There was drama on the 2nd when Ololoo (a newcomer to Ithumba) joined up with 4 wild bulls whilst browsing at the Kalovoto watercourse, and went off with them, despite attempts by the Keepers to persuade him to return, roundly rebuffed by the wild Protectors. The next morning the Keepers who set off in search, found him “under the tight security” of Ex Orphan Wendi and her Splinter group who had obviously come across him in amongst the wild bulls, and taken him over. Knowing that Wendi would bring him back home, the Keepers left him with her, and sure enough she brought him to the noon mudbath, still under “tight security” where they were joined by Yatta’s Ex orphan group and their wild friends. All the elephants then enjoyed the mudbath together with the Juniors, after which Ololoo was returned to his Junior group, sandwiched still between Wendi and her followers who saw them all safely back to the Stockades in the evening, Yatta’s group having peeled off after the mudbath. Ololoo was again tempted to join a group of 8 wild bulls who joined the Juniors at the mudbath on the 6th but this time he responded to being called back by the Keepers. Since then Senior Ex Orphans, including Yatta herself, have been taking a special interest in Ololoo, obviously believing that he will soon be ready to be promoted.
Kora who spent time with the Keeper Dependent Juniors after being wounded by a poisoned arrow, has now fully recovered and found the confidence to rejoin the Senior Ex orphans. However, he and his best friend, Lualeni, have remained in very close contact with the Juniors and their Keepers. Lualeni came to join the juniors on the l0th without Kora on this occasion, when she was focused on Ololoo, escorting him to the milk and mudbath venue and then taking the Juniors to browse along the slopes of Ithumba hill. She and Kora came with Ex Orphan Challa on the 7th, and spent all day with the Juniors, joined also by the Senior Ex Orphans and their wild friends at the noon mudbath. Lualeni and Kora again chose to spend a day with the Juniors on the 12th, the 21st and the 23d . Yatta and her Senior Ex Orphans, including her wild recruit called “Mgeni” and wild friends have joined the Juniors several times this month at the mudbath and also spent afternoons browsing amongst the. On the 29th they came in amongst l0 large wild bulls to share the Juniors’ mudbath. On the 30th she came with 6 wild elephants and Mulika, Selengai, Galana, Meibai, and Taita. Wendi was back to check briefly on Ololoo on the 30th, on this occasion spending only 30 minutes with him.
Kilaguni has caused concern this month, suffering a reoccurrence of the constipation problem that plagued him in the Nursery, his anal orifice having been constricted by scar tissue following losing his tail to hyaenas when his mother was poached. The Keepers had to help ease him on the l0th, and a chartered plane from Nairobi flew down Molasses to soften his stools, homeopathic allumina to aid peristalsis and a mild vegetable based laxative as a last resort. Fortunately, the allumina and molasses did the trick and he has been alright since.. Kalama also suffered a stomach ache one day, constantly rolling on the ground. She was seen to have worms, so she has been de-wormed and has since also been alright.
Ex orphans Makena and Zurura turned up at the Stockades on the 22nd, both having lost a lot of condition, Makena looking worse than Zurura. They were both taken into the Stockades, de-wormed and given a handout of Lucerne, Dairy Cubes, Copra and cut greens to boost their condition, feasting for most of the night, but separating in the morning to rejoin their Senior colleagues. Since then they have turned up regularly for supplements, and their condition has improved considerably.
The orphans first wild Friend, the Big Bull given the name Rafiki”, who was first to show himself in daylight at the Stockades, and fraternize openly with the Orphans and their Keepers, appeared at the Stockades again on the 29th with some wild friends. He was warmly greeted by the Orphans.
The small resident pack of Wild Dogs came to drink at the Stockade water trough on the 6th, and again towards the end of the month when a wild elephant visitor kept them at bay for a long time. This month, the Juniors have been scared by a buffalo hiding in a thicket, rushing back to their Keepers for protection and also by warthogs on the 14th when Suguta, Sabachi and Kandecha plucked up sufficient courage to charge the pigs, having had a lot of pig chasing practice during their Nursery time..
It has been a hot dryer than normal dry season at Ithumba, forcing newcomers such as Chemi Chemi and Kalama to draw on reserves of stomach water to spray behind their ears and over their body. A slight shower relieved the heat on the 13th, which the Juniors mightily enjoyed, but apart from that all the elephants have had to concentrate on browsing in order to fill their stomachs, the Juniors given supplements sent from Nairobi to help them through another challenging year in Tsavo.
An extremely alarming event took place on the 17th when, having heard voices, the Keepers surprised some bush meat poachers who immediately took to their heels, leaving bundles of fresh meat behind. The Keepers reported the incident and handed the confiscated meat over to the KWS authorities at Ithumba. Sadly, poaching countrywide has reached epidemic proportions now that the demand in China has pushed the price of ivory to an all-time high. Everyone is doing all they can to persuade the Kenya Government to implement stricter sentences for offenders, and even return to a “shoot to kill” policy within the Protected Areas which was in force during the Moi era. Since the wounding of Kora, the Trust received authority to recruit a special team of seasoned anti-poachers to assist KWS in patrolling the Northern Area working under the supervision of our Field Operations Manager, Richard Moller. This team has already had some remarkable success and is undoubtedly making a difference, but much, much more has to be done to stem to slaughter countrywide and at an International Level as well through CITES to persuade the Far East to desist from plundering Africa’s precious finite resources which have already been seriously dented.