Keepers' Diaries, September 2018

Umani Springs Reintegration Unit

This month Shukuru had to be locked in the stockade compound in the mornings whilst she was fed ON her Lucerne supplement pellets. This was of course due to our greedy little Lima Lima who would try to steal Shukuru’s supplements whenever the opportunity arose, despite having been given a healthy helping herself. Shukuru is a wonderfully gentle girl so she will naturally give way to the other orphans, rather than provoke a fight. The arrangement of feeding her in the stockade has prevented any rambunctious behavior at that time. Sometimes the Keepers move Zongoloni to feed close to Lima Lima, as they know she will never misbehave in her presence, given Zongoloni’s inability to tolerate any nonsense!

01 September 2018

Having finished their morning Lucerne pellets, all the orphans began to playfully charge around the stockades. Shukuru wanted to join Lima Lima and Zongoloni, who were play fighting, but she was stopped by Sonje, who was concerned that she would be pushed over by the other two. Shukuru understood why Sonje stopped her, and moved away from Lima Lima and Zongololni, giving them time to finish playing. Ziwa, having finished his mud bath, majestically walked off into the bushes shaking his big head and ears. Faraja and Ngasha were still busy in the waterhole, whilst some of the other orphans decided to move on and have a dust bath.

02 September 2018

The orphans, once again, began their day in a playful mood, with Mwashoti playfully pushing Alamaya and not giving him a chance to push him back. Mwashoti, despite his bad leg and knowing all too well that should Alamaya have the chance he would knock him down, insisted on keeping up this game confidently thinking that Murera would intervene before Alamaya pushed back. Before Murera even realized what Mwashoti was up to, Alamaya stopped and walked towards the crocodiles lying along the banks of the water springs to drink some water ,before moving to the hills to browse.

03 September 2018

The orphans began their early morning routine by eating their pellets near the water trough. Shukuru, being a slow eater, was kept inside so that she could eat her pellets in peace without other orphans such as Lima Lima greedily grabbing them. The Keepers, in fact, had to keep an eye on Lima Lima as she was continuously trying to open the locked gate to get to Shukuru and her pellets. Once Shukuru and all the orphans had finished their pellets and had a drink of water, it was interesting to watch as they all became quite playful charging and trumpeting through all the trees. They played like this for an hour, and even once all the excitement had stopped Shukuru remained jovial and active, which are all signs that she is healthy and strong. Shukuru later on broke a big branch and threw it behind her. Murera, having seen the branch land, picked it up and carried it to the water springs where she eventually dropped it.

04 September 2018

Earlier on in the day, when the orphans were making their way into the forest, Murera and Sonje were trying to be clever and tried to stop Lima Lima from running to the front of the herd, allowing Mwashoti to be closer to Ziwa and for the matriarchs to lead. Lima Lima was able to outsmart them by avoiding all her usual pathways, taking a new path, which allowed her to overtake the herd and once again lead all the orphans and the Keepers. After their midday mud bath, Shukuru decided to skip the waterhole and give herself a dust bath instead. After drinking some water, Shukuru made her way back to the bushes as the Keepers were still busy having their lunch under a nearby tree. Crested hornbills were making some funny noises in a tree near Alamaya, giving him such a fright that he ran away.

05 September 2018

The orphans began trumpeting in the night, waking the Keepers. The Keepers worried about what was going on came out to see what was disturbing the orphans. The Keepers went to check on Lima Lima first as she is normally quite good at signaling what is wrong. Lima Lima was pacing around her stable, but soon stopped and signaled beyond the fence where the Keepers were able to see a herd of buffalo sleeping near the area where they orphans eat their lucerne. The orphans were quite upset about this which is why they were trumpeting, wanting to chase the buffalo away. After the usual morning routine the orphans were ready to head out to the bush, but none of them including the Keepers wanted to go near the area where the buffalo slept. The orphans being led by Murera and Sonje were heading towards the Chyulu Hills, along the pathways used by the wild elephants, as they were going for clean water at the springs. Huge wild bull elephants approached Lima Lima and Zongoloni, who both ran away leaving the bulls alone as they climbed further up the hills.

06 September 2018

The orphans began their day as usual by eating their Lucerne pellets and then heading out to the bush. This morning the orphans were all particularly playful, all pairing off and play fighting with one another. Ziwa began play fighting with Faraja, whilst Jasiri and Ngasha began their own game of pushing each other. Lima Lima was again charged by Ziwa, whilst Murera, being much stronger than the other orphans, was not involved in the games as much. The Keepers were quite pleasantly surprised to even see humble Shukuru joining in, charging around playing, breaking bushes, and trumpeting to scare some bushbuck that were walking nearby.

07 September 2018

The orphans had a very nice start to the day, with Sonje doing some nice stretches and Ziwa and Faraja play fighting each other whilst following Murera and Sonje. Cheeky Mwashoti tried to push Shukuru, but Shukuru stood her ground and defended herself, not giving Mwashoti any room to push her over. Mwashoti eventually gave up and moved on and went to Sonje. A herd of wild elephants was browsing in the forest along the Umani Hills with their young calves, slowly moving up the hills. A big bull elephant stayed behind, who later began to move closer to where Sonje and Murera were browsing. Jasiri was the only orphan to stand his ground, defending the whole herd from the big bull and allowing Murera and Sonje to leave and move little Alamaya and Mwashoti away from the large bull.

08 September 2018

The orphans were very noisy this morning as they left for the bushes heading towards the Umani Hills.Mwashoti, who was trying to lead from the back, kept pushing Sonje and grabbing her tail. Sonje, not taking any notice, kept going until they reached their destination. Murera, because of her limp that was pronouced today, was slower than the rest of the orphans who made their way up the hill to browse. Lima Lima and Zongoloni, noticing Murera’s absence, turned back and found her breaking branches and throwing dust on herself. During the orphans midday feed some buffalos made their way down to the waterhole, near the bottle feeding point. As one of the buffalos got close, Faraja went and tried to push the buffalo out of the way so that limping Murera could get to the feeding point. The Keepers worried that the buffalo would push his way towards the orphans, nervously watched as Faraja protected the herd.

09 September 2018

The orphans started their day as usual, with greedy Lima Lima trying to steal Shukuru’s pellets. The Keepers, aware that the orphans would eat quickly, protected Shukuru making sure she was able to finish her pellets in peace. Shukuru arrived for her midday bottle feeding, and once finished with her bottle, made her way down to the waterhole for a swim and a mud bath. While wallowing in the water, Alamaya went down to join her. Mwashoti seeing the two playing in the waterhole made his way down to join them but Shukuru moved away as he could often be cheeky towards her.

10 September 2018

The orphans woke up this morning quite playful with Shukuru and Alamaya playing and Lima Lima inspecting the wheelbarrow of pellets that the Keeper was pushing. Whilst the other orphans ate their pellets in the normal feeding area, Shukuru stayed back to eat her pellets in the stockade area. Murera sneakily made her way back to the stockades to try and grab some of Shukuru’s pellets, but was stopped by the Keepers. The Keepers are optimistic that once Shukuru becomes a little stronger she will challenge the other orphans and stop them from taking her pellets. By midday it was so hot that all the orphans were looking for the waterhole to cool off in. Shukuru, followed by Jasiri and Faraja, were the first to reach the waterhole and then all began to cool themselves off by splashing water on their backs.

11 September 2018

Today started like every other with the orphans having their morning pellets and then making their way to the bushes. Some vervet monkeys snuck in to steal the pellets that had been left on the ground, but when Shukuru saw them arriving in large numbers she came back charging to chase them back in to the forest, and was later joined by Alamaya to back her up. Lima Lima, however, refused to leave the stockades as she wanted more pellets, and wouldn’t move despite the Keepers efforts. Murera and Sonje led the herd out this morning leaving Lima Lima on her own, but as the monkeys had scavenged most of the leftover pellets there was nothing left for her. Lima Lima eventually came charging and trumpeting to join the herd on the hills along the Kenze baseline area.

12 September 2018

During the morning, the orphans were browsing on the Chyulu Hills, and were approached by large bull elephants that were looking for Sonje and Murera. It was thought that one of the bulls might be Osama, but as it wasn’t, Sonje and Murera showed little interest in them and moved away from the large bulls. The orphans were once again joined by about six buffalos during their midday feed and mud bath. Faraja and Ziwa were not comfortable with the buffalo watching them so they began to chase them away. Jasiri, Quanza and Zongoloni all joined in a big effort to chase the buffalo away and only stopped once the buffalo had disappeared back into the forest.

13 September 2018

Lima Lima was quite disruptive this morning as she was constantly trying to sneak through the gate to steal Shukuru’s pellets. As she kept nudging Shukuru and disturbing her, the Keepers decided to bring Zongoloni closer to thegate as Lima Lima is less likely to cause any trouble while she is around. Ziwa and Faraja began to play fight over their scratching space as Faraja did not want to step away and give Ziwa space. Sonje and Murera intervened before the two became too rough with one another. The herd was then able to continue their normal activities without any disruptions.

14 September 2018

In recent weeks Mwashoti has been quite naughty towards Shukuru, pushing her away especially when the orphans are together picking acacia pods or their Lucerne pellets. As Shukuru is a humble and gentle orphan, the Keepers think that he may be getting jealous of the attention that she gets. The Keepers had to tell Mwashoti off while the orphans were walking to the forest as he pushed Shukuru, causing her to fall over. Mwashoti, who had now been told off by the Keepers a number of times since waking this morning, became too afraid to cause anymore disruptions and quietly ran over to Murera. During their midday feed, Alamaya and Mwashoti decided to grab their bottles from the ground instead of waiting for the Keepers to give them to them. Lima Lima having seen this, decided to do the same, finishing her bottle before running back to the waterhole to wallow. Alamaya, following Zongoloni and Ziwa, headed down to the waterhole to cool off, rubbing their bums in the mud and splashing around. Jasiri and Faraja quickly moved off into the shade in order to avoid getting burnt due to their lighter skin.

15 September 2018

The Keepers were greeted by a happy Murera this morning that went straight to Mwashoti to get him out of his stable. Mwashoti was just standing in his stable, which was to be cleaned by the Keepers as soon as the orphans headed out to the forest. Many klipspringers were seen today, running all over the rocks as the orphans walked passed. Murera and Mwashoti avoided the very rocky areas as they were too difficult to walk over. Sonje gave a short rumble to the orphans that were proceeding ahead, almost as a signal to wait for Murera and Mwashoti who were walking at a slower pace.

16 September 2018

During the early morning bottle feeding, some empty bottles were blown out of the wheelbarrows by the wind and fell to the ground. Lima Lima came back to see if any of the bottles that had fallen contained any milk, leaving the other orphans to eat the pellets and chase away some monkeys that came down to steal the pellets. The Keepers were very surprised that Lima Lima would leave the pellets to see if there was any milk leftover. The orphans walked towards the Umani Hills today before heading down to their mud bath area at midday. Jasiri, Ziwa and Faraja decided to move off on their own without the older girls, but as they came across some big bull elephants in the forest they quickly ran back to the girls and continued walking with the herd.

17 September 2018

The orphans walked through the Chyulu Hills today with Mwashoti and his friend Alamaya leading the herd, acting like big boys that would protect all the females from any attack. The Keepers found Lima Lima’s behavior a little odd this morning as she forced her way into the stable where Shukuru was peacefully eating her pellets, causing Shukuru step aside and leave her be. Whilst on the hills the orphans walked along some paths which are used by wild elephants and were covered in elephant dung. Mwashoti and Alamaya began to eat the dung in order to taste what different branches they could eat when they would need to.

18 September 2018

Shukuru celebrated her birthday on the 15th of September, where the Keepers serenaded her with a birthday song, collected some acacia pods for her, and gave her an extra bottle of milk, as they do for every orphan’s birthday. Shukuru was very excited to receive these treats and extra attention and looked very happy for the rest of the day. After her midday feed, Shukuru left very quickly for the waterhole so that she could cool down as it was another extremely hot day. Murera and the others came along and joined Shukuru in the watering hole. All the orphans were enjoying their time in the water, as Sonje was splashing mud towards the Keepers and guests, turning them all their clothes muddy and brown.

19 September 2018

The orphans were visited by a herd of wild elephants whilst they were browsing in the forest. The wild herd had many tiny calves, four of them being little boys, and the bulls were walking quite some distance ahead of the females. Some females tried to join the orphans whilst walking towards the waterhole, but Lima Lima would not accept this as she led the orphans along a different path to the wild elephants. Sonje kept nudging Murera from behind as they walked along worrying about the large females behind them feeding their calves. Quanza and Zongoloni naughtily tried to sneak up to one of the little girl calves, trying to entice her out from underneath her mother’s belly, but they were quickly chased away by the large females, away from the herd.

20 September 2018

This morning Lima Lima once again tried to get into the stable to steal Shukuru’s pellets but the Keepers had shut the gate this time ensuring she had no way to enter. Lima Lima, unable to get to Shukuru, decided to charge at Mwashoti and Alamaya, forcing them to give her space and leave her alone. She continued charging to the bushes on her own, trumpeting away. The Keepers let Shukuru out once she had finished her pellets and the herd then made their way to the bush, with Murera and Sonje looking for Lima Lima.

21 September 2018

In the night, Mwashoti naughtily managed to pull open the chain that was holding his stable door shut and make his way to see Murera and Sonje. The Keepers unaware of what Mwashoti was up to, suddenly heard some odd noises around the stockades and came out to find Mwashoti roaming around on his own in the dark. The Keepers used pods and treats to entice Mwashoti back to his stable. Alamaya, who was now curious about the all the activities, tried to greet his neighbor, Mwashoti, once he was back in his stable. As Mwashoti was ignoring Alamaya, Alamaya slowly became annoyed and began trying to push his trunk through the posts, Mwashoti responded by throwing dust at Alamaya’s face.

22 September 2018

The stockade waterhole was visited by a female elephant with her calf. The mother lightly splashed the calf with some water whilst she was drinking; the calf all excited began to trumpet and charge toward the stockade gate. Ziwa, hearing these tiny trumpets, also charged at the gate and Mwashoti responded with some loud trumpets. Lima Lima and Zongoloni tried to get through the gate to get to the calf. As the orphans came out the following morning, Jasiri with Ngasha and Ziwa started to follow the trail of the mother and her calf towards the springs but were unable to find them.

23 September 2018

Whilst browsing in the forest, the orphans were visited by a large middle aged bull. The orphans, all busy breaking the branches of an acacia tree and eating their pods, did not even notice the large bull. The only noticed him when Lima Lima and Zongoloni moved towards the branches that were pushed down by Murera and saw him petting Sonje, who remained calm. The bull stayed with the orphans for some time, but as they began to walk towards the waterhole for their midday feeding the bull moved off in his own direction. Faraja and Ziwa after drinking their bottles moved off in the direction that the bull went in, toward the Umani Hills. Whilst on the Umani Hills a big troop of baboons were playing and calling to each other on the trees, which caused Mwashoti and Sonje to run away.

24 September 2018

The orphans returned to the stockades in a playful mood this evening after a long day of walking. Lima Lima and Faraja were playfully running back to the stockades, which looked to the Keepers like they were trying to race each other. Sonje also took part in the race, confidently keeping with the boys. Lima Lima was the first to make it back to the stockades. Murera and Mwashoti, on the other hand, were not as energetic as they appeared to be tired from the long day of walking, and Murera struggled to walk along the very rocky areas. Shukuru appeared to be very calm this evening as she grabbed her pellets and lucerne with some pods that were kept for her by the Keepers.

25 September 2018

A big herd of buffalo, with lots of calves, passed by the stockades through the night making a lot of noise as they appeared to be looking for some leftover Lucerne. Murera, Sonje and Mwashoti seemed to be quite disturbed by the large herd, the Keepers could see them moving around their stables and pushing against the walls. The Keepers had to chase the buffalos off and stay close to the orphans in order to calm them down. Zongoloni, Jasiri and Lima Lima seemed to calm down once they saw the Keepers chase the buffalos away. During the day, the orphans had fun at the Umani Hills running all over the place, charging at everything that came their way. Sonje and Faraja mainly had fun pulling branches off trees and trumpeting a lot whilst in the forest.

26 September 2018

Faraja grabbed Alamaya’s half tail this morning, which he knows very well makes Alamaya angry, and the Keepers thought that he was going to charge Faraja. As Alamaya lost half his tail and genitals from a hyena attack in the Masai Mara, he can often show a lot of discomfort if one of the other orphans touches him around his hind area. Sonje, assisted by Lima Lima, arrived shortly after to separate the two, and presumably stop them before they could get into a big fight. Shukuru was the first to arrive for her midday feed and mud bath, followed by Mwashoti who came charging down, grabbing his bottle from the ground as Quanza was already being fed by a Keeper.

27 September 2018

The Keepers seemed to think that Murera and Sonje were not too happy with Lima Lima this morning as she kept going and pushing Shukuru to try and get to her pellets. Shortly after Lima Lima went and pushed Shukuru, Murera and Sonje followed her and rumbled at her, moving her away from Shukuru. At the waterhole, after receiving their midday milk bottles, a few of the orphans stopped to drink some of the clean water before making their way to the muddy waterhole, being led by Shukuru. All the orphans completely covered themselves in thick mud, so much so that you could only see their eyelashes and eye balls, even Jasiri, who is an albino, was completely covered.

28 September 2018

This morning Sonje led the orphans all the way to the Kenze Hills, where she seemed to pick up on the trail of some wild elephants. The Keepers thought that she might have picked up on Osama’s scent as she was dragging her trunk along the ground. She appeared to eventually lose the scent as she made her way back to join Murera and Mwashoti who were at the back, whilst Shukuru was leading the herd. Whist the orphans were browsing, Zongoloni came across a sleeping buffalo who woke up with such a fright he turned back to face Zongoloni and defend himself from an attack. Ziwa, Faraja and Ngasha all came to help Zongoloni, as well as the Keepers who made some loud noises, managed to scare the buffalo and cause him to eventually run away.

29 September 2018

All the orphans woke up quite playful, with Alamaya and Mwashoti play fighting and trying to jump over each other. Eventually Alamaya walked away as he seemed to get bored of the game and moved towards two other young boys play fighting. The orphans having done a lot of browsing along the Chyulu Hills, were quite full by their midday bottle feeding time. Lima Lima and Quanza had only left enough room for their bottles and then were sleeping with what the Keepers described as their full bellies. Shukuru led the orphans to their midday feed, followed closely by Ziwa. Ziwa arrived trumpeting at the Keepers to give him his bottle; the Keepers think he thought it had been given to one of the other orphans. Alamaya and Mwashoti still receive two bottles as they are still too young to move onto one bottle.

30 September 2018

As there were some showers this morning, the orphans remained in the stockades to keep dry and warm. Lima Lima and Sonje were first to run out followed by Mwashoti, whilst the others just disappeared under some shade. Before the rain had stopped, it appeared that Sonje and Murera called to the other babies to come out and browse as they had to fill their stomachs. Mwashoti came out even if this meant him eating in the rain. A female bushbuck keenly followed Lima Lima as she was moving towards where the bushbuck calves were hiding. Lima Lima would walk and charge them, but soon after changed direction and moved far away from the bushbuck, moving towards the water springs. The orphans trumpeting and walking heavily, scared off some crocodiles who were basking in the sun at the springs.