Keepers' Diaries, October 2011

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

The month began very hot at Ithumba, forcing the orphans under shade most days early in the day However, the first rain shower fell on the l0th, followed by a heavy downpour of 2 inches on the 29th, which greened the vegetation, put some water at least in the natural depressions and left the Ithumba orphans happy.

01 October 2011

The day turned very hot by 11.30 a.m., which prompted the orphans to take an early mudbath. Makena, Kandecha, Ithumbah, Ololoo, Tumaren and Kibo were reluctant to leave, but eventually all went to browse along a river valley where they had fun sliding down the banks.

02 October 2011

Led by Kalama, the orphans took their Lucerne close to the Stockades. Kandecha attempted to push Makena away, but she pointed her trunk at him as a warning, after which he took the hint and went to feed far from herd, joining the group later. After a cooling mudbath on another very hot day, the orphans browsed the western slopes of Ithumba hill and on the way back in the evening Makena competed with Kandecha to lead the column, a competition that was won by Kandecha.

03 October 2011

The orphans left the Stockades early as usual, but as the temperature soared, they took to shade. Five wild dogs passed close by, not at all bothered by the presence of either the Keepers or the elephants. The orphans all participated fully in the mudbath, Kilaguni putting on a particularly spectacular performance, remaining in the wallow for l0 minutes after the others had left. Sabachi and Suguta rumbled a call but he took his time, and eventually caught up with them out in the bush.

04 October 2011

As the orphans left their Stockades in the morning three wild elephants were drinking at the water trough and were joined only by Ithumbah, who had to hurry to catch up with the others who headed straight out. The herd browsed the Kalovoto area today until Kandecha led the first group to the milk and mudbath venue. The afternoon browsing was at the Kanziko area before returning in the evening.

05 October 2011

Having quenched their thirst at the Stockade trough, Tumaren led the orphaned herd to Ithumba hill where they browsed until it was time for the mudbath. After the mudbath Melia led the group back, but as it was so hot, the orphans relaxed under shade until temperatures dropped. In the evening greedy Kandecha was first back at the Stockades for his evening milk feed.

06 October 2011

The orphans emerged in a playful mood, Kibo and Kandecha enjoying a Pushing Game as they waited for their milk. Whilst Kandecha was feeding, Olare pushed him away to try and take his milk, so the Keepers sent her to spend time out as a warning for bad behaviour. The orphans enjoyed a drink at the trough after Ithumbah, Naisula, Suguta and Kitirua had scratched their buttocks at the Unloading Bay while Kilaguni challenged Sabachi to a Pushing game. Today the orphans browsed the slopes of Ithumba hill and enjoyed a lengthy mudbath because it was another very hot day.

07 October 2011

As the sun rose above the horizon in the morning Chaimu and Ithumbah raced to the water trough to quench their thirst and chase away a flock of guinea-fowl who were busy drinking. Kandecha, Kibo and Sabachi backed up the guinea-fowl charge and were clearly triumphant when the birds took to the air! Later Kitirua and Makena led the orphans to the field where they fed calmly until Kandecha decided it was time for the mudbath. Later the orphans rested under shade before heading back to browse. In the evening Yatta and the Ex Orphans, accompanied by wild friends, came to take water from the Stockade compound.

08 October 2011

As usual the orphans left their Night Stockades early and went to drink at the trough before Melia led them out to browse. Soon after the elephants had left 3 wild dogs came to drink at the Stockades. At the noon mudbath the Juniors were joined by a wild bull before heading back to browse during the afternoon, returning in the evening to the Stockades.

09 October 2011

As the Juniors emerged in the morning, they joined some wild elephants at the Stockade water trough, who were also taking a drink and later left for the field. At the mudbath Kalama was the star Player, the only one to cover herself totally in the mud, after which all enjoyed a dustbath. Two huge wild bulls came for the mudbath just as the orphans were preparing to head back out to browse.

10 October 2011

As the orphans left their Night Quarters, the sky was overcast, and soon a slight drizzle followed which left the group overjoyed. They took time off to play in the damp ground and suck up water from fresh puddles. Since it was still too cool for a mudbath today, all resumed feeding after having taken their milk ration.

11 October 2011

It was another cool morning as the orphans played briefly with the water until Kilaguni and Sabachi led the way to the Kanziku area, followed by the others. At around 9 a.m. Ololoo, who was feeding close to Olare, pushed her away, which angered Suguta who drove Ololoo away. The day turned hot by l0 a.m. causing the orphans to continuously flap their ears so all took a lengthy mudbath as a result.

12 October 2011

The orphans were in a playful mood today. Chemi Chemi and Kandecha put on a Charging Display, rushing towards each other with head up, ears out and trunk curled under the chin. The two kept this up for several minutes until Sabachi, Kibo and Kilaguni disrupted events by pushing each other in their path. Chemi Chemi, who is the smallest boy at Ithumba, decided to quit and take a drink instead, as Ithumbah, Chaimu, Melia and Ololoo were enjoying a dust bath before Naisula and Kitirua led the group out. En route Chaimu chose a stick to scratch behind her left ear, which obviously relieved the itch!. After the mudbath the orphans rested under shade until the temperature dropped, and then headed out to feed again before returning the evening return.

13 October 2011

After taking a drink Ithumbah led the column out in single file east of the Stockades. As usual Kandecha led the way to the mudbath and milk venue and all enjoyed cooling themselves down in the mud, taking a dust-bath to dry themselves off before heading out to feed again.

14 October 2011

Having left the Stockades, Chaimu spotted a flock of guinea-fowl and charged towards them with outspread ears. After taking water Murka and Olare led the group out today, Kandecha taking the lead to the mudbath at 11 a.m. as usual.

15 October 2011

At the mudbath today, the Juniors were joined by Wendi, Sunyei, Galana, Kimathenia and two wild elephant friends. After the mudbath Wendi led the entire herd to the Kanziku area where they browsed together until it was time to head back in the evening, when the two wild elephants parted to go their own way.

16 October 2011

Murka led the Juniors to the water trough as soon as all were out of their Night Stockades. At around 9.30 a wild bull with arrow wounds came to drink at the Stockade water trough. Kandecha led the way as usual to the mudbath venue, where the Juniors were joined again by Wendi, Galana, Sunyei, Lualeni, Kora, Loijuk, Mgeni and 2 wild elephants. Later Wendi led the group to browse the Kanziku area and on the way back to the Stockades in the evening the wild elephants parted company to go their own way, but Wendi escorted the Juniors back to the Stockades.

17 October 2011

Murka led the Juniors to the water trough for a drink before heading out to browse the Kanziku area until mudbath time when Kandecha signaled that it was time to go. At mudbath the Juniors were joined by Galana, Sunyei, Wendi, Lualeni, Kora, Loijuk Mgeni and 2 wild elephants. Wendi paid Ololoo a lot of attention, before leading her group to the Kanziku area while the Juniors headed towards Ithumba hill to browse their way slowly back to the Stockades in the evening.

18 October 2011

Mist obscured Ithumba hill on a cloudy morning, so the orphans began to browse close to the Stockades. The light rain a week or so again has brought the vegetation into budding, so the orphans enjoyed plucking tender shoots until it was time for the mudbath. Since it was cool, the Juniors enjoyed a dust bath before heading back to browse for the remainder of the day.

19 October 2011

It looked very much like rain today, so the Keepers armed themselves with umbrellas and raincoats in anticipation but instead of rain, temperatures soared sending both men and elephants under shade until it was time for a lengthy mudbath.

20 October 2011

At around 9 a.m. the Juniors were joined by Madiba, Zurura, Lualeni, Naserian and Rapsu all of whom accompanied the Juniors to the mudbath. After the mudbath a light drizzle of rain fell during which the Orphaned herd met up with a wild elephant herd, whom Zurura, Lualeni, Madiba, and Naserian joined. However, Zurura changed his mind and returned to be with Makena, who is his best friend, and who has been spending time as a Junior to enjoy supplementary feeding having returned last month in a weakened condition due to the drought conditions.

21 October 2011

Today Makena led the Juniors to browse. At the mudbath the Juniors were joined by Wendi, Lualeni, Buchuma, Taita, Napasha, Rapsu, Kamboyo and Kenze and all enjoyed bathing together, Makena, Ololoo and Kilaguni remaining to play in the mud for a long time. Later the herd settled to browse at Kanziku, until 4 p.m. when the Ex Orphans separated and headed in a westerly direction.

22 October 2011

Before the orphans left their Night Quarters, five buffaloes and 6 wild elephants came to drink at the Stockade water trough. Out in the field a troupe of baboons scared the Juniors, who ran to their Keepers for protection. At the mudbath venue the Juniors were joined by Yatta’s wild recruit named Kijana, 2 younger wild elephants, Nasalot, Wendi, Mulika and Yatta. Both Yatta and Mulika are heavily pregnant now, and we are expecting them to deliver around Decmber or January next year since they conceived in February 2010. After the mudbath Yatta and her group headed eastwards while the Juniors returned to the Kanziku area. In the evening 6 wild elephants and 5 wild dogs came to drink at the Stockades. One of the wild elephants charged the wild dogs who stood their ground and went on drinking!

23 October 2011

Kandecha and Kibo enjoyed a Pushing Game as soon as they came out of the Stockade in the morning, while Kilaguni enjoyed rolling on the ground. Melia then led the entire group deep into the browsing field where the Juniors were joined at 8 a.m. by Loijuk and Naserian, who spent the entire morning with the Youngsters. As it was a hot day all enjoyed a lengthy mudbath.

24 October 2011

Kalama led the Orphans out on another hot day. Once at the Browsing Area Kandecha engaged Kibo in a Pushing game, but Kandecha withdrew when Sabachi entered the fray. At 10 a.m. Challa, Rapsu, Madiba, Sidai, Taita, Lualeni and Nasalot joined the Juniors and fed amongst the Juniors at the Kanziku area until 11 a.m. when Kandecha led Kibo, Olare, and Murka in the first sitting for their milk.

25 October 2011

Led by Kalama, the orphans headed out to browse, swinging their trunks happily from side to side, but by l0.30 a.m., the scorching sun drove them all under shade. Today it was Naisula who led the way to the mudbath, after which the orphans relaxed under shade waiting for the heat to subside.

26 October 2011

As the juniors left their Stockades, they were joined by a wild elephant, who drank water with them and then accompanied them, remaining with them for half an hour before peeling off. At 8 a.m. 3 wild dogs visited the stockade waterhole to take water and cool themselves off. Just before mudbath Wendi, Nasalot, Sidai and Tomboi joined the Juniors and accompanied them to the mudbath. They wallowed with the Juniors and then peeled off.

27 October 2011

The Juniors browsed calmly throughout the morning, Kilaguni taking time out from feeding to have a strength testing exercise with Sabachi. Light rain later made the Juniors very happy before heading back home in the evening.

28 October 2011

The orphans greeted one another with rumbling before heading to the Stockade water trough where they were joined by Lualeni, Madiba, Zurura and Naserian. Naserian led the herd to the Kone area to browse, but at around l0 a.m., with their trunks in the air, the Ex Orphans headed eastwards leaving the Juniors with their Keepers. The Juniors enjoyed the mudbath and a soil dusting session as usual, before browsing for the rest of the afternoon and returning in the evening.

29 October 2011

There was a heavy downpour during the night, which left the Orphans in high spirits, enjoying sliding on the wet ground, wallowing in small water pans, so it was a day of fun, feeding in between playing. By noon the Juniors had their fill of wallowing, so having taken their milk ration, the afternoon was spent also feeding, wallowing and playing in water puddles.

30 October 2011

The orphans left on a clear day to browse the Kanziku area where they were joined by Nasalot, Taita, Napasha, Sidai, Lualeni, Zurura and Buchuma. As always Nasalot was focused on her favourite, Kilaguni, remaining with him until it was time for the mudbath when she stood beside him as he took his milk and thereafter escorted him to the waterhole. At 3 p.m. the Ex Orphans separated from the Juniors heading for an undisclosed destination.

31 October 2011

Suguta led the Orphans to the water trough today, while Makena inspected all the Stockades to check if any supplements were left. Having found nothing worth having, she ran, swinging her trunk, to catch up with the others who had already left. When Makena first came back, she was very weak, so the fact that she can now run means that her condition has improved a great deal. It was another cloudy cool day, so the orphans declined to wallow.