Keepers' Diaries, November 2017

Umani Springs Reintegration Unit

Owing to the natural springs that seep through the porous volcanic rock, the Kibwezi Forest is a perennial lush environment where there is always water to be found and thus vegetation for animals and elephants to eat. Nevertheless, during the dry season and the months we have experienced recently, even this forested area can start to dry out. This means our orphans have to walk further afield for their browse, and need to obtain sustenance from drier vegetation and tough bark. So the rains, which started last month and continued this month, have brought relief even to this naturally more lenient environment and the orphans have been enjoying the fresh green shoots sprouting all over the forest and especially up into the hills, where less animals graze. Lima Lima is of course the greediest girl, running all over the place from one spot to another trying to get as much greenery as she can before her friends. Sonje, Murera and Mwashoti usually find it harder to get up the slopes due to their bad legs, but even they have found the going easier this month and are eager to reach the fresh vegetation wherever it is to be found. The only time they have particularly struggled is during and after a rain shower, when the ground becomes muddy and slippery. With their bad legs they have found it difficult to hold their balance but they make sure to walk carefully and slowly so as not to fall over. The orphans have also avoided the mud bath several times this month due to the colder weather, but have braved it on other days so as to gain that protective mud coating against the insects which are plentiful and bothersome during the rainy season! We watched as the younger boys sometimes sought shelter under the bellies of the older girls like Quanza, but they are fast becoming too big to do so! Lima Lima would sometimes try to come and seek shelter under the Keepers’ umbrellas as well, which is always a funny sight to behold.

01 November 2017

The rain came pouring down as the orphans exited their stockades and began their day by heading out to the forest following their morning milk bottle. Lima Lima seemed to lose her way and was unsure of which way to go which made Alamaya feel a little uneasy, so he turned around looking to Zongoloni for guidance and support. Murera and Mwashoti found the walk to the forest very difficult today as the rain had made the ground extremely slippery, which meant that the two of them had a lot of difficulty holding their balance as they were sliding all over the place. With the rain the mud on the orphan’s bodies was washed off, turning them grey and making it difficult for the keepers to spot them when they were in the bushes. Later in the morning Lima Lima sneaked back to the stockades looking for pods to snack on as a treat. She found the gate closed as the keepers were cleaning the stockade and did not want her coming in and making a nuisance of herself preventing them from finishing their task. When she realized that they would not let her in she turned and went back to the rest of the orphans together with Faraja and Ziwa who had followed her to see what she was up to. The rain came pouring down as the orphans exited their stockades and began their day by heading out to the forest following their morning milk bottle. Lima Lima seemed to lose her way and was unsure of which way to go which made Alamaya feel a little uneasy, so he turned around looking to Zongoloni for guidance and support. Murera and Mwashoti found the walk to the forest very difficult today as the rain had made the ground extremely slippery, which meant that the two of them had a lot of difficulty holding their balance as they were sliding all over the place. With the rain the mud on the orphan’s bodies was washed off, turning them grey and making it difficult for the keepers to spot them when they were in the bushes. Later in the morning Lima Lima sneaked back to the stockades looking for pods to snack on as a treat. She found the gate closed as the keepers were cleaning the stockade and did not want her coming in and making a nuisance of herself preventing them from finishing their task. When she realized that they would not let her in she turned and went back to the rest of the orphans together with Faraja and Ziwa who had followed her to see what she was up to.

02 November 2017

Faraja and Ngasha engaged one another in a strength testing pushing game this morning which began before the milk feed and continued once they had finished their bottles. They were both on top form today and were pushing with a lot of strength. The game continued for a while and ended when Ngasha was pushed hard by Faraja and fell to the ground. He was not happy about being defeated and sought refuge with the keepers who had come to get the boys as it was time to head out for the day. When they walked out to join the rest of the group they met up with Ziwa. While they were walking Faraja grabbed Ngasha’s tail making him cry out in a plea for help from Murera or any of the keepers. The keepers came and told Faraja off and he let go of Ngasha’s tail. Ngasha quickly ran to Ziwa for some solace and comfort. It was again drizzling as the group made their way to the forest and Mwashoti was seen trying to hide from the rain under Quanza’s belly. Unfortunately he was too big to fit properly and as such he went and sought refuge under Sonje. It looked as if the Chyulu Hills had also received quite a bit of rain and the orphans made their way there to browse until it was time for the midday milk feed. As it was quite wet none of the orphans wallowed in the water choosing instead to have a quick dustbath before resuming with their browsing activities.

03 November 2017

Today some wild bulls came and joined the orphans and escorted Sonje and Zongoloni something which did not sit well with Jasiri. He was not happy to have the older bulls escorting his friends when he was around but there was not much that he could do about it as the wild bulls were both older and bigger than Jasiri and as such he could only stand by and watch as Sonje and Zongoloni were accompanied by their wild friends. When the group arrived at the forest Murera wanted to head into the Hills. One of the bulls that was with the orphans tried to get close to Murera but she wanted nothing to do with him and made this known by pushing at him with her trunk. The bull understood that his advances were not welcome and made his way to where Sonje and Lima Lima were browsing with his peers. The wild bulls did not spend much time with Sonje and Lima Lima before heading further into the forest, following a path that had been taken by some of their wild friends. The orphan herd remained with the keepers and continued with their browsing activities until it was time for the milk bottle and mud bath.

04 November 2017

The orphans all exited their respective stockades early this morning anxious to begin their day and head out to the browsing fields following their morning milk bottle. Ziwa and Lima Lima did not want to leave for the forest as they were busy looking for pods. Lima Lima who is very greedy searched everywhere eating any pods that she could find, which was not easy as they are not in season but she would not stop looking until she felt she had had her fill. Quanza walked straight to the fence line looking for lucerne pellets which had been put out for the orphans by the keepers. Alamaya and Mwashoti stayed close to Quanza and Sonje while the rest of the boys in the group headed away from the females and made their way to the water springs and beyond in the direction normally taken by the orphan herd. By the time the orphan herd arrived for their midday milk feed they found their bottles lined up waiting for them. Some wild elephants and their calves came and joined the orphan herd trying to mingle with Sonje and Faraja. The orphans were quite scared of the wild group who were being quite pushy and were trying to mount the older girls. Zongoloni was particularly unhappy for the wild elephant’s behaviour as she felt it was not yet time for what they were trying to do. The orphan herd soon left the wild elephants and headed back to the fields for the afternoons browsing session.

05 November 2017

It was a cold day today and as such none of the orphans even came close to the waterhole and they did not want to even test the water anticipating that it would be cold. Murera made sure to keep Mwashoti away from the mud bath steering him instead to the soil piles where they enjoyed a dustbath. Lima Lima and Ziwa were busy playing mounting games, pushing one another to the ground so that they could roll over each other thus having a lovely time playing in the dust. While the orphan herd were out in the bushes the keepers kept a close eye on Murera to ensure that she would not wander off in a different direction than the rest of the group as there were some wild bulls in the area and the keepers could see the orphans raising their trunks to try and locate exactly where the wild bulls could be; Alamaya and the rest of the orphan herd did not really feel like interacting with the wild bulls today and wanted to make sure to keep their distance from them.

06 November 2017

The orphans came running for their noon milk bottle with Lima Lima and Zongoloni leaving Mwashoti and Murera behind as they rushed in trying to be the first to get their share. By the time Mwashoti arrived Alamaya had already finished his bottles and he turned and pushed Mwashoti trying to get Mwashoti to give him some of his milk. The keepers however could see what Alamaya was trying to do and got him to move away so that Mwashoti could drink his milk in peace. Alamaya then went and joined Lima Lima at the water trough to have a drink of water before rejoining the rest of the group. There was quite a bit of sunshine today which was nice for the orphans who felt comfortable enough to have some fun at the midday mud bath. They hung around the sides of the mud bath playing with one another although none of them really entered the water.

07 November 2017

As the orphans headed out to the browsing fields in the morning it was quite chaotic as they all seemed to have a mind of their own, especially the boys and did not want to listen to the matriarchs of the group. Lima Lima decided to follow the naughty boys and keep an eye on them leaving Alamaya and Mwashoti to follow Murera while Ziwa looked for Ngasha so that they could play some pushing games as they made their way to the Chyulu Hills in search of some fresh vegetation to feed on. Quanza, Faraja and Jasiri looked for Zongoloni and made their way towards her leaving Alamaya on his own. The keepers came and rounded up the orphan herd, which had scattered all over the place making it hard to locate them all. They started with Alamaya and slowly managed to get the entire group together walking from one to another until all the orphans were present and accounted for. When it was time to return to the stockades in the evening the orphans were in a hurry to get home as they were all feeling rather thirsty and could not wait to get their bottles and drink their milk. Lima Lima took the lead of the group and made sure that all the orphans were following her so that they would all be safely in their respective stockades by nightfall.

08 November 2017

Murera was the first to exit her stockade this morning leaving Sonje behind who was waiting for Mwashoti to come and join her so that she could lead him to the supplement feeding area. While Sonje was looking out for Mwashoti, Ziwa and Ngasha ran to the fence line and started to eat the lucerne that had been put out for the orphans before the rest of the group arrived. Lima Lima started to follow them but changed her mind half way there, returning to the stockades to see if she could find any pods to eat. Jasiri and Ziwa started to fight over some pellets that were on the ground leaving the keepers perplexed as to why they were fighting when there was more than enough pellets for them to feed on. They soon realized that the two were engaged in some kind of play fight and did not have any ill feelings towards one another as they were just having some fun. In the evening it rained quite heavily delaying the orphans return to the stockades for the night. Alamaya and Mwashoti were desperate to get home as it was a big storm with trees being blown over around them, leaving the two youngsters feeling very vulnerable especially as the rest of the group had taken to charging around trumpeting loudly. In the chaos Lima Lima managed to run away from the keepers who soon realized that she had returned to the stockades where she was enjoying her milk. It continued to rain quite heavily for several hours and did not stop raining until midnight.

09 November 2017

By the time the orphans returned to the stockades the previous night they found a bush buck taking refuge from the heavy rains in one of the empty stockades. Alamaya was the first to smell the bushbuck and signaled to Lima Lima and it was not long before they orphans started charging around trumpeting loudly in an effort to get the bushbuck to leave. Murera and Sonje tried to get into the stockade but were unable to as the door was closed. The keepers decided to leave the bushbuck where he was and he left of his own accord, aided by some coaxing from the keepers, once the rains stopped. When the orphans exited their stockades in the morning they found quite a mess around the compound from all the charging around that they had done the night before as they complained about having to share the stockade compound with another animal that was not part of their group and was also not an elephant. Jasiri, Zongoloni and Sonje were the ones that had caused the most mess and the evidence of this could be clearly seen around and in their respective stockades.

10 November 2017

At the midday mud bath Alamaya was in a particularly playful mood and went to engage Mwashoti in some games. He tried to mount Mwashoti, something which Mwashoti was not happy about and as such he tried to get away from Alamaya who kept holding him. When Zongoloni saw that Mwashoti did not want to play Alamaya’s game she went and gave him a push on his backside letting him know that he should leave Mwashoti alone. Alamaya stepped away and when he saw Sonje and Murera headed his way he walked away leaving Mwashoti in peace. Ziwa, Ngasha and Faraja started fighting over wallowing space when in the water as they all wanted to lie in the mud. Their antics were watched by some of the other orphans who felt that the water was too cold for wallowing and were having fun spraying bubbles in the water with their trunk. They were therefore happy to move away and allow the three to have the mud bath to themselves thus bringing an end to their fight. Once the group had returned to the bushes for the afternoon browsing session Murera and Sonje decided that the area was not safe as they felt there were wild elephants around. The keepers checked to see what could be bothering the two girls and found that there was nothing wrong and that what they were trying to do was ensure that the group stayed close together.

11 November 2017

Today the eleven babies that make up the orphan herd made their way to the Umani Hills to feed on the fresh green grass shoots that are coming up following the rains that fell over the last few days. Murera seemed to be feeling quite strong today and was able to climb the hills without much difficulty, as did Mwashoti who was close behind her. While they were walking Zongoloni was being followed by Jasiri. She suddenly turned and faced him as she had a sense that Jasiri was going to try and grab her tail which is something that she did not want. To ensure that he would not have the opportunity she waited until Jasiri had overtaken her and then she followed him content in the knowledge that he was ahead of her and thus could not bother her. The orphans browed along the Chyulu Hills were they came across some buffaloes. The orphan group know that it is not a good idea to interact with buffaloes who can be quite dangerous. Faraja and Ngasha made sure to avoid the buffalo herd and Sonje kept a close eye on Mwashoti who was slowly limping along to ensure the he would not get a surprise at seeing the buffaloes as well as to make sure that he would get safely past them.

12 November 2017

It was quite a hectic morning today. Once the orphans had finished their milk bottle and supplement feeding they headed out to the forest under Murera’s leadership. While making their way out Murera found that some baboons were blocking the path that she wanted to take. She tried to chase them away but they just ran up into the trees. Sonje came to see what the problem was and between the two of them they decided to try and pull down the branches that the baboons were on. This however had no effect as the baboons just kept jumping from one branch to another which ended up frustrating the two Matriarchs. Ziwa and Faraja decided to leave the older girls to their fight with the baboons and led those that would follow to the browsing fields. Lima Lima had her own ideas and walked deep into the bushes while Mwashoti and Alamaya waited for Murera and Sonje to finish their battle with the baboons before they continued on their way. The orphans had a lovely day browsing in the forest and looked very relaxed as it approached the time that they would be returning to the stockades. As they waited it started to rain and some of the orphans sought refuge under the trees while the keepers opened their umbrellas. Lima Lima decided that she wanted to be with the keepers and tried to squeeze in among them so that she was standing under the umbrellas with them and share their cover, something that ended up looking quite funny as she really did not fit.

13 November 2017

The orphans were in a happy and playful mood as they exited their stockades this morning with the older elephants engaging one another in pushing games to try and figure out how strong each orphan was. Due to their bad legs, Murera and Sonje avoided the games while Mwashoti found some dung from one of his older friends and picked some up to taste it as this is the way that elephants learn what vegetation is good to eat and as such can let the keepers also know which trees and bushes they prefer to feed on. The orphans then made their way to the browsing fields passing by the water springs area as they went. When they passed the springs, the crocodiles that were sunning themselves made it know that they were not interested in the orphans. One of the crocodiles opened his mouth wide in an effort to scare Ziwa and Faraja away as they were getting quite close to them and were infringing on their territory. The two boys showed no interest in the crocodiles and continued on their way while the crocs entered the water, keeping and eye on the orphans to ensure that they did not come close to the water banks.

14 November 2017

Ziwa and his friends, Ngasha and Faraja can be quite naughty at times but as they grow older the keepers find that their characters sometimes change. Today Ziwa decided to try and mount Ngasha, which was unusual as it usually Faraja who mounts Ngasha while Ziwa watches. This was not the case today as Ziwa started the mounting game and Zongoloni stepped in and stopped him from doing so. He then turned his attention to Zongoloni and played mounting games with her, something that did not seem to bother Zongoloni in the slightest. When the babies were making their way back home in the evening what started out smoothly soon became a little chaotic as some of the boys separated themselves from the group and began playing mounting games. Ziwa was not in the mood to be mounted and tried to keep up with the herd so that would not happen. Ngasha accidentally pushed Ziwa who fell into Jasiri. Jasiri retaliated, even though it was not Ziwa’s fault, and pushed Ziwa quite hard. Ziwa however stood firm and was not moved even an inch by Jasiri. When the orphans got to the stockades they all enjoyed their milk bottles after which Mwashoti went to feed on some pods that were near his stockade.

15 November 2017

Murera and Sonje together with Jasiri took the lead of the group as they made their way out for the day. Some of the boys in the orphan herd wanted to get Alamaya and Mwashoti to follow them instead of the matriarchs. Murera and Sonje were not happy about this and managed to prevent the two young bulls from wondering off with their older friends. The two boys quickly fell in line and followed the orphan herd matriarchs. Today the orphans stopped to browse on the bushes along the Umani Hills. While they were browsing they were unfortunately bothered by some tsetse flies that were in the area. Alamaya browsed close to Lima Lima who was able to keep the flies away. The orphans were finally able to evade the tsetse flies when they left the area and made their way to the waterhole. Here they were able to enter the water and wallow, thus keeping the tsetse flies at bay. The orphans all managed to cover their bodies with a layer of mud so that the flies would not bother them anymore.

16 November 2017

Today the two little boys Alamaya and Mwashoti took off and walked away from the rest of the group, with their own idea as to where they wanted to go. Zongoloni and Lima Lima saw the two youngsters heading off and managed to catch up with them and block them from going any further. They got the two boys to turn around and rejoin Murera and the rest of the group all of whom were waiting for them. Murera took her leadership role very seriously and made sure that the young boys stayed close to her until the evening when they were safely back in the stockades where they enjoyed their evening milk bottle. There are quite large numbers of bushbucks within the Kibwezi forest and they seem to have become used to the keepers being around. Today one male bushbuck, who seems to be on friendly terms with the keepers, tried to spend the night within the stockades. However Murera and Sonje were not happy to have him in the empty stockade and walking around the compound. They made their displeasure known by trumpeting loudly which set off the rest of the orphans and they only stopped when the keepers had removed the bushbuck from the stockade compound.

17 November 2017

The orphan elephants have been enjoying feeding on the fresh vegetation that has been shooting up following the rains that have fallen this month. Greedy Lima Lima does not waste any time at all in grabbing as much of the green shoots that she can, often preventing her friends from having any as she charges from one area to another. Alamaya and Mwashoti often struggle to get some of fresh greens as Lima Lima gets there before anyone else and eats practically everything. Lately Murera does not tolerate any nonsense or misbehaving from any of the orphans under her care. Today she even pushed Mwashoti who is never a trouble maker. The keepers were a little perplexed as to why she was being tough on the youngster but realized that she was probably just making sure that he knows the proper way to behave so as to not have any problems in the future with the rest of the orphans or with any wild elephants.

18 November 2017

Today the orphans decided to make the long journey to the Chyulu Hills for the days browsing activities. Zongoloni was especially intent on going there and pushed the group hard. The keepers remained at the back of the group walking slowly. Once they got to Chyulus they browsed until it was time to head to the bottle feeding area. Alamaya decided to play strength testing games with Zongoloni and Quanza. The two older girls were happy to oblige as they know they are older and stronger than he is and he would not be able to hurt him so they let him have his fun. Today at the bottle feeding point the orphans had their milk then waited for the keepers to finish their lunch so that they could resume with their browsing activities. None of the orphans entered the water as it was rather cold today and they wanted to stay as warm as they could. The group today walked further afield than they normally do and Murera, Sonje and Mwashoti who were at the rear of the group looked quite tired by the time they returned home in the evening.

19 November 2017

The day began with orphans downing their milk bottle then reporting to the lucerne pellet feeding area. While Lima Lima and Faraja were enjoying their supplements in a corner some wild elephants tried to get in to join them. Lima Lima stopped feeding and went up to one of the wild bulls and tried to play with him. The bull was not interested in the game and pushed Lima Lima to the ground. Zongoloni thought it was wise to go and help her friend with the bull and was surprised by another bull that came up behind her pushing her hard, knocking her to the ground as well. Lima Lima and Zongoloni stayed lying on the ground looking to the keepers for help. The keepers shouted loudly at the bulls, and managed to get them to leave the two girls alone. The bulls then returned to the forest and Lima Lima and Zongoloni were able to get back to their feet and rejoin the orphan herd. Murera and Sonje led their group out for the days browsing activities in the forests, valleys and hills.

20 November 2017

Following the rains that have fallen in the Chyulu Hills and the Kibwezi forest there is now plenty of lovely green vegetation coming up for the orphans to feed on. The Umani Hills are getting very green and the orphans are always happy to climb the hills and feed on the fresh greens. Alamaya and Mwashoti fought over some greens today as Alamaya was quicker than his friend in grabbing vegetation with his trunk and stuffing it into his mouth. Murera, Sonje and some of the other orphans came to browse with them thus keeping the peace as they browsed their way up the hills. Lima Lima came charging up and pushed Alamaya out of the way as she rushed to get to the top ahead of the rest of the group. At the midday bottle feeding area the elephants came running in wanting to be the first to reach their bottles. Some of the boys, together with Sonje and Ziwa, quickly downed their share then made their way to the water trough for a drink of water. The rest of the group made their way to the dustbath where they had a lot of fun rolling around in the dust and mounting one another. Mwashoti and Lima Lima stole the show and everyone was very impressed with their skills.

21 November 2017

It was very cloudy day when the orphans exited their stockades in the morning and the hills were fully covered in fog making it hard for the keepers and orphans to see. Lima Lima and Ziwa led the group out followed by the keepers, then Zongoloni and Quanza. Quanza was in a playful mood today and wanted to head in the direction taken by some wild elephants the night before. She started down the path but as Zongoloni Lima Lima and the rest of the group did not follow her she soon found herself on her own. She came running back to rejoin the herd trumpeting loudly as she could not see them. The keepers called her name so that she would know which direction to take to find the rest of the group. This evening when the orphans returned to the stockades Ziwa finished his milk bottles and then tricked the keepers into thinking that he was looking for pods by the gate and tried to sneak out into the bushes in an effort to stay out for the night. The keepers let him stay out but by midnight he was crying out wanting to enter his stockade as he was afraid of the dark and what could be lurking there. The keepers opened the gate and he came back in to welcoming rumbles from the rest of the orphans. We hope that this has taught Ziwa that he is not quite ready to be out on his own all night and repeat his trick again.

22 November 2017

All the elephants returned home this evening after a long day out in the forest browsing. Some of the handicapped babies looked particularly tired and as if they needed some help from the keepers. Murera kept looking behind to make sure that Mwashoti was not falling too far behind while Alamaya rumbled encouragement to Mwashoti letting him know that they didn’t have long to go before they would get to their bottles. When Alamaya brought Mwashoti into their stockade they grabbed their bottles and held them drinking their milk as they walked around all corners of their night quarters. When the keepers tried to take the empty bottle from Alamaya he ran off with it as he didn’t want the keepers to have it even though there was no milk left in it. Later that night it started to rain again and there was a rather big thunderstorm which, coupled with lightning, made it difficult for the orphans to settle down and get some rest. Mwashoti was the most disturbed and the keepers had to come and calm him down.

23 November 2017

Two very big wild bulls made their way to the stockade compound and tried to get through the gates but were unable to do so due to the electric wire fence, which prevented them from getting to Murera and her friends. A keeper tried to get photos of the wild bulls from the gate but was unable to get a clear picture as it was dark and the bulls kept charging at the keeper to scare him off. Ziwa and Ngasha were brave enough to approach the bull and try to touch him. The bull was not happy about this and pushed Ngasha to the ground. Thankfully Ngasha was able to move to safety before the keepers had to come and help him. At mud bath time some crane birds flew above the trees crying out loudly. Lima Lima and Quanza tried to chase the crane birds to prevent them from landing on the ground. The crane birds had managed to achieve what they wanted to do which was to keep the orphans away from their eggs so that they would not accidentally be crushed by the orphans.

24 November 2017

Zongoloni and Sonje teamed up with Alamaya and Lima Lima as the orphans made their way to the Chyulu Hills passing by the water springs on the way where they stopped to have a drink of water while some crocodiles tried to scare them away from the area. Ziwa decided to head off in a different direction, hoping that some of the others would follow him. When he realized that he was on his own he turned back and rejoined the group. At the top of the Chyulu Hills the orphans found some bushbucks and buffalos browsing on some soft green grass. When the orphans saw them they got a fright and ran to their keepers while the buffaloes ran a short distance away to the bushes where they could browse without being disturbed. Murera and Sonje were not interested in coming to the mud bath at midday and as such the milk bottles were driven to the orphans who were waiting. Lima Lima was wondering why they were not headed to the milk feeding area but was happy to see the milk bottles when they arrived. In the evening when it was time to return to the stockades for the night, Quanza took over the leadership role and led the orphan herd straight home.

25 November 2017

Today the babies headed straight to the other side of the top of the hills where there was some nice fresh vegetation from them to feed on. Ziwa and his friend Ngasha teamed up with Faraja and Lima Lima and headed off to browse on their own leaving Sonje to lead the rest of the herd. Murera got Jasiri to follow her to Alamaya, leaving Mwashoti browsing on his own. As they found an abundance of vegetation atop the hill to browse on they did not want to come down. Ziwa could hear the keepers calling the orphans and instead of going to them he walked further into the bushes to continue with his browsing activities while the rest of the orphans joined the keepers and headed to the bottle feeding area for their midday milk bottle. Ziwa later came running to the water hole for his milk as he was worried that Lima Lima or one of the other greedy orphans would try and steal his share.

26 November 2017

Today Jasiri and his albino friend Faraja kept very quiet and did not respond to any of the keepers called and instructions to come out of the bushes and join the rest of the orphan herd who were heading to the midday mud bath and milk feed. The keepers kept calling them before deciding to leave them behind and to their own devices. Zongoloni did not want to do this and went to Jasiri and then Faraja and it was not long before the keepers saw them running to their milk bottle, not wanting Lima Lima, who was already drinking her milk, to get any of their share. When the orphans reached the waterhole, the orphans that could grabbed their bottle leaving Sonje and Murera to be fed by the keepers. Some wild elephants came to the bushes near the water hole and once the orphans had drank from the waterhole they joined them. Ngasha disrupted the peaceful environment by approaching a wild baby that was with its mother and pushing it wanting to engage it in a pushing game. The mother and the rest of the wild herd were not happy with this and charged the orphans who were quick to run off not wanting to cause any further upset.

27 November 2017

The older boys in the group, Faraja, Jasiri and Ngasha surprised their keepers when they exited their stockade and began a pushing game. The fighting continued for almost an hour and though the three were having lots of fun none of the other orphans wanted to join their game. Sonje then tried to bring an end to their game and approached the three. Faraja saw Sonje coming and stepped aside while Ngasha and Jasiri continued playing. Jasiri was next to run off as he did not want to be poked by Sonje’s tusks which are bigger than his. Once the orphans were in the forest and the pushing games were over and done with they could all enjoy browsing on the fresh grass. Alamaya and Mwashoti followed Lima Lima and Zongoloni who were guiding them to best vegetation to eat. As the orphans browsed the keepers took a break and sat on some big rocks watching the orphan herd from higher ground marvelling at what magnificent animals elephants truly are.

28 November 2017

Lima Lima and Zongoloni did not seem to be in a happy mood as they exited their stockades in the morning. Lima Lima and Zongoloni tried to grab some lucerne from the hay stores while the keepers tried to prevent them from doing so. They managed to grab a huge bail and ran off with it. The keepers chased them and were able to get them to drop the bail. When the two girls got to the bushes they found some monkeys on the path and they charged at them trumpeting loudly. The rest of the orphans joined them and together they made a lot of noise as they tried to chase the monkeys away. They were unsuccessful in doing so as the monkeys jumped into the trees and sat watching the orphans running around below them. Umani Hills and the Kenze base were the areas that the elephants walked to today for their browsing activities as there were many sweet branches for them to feed on. When the orphans got to the mud bath at noon they drank their milk bottle but avoided wallowing in the water as Lima Lima tested the water with her trunk and found it to be cold. The rest of the orphans went with her diagnosis of the water being too cold to swim in and as such they soon returned to their browsing activities.

29 November 2017

Today some wild elephants walked all the way from the Chyulu Hills to come and greet the orphans’ the stockades in the morning. They waited for the orphan herd to come out of their stockades and joined them as they made their way to the browsing grounds. Although the keepers followed at a distance it was not long before the wild bulls saw them following the group. As the wild elephants are still very distrustful of humans they walked faster in an effort to get away from them. Lima Lima, Zongoloni and Quanza headed into the forest while the bulls separated from the orphan herd and headed in a different direction. As the orphans walked through the forest Murera stopped to pull some bark from an acacia tree. As she fed on the Sonje took the opportunity to get Mwashoti away from her.

30 November 2017

In the morning as the keepers opened the stockade doors some of the orphans came running out trumpeting loudly seemingly in a joyful mood. They all downed their milk bottles and enjoyed some supplements before heading to the forest. As they matriarchs led the group out for the day they somehow avoided the grass that was wet with early morning dew and the keepers watched as Mwashoti and his friend Alamaya managed to not get their feet wet. Once in the forest Murera and Sonje rumbled to the two youngsters who were heading towards the older boys, running crazily through the bushes, to get them to stay by their side. None of the boys seemed to want to listen to the keepers or the matriarchs who were trying to get them in line when it started to rain. The keepers thought it best to seek refuge under the trees and wait for the rain to finish but the orphans had different ideas and continued on the path to the forest. The keepers followed them and by the time they got to the browsing ground both the keepers and orphans were quite wet and the keepers watched as the elephants played on some mounds that they found in the forest.