk up into a very tall tree to try and reach the greener leaves. Narok on the other side was playing and rolling the ground as she picked and threw chunks of soil on her back. Lemoyian later led the group back home in the evening.
In the stockade we had Mutara’s group who came in this evening to drink water and eat left over lucerne.
04 November 2016
It was a cool morning today and the orphans peacefully enjoyed their lucerne without competition from either Ex Orphans or any wild elephants after their morning bottle. Boromoko was clever as he carried lucerne between his mouth and trunk and hid himself separately before he started eating. Bongo on the other hand was carrying of some Lucerne on his head as stock for later. Siangiki was scratching her belly while Narok scratched her neck. The group walked to the water trough to drink water and then walked away to the bush for browsing.
Orwa and Vuria tested their strength by play fighting while Garzi and Bomani chatted between themselves. Laragai on the other side was scooping and tossing chunks of soil in the air and some on her back at the same time, digging down and uprooting the roots to eat as food using her tusks. Sokotei later led the group to mudbath for milk.
At the mudbath, Sokotei, Sirimon and Boromoko with Olsekki, Siangiki and Enkikwe walked straight to the mud hole and started playing in it. They walked out of mudhole again and Boromoko and Sokotei started scratching their belly’s on the visitors seat. Bongo led part of the group back to the mudhole and started playing in it while Barsilinga and Kithaka play fought. Barsilinga led the group back to the bush where everyone was extra busy browsing to catch up with time. After a long evening browse, Sokotei led the group back home in the evening. There are signs of rain but we haven't received any yet.
Back in the stockade, we had Wendi's group with the babies Wiva and Gawa. They drunk water and left after that.
05 November 2016
Kithaka was being a naughty boy today and blocked Sokotei from coming out of the gate from coming out of their stables, to try and push him back in. They all looked active and fully content with everyone smiling as they walked out.
Garzi started scratching his bottom as Bomani stretched and scratched his neck. They enjoyed the lucerne without any interruption from the Ex Orphans who were not around.
In the bush after their lucerne, Vuria was play fighting with Orwa and later Orwa started browsing together as they chatted with Boromoko. All the rest were busy browsing with Shukuru being at the forefront to browse and search for fresh pasture. It wasn’t very hot today and we even had some drizzle of 2mm of rain today! Olsekki was busy sipping some rain water off the rocks. Lemoyian later led the group to the mudbath for milk.
At the mudbath, it was not very hot but Laragai led some of the orphans including, Bongo, Narok, Garzi, Barsilinga and Vuria to the mudhole and started playing. They later came out with Shukuru scratching her side on a tree to remove some insects. Orwa came in close to her and they started communicating; they later walked back to the bush with other orphans.
Back in the bush, it was very hot and all the orphans converged under the trees for shade from the direct sunlight. The group came in back to the stockade in the evening for their milk and they looked very tired. We had Mutara’s group back in the stockade this evening who came to drink water and left. Tomboi also appeared today at the stockade.
06 November 2016
The elephants walked out of their stockades to the lucerne field and shared it with Ex Orphans from Olare’s group, who had already been given first priority. They all interacted together with Chemi Chemi play fighting with Orwa while Barsilinga and Narok twisted their trunks together. They all socialised and the orphans started walking towards the water trough to drink water before walking off into the park.
Barsilinga and Kithaka browsed together whilst Vuria stretched high to reach the nice leaves high up in the tree. At mud bath they all walked in and started playing; Sokotei ran away with a bottle of milk to the mudhole and dropped it after he had finished all the milk. Two wild bulls came to drink water and stayed for awhile after. The group later walked back to the bush for browsing.
It was still very hot and the orphans stayed under shade to protect themselves from the direct sunlight until the urge to browse became too strong and they came out to do so. Boromoko led the group back home in the evening. Back in the stockade compound we had Olare’s group also arrive in the evening who drank water and left.
07 November 2016
This morning the three Ex Orphans Kilaguni, Chaimu and Ishanga visited the stockade in the morning before the orphans were let out of their pens. The orphans walked out and joined the older three. They all shared the lucerne and both groups respected each other’s space. The orphans walked to the bush with their keepers after the lucerne had finished.
Out in the bush Shukuru stretched high to reach the nice leaves while Kithaka was scratching on the tree, and Barsilinga and Bongo watched him. Teleki was playing a funny game and rolling on the ground whilst Olsekki playing with Siangiki and Bomani play fought with Lemoyian. The group later headed to mudbath.
We had a very interesting mudbath today when all the orphans walked into the mud hole and started playing vigorously, splashing and rolling around. On the other side, we had a wild group of elephants playing and rolling around in the same mud hole; the two groups were very interesting to watch! The orphans then came out to drink water and walk back into the bush to browse. Kithaka was very muddy today, despite his dislike of water on his body! He started a pushing play fight with Lemoyian. They later headed to dust bath together with Barsilinga and Orwa; Kithaka rolled on the ground while Barsilinga climbed on him.
It was very hot for some of the orphans and they hid under shade for some time before they continued browsing. Later, Vuria led the group back home in the evening for milk.
Back in the compound we had Galana with Gawa and the rest of this Ex Orphan group coming for water. Gawa was most active and was playing with Suguta, Kanjoro and finally with Sities. We had Kilaguni, Ishanga and Chaimu came back with the group. We had also 15 wild bulls and Gawa went straight to drink water from the trough between them and the other elephants; the Ex Orphans later walked away in the very late evening.
08 November 2016
It was a very interesting morning when a big group of wild elephants arrived to drink water in the compound. The orphans became very active when a big group came in; they thought that they might be coming to snatch their food! Later Kilaguni, Chaimu and Ishanga joined the orphans to eat lucerne. The wild bulls concentrated on drinking water only. Laragai, a clever girl, took a big bunch of lucerne and ate it some distance away. The three Ex Orphans peacefully enjoyed the lucerne without any fear of interruption. Lemoyian was eating with Chaimu and Ishanga and slightly later the orphans all went out to drink water and go to the bush to browse.
Everyone in the bush was peacefully looking for the food to eat before mudbath. They met Mutara’s group in the bush consisting of Sities, Turkwel, Kainuk, Suguta, Kanjoro and Kilaguni, Chaimu and Ishanga. Garzi was playing with Vuria while Sokotei and Boromoko browsed together. Sokotei led the group to mudbath for milk.
Wendi’s group including Wiva and some wild bulls were at mud bath. Our orphans walked to the mudhole to play after their milk and they started interacting with the Ex Orphans and wild elephants too. Wiva played in the mudhole with her mother and her Nannies Kinna and Lenana. Mulika with her baby Mwende were among them. The orphans walked back to the bush for browsing. It was very hot and they decided to stay under some shade for awhile before continuing to browse. Boromoko, Sokotei and Sirimon were browsing together. Lemoyian led them all back home in the evening.
Back in the stockade we had a group of wild bulls with Mutara’s group. Later Galana with her baby Gawa with her group of nannies arrived too including Sidai, Naserian, Sunyei and Chyulu. They came in for water.
09 November 2016
It was a lovely morning today with Olare’s group visiting the stockade very early to join the orphans in lucerne feeding. Olare and Olsekki started scratching their neck in different places but on the same rock. The wild bulls came in to the water trough and started drinking water peacefully without fear. One wild bull joined the Ex Orphans with our orphans to eat lucerne too. He was well behaved and interacted with our elephants nicely. Narok and Boromoko were scratching their neck and legs on the rock separately. Garzi started play-fighting with Chemi Chemi, the youngest Ex Orphan, while Kibo and Orwa interacted for some time. Later on, Orwa, Kibo and Laragai had what seemed like an elephant group hug, before Kibo started trying to climb on Orwa. It was funny as we watched him kneel down to try and attract Chemi Chemi to the game too. The group later left to the bush for browsing.
Orwa started playing with keepers which was really nice. Olsekki on the other side was browsing and just playing with his trunk. The group later headed to the mudbath. Here, some of the orphans like Narok, Bongo, Shukuru, Barsilinga, Lemoyian, Laragai, Sirimon and Sokotei played vigorously. Bomani was playing out of the mudhole with Sirimon climbing on him. Bomani scratched on the visitors seat and later went to play fight with Lemoyian. The group headed to dust bath and later back to the bush for to browse. Three wild bulls arrived and Bongo majestically drank water with them without fear.
Whilst browsing later most of the orphans browsed separately. Orwa and Boromoko like to browse next to the keepers for company. The group later headed back home in the evening.
Mutara’s group arrived in the stockade compound this evening with, Sities, Suguta, Kanjoro, Kainuk and Turkwel. We had also a big group of wild bulls who came in very late in the evening. We had no rain today.
10 November 2016
It was a lovely morning when Galana’s group came into the stockades very early in the morning and with another group of wild elephants for water. Galana came with the nannies, Lualeni, Sidai, Lenana, Naserian and Chyulu among other Ex Orphans. After a few minutes Wendi's group with Wiva and the other nannies Kinna, Nasalot, Sunyei, Yatta and Yetu, Mulika with Mwende among other Ex Orphans also arrived! Wiva was suckling from her mother while Kinna was playing and scratching on Mulika. Wiva was very active charging at the keepers who were walking around her. Mwende was suckling from her mother Mulika while Kinna was scratching on a rock. Galana also scratched on a rock with her baby Gawa rubbing her head on the rock under her mother. Gawa later went and scratched her mouth on the rock next to Sidai who is one of her nannies. Wiva was playing here and there with Barsilinga, Garzi and Orwa having a group hug. Orwa started playing with Kibo. Bomani and Laragai went back to their stockade accompanied by Chyulu. Kithaka and Lemoyian started play fighting and later Lemoyian went on to play fight with Bomani. When the orphans left to go into the park to browse they were accompanied by some Ex Orphans like Madiba, and some from Olare’s group and Meibai too. They browsed together until mudbath time and Olsekki led them there.
At mud bath we had 13 wild bulls with a few Ex Orphans who had joined the orphans group in the bush. Our orphans went straight to the mudbath after their milk and started playing in it. We had a wild bull who joined them and who was very friendly to them. The orphans walked on ahead to the dust bath with Kithaka scooping and tossing chunks of soil in the air, and some on his back; they all played in the dust very actively and Orwa rolled around in the dust vigorously. Madiba was trying to charge while Shukuru was running following the orphans who had walked away from the mudbath. Barsilinga led the group back to the bush for browsing.
Back in the bush it was very hot and everyone was trying his or her best to get something to eat. Orwa had the advantage of his height to browse higher than the others. The orphans met with Mutara and Sities who stayed with them the rest of the day.
There are some beautiful flowers in bloom which suggests some sign of rain to come. The group later headed back home in the evening for their milk. They were still accompanied by Mutara and Sities and by Rapsu too, to the stockades. There was no rain today but we expect it soon!
11 November 2016
One wild family of a mother and her two calves visited the stockade this morning. The youngest calf was about 4 years was suckling from her mother. The orphans enjoyed the lucerne peacefully. Laragai was very clever as she took a bunch of lucerne and walked away with it to hide and eating separately from the others to avoid being disturbed. It was a lovely sunrise this morning. Narok enjoyed scratching her back leg before the orphans walked to the water trough to drink water before walking out into the park.
In the bush it was very hot and dry with Sokotei uprooting some roots to eat. Everyone was seriously browsing and Shukuru was not being left behind. Boromoko and Sirimon were scratching on one tree at the same time. Lemoyian was patting Kithaka and later invited Bomani to join in their cuddle. Barsilinga was scratching on a tree. Sirimon later led the group to mudbath.
The orphans were very active at the mud bath with Challa joining the orphans in the mud. They walked out later to the water trough to drink water. Bomani and Sirimon were play fighting while Barsilinga scooped and tossed soil chunks in the air and on his back, changing the body colour. Barsilinga and Lemoyian stated play fighting again whilst Orwa scratched and Bongo was busy playing in the mudhole. Orwa and Kithaka were having a dust bath, while Bongo chased away the warthogs who were coming to the mudhole to drink water and mud bathe. Garzi and Barsilinga went on play fighting again.
Back in the park Vuria was eating the branches from Orwa’s mouth. They met up with Wendi's group and browsed together for some time. The orphans were later led by Vuria back home in the evening for their milk.
12 November 2016
It was a busy morning today as Wendi’s big group arrived with all our four babies : we had Mulika with Mwende, Yatta with Yetu, Wendi with Wiva and finally Galana with Gawa. Gawa is so beautiful and such an active baby; nannies Sidai, Loijok and Narok kept close watch over her. She was playing with Narok as she lay down on the ground with her. It was so interesting to watch this fun game she was playing with all these older elephants. She later ran towards her main nanny Lualeni. Wiva on the other side was sucking from her mother. The Lucerne area was very full with lots of Ex Orphans and some wild elephants as well. The orphans walked away to the bush leaving behind the Ex Orphans and wild group.
In the bush, Shukuru was very busy browsing and everyone else kept themselves busy too. Garzi and Barsilinga started play fighting while Boromoko played with a tree trunk. Kithaka led the group back to mudbath for their milk.
Olsekki, Siangiki and Boromoko walked straight to the water and start playing in it. They were later accompanied by Sokotei, Boromoko and Sirimon. Lemoyian also joined them in the mud hole and he started play fighting with Bomani. The group later headed back to the bush for browsing with Shukuru leading them. Olsekki was busy uprooting roots of different plants to eat and there is not very much vegetation around due to the lack of rainfall; we are all praying the rains come soon! All the orphans were very busy searching for browse. Orwa must have got something in his eye as he spent a long time scratching it. Barsilinga later led the group back home in the evening.
13 November 2016
It was a lovely morning today when the orphans finished up their morning milk and walked to the lucerne area to feed. They found a wild female with two calves, approximately 8 and 3 years, waiting to join them to eat. They were welcomed but they started misbehaving by trying to push the orphans away. We separated them and later gave them some lucerne separate from the orphans. Enkikwe had a mouth full of lucerne and scratched himself at the same time. Makireti, Kasigau and Kilibasi came in later and joined the group too. Kithaka and Garzi started play fighting whilst the rest of the group headed to the bush. Makireti and her group followed them to the bush. Bomani snatched some food from Olsekki’s mouth while he was eating and there was not much Olsekki could do about it. Everyone was busy getting as much browse as they could. We had a little drizzle of rain today and the orphans really enjoyed the relief from the high temperature. Kithaka and Barsilinga started kissing each other with their trunks as the others were busy browsing. Then they all headed to the mudbath.
At the mud bath it was still very hot despite the morning drizzle. We had 6 wild bulls who came in and drank water and later joined the orphans in the mudhole to play. The orphans later walked out of the mud hole, leaving behind the wild bulls. Barsilinga started scratching on the tree while Bomani played with Lemoyian. Orwa and Bongo later started play fighting again. Narok was playing and rolling on the ground while Orwa, Kithaka and Sokotei pushing on her back. Later she got up and started play fighting with Orwa again. Lemoyian led the group back to the bush from the mudbath.
It was very hot today and the elephants all hid under the shade of the trees. They later on started browsing in a hurry to catch up with the time they wasted in the shade, and Barsilinga led them back home in the evening.
In the stockade today three wild bulls came to drink water. Chaimu, Murka and Ishanga also came to drink water and they were later followed in by Makireti, Kasigau and Kilibasi. They all drank water and went back into the park. We are still waiting for more rain.
14 November 2016
This morning the orphans enjoyed their Lucerne in peace without interruption from the either the Ex Orphans or any wild elephants. Laragai and Barsilinga took their share and went to hide at a distance and continue eating. Shukuru was not very active today and she was separately playing in the dust but not as actively as other days and she was not eating lucerne. Bongo on the other side was scratching on the rocks. Olsekki and Teleki were scratching on the rock separately before they walked away to the bush. Kithaka and Shukuru went on scratching on a different rock. Bongo was quietly eating lucerne peacefully in the corner. Lemoyian, Narok and Kithaka were the first ones to take off to the water trough to drink water. Lemoyian started play fighting with Kithaka and later Kithaka played with Bomani. Kithaka started playing and rolling a tree trunk whilst he held a stick in his mouth.
In the bush the elephants were very active with some of them like Vuria rolling on the ground whilst Narok and Bomani watched him. It was still very dry but a bit colder today after we received some drizzle this morning. Everyone was struggling to find something to eat before it was milk time. Sokotei later led the group to mudbath for milk. It was cold whilst the orphans were there and no one was interested in playing in the water; after milk they all walked back to the bush to browse.
Later on in the day the weather changed yet again and it suddenly became very humid and the elephants stayed for sometime under a shade, resting, before they headed out to browse. Shukuru now became a bit more active and started browsing very fast, searching for the best food to browse on. Sokotei and Boromoko were browsing together and later they all walked back home in the evening for their milk and to go to sleep.
In the stockades today we had Wendi's group with Galana and baby Gawa too. We were very shocked to see Wendi without Wiva and we looked all around and checked the whole group but we couldn't see her. All of a sudden the nannies Kinna, Lenana, Naserian arrived with Wiva. Wendi, Lualeni and Loijuk met them as they walked in towards the water trough. They came in and drank water and left back to the bush again. Fewer numbers of elephants are coming for water in the stockades these days as other parts of the park have already received heavy rain and the vegetation is starting to grow again already there too. There was no heavy rain here today though, just a little drizzle.
15 November 2016
It was a slightly colder morning here today whilst the orphan elephants enjoyed their lucerne in peace without the Ex Orphans. We had some rain last night and the area is calm now. Orwa was eating lucerne from the base of the rock. Barsilinga started play fighting with Garzi and Narok with Kithaka, Shukuru on the other side was playing with a post and rubbing her tusks and trunk on the fence post. The elephants walked to drink water from the water trough and later walked away with keepers to the bush.
Back in the bush, Kithaka and Bomani were scooping and tossing chunks of soil in the air while Laragai scratched away. Orwa was scratching his trunk on a big baobab tree while other orphans were busy browsing. Barsilinga later led the group to mudbath for their milk.
At the mudbath, all the orphans played in the mudhole except Shukuru. Narok and Orwa played vigorously whilst Garzi had some fun on his own on the other side of the mudhole. Sokotei scratched his behind on the visitor’s seat. They all walked out of the mudhole and Bomani, Orwa and Shukuru decided to enjoy a dust bath. Shukuru didn't bother having a mudbath but did enjoy a dust bath. The group later walked back to the bush to browse. No of the Ex Orphans nor any wild elephants came to visit the mud bath or the stockade today.
We recorded 8 mm of rain this late evening as the first big rain we have received so far this year – finally the rain is bringing some relief to the area but animals have to make it through this tough time too.
16 November 2016
It is a lovely morning today after we received a heavy rainfall of 28 mm last night. The elephants were very happy and most active when they came out of their stockades. Laragai, as usual, was carrying a big bunch of lucerne in her mouth and walking away with it to hide and eat separately. Olsekki was scratching his neck while Shukuru rest her trunk on Vuria’s back. Enkikwe on the other side was scratching his belly, while Shukuru waved her trunk in the air as she smelt something. Bongo started playing in the mud and Barsilinga joined him briefly before the whole group walked to the bush to browse.
Everyone looked for food to eat whilst Vuria scratched on a tree while Shukuru and Kithaka tried to browse off the high branches of the same tree. Shukuru drank water off a rock before they headed to mudbath.
The orphans first walked to the mudhole after their milk but they only splashed the water on their bodies, turning their skin different colours, before walking to the water trough to drink water. Boromoko started scratching his ears on the tree while Barsilinga searched tree bark to eat. The water in the mudbath was very cold but the orphans were clever and found a warm pool of water along the road and they started fully playing in this puddle vigorously. Shukuru was very active and rolled in the mud whilst trying to climb on Narok. Bongo was also playing in the mud and digging into the soil with his tusk while Vuria splashed water as he played. Lemoyian on the other side was climbing on Kithaka, and Orwa and Barsilinga test their strength by play fighting with each other. When they started browsing again everyone was very busy trying to find food and Bomani was stretching to reach the highest and nicest food up in the tall branches of the trees. Later, Sokotei led the group back home in the evening. No Ex Orphans or the wild elephants visited the stockades today.
17 November 2016
Today the orphans walked out of their respective stockades to the lucerne area after their morning milk bottled and they enjoyed the lucerne without any disturbance from other elephants. Laragai the naughty girl took her share as usual and went to eat it alone in the corner. They walked to the water trough to drink water before they headed out to the bush. Barsilinga, Bomani and Narok were the first ones to start moving. Orwa was touching Narok beside the water trough and hugging her with his trunk. Vuria on the other side was stretching high to get the tasty bark from a tree. The group walked away heading to the bush.
In the bush Barsilinga was diving down onto the soil while Orwa scooped and splashed it on his back. Barsilinga later started pushing with Boromoko when Boromoko tried to use the soil he has dug for himself to play with. The rest of the group was browsing altogether.
At the mud bath today the elephants decided it was too cold for them to play in the big mudwallow and instead they went and played in the big puddle made by the rain water along the road which is a bit warmer. Most of them played in the mud vigorously including Shukuru who was resting her head and trunk on Vuria’s back. Teleki, Bongo and Kithaka were covered in mud after rolling around. The rest went ahead and started dusting themselves in the soil to try and dry. Shukuru came over and started playing with Garzi. Sirimon later led the group back to the bush with the keepers. In the bush everyone was busy struggling to browse before returning to the stockades in the evening. It is still very dry in the bush as we wait for more rain. None of the Ex Orphans or any wild elephants were seen today at the mudbath or in the stockades today, and it did not rain at Ithumba today.
18 November 2016
As usual the orphans walked down to the lucerne area after their morning breakfast of milk. They all looked active and happy as they walked down and found the food ready for them. Laragai took her bunch and walked away with it. Vuria started scratching his bottom with Kithaka decided to copy him but on a separate rock. The group started walking towards the water trough to drink water before they left to the bush.
When in the bush, everyone was busy browsing. Barsilinga browsed next to Bomani as they communicated and Orwa stretched high to reach the green leaves in the tree. It’s still very dry in the bush and we are waiting for the vegetation to recover from the drought; though today we received 16 mm of rainfall, we need some more for sure. Narok was rolling down on the ground playing with Vuria and kissing him with her trunk. Kithaka led the group to mudbath.
At the mud bath the elephants seemed like they didn’t want to go into the main water hole, but obviously with Bongo had to get in and test the water. He was the only one who walked in and started to play in the water. The rest walked to the road and started playing in the rain puddle which has formed there, which is warmer water than the main one. Narok, Barsilinga, Kithaka, Garzi and Vuria were the most playful and active elephants of the day. Shukuru was not left behind despite her health problems and being slower than the others, she too was actively rolling in the mud and enjoying the puddle.
Back in the bush, everyone was browsing to the best of their abilities and to make sure they filled up their stomachs before heading back to the stockades. They were happily browsing on the young sprouting shoots, due to the rain, which are most delicious; everyone was searching for these young green shoots. We didn’t see the Ex Orphans today or any wild elephants.
19 November 2016
All the orphans quietly ate their lucerne this morning. Shukuru was active though and was eating her lucerne from the top of the rock. Kithaka was scratching his bottom with Bomani on separate rocks. The group later headed to the bush for browsing.
In the bush Bongo and Teleki were browsing on the high tree branches together. Then Bongo went to play with Narok and later Narok started entertaining their friends by rolling on the ground with Lemoyian and Bomani trying to climb on her. The group later left to the mudbath for their milk.
At the mud bath it was interesting to watch Bongo rolling in the mud along the road. The rest of the group then followed him. Everyone was very active and playing in the mud and no one was left out. They all went down on their knees whilst they were playing. Boromoko, one of the youngest, was diving down and pushing the soil with his tusks as he made lots of loose soil to throw on his body. Orwa and all the others were so happy and quite content with this muddy puddle that none of them wanted to go into the main mudbath. The group was led by Boromoko back to the bush.
In the bush Orwa was busy doing leg exercises as he scratched them. Barsilinga and Kithaka found a small puddle of water and started drinking from it. This drew the attention of the others and they all joined them there to drink. Later, Kithaka and Shukuru were having a chat with Bomani and Barsilinga as they browsed together on a tree. Lemoyian and Orwa started scooping and tossing chunks of soil on their backs and they were followed by the rest of the group; they all had red soil on their heads. Barsilinga later led the group back to the stockades in the evening. We received only 2 mm of rain today and no Ex Orphans or wild elephants visited.
20 November 2016
It was very slippery in the orphan’s stockades this morning as the rain had made the ground very muddy; the orphans had to come out slowly one by one as they headed to lucerne area. After their milk it started drizzling which made some of them happy and others not so much! Barsilinga was scratching his bottom with Bongo. Later on, all of them became much more happy and active. Narok was playing with Barsilinga and climbing on him. Boromoko, Lemoyian, Bomani and Garzi were having fun as Lemoyian climbed on Bomani’s back. The group walked slowly by slowly and they continued with their games all the way out into the park.
Orwa was rolling on the ground and tossing soil on his back and then Bomani came over to join him. The rest of the group came over and surrounded them as they rolled around in the wet soil. Bongo, the water elephant, found a puddle of water and started playing in it. It was so much fun to watch all the orphans playing and being full of life. Kithaka later led the group to mudbath for their milk.
The orphans finished their milk and headed straight to the road to play in the fun puddle they have found there. They prefer it as it is slightly warmer compared to the main mud hole. Vuria was breaking a stick in order to eat the bark and was trying to uproot some roots as well. Bongo and Vuria led the group to the road and they all started having fun. Sokotei and Lemoyian on the other side were kneeling down to play in the water. Shukuru was not left out and she was actively playing and rolling in the mud as well. Kithaka was the muddiest of all! Sirimon was playing with Boromoko and then Bomani joined them, trying to climb on Boromoko’s back. The group later walked back to the bush they were all very muddy but very happy with themselves.
We received 9mm of rainfall from last night and this morning.
21 November 2016
This morning was very wet and quiet as we received 8mm of rainfall last night. The elephants were very happy and active as they came out of their stockades and headed to the lucerne field. Shukuru was the first one to take her share of lucerne and go and hide to eat it on her own. Siangiki was having a scratch while Orwa carried his share of lucerne to eat in peace in the offloading zone area. Laragai was taking lucerne from Kithaka's mouth as she ate. Orwa, Narok and Shukuru were walking together towards the water trough. Barsilinga and Narok were play-fighting and Orwa intervened to separate them. Kithaka and Lemoyian started play fighting while Orwa tried to climb on Narok after separating her play fight with Barsilinga.
Out in the bush Barsilinga rolled on the ground with Bongo while Shukuru was busy browsing. Garzi and Sokotei were busy testing their strength with each other. Everyone was playing or doing something active! Orwa trying to climb on Boromoko, Vuria on Orwa, Lemoyian was play fighting with Garzi and so on! Narok was rolling on the ground with Kithaka and Shukuru was busy browsing. Bongo stretched high to reach the fresh leaves on the trees. Whilst walking to mudbath the group came across a pool of water some started playing in it.
No one was interested in playing in the main waterhole and the orphans just drank water and walked back to the bush. They were all busy browsing in the bush and everyone's trunk was up in the trees to try and get those fresh leaves. Later on Lemoyian led the group back to the stockade this evening for milk. No Ex Orphan or wild bulls were seen today and it did not rain again today.
22 November 2016
It was a very bright morning today with orphans walking out of their respective staples towards the lucerne area. There were beautiful and colourful rays of sun shining on the orphans, particularly on Orwa today. They were very quiet and enjoying their lucerne but Barsilinga and Kithaka were playing with fence post and sharpening their tusks. Vuria was carrying a big bunch of lucerne to go and eat on his own in the corner. Orwa and Narok led the group to the water trough for water. Lemoyian and Orwa were having a chat and later the group headed to the bush.
The weather was cool today after the yesterday’s rain and everyone was enjoying their browse in the bush. Kithaka was struggling to browse high up in the trees to search for fresh leaves. Boromoko and Sokotei were browsing together with Bomani and Siangiki sharing food off the same stick. Teleki was rolling on the ground as he covered himself with red soil.
At mud bath none of the orphans wanted to play in the water hole again. Bongo and Laragai just splashed some mud on their bodies. Orwa was playing with Narok and trying to climb on her again. Bongo later had a scratch on the visitor’s seat before going to play and roll in the mud along the roadside. He was then joined by Boromoko and Orwa. The rest were busy browsing in the green grass around the mudbath. They all later went on to play in the small dam near the mudbath and later Kithaka led the group back to the bush for browsing.
No other animals visited the stockade today and we had no further rain in the area.
23 November 2016
It was a quiet morning today with the orphans walking towards the lucerne area with Bomani and Orwa heading straight to the rock for to scratch their bottoms. Bomani later started chatting with Barsilinga while scratching separately. The orphans were more active today; Shukuru had a lengthy conversation with Narok. The group later walked to the water trough to drink water and finally they walked out to the bush.
In the bush, Lemoyian and Barsilinga were browsing together as everyone in the group struggled to browse higher for green and fresh pasture. They were all raising their trunks high to browse on the top leaves of the trees. Shukuru was not left out and she had the added advantage of her height. Kithaka later led the group towards mudbath.
At mudbath they all walked in and started playing in the water. Bongo, Garzi, Vuria, Narok and Orwa were the most playful elephants of the day. Laragai the naughty girl started climbing on Garzi and pushing him deep into the water as they played. The group later walked out with Vuria trying to push Bongo back in the water and they started play fighting. The group later walked towards a small pool of water with thick mud and started playing in it again. Orwa, Bongo, Vuria and Barsilinga were very active, with Orwa rolling and Vuria sitting on him. Boromoko, Bomani and Kithaka were also playing in a pool of water nearby. Garzi later led the group back to the bush for browsing.
Back in the bush, they concentrated mainly on browsing, despite the very hot sun today. Shukuru browsed with the other young orphans, Boromoko, Sokotei and Sirimon. Then Laragai led the group back home in the evening for their milk. No wild or Ex Orphans visited the stockades or mudbath today. There was no rain but it was very hot and humid which means there will surely be more rain to come.
24 November 2016
This morning the orphans are their lucerne as Bomani scratched while Kithaka waved his trunk in the air. Bongo was seriously concentrating on eating his lucerne. Keeper Abdi was talking to Boromoko while Kithaka and Lemoiyan were play fighting. Lemoyian likes playing too and he charged over to Bomani. They all walked slowly to the water trough to drink water. Narok started rolling on the ground and kissing Vuria with her trunk as they played. The group later walked into to the bush.
Everyone was very busy browsing; Sokotei and Sirimon were browsing together, with Kithaka and Bomani play fighting. Barsilinga and Laragai were playing and greeting each other with their trunks and then Barsilinga walked over to Bongo. Shukuru was active and rolling on the ground while Orwa used his height to his advantage to browse on the very tall trees. Lemoyian play fought with Kithaka and Garzi knelt down on the ground in his own game. They later headed to the mudbath.
After their milk at the mud bath area they all went into the main mudhole and started playing in it. Shukuru was swimming perfectly and enjoying the water. They later walked out to dust bath and Shukuru scratched her legs to take the mud off; the group later headed back to the bush. After browsing they went back to the stockades in the evening.
We did not have any visits from any other elephants today and there was no rain but there was sign of it all around.
25 November 2016
This morning Bongo started scratching and eating lucerne at the same time next to his friend Barsilinga. They were quietly eating lucerne peacefully without being harassed by any Ex Orphans or wild elephants.
When they all walked to the bush they were all busy browsing whilst Shukuru was busy scooping some chunks of soil into her back. Enkikwe also chose to scratch on a tree. They found a small mudbath and started playing in it. Later they headed to the main mudbath.
It was not very hot for all the orphans to choose to play in the mud hole, but we had Bongo, Orwa and Narok who were very active today. After a few minutes, they started walking away back to the bush. Orwa was spotted scratching himself on the way. They walked for awhile and came across a mudhole with lots of water in it in the bush, and they all chose to play in this one. Bongo, Boromoko, Teleki, Barsilinga, Sokotei, Sirimon and Boromoko played vigorously with Barsilinga kissing Sirimon with his trunk. They later walked back to the bush to browse.
Back in the bush, Garzi was kissing Barsilinga while Bongo played with Kithaka. Shukuru played in the dust and then they all actively went back to browsing. No Ex Orphans or wild elephants visited either the stockade or mudbath today and we did not have any rain today.
26 November 2016
It was a bright morning today as the orphans walked out of their stables to lucerne area as usual. After a short time they walked to the bush to browse. The bush is becoming greener and greener and the orphans have been relishing the new shoots and leaves on the bushes. Barsilinga was browsing high in the trees in search of fresh green shoots. Olsekki and Boromoko were scooping and tossing some soil chunks in the air and some on their backs. Shukuru was very active and played excitedly with a Franklin bird in the bush. Barsilinga was browsing with Garzi and Shukuru with Bongo. Barsilinga later started play fought with Garzi whilst Lemoyian played with Bomani. Olsekki led the group to mud bath.
At mud bath it was not very hot but they all walked into the water to wallow and some started playing. We had Narok, Vuria, Orwa and Bongo who played vigorously and after they all walked back to the bush to browse. Orwa, Vuria and Bongo came across a small pool of warm water and they started playing in it. They really enjoyed their games and later went dry out themselves with a dust bath.
Later everyone was very busy browsing to catch up with time. They all enjoyed the browse with lots of green stuff available to them now. They later headed back home in the evening for their milk. No other animals were seen today either in the stockade on at the mud bath.
27 November 2016
This morning the orphans were very quiet and just concentrated on eating their lucerne. After a short time, they walked to the bush to browse.
Later at the mudbath, Orwa led the group into the mud pool and they started playing. Barsilinga and Olsekki were on the other side playing a pushing game while the others were having fun in the mud pool. Later on, Yatta and her herd of Ex Orphans came in and had a quick drink before briefly interacting with the dependant orphans before walking away. Kinna enjoyed a quick muddy bath before the whole group walked away. Zurura and Orwa played in a small muddy pool they found for a little bit. Zurura also tested his strength with Garzi some minutes before they headed back to the bush to browse.
The Ex Orphans parted ways and headed to the stockade area while the orphans continued browsing. They were so busy browsing the whole afternoon while the Ex Orphans visited the stockade for a drink before walking off back into the park. There was no rain today and no sign of it around.
28 November 2016
The dependant orphans really enjoyed their lucerne today without disruption from any Ex Orphans. Laragai carried her pile away and went to hide. The rest started walking one by one to the bush.
Later Barsilinga was play fighting with Vuria whilst the other orphans were all busy browsing. The group hid under the shade as the sun beat down. Kithaka and Barsilinga spoke to each other and communicated for ages, they are still best friends which is so nice to see. Sirimon led the group to mudbath for their milk.
At the mudbath, Bongo, Laragai, Vuria and Boromoko played in the main mudbath vigorously. Then they walked to the next small pool of water and started wallowing there too. Teleki and Boromoko led the group back to the bush to browse.
When they were back browsing in the afternoon it started raining. They all started scratching on the rocks and trees around them as they took off the mud from their legs and bodies. Enkikwe was scratching his neck while Boromoko scratched his hind and Orwa watched both of them. Narok started rolling in the mud and Barsilinga, Bongo and Shukuru rolled in a different pool of water. It was lovely to watch all the orphans playing and being so happy and active. The group later walked back to the stockades for their evening milk.
Yatta’s Ex Orphan group came in to say hello again after some time away, since the rains broke. The group included Kinna, Mulika with Mwende, Ithumba, Meibai, Makena and others. Today we recorded 12mm of rainfall in the area.
29 November 2016
The orphans were very active today as Sirimon scratched his neck on the rocks while Olsekki scratched his bottom and also his trunk. After Bongo had a feast on the lucerne and felt satisfied, he started trying to climb on Lemoyian as they enjoyed a play fight. Lemoyian then started with Olsekki before going back to Bongo to fight. He was the most active elephant this morning! The group later on walked to the bush.
A few minutes, they met with Yatta’s group of Ex Orphans who had arrived to drink water. Afterwards the two groups parted with orphans the orphans choosing a different route to browse separately from the Ex Orphans. Bomani started scaring some franklin birds in the bush. Boromoko later led the group to mudbath.
The mud bath looked cold to the orphans today and they chose not to play in it. They drunk water and then walked back to the bush to browse.
Back in the bush they all looked active and played a lot in the mud; this was after we got some drizzle of rain today. Barsilinga later led the group back home in the evening. No Ex Orphans or other elephants visited the stockade or mudbath today.
30 November 2016
The orphans came out of their stockades as usual and started scratching their bottom on the rocks while feasting on lucerne at the same time. Siangiki stretched her trunk across the rock to swipe some lucerne that was hanging from it. Sirimon was scratching his hind legs on the same rock. Lemoyian was play fighting with Bomani and they were kissing each other. The group walked down to the bush to browse.
Olsekki started digging down on the ground with his tusks; Barsilinga was standing next to him and watching. The rest of the group were busy browsing with Orwa browsing high in the trees in search of tasty leaves.
Boromoko was scooping and tossing chunks of soil in the air and some on his back and head. Orwa and Kithaka copied Boromoko while Narok chose to roll on the ground as she splashed some soil on her back; then Vuria tried to climb on her and she stood up. The group later walked to the mudbath for their milk.
It was cold today and again none of the orphans decided to go in the water and play. Bongo walked to the next smaller pool of water and decided to play there. The rest just drank water and left back to the bush.
Again this afternoon it started raining but much heavier today and the orphans became confused, running here and there. It forced the keepers to run into the rain to control them. It took some hours for the keepers to manage to control them and once they were altogether, they walked with them slowly back to the stockades, whilst it continued to rain. Then they had their afternoon milk. There were no Ex Orphans or wild elephants who visited us today. We recorded 42mm of rainfall today.