October has been a month where our Ithumba orphans have enjoyed the company of numerous wild elephants almost daily. Huge numbers have been pouring into the stockade compound to have their share of the bowsered in water, and the wild elephants have also been visiting the orphans at mudwallow time, already tuned into the routine of the water bowser which in the peak of the dry season has to work overtime. On the 21st of the month as many as 50 wild elephants visited the stockade compound.
The orphans at Ithumba are broken down into a number of groups, the dependent milk dependent orphans consisting of waterbaby Bongo, Garzi, Kandecha, Kanjoro, Kasigau, Kainuk, Kilabasi, Laragai, Makireti, Mutara, Narok, Orwa, Shukuru, Sities, Teleki, Turkwel and boisterous Vuria. These orphans need their milk daily, their Keepers and head home to the safety of their night stockades each evening.
Then there is Suguta’s group. These are semi dependent young orphans who are no longer in the night stockades and come and go of their own accord, but still attached and dependent enough to visit the dependent orphans and their keepers most days. In this group we have Chaimu, Ishanga, Kalama, Kibo, Kilaguni, Kitirua, Melia, Murka, Naisula, Olare, Suguta and Tumaren. Suguta’s group have been visiting regularly both at the stockades and at the midday mudbath location, and often in the company of some of the independent ex orphans, and sometimes with wild elephant friends.
Then the independent orphans or ex orphans consist of Buchuma, Challa, Chyulu, Galana, Kamboyo, Kenze, Kinna, Kora, Lenana, Loijuk, Lualeni, Madiba, Makena, Meibei, Mulika, Napasha, Nasalot, Naserian, Ololoo, Orok, Rapsu, Sunyei, Taita, Tomboi, Zurura, Yatta and Ithumbah along with wild born babies Mwende and Yetu and naughty Wendi who along with Kinna will be adding to our wild born baby tally next year as both a pregnant.
The much needed rain has been threatening and as a result many of the days have been extremely hot this month, and our orphans have had to take to the shade to keep their body temperatures down. The midday mudbath goes along way with helping them cool off every day this is very much part of their routine. Some days they are joined by the ex orphans, or members of Suguta’s group, and it always seems that the comings and goings are communicated amidst all the elephants who seem to know whose where at all times. Our Keepers on the other hand can be caught out with some of our milk dependent babies giving them the slip and joining their more independent friends.
To enjoy specific details about the individual orphans at Ithumba and what they have got up to throughout this month please view the Keepers daily diary entries.