Our latest arrivals at the Ithumba Unit, Sunyei, Madiba, Ndomot and Galana have really settled in wonderfully and absolutely love their new environment and friends. Despite it being a very dry season, they all look as fat as butter as there is so much browse for them, and all extremely nutritious. The heat has been a factor for the younger orphans, sometimes having the resort to drawing water from their stomachs in order to cool behind their ears, but this is a common sight amongst wild elephants in hot climates, and it is amazing that our young ones instinctively know what to do. They are all ably guided and disciplined when necessary by Yatta who is fast turning into a very impressive matriarch. She takes her responsibilities very seriously, but still lets the two budding mini matriarchs namely Wendi and Sunyei have their spells of leading the group out to the grazing fields or back to the mud bath or stockades in the evening viewed by all as a special privilege. She is helped by the other three older elephants, Mulika, Nasalot and Kinna, who keep a close eye on all the naughty boys, and there are many in the Ithumba unit. However, none quite so mischievous and so regularly in need of discipline as Napasha. He is larger than life and if left unchecked would fast become something of an irritation to many of the others, but the older orphans ensure that this doesn’t happen, but there is seldom a day that goes by without an incident involving Napasha! Tomboi and Taita are rambunctious little bulls now, and their antics are usually observed keenly by two other budding naughty little boys, Madiba and Ndomot. Olmalo is still Yatta’s favorite calf, privileged with preferential treatment, but she is a gentle and caring little elephant in her own right and is very quick to assist the newcomers never taking too much advantage of her privileged position. Interestingly the four babies, Madiba, Ndomot and Sunyei and Galana remain a close tight unit, all deferring to Sunyei for guidance and leadership, so she still has the privileged position of mini matriarch to them. Ndomot and Wendi’s relationship is as strong as it used to be when they shared the nursery together, and I am sure this will remain a strong bond for life. Galana took a while to settle, which is understandable since she did not know any of the older ex nursery elephants, but she did have the advantage of being born a Tsavo elephant, so the vegetation, the heat and the wild inhabitants are all familiar to her. On one day during their feeding travels around Ithumba Mountain they discovered a watering point for poachers snaring for bush meat, water hidden under boulders deep in the chasm of some rocks, and with closer investigation the keepers found water containers kept high in a nearby tree – all empty. This of course was reported immediately to the KWS field force who have followed up on the lead. The midday mud bath in these hot months has been a celebration – the little water babies Olmalo and Selengai but the ultimate water baby Napasha is always reluctant to leave when the time comes. Their red dust pile is a daily treat, a light powdering of Tsavo’s bright red earth creates an impressive body painting job, the taupe clay color with the red earth texture on top forms a picturesque covering.