Keepers' Diaries, November 2018

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

The heat was consistently building this month at Ithumba until at last the first rains fell on the evening of the 19th. Up until then the ex-orphans and wild elephants continued to frequent the stockades in the morning to share water and lucerne with the dependent orphan babies. As soon as the rains broke they vanished, and it was as if they had never been around. Not a soul disturbed the orphans during their morning breakfast feeding time, and they enjoyed the peace and quiet without being bossed around by any elders. 

01 November 2018

It was lightly drizzling in the morning as the orphans left the stockades to join the ex-orphans that were waiting outside. The noisy weaver birds, who are always indicative the impending rains, perched in the only acacia tree remaining in the stockade compound, constructing their nests. Nasalot’s baby, the rascal Nusu, was at it again, pushing the orphans away from their piles of lucerne pellets. The moment he got to the no-nonsense Esampu however, Nusu was awestruck when Esampu couldn’t care less about who he was and knocked him to the ground. Esampu had been watching how Nusu misbehaves with the other dependent orphans and vowed not to stoop so low as to be pushed around by a one year old baby! Nusu left a disappointed little boy and walked over to his mother.

Half an hour later, the ex-orphans parted ways with the juniors. The orphans settled to browse north east of the stockade and had a quiet morning. 

At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by Chemi Chemi and Kibo. The sun was really hot and the orphans participated fully in the wallowing exercise. Later, the orphans were joined by two wild bulls to drink water. In the afternoon, the orphans walked over to the hill-slope, west of the Ithumba Hill where they settled for the afternoon. In the evening, the temperature was still high and the orphans passed by the mud bath where they cooled off before heading home.

02 November 2018

Three wild bulls were drinking water at the stockade water troughs when the orphans were let out. As soon as it started drizzling, the wild bulls left. Shortly later, a buffalo showed up for water. Olsekki and Tusuja tried to charge at the buffalo but it stood its ground. The buffalo only decided to move when big ex-orphan Meibai emerged from nowhere and forced it to. As soon as Meibai moved away from the water trough, the buffalo came back. Enkikwe moved closer and tried to charge at the buffalo, but the buffalo only looked at Enkikwe with a somewhat puzzled expression. The buffalo knew that Enkikwe was not really a threat and especially with his bad leg, so continued to drink water as Enkikwe decided to surrender. 

Meibai escorted the juniors to the browsing field and then left shortly after. On the way to the mud bath, Enkikwe dodged the Keepers by hiding behind a rock. After mud bath and on the way back, Enkikwe was found feeding along the road totally unfazed; he obviously did not want to go to the mud bath today! Galla and Namalok briefly held a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. In the afternoon, Rapa took a break from feeding to dust himself. 

03 November 2018

It was a cloudy morning with mist covering half of Ithumba Hill. The senior ex-orphans arrived at dawn and relaxed outside the stockade waiting to share Lucerne pellets with the juniors. After sharing the pellets, the ex-orphans headed south east while the orphans headed north. Orwa, Bomani and Narok joined the orphans and browsed calmly throughout the entire morning when Maramoja led the first group to the mud bath. 

After having their milk, six wild bulls that had occupied the water trough denied the orphans access to the water. The Keepers came over and intervened to make the bulls step back to allow the orphans to drink water. Enkikwe was the last one to leave the water trough. 

In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse west of Ithumba Hill. The temperature escalated making the orphans seek shelter under a tree, and they only resumed once it was cooler. 

04 November 2018

Yatta and her group joined the orphans in the morning for Lucerne pellets. Lulu spent most her time clinging to her nanny Naserian. Shortly later, the ex-orphans parted ways with the juniors. Led by Laragai, the orphans headed to Kone area where they settled to browse. 

Mundusi decided to test his strength by inviting Karisa for a pushing game. Karisa came running over because he thought playing with Mundusi would be a walkover, since Mundusi is inexperienced. Their game lasted for a few minutes as Mundusi bowed out and went to join Mteto to browse. Karisa was left alone not knowing who to play with next since now he was in a playing mood. Lucky enough, Tusuja was feeding close by and Karisa moved to request him for a pushing game. Tusuja accepted on the condition that it would only last for a few minutes as he wanted to concentrate on browsing. At mud bath time, the orphans were joined by three wild bulls and in the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area. The evening was quiet with no elephants showing up at the stockade compound. 

05 November 2018

The sky was clear in the morning and this was an indication of a hot day a head. Karisa left the stockade with a branch in his mouth. Karisa nearly lost the branch to the ex-orphans standing outside but his quick thinking saved him from losing it completely. Karisa turned his back and reversed until he got an opening as the ex-orphans had converged to one side waiting for the Lucerne pellets. The ex-orphans, whose mission was to get the pellets, left immediately after the pellets breakfast was over. 

The orphans headed north of the stockade, along with Sapalan who is now back to normal health, following the group escorted by Enkikwe. The orphans concentrated on browsing quietly until mud bath time, when Mteto led the first group to the mud bath. The afternoon was also quiet and hot prompting the orphans to converge under a tree to escape from the scorching sun. The orphans relaxed for two hours and resumed browsing later when it was cooler. 

06 November 2018

Sapalan was happy to be out with his friends again after being held back at the stockade for several days to regain his strength. The sky was clear which meant it would be another hot day. The orphans passed by the water trough and drank enough water to see them through the entire morning. 

Out in the bush, Sapalan teamed up with his slow friend Enkikwe as Kauro teamed up with Dupotto to browse. Mteto joined Ukame as Mundusi decided to take a break from feeding to participate in a soil dusting exercise. At mud bath time, Rapa led the first group while Naseku led the second one to their milk bottles. It was very hot, and as soon as the orphans were finished with their bottles they went for a swim.

Buchuma and some wild friends attended the mud bath and later, towards the end of mud bath, Dad showed up with his other wild bull friends. In the afternoon, the sun was still hot and the orphans opted for a break and relaxed under a tree for two hours.

07 November 2018

Karisa and Namalok briefly held a strength testing exercise early before six in the morning. This was one way of keeping themselves busy as they awaited the morning milk. After the morning feeding, the orphans walked outside and were joined by senior ex-orphans. Noticeable were the tiny wild born babies Nusu, Siku, Lulu, Kama, Yoyo, Wiva and Gawa, their mothers and nannies. The herd shared the pellets peacefully and after parted ways. 

The orphans settled to browse in Kone area and had a quiet morning. At mud bath time, Mteto led the first group while Esampu led the second one to the milk bottles. Three bulls attended the mud bath and only one of the bulls interacted with the orphans. 

In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse along the western slope of the Ithumba Hill. At around 3.30 pm, the Keepers herd lions roaring close by and within seconds, the orphans came back to them running. Upon checking if all the orphans were okay, the Keepers were surprised to see Lemoyian with blood on his head and left legs. We were devastated to see that the same lions had attacked another one of our orphans, and we will endeavor to trap and move them still. Lemoyian was thankfully not injured too badly, but these lions are very brazen and bold, even attacking in broad daylight. 

08 November 2018

The sky was clear in the morning as the orphans left the stockades. In the compound, the orphans were joined by Yatta’s ex-orphan group and several wild elephants. Baby Kama settled to feed on pellets and showed respect to the no nonsense Esampu. Kama was very humble and respectful of her space as she knew that any slight provocation to Esampu would land her in trouble. Baby Yoyo settled to feed with Rapa but tried to push Rapa away from the pile of pellets. Rapa checked around to see if Yatta, Yoyo's mother, was close by and was delighted to find that Yatta was some distance away. Rapa turned and pushed Yoyo away from the pellets. Yoyo ran away as if to tell on Rapa but none of the nannies paid any attention. 

Later, Mundusi found a suitable tree that he used to scratch the side of his belly, an exercise that also attracted Esampu who joined Mundusi. Sapalan as usual teamed up with his new found friend Enkikwe to feed and later had a soil dusting exercise. Twenty wild bulls attended the mud bath and had fun for nearly three hours. The orphans used the smaller mud bath before heading back out to browse. Karisa briefly played with Pare before Naseku ended their game by pushing the two boys away. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the upper Kalovoto area but avoided the area they had heard the lions. In the evening, all the orphans returned back safely to the stockade for another night.

09 November 2018

Seven bulls were taking water at the stockade compound. All the seven bulls were trying their luck in courting Lenana who appeared to be in season. The orphans were let out and settled to feed on lucerne pellets. Lenana joined them briefly and later walked off with one of the elephant bulls following her, and the rest at a distance. 

The orphans headed north of the stockade where they settled to browse. It was another day with high temperatures and the orphans decided to carry on with browsing up to mud bath time, when after taking their milk, they all participated fully in the wallowing exercise. Naseku and Wanjala had fun and seemed to be excited which they expressed by splashing water using their trunks and trumpeting at the same time. Naseku is the complete opposite to Kauro and loves bathing so much, while Kauro almost has a water phobia. Both were rescued after being stuck in water and Naseku appears to have forgotten and moved on while Kauro still appears to have got that horrible memory of when he lost his family. Only two wild bulls attended the mud bath. In the afternoon, the orphans headed to the upper Kalovoto area where they settled to browse for the rest of the day. 

10 November 2018

It was a quiet morning with five bulls and Mutara’s group present in the stockade compound. Once the gates were opened for the orphans to leave, Mutara and her group went in to the stockade to find out if there were any leftover branches. Kainuk was lucky as she found herself a nice branch that she picked and enjoyed feeding on outside. Oltaiyoni tried to beg Kainuk to break a piece for her but Kainuk ignored her. 

The orphans settled to browse in the Kone area where they were joined by Orwa and Bomani. At mud bath time, thirty wild bulls were also there. Noticeable was One Tusk who we have not seen for several months. The orphans escorted by Mutara’s group had their milk, mud bath and soil bath before heading back to browse. 

11 November 2018

Narok and Rapsu in the company of several wild bulls were at stockade water troughs competing with buffaloes over who among them would drink first. The buffaloes lost the battle and surrendered. They waited until the elephants had had enough before they came to drink. In the wild, the elephants usually win in the hierarchical order! The orphans were let out and as soon as Karisa saw the buffaloes, he got excited and started trumpeting, charging and running in circles as he tried to scare the buffaloes away. The buffaloes didn't mind however, and continued to drink water. At last, Karisa got tired and left after failing to make the buffaloes move away. 

Later the orphans were joined briefly by Nasalot, baby Nusu, Sidai, Loijuk and Makena. At mud bath time, the orphans boycotted the wallowing exercise and opted to go back to the browsing field soon after drinking their milk and water. The temperature skyrocketed in the afternoon making the orphans relax under some trees as usual. Naseku and Wanjala decided to keep themselves busy by dusting themselves as they waited for it to get cooler. 

12 November 2018

The orphans enjoyed their Lucerne today without any ex-orphans or wild elephants around. One wild elephant arrived later to share water. Later, three other wild bulls appeared for water too. Laragai was separately eating Lucerne from the others. 

Out in the bush, Lemoyian was busy browsing despite the pain in his leg after being bitten by a lion. Olsekki and Siangiki were always browsing together while Rapa browsed next to them. Sapalan was also busy in the bush browsing and is looking much better. He is very much enjoying his milk bottle feeds. Mundusi was busy browsing with Garzi separately. 

Later when the orphans were quietly browsing in the afternoon, we spotted a wild elephant bull with an arrow injury. Our DSWT/KWS Mobile Veterinary team was notified and the bull was treated swiftly. Tusuja led the group back home in the evening for their milk bottles. 

13 November 2018

Today the orphan elephants had their milk and joined the ex- orphans who were waiting for them outside the gate. We gave them Lucerne and they were very happy to share with the ex- orphans from Yatta's herd. Lualeni and baby Lulu, Kinna and Kama, Yatta and her babies Yetu and Yoyo, Galana and Gawa, Nasalot and Nusu and lastly Sunyei with Siku were all there. It was so wonderful to see all the wild born babies. They all looked happy and healthy and enjoyed the Lucerne pellets too. The orphans later walk to the bush to browse and the ex-orphans stayed behind.

The orphans were very active out in the bush as they all looked for the most vegetation to eat. Enkikwe and Sapalan browsed together in the bush while Maramoja and Ukame also browsed separately. There was quite a bit of vegetation just beginning to shoot from the little rain we received last week, and the orphans enjoyed browsing on this new vegetation the most. Later the elephants walked to the mud bath had their milk and decided not to wallow in the mud bath, but to go back to browsing.

Mteto was browsing from a very high tree while Turkwel was struggling to pick the freshest green branches possible. Mutara's group with Orwa, Bomani and Narok joined them last minute on their way back home in the evening. Tusuja led the whole group back home in the evening.

14 November 2018

It was a quiet morning today as the orphans walked down to the Lucerne feeding area after their milk bottles. They were given some Lucerne pellets and were all busy enjoying those. Tomboi was the only ex-orphan who came to join them. He was greedy and was carrying extra Lucerne on his head while still feeding on what was in front of him! 

The orphans walked to an area with lots of green grass today with their Keepers, and they were all busy feeding on that which they found delicious. They enjoyed that grass until it was time to go for their midday milk bottles.

At the mud bath there were four wild bulls who came to drink from the water troughs. The orphans went straight to the mud hole after their milk and started playing there. Mundusi came out of the mud hole using a different exit point to usual and struggled to get up the steep wall. 

Later on, another group of wild bulls came to join the ones already there. Enkikwe was the last one to get out of the water as he walked out extra carefully to avoid being hurt. It was very hot and the orphans walked to the bush and stayed in the shade for some time. Sapalan was very active and was browsing as usual which was good to see. The rest were busy browsing with Galla browsing from the highest branches as he searched for the freshest and tastiest ones possible. Later in the evening, Siangiki led the group back home for their milk, with most of them in a happy mood which was obvious as they wagged and swayed their heads on their way back home.

15 November 2018

It was a busier morning today as ex-orphans Nasalot, Galana and Lualeni with their babies were at the stockade. They were very active but baby Lulu was the most active, running about all over the place following her mum Lualeni. The orphans later came out after their milk and joined them. Lualeni took a bunch of Lucerne pellets and walked off with them to eat them away from the others, while Lulu tried to learn how to eat them too. Galana also took her bunch and started eating with her baby Gawa. We also saw the wild bull who was treated last Monday. He came back to drink water here. He is recovering well and obviously knows this is a safe place to recuperate. Enkikwe, Turkwel and Lemoyian were treated and applied with green clay before they set off to the bush with the others.

Pare was very busy browsing from a thick green bush. Olare's group later joined the orphans in the bush with Murka being very attentive of our young orphans. They all walked to the mud bath for the dependent orphans to have their midday milk bottles.

At mud bath, the ex-orphans were hiding under the shade of the trees while the dependent orphans were busy browsing in the bush. They all looked happy and later walked back home in the evening for their milk.

In the stockade compound today we rescued a wild baby from the water trough. She was about 2 months old and came in to drink water with her mum and other elephants. The little one stepped inside and was unable to come out. Her mum became a little aggressive as we were trying to walk near the trough to help. We used the truck to separate the mum and made room to take the baby out. Ex-orphan Suguta came running in when she heard the baby making a lot of noise; she started comforting her and later she ran to back her mother who was standing not far away. 

16 November 2018

The dependent orphans had their milk this morning before joining ex-orphans Rapsu and Buchuma who were outside. They interacted around the Lucerne feeding area. Lemoyian walked to the water trough to drink water and was later followed by the others. They all made sure to have a good drink and wash all the pellets down before walking out to the bush for the day.

We watched Olsekki and Mundusi stretching high to reach some fresh leaves from a tree. Wanjala and Karisa were enjoying the fresh green pasture with Siangiki. 

At the mud bath today we had a big wild bull who was waiting for the water bowser to come so that he could have some water. The truck came in and the orphans had their milk and walked to the trough. They met a wild bull there who was very friendly and allowed the orphans to drink alongside him. When they were done they went to the mud wallow as it was quite a warm day. They swam in a line and enjoyed playing in the water. They later came out and walked to the bush again to browse. Enkikwe scratched on a tree as he browsed. Pare was busy searching for fresh pasture. The orphans later made their way back home in the evening for their milk. 

17 November 2018

It was an active morning when we received visitors from Yatta's group with Lualeni, Sunyei, Nasalot and Galana with their babies and nannies. We had also few wild bulls among them. They all looked active and strong. Wendi, Kinna and Mulika with their babies are the only who were not present today. Siku was playing and kissing her mum Sunyei. Ishanga smelled the air with her trunk held up high. The orphans had their milk and joined them too. Mundusi and Nusu were playing and patting each other with their trunks around the water trough. 

When all the elephants walked out to the forest, the ex-orphans separated themselves from the group, leaving behind Narok, Orwa and Bomani with the dependent orphans. They stayed with them the whole morning and later walked with them to the mud bath for their milk. Roi is the one who led them. The orphans had their milk and walked over to the water trough where some wild bulls were drinking. They were very welcoming and allowed them to drink too. Because it was cloudy, none of the orphans felt like swimming and the orphans walked out to browse.

All the orphans concentrated on browsing, including Narok, Orwa and Bomani. Pare and Mundusi later led the group back home in the evening for their milk with Kithaka, Barsilinga, Laragai and Garzi among them.

18 November 2018

There were no ex-orphans or wild elephants who joined the dependent orphans for their lucerne breakfast this morning, so they enjoyed their food peacefully without being bullied or bossed around by any other elephants. Galla and Tusuja were feeding together. 

In the bush they were all busy browsing with Galla stretching high to reach the greenest leaves. Later, at the mud bath, we had one huge bull with his friends who came to drink water. He looks magnificent and very handsome. 

Kithaka was busy stretching high in the tree for food. Other orphans were very busy wallowing in the mud hole. The water bowser came in and topped up the drinking water before emptying the rest into the mud hole. Esampu played right in the middle of the mud hole and came out to scratch her head on a tree. Galla and Naseku were the most playful as they were play-fighting in the mud wallow. Other wild bulls came in to drink water and later walked away.

When the orphans walked back out to browse it was very hot and the they hid in the shade for a bit. Namalok and Karisa started play fighting while the others were busy browsing. Roi and Pare were browsing together. Siangiki, Olsekki and Pare were left behind this evening because of Olsekki. He likes to hide and come in at the last minute, but he likes to recruit some others to stay with him as well, today it was Siangiki and Pare. They all came in after the others and had their milk bottles late. 

19 November 2018

It was a very pretty morning today when the orphan elephants walked down to the lucerne field to meet with ex-orphans from Mutara, Olare and Narok's groups. Kithaka and Bomani started interacting with one wild bull near the water trough. Kilaguni and his group also interacted with the same wild bull as he was very friendly and enjoyed relaxing with the orphans. Naisula started patting and smelling Kanjoro with her trunk while he was feeding on Lucerne, and Galla was doing the same to Namalok. Karisa started play-fighting with Mundusi before they walked out to the bush. 

Ex-orphan Zurura visited later and was followed by a buffalo who came in for water. The orphans later walked to the bush to browse. Enkikwe was busy browsing with Kamok while others were on the lookout for fresh green vegetation. 

When it was mud bath time, some or the orphans played in the water after their milk bottles. Naseku and Tusuja were the most playful elephants of the day as they were play fighting and climbing on each other in the water. Narok’s group then arrived with Mutara's. They walk straight to the water trough to drink water and joined the orphans in the bush when they were done wallowing. Karisa started scratching on a tree stump as the rest walked off to browse.

Galla and Namalok spent most of the afternoon play fighting. Siangiki and Rapa were enjoying a dust bath and later everyone walked back home in the evening, with the dependent orphans having their milk and the ex- orphans from Narok, Mutara and Olare's group drinking water outside the compound. When they were done they walked off into the Park. We received a little rain of 18mm this evening.

20 November 2018

It was a very cold morning today we received some rain last night. It was very quiet and the orphans enjoyed eating the lucerne with no either ex-orphans or wild elephants around. Bomani was the only one who came in after some time and joined the orphans. He followed them into the bush today as well. Roi was scratching her neck on the wall pavement with Barsilinga, Kithaka, Laragai and Garzi busy feeding on Lucerne.

It was Kamok who we saw stretching high in the trees today to reach the best leaves and branches. One of the DSWT Aerial Surveillance airplanes was also patrolling from above. The Kalovoto River was very full from all the rain. 

Kithaka was busy browsing. Enkikwe was walking slowly behind the others to the mud bath. Bomani stayed with the dependent orphans for the whole day and led them to the mud bath at midday. On the way, Oltaiyoni was playing with Olsekki. Galla was busy stretching high up in the trees. 

It was still quite cloudy so only a few orphans played in the water. Dupotto was the most playful as she was playing and digging down in the ground with her tusks. 

21 November 2018

It was very quiet today in the stockade as the orphans had their milk and walked down to the lucerne field. They started feeding on Lucerne and later, Bomani walked in to join them. Dupotto was feeding beside the loading wall while Roi and Tusuja shared a pile of Lucerne. Turkwel started feeding from some Lucerne that Lemoyian had thrown on his back.

In the bush, everyone was busy browsing but then it started to rain lightly which made the orphans less active. Bomani stayed with the dependent orphans throughout the morning, separate to the others in Laragai's group who stayed away. 

When the orphans arrived at the mud bath for their milk, it was still cold and no one bothered to enter the mud hole. Instead the orphans walked alongside it and back to the bush to continue browsing. Galla and Namalok started play fighting and pushing each other. Lemoyian and Sapalan walked over to the nearby little dam and splashed a little bit before rejoining the herd. Mundusi and Karisa were walking and browsing together. Karisa later led the group back home in the evening for their milk.

In the stockade today we had Wendi's herd with Mulika and Mwende, Wendi and Wiva, Yatta and Yetu and finally Kinna and Kama. They came to drink water and left immediately after. They were together with Kithaka's group too which included Barsilinga, Garzi, Laragai, Kithaka and Turkwel. They all arrived an hour after the dependent orphans left for the day. 

22 November 2018

We all woke up to our usual routine this morning, and the orphans enjoyed their morning breakfast as usual. Kamok and Tusuja were seriously busy feeding on Lucerne separately. Lemoyian, Turkwel and Enkikwe had their wounds treated as usual and then were allowed to join their friends. Lemoyian was throwing some lucerne on the wounds to cover them. 

Out in the bush, Barsilinga, Turkwel and Ukame were busy stretching high to reach the green fresh vegetation. Karisa was scooping and tossing soil in the air and some on his back. Enkikwe was not left behind as he was busy browsing. 

When it was time the orphans walked to the mud bath for their milk and to play in the mud bath. It was not very hot but they did play a bit. They all sort of half played in the muddy water, and so walked out with patterns of mud on their bodies that looked like camouflage. 

Later Roi was accompanying Tusuja while browsing and patting him with her trunk. Oltaiyoni browsed separately from the group and later Karisa led the herd back home in the evening for their milk. No ex-orphans or wild elephants came to the stockades today, and we think this is because we had some rain last night.

23 November 2018

It was a very cloudy morning today as the orphans walked down to the Lucerne feeding area with fear of being rained on. Enkikwe, Turkwel, Sapalan and Lemoyian received their food separately so they could be treated before walking out to the bush. Mutara's group visited the stockades and joined the orphans. We had Mutara, Sities, Kainuk, Kanjoro, Suguta and Kasigau. Turkwel was very happy to see them. They all shared the lucerne with the dependent orphans before they all left for the bush.

All the orphans concentrated on browsing and filling their tummies. Kamok stretched high to reach the nice leaves. Galla was throwing dust on his back while Mundusi and Sapalan were busy browsing. Kithaka, the naughty boy, was not left out as he was busy browsing too. 

At the mud bath today it was very cold and no one played in the water. Those still milk dependent had their milk bottles and walked straight back out to continue browsing. Olsekki and Siangiki were busy browsing together as usual. You can't separate the two in any way! Barsilinga was also very active today as he's happy to have the company from Mutara's herd. Turkwel later walked away with Mutara’s herd as that was her original group, and perhaps they came by today to see if she was ready to rejoin them after having her tail operation. The Keepers returned her back to the dependent group but again she followed Mutara’s herd, so she left with them. 

24 November 2018

It was a very cold morning as we woke up to rain today. It was very quiet and there were no other ex-orphans or wild elephants waiting in the stockade compound. The dependent orphans had their milk and some lucerne and usual, and then walked out to begin their day.

They enjoyed their morning of browsing as there was no one else around to interrupt them. The area was very quiet and one might even think there were no other elephants around at all! It started drizzling again as the orphans were busy browsing with Wanjala being very active and running about. Namalok stretched high to reach the green leaves high in the trees. Sapalan was active too and browsing happily. They walk to the stockades to have their milk bottles today as the road to the mud bath was very slippery. Sapalan and Enkikwe walked to the water trough to drink water before having their milk.

In the afternoon all the orphans still looked active despite the drizzling rain. Dupotto was busy searching for fresh food. We recorded 22mm of rain today. Turkwel has stayed away with Mutara’s herd for the time being.

25 November 2018

It was another quiet morning today as there were no other elephants around. It was still very cold outside and some of the babies were not being as active as usual. Lemoyian and Enkikwe got their medication as usual and join the herd. 

Lemoyian was very busy browsing with Galla but it seems as if they were still having a chat while they browsed as they rumbled and moved together. Garzi was on his own busy browsing too. The orphans came across a small water pool in the bush formed by the rain and started drinking from it. Lemoyian also came over and started cleaning his wounds with the same water. 

At the mud bath area the orphans had their milk bottles as usual, but Enkikwe was begging for more after he had finished his share. As it was still cold, the orphans didn't wallow in the mud hole and they just wanted to continue eating. There were no other wild elephants around the mud hole either. They orphans all walked out in a line back to the bush to browse until it was time to return to the stockade compound later in the day. Mutara's herd didn't appear today either. 

26 November 2018

It was a good start to the day today as we received a little rain last night which served to cool down the whole area. The orphans had their morning milk bottles and then walked down to the area where they eat their Lucerne. Maramoja was reaching over the wall to where she had seen some Lucerne fall. Enkikwe and Lemoyian were washed and treated as usual and then joined their friends. When they were all ready, they walked out to the forest.

The weather was very conducive to browsing today, so all the orphans were very busy filling their tummies. Garzi climbed on top of a rock and browsed from some trees there. Enkikwe went ahead and started scratching his ears and neck on a tree. Olsekki and Naseku were browsing next to each other. It was very muddy and slippery along the road and the vehicle could not take milk to the mud bath as it had started to rain even harder. Instead the orphans were fed at the stockade compound and then they went back to browsing from there.

The orphans were very busy browsing in the afternoon as well, despite all the mud. Mteto and Sapalan browsed together. Later the orphans walked back home in the evening for their milk. Mutara's group with Turkwel were not seen today and we didn’t see any of the ex-orphans, nor any wild elephants. We recorded 16mm of rainfall today.

27 November 2018

It was another cold morning after the rain last night and this morning. The orphans were a little more reluctant to come out of their stockades as well, as they could feel the weather too! They had their milk bottles and had a quick feast on the lucerne, before walking out to the bush to browse. Olsekki and Siangiki were feasting together as usual; they are such close friends.

All the orphans browsed until noon when Siangiki led the group to the mud bath for their milk feed. It was a lot warmer by this time, and on the way the orphans came across a small pool of rain water that they decided to use to cool down before they reached the mud bath itself.

After their bottles, the elephants walked into the water in a straight line and swam the length of the water. They were led by our youngest here, Esampu. It was quite interesting to see them wallowing despite the relatively cool weather in the area.

The orphans were very restless as they browsed in the afternoon. After the rain there were so many soft green shoots they did not know where to look, or browse! Everyone went his or her own way looking for the best browse. Namalok started spraying dust on his back. Lemoyian sneaked from the group to follow Kithaka's group who always like to be on their own, but come in later at night to sleep in the compound. The whole group later made their way back to the stockades for their evening milk, and to go to bed.

28 November 2018

The orphans had their milk bottles before leaving straight for the bush today. Mutara and her group including Turkwel, Suguta, Kanjoro, Sities, Kainuk and Kibo, who is not usually part of that group, arrived and joined the orphans requesting to be supplied with Lucerne. Turkwel seems to be doing very well with Mutara’s herd and we were happy to see her looking so well, happy to be back with her older friends. Garzi and Kanjoro started play-fighting, while Turkwel scratched her neck on a gate post. 

All the orphans browsed in the bush, with Mutara's herd slightly separate from the dependent orphans. Later, the orphans came across a small water pool that they started to play in before it was their next feeding time beside the mud bath.

It was cold when they reached the mud bath and the orphans just decided to have their milk and not wallow. A few of them walked to have a drink of water, and then joined their friends who were already back to browsing.

A few hours later it started raining and the orphan elephants became all hyper. They were rolling down in the mud and several of them were very active and played vigorously. Kamok and Pare started play-fighting, as all the others were down in the mud rolling in different styles. The herd later walked back home in the evening for their milk again. 

Kithaka, Laragai, Barsilinga and Garzi did not turn up this evening, but they will come later as they always do. They don't sleep out, but they also don’t like to stay with the dependent orphans the whole day. We received 12mm of rain and we still expect more tonight. No other ex-orphans or wild elephants appeared today.

29 November 2018

The orphans woke this morning to have their milk bottles and did not stay in the compound long before walking out to the bush. Pare started scratching his neck while Mundusi his and browsed separately from the others. Lemoyian was busy stretching and browsing high in the trees in search of fresh leaves.

Later at noon the orphans had their milk and walked straight to the mud bath to cool down as it was a very hot day. They all walked in and started wallowing in a long line, with Esampu leading the group. They walked and swam the length of the muddy pool, and came out the other side still in a line, to walk straight to the bush to browse again.

Later when the elephants were browsing, they came across a small pool of water that they decided to play in as well. After they finished splashing around, they continued with their browsing right up until the last minute, when they made their way back home for their milk in the evening. Laragai's group decided to accompany the others back to the stockades this evening too. We had no rain today and it has been very hot since morning, however we saw no other elephants today.

30 November 2018

It was a cold and wet morning today after we had 28mm of rainfall last night. The orphans did not stay in the compound long and almost walked straight out to browse.

All the orphans were spread out and browsing. Namalok and Lemoyian started splashing soil on their backs with Lemoyian covering his wounds with clumpy soil as well. Later they walked to the mud bath for their milk. It was still very cold so the elephants didn't play in the water after their milk bottles. 

While the others were browsing Sapalan was playing with the wet and loose soil, throwing it on his head and back while browsing. Oltaiyoni on the other side was playing in the mud with her ears open. Siangiki and Tusuja were browsing and playing in mud together with Roi enjoying the browse with her ears open. Later the orphans walked back home in the evening, leaving Laragai's group behind to come later. We recorded 28mm of rainfall today and did not see any other elephants.