This month the wild bull elephant, who has been named “Ndugu” visited the Umani orphans on a couple of occasions, and it is interesting to see that Lima Lima is not afraid to stride up to greet him, something of which Murera disapproves since she wants to keep her babies away from other wild elephants for fear of losing them. One morning the Keepers were delighted to find him standing outside the stockade compound door, waiting for all of the orphans to come out in the early morning. Wild herds of elephants have been visiting the stockades at night and It is wonderful that they feel safe enough to do so, although we are sure that the presence of fresh spring water in the Water Trough is an added incentive, especially during the dry months of the year. They are always extremely thirsty when they arrive at the compound and still quite wary of the Keepers.
In this hot weather the orphans make sure to cover their bodies in a thick layer of mud whenever they visit the mud bath for their noon milk feed. This is especially important for our albinos, Jasiri and Faraja, whose skin is a lot more sensitive to the sun. The babies couldn’t believe their luck one day when they found a yellow fever tree that had fallen over having been knocked down by wild elephants. The orphans stripped the nutritious bark and enjoyed the soft leaves. Despite being so dry this year, the lucerne pellets, acacia seed pods and of course their nutritious milk provides the necessary supplements for the orphans and boosts their energy, ensuring that they all remain in impeccable condition.
All elephants love the acacia pods, the orphans included, who fight over them when they come across some fallen from the trees! Quanza, who is normally a very quiet girl, intervenes to maintain peace when necessary. One day she tried to block greedy Lima Lima and Zongoloni from eating all the acacia pods that had been put out for them by the Keepers, so the others could get their share!
It annoys Alamaya when the others touch his tail, but he is very close to his Keepers and allows them to touch his stump – even though this is a painful reminder of what the hyenas inflicted prior to being rescued. Because she is so greedy, Lima Lima has to be fed last so that she does not disrupt the feeding of others. However, in spite of this, she has a very sweet and gentle character making her likable to both her orphaned peers and human Keepers and Visitors alike. Alamaya adores her and she always looks out for him, making sure the older naughty boys do not push him around. He is looking very healthy and plump these days and has a good appetite, actively pushing and mounting on the others. One day, when confronted by some buffaloes, even Jasiri, the oldest boy, ran away, but Alamaya stood firm and tried to make himself look as big as possible - a brave little boy! Mwashoti can often be found in the company of Matriarchs Murera and Sonje, perhaps because all suffer leg disabilities, although Mwashoti is excelling in the Umani wild environment and is now becoming more active and strong, enjoying indulging in mounting games along with his Seniors.
Mwashoti and Alamaya are still mothered by Murera and Sonje who do their best to shelter them from boisterous boys such as Faraja and Jasiri. Ziwa is still very jealous of the younger boys who have usurped his special status of being the cosseted baby of the group, so he is always looking for an opportunity to spitefully shove them around. However, Alamaya is trying to spend more time with Ziwa to mitigate the rift of favouritism.
Ngasha loves to terrorize the numerous bushbucks by charging them relentlessly, following them into the forest to ensure their retreat! He and the other boys such as Faraja have recently plucked up sufficient courage to approach the wild elephants whenever they hear them, often then retreating back to their herd and Matriarchs Murera and Sonje should the games turn too rough!