Keepers' Diaries, September 2020

Umani Springs Reintegration Unit

Alamaya has really been exploring his independence this month and has stepped out on his own a lot more, even spending a few days and nights away from the comforts of the stockade and his milk feeds. Not only has the young bull started spending more time away from the dependent Umani herd, but he doesn’t always accompany the independent group either, those known as the ‘night-clubbers’. Instead, we see Alamaya choose to turn up and join the orphans to browse on his own, and sometimes accompanied by wild friends too.  He does still have a close relationship with the other five independent orphans, Zongoloni, Ziwa, Ngasha, Faraja and Jasiri however, but Alamaya is very good at making friends it seems, and particularly with wild bulls. 

01 September 2020

The orphans were looking forward to their midday bottle feed today. As soon as it was time, they all rushed towards the Keepers.  

When they were done, they all made their way to the waterhole to quench their thirst as it had been a hot day so far. Murera and Luggard walked slower than the rest. Luggard stopped to drink straight from the water pipe that was filling the waterhole. What started off as a simple activity, soon turned into a game of tug of war, with all the orphans pulling the water pipe for themselves. In the end it was big boy Mwashoti who won; his might and size wore everyone out and Mwashoti enjoyed the fresh clean water, straight from the pipe.

Murera didn’t want to wait her turn at the water pipe and so decided to carry on walking to the waterhole with Luggard. Enkesha joined Murera and as they drank their water, while Luggard stood by watching them. As soon as Enkesha was done she looked for Mwashoti and they both took off into the bushes, where they remained for the rest of the afternoon browsing peacefully.

02 September 2020

The orphans walked out of their night stockades and headed straight for the Lucerne that the Keepers had laid out for them.

The Keepers were busy cleaning out the orphans’ rooms and assigned ‘Keeper’ duty to Lima Lima, a role that she took great pride in. She rounded up all the orphans and made sure they all stayed together, enjoying their Lucerne as they waited for the Keepers to finish their cleaning duties. Luggard decided he needed to be closer to Murera; he walked over to where she was enjoying her Lucerne and placed his head on her chest. Luggard finds this very comforting and Murera is more than willing to mother this little boy.

Alamaya browsed with the Umani herd today, but as soon as the sun got too hot for him, he sought refuge under some trees and continued to browse in the shade. The rest of ‘night-clubbers’ (the group of ex-orphans who come and go when they please) did not make an appearance today; in fact, they are visiting the orphans less and less, and when they do, it is not at their usual times. They visit on their own whim. It seems as though Ziwa and Zongoloni are in charge of when and what time they visit. Alamaya thoroughly enjoyed browsing on the acacia trees, which are such a good form of nutrition for elephants during this time of drought.

03 September 2020

Early this morning, the seemingly elusive partially-independent orphans visited the stockades and the orphans were overjoyed to see their friends. The six night-clubbers, Ziwa, Faraja, Jasiri, Zongoloni, Alamaya and Ngasha haven’t been very regular visitors lately and when they do visit, they visit at very odd times, not staying for long.

Shukuru and Enkesha observed from a distance – there was much exuberance as the other orphans greeted each other and they decided they wanted a quieter start to their morning. They know if Ziwa joined, he would take over and decide where they should browse, so without wasting another minute, both the girls snuck away and found a quiet spot where they could browse peacefully.

Later as the orphans moved towards the Chyulu Hills a troop of monkeys, swinging tree to tree, were making quite a commotion, the noise alone got the orphans a bit agitated, especially Enkesha and Sonje, and they moved as far away as possible from the monkeys.  

04 September 2020

Ngasha arrived at the stockades early this morning and Sonje was overjoyed to see him. The big boy walked over to Sonje with his head raised and both greeted each other with great affection by interlocking their trunks. The rest of night-clubbers and Zongoloni followed soon after. Their arrival at the stockades was met with similar enthusiasm as yesterday and created much excitement.  

It seems as though Faraja still has his eye on Lima Lima and proceeded to make his intentions clear by mounting her, but Lima Lima is still not interested and made it very clear by moving away from Faraja. Faraja was quite persistent but every time he tried to make a move, Lima Lima would reject his advances.  

Shukuru could see this young bull was not heeding Lima Lima’s rejection and so decided to come down from the hills to intervene. Between Shukuru and Sonje, the older girls managed to pacify Faraja and after a few loud trumpets, Faraja was seen leaving towards the forest, to go and join his other wild friends.

05 September 2020

As soon as the orphans were done with the morning feed of milk and Lucerne, Sonje ushered everyone towards the water trough, where she also stopped for a much needed drink of water. Enkesha followed Sonje but was quickly distracted when she spotted some nice juicy green branches. Little Enkesha tried to reach up to the tall branches but was unable to reach them. Sonje saw her little girl struggling and went over to help her.

The Umani herd started to make their slow move towards the springs. Upon reaching the springs, Quanza decided she would stop a while longer to drink the fresh spring water. The rest of the herd moved knowing Quanza would join them later. Quanza is quite a shy and quiet elephant. She prefers her own company and browsing by herself. She often breaks away from the main herd to find her own private browsing spot, but the Keepers always ensure one or two of them are accompanying her.

On their way to the midday feed, Lima Lima and Murera stopped at the waterhole with Luggard to quench their thirst as it had been quite a hot day. Mwashoti ventured into the bushes in search of fresh green grass, but found that the grass was very dry, so instead he kicked the soil to push up some roots and enjoyed those. The rest of the herd waited for Murera to finish drinking so that she could lead them to the where the Keepers would be waiting for them with their bottles. 

06 September 2020

Mwashoti and Quanza spotted Lima Lima making her way down the hill. They assumed she was walking down to the midday bottle feed and so decided to follow her. On her way down, Lima Lima was a bit cheeky and tried to dodge the other two in the hope of losing them, so that she could get to the midday feed before everyone else. En-route, she picked up the little girl Enkesha, who was very engrossed in an acacia tree she had found.

Sonje and Murera are steadfast when it comes to keeping Luggard safe. They make sure they stay close to the young bull, to ensure none of the other boisterous boys get too close. Luggard is a little intimidated by Alamaya’s sheer size, so he too knows to stay close to the older girls, in case Alamaya gets a bit carried away with his games.

After a while Murera decided to move the herd to their afternoon browsing activities, she paired up with Luggard, as did Sonje with Enkesha. Jasiri had other plans and started to make his way to the forest. He seemed hesitant, as he would walk ahead, stop, look back at his friend Ngasha and Ziwa, and then carry on walking again and stop. The Keepers then realized that there were two monkeys in the trees trying to escape a troop of baboons and were making quite a ruckus in the forest. Ngasha and Ziwa were too busy engaged in a strength testing game, keeping fit to ensure they can take on any wild friends they may encounter during their nightly escapades.

07 September 2020

It seemed Lima Lima had a bit of sneaky plan to steal Luggard from Murera today. She walked down the hill as though she was going towards her beloved Keepers, but quickly detoured towards where Luggard was, thinking she could entice him to join her.  

Luggard was already with Murera and rumbled a little when he saw Lima Lima. Unsure why he rumbled, Lima Lima walked towards Luggard and placed her trunk lovingly on his back to comfort him. Murera caught on to Lima Lima’s plan and decided her and Luggard should move, so she collected Luggard and started to walk towards another browsing spot. Zongoloni, who was browsing nearby, joined Murera and Luggard.

Every now and then Enkesha likes to take the lead and show the herd what routes to take and where the best browse is, which is usually towards the Chyulu Hills. Today Enkesha kept away from the hills though. Ngasha and Alamaya, who had been out all night, seemed to have passed on the information about the Tsavo fires in that area. The Umani herd was content to avoid the area and stay closer to the springs for the day.

08 September 2020

Early this morning Luggard made his way to the lucerne eating corner, he was the first one there, followed by Sonje and Shukuru.  

Shukuru didn’t stay long, as soon as she saw Alamaya and Mwashoti play fighting, she decided to move away and start making her way out to the forest to find a quiet spot to browse. Shukuru, as everyone knows, likes the peace and quiet. Any time the boys get too boisterous, Shukuru makes a quick exit. Mwashoti and Alamaya continued to play fight, pointing tusks at each other, to see who had the sharper and stronger tusks.

Around midday, the stockade-dependent orphans started to walk towards the milk feed area with their Keepers, and those who no longer have milk bottles decided to go their separate ways. The Keepers used to keep a milk bottle for Alamaya but since he’s skipped many midday feeds, they no longer keep one for him. Alamaya followed Jasiri and Faraja into the forest to go browse by themselves.

09 September 2020

Ngasha, in anticipation of joining the Umani herd for their morning activities, arrived at the stockades relatively early, but was disappointed to find his friends had already left.

Walking out he raised his trunk in the air to catch their scent. He soon caught up with them, where they were browsing near the hills. Ngasha found Luggard already in search for browse. Luggard’s favorite food is the soft fresh green grass that is abundant around the Kibwezi area but he was not so lucky today. Lack of rains has meant that Luggard’s favorite food has been a bit sparse. It took the young bull a while but he soon found some nice shrubs and settled to browse.  

Shukuru knows how clever Enkesha is when it comes to finding the best browsing spots, so when she spotted Enkesha walking up the hill, the older girl decided to follow Enkesha. The foot of the hills had not provided the browse Shukuru was looking for. She soon caught up with Enkesha who had also managed to find a waterhole that had probably been dug out by a wild elephant. Both girls stopped to have a drink of the cool water and then carried on browsing at the top of the hill.

Shukuru then made her way to the midday milk feed, where she cooled off from the morning heat by wallowing in the mud and later joined her friends at the dust-bath. Once every one was sufficiently rested, they made their way to the forest where the continued browsing for the rest of the afternoon.

10 September 2020

Murera noticed that Ziwa was savoring something this morning and curious as to what that might be, she placed her trunk in Ziwa’s mouth to investigate. As soon as she did that Ziwa spat out whatever he was chewing on. Murera sniffed what had fallen to the ground to discover it was acacia bark. Acacia bark is not something Murera considers particularly sweet, so she decided to browse further afield, in search of her own special treat.  

Come midday, all the hungry babies rushed to the milk feed area, with Enkesha in the lead. Thinking one of the other orphans might steal her second bottle, she guarded it by standing over it, whilst she finished her first one. Murera waited for Luggard to finish his bottle and then they moved on to carry on browsing in the bushes.

A little while later, we saw Zongoloni, Ngasha, Jasiri and Faraja appear out of the bushes; they had clearly picked the orphans scent and followed them to where everyone was now browsing. Quanza was the first one to spot them and let out a low happy rumble. This startled the Keeper’s, not sure why Quanza was rumbling, but then realized that she was walking towards the bushes, to welcome the night-clubbers. Later in the afternoon, a herd of wild elephants joined the stockade dependent orphans at the waterhole and mud-bath.

11 September 2020

We all know much Lima Lima loves her Keepers; she is always concerned for their safety, so today when she couldn’t locate them, she decided to walk through the forest looking for them. She finally found them in a clearing close to the rest of herd. She stood awhile behind a tree watching them without making a sound, until Luggard came and joined her which alerted the Keepers to her presence.  

Sonje was browsing quietly when she heard Mwashoti rumbling at a distance. Sonje looked up in the direction the sound was coming from and understood that Mwashoti wanted her to come and fetch him. Sonje walked up to where the young bull was and lead him lovingly to re-join the rest of the herd.  

Luggard was in luck today. He discovered a small patch of fresh green grass in the forest where the underground stream passes. He used his toes to kick up the grass and the roots, and made the most of this sweet treat. The whole time Luggard was browsing, Murera and Lima Lima stood guard, keeping an eye on their beloved baby boy the whole time.

12 September 2020

As the orphan’s exited their night stockades this morning, they found a large herd of wild elephants already at the water trough. The orphans quickly finished their lucerne and then joined the wild herd at the water trough. The Keepers noticed there were many young babies in the herd. They wanted to take photos of the little ones, but the wild elephants, not used to being around humans, were very wary. The wild herd didn’t stay for too long; they finished at the water trough and made their way towards the Chyulu Hills.   

Sonje decided to make a head start without the rest of her friends; she made her own way into the forest leaving Quanza in charge. Little Enkesha was undecided who she wanted to walk with today. Both Lima Lima and Zongoloni always take good care of her, but in the end she settled on Zongoloni as they have formed quite a special bond.

Later after their midday milk bottles, Luggard, Murera and Enkesha, made their way to the waterhole, where they took their time drinking and then engaged in a very leisurely mud wallow. Luggard and Murera rolled around covering their entire bodies with mud as the Keepers watched joyfully. Murera then led Luggard to the dust pile, where they were joined by the rest of the herd.

13 September 2020

Lima Lima had plans on enticing Luggard to join her today. She decided to hide behind a tree to watch Luggard and Murera’s moves, waiting for the right moment to approach Luggard. Her secret mission was a bit of a flop when Murera and Luggard both spotted her right away, putting a stop to her tactics.  

As soon as Enkesha is done with her midday milk feed she likes to sneak off unnoticed to the back the vehicle that brings their milk bottles. She will poke her trunk around in search of a stray extra bottle that she can help herself to, but no such luck today. All the bottles were empty.  

Sonje and Murera signaled all the orphans to wait whilst they contemplated their next move on where to browse. The younger ones waited patiently for instructions, whilst Zongoloni and Alamaya gathered their night-club members and made they own way, separately from the Umani herd.

14 September 2020

Luggard is starting to make more friends in the Umani herd. Today he joined Quanza and the others at the waterhole. It had been quite a hot day and Luggard was one of the first to arrive. He started splashing the cool muddy water on his body in an effort to cool down. All the other orphans were just as eager, but stopped to watch Luggard for a while as he showcased his own unique style. Murera watched him like a proud mum.  

Ziwa and the other five partially-independent orphans turned up at the mud bath but did not stay for too long. They greeted everyone briefly and were on the move again. Little Enkesha who loves Zongoloni’s company decided she would follow them, but halfway through realized she couldn’t keep up the pace with the big boys like Jasiri. She turned around and found her way back to where the Keepers were waiting for her. She found a nice waterhole, where she stopped to quench her thirst and then re-joined her dependent friends.  

15 September 2020

We saw Alamaya come out of the forest very early this morning, but he took his time getting to the stockades. He was on his own; none of the other night-clubbers had accompanied him.  

By the time he arrived at the stockades, the Umani herd had already moved on to their morning browsing activities. Alamaya stopped to enjoy some of the leftover Lucerne, and then caught the orphans’ scent, which led him to the foot of the Umani Hills where he found Murera with her babies, and the Keepers. He chose to spend most of his day browsing with his friends.

The day ended with the orphans browsing at the bottom of the Chyulu Hills. We saw the SWT helicopters flying overhead, fighting off the fires in the Tsavo area.  

16 September 2020

Mwashoti and Quanza were in a hurry to start their day today. They rushed out of their night rooms to have their milk and lucerne and started to walk towards the forest in search of greens. Enkesha spotted them and not wanting to miss out, she followed them too. The little girl tried to keep up but her path was blocked by a few bush-buck ewes in search of greens as well.  At first Enkesha waited, but grew impatient so she blew her little trunk to scare the bush-bucks and get them to start moving a little faster.

Shukuru emerged from the mud-bath with her body covered in muddy patches; she thoroughly enjoyed her mud bath today. She made her way to the dust bath but as soon as she saw the more boisterous orphans come out of the mud bath she quickly moved off with one of the Keepers, who was calling her name, to browse on her own, wanting to avoid the overzealous orphans and their pushing and strength testing games.

Later that afternoon, as the sun got hotter, Shukuru was pleasantly surprised to find a broken water pipe. She stopped to quench her thirst first and then called on Enkesha to come and do the same. The heat was quite unbearable so both girls used the water to to cool down.

17 September 2020

The Kibwezi forest was filled with the sounds and loud trumpets of a large visiting herd of wild elephants today. As the Keepers moved closer to see which herd this was, they were pleasantly surprised to see our own semi-independent orphans had accompanied this herd. Zongoloni, Ziwa, Alamaya, Jasiri, Faraja and Ngasha walked alongside their wild elephant friends.

Later as the stockade-dependent orphans were done with their midday milk feed and were cooling off in the mud, the night-clubbers joined them. Accompanying Ngasha and Faraja were two wild bulls, who we believe might be from the same wild herd this morning. They two wild bulls were very peaceful, but also watched the Keepers from a safe distance. They stopped at the waterhole for a long drink and seemed to be interested in joining the orphans for a mud wallow, but changed their minds. They made their way back to forest to re-join their herd, leaving the partially independent orphans with the Umani herd.

18 September 2020

Today Lima Lima decided she would go on a solo adventure. She took off towards the Umani Hills, not stopping until she had got all the way to the top. She seemed rather pleased with herself when she turned back to see where she had left Luggard under her friend Murera’s care. She knew as long as Luggard was with Murera, the little boy would be well looked after whilst she enjoyed her little escapade.  

The day was turning out to be quite hot and once the orphans had had their midday bottles, they all partook in a very lengthy mud wallow. Everyone joined in the fun, splashing mud and showing off their own bathing skills. Slowly one by one, starting with Enkesha, they all made their way to the dust pile. Mwashoti decided to extend a friendly climbing match with Enkesha, but the Keepers were quick to intervene and stop the big bull from doing so. Enkesha is far too little and is more interested in rolling in the dust then engaging in any sort of games with Mwashoti.

The orphans then made their way towards the Kibwezi forest to get away from the searing heat, where Mwashoti discovered a broken water pipe. Both Shukuru and him drank thirstily from the pipe but Enkesha decided to make a little game of it. Splashing the water around, she created a mini mud bath for herself, in which she proceeded to wallow with Shukuru keeping an eye on the little girl.

19 September 2020

This morning, Lima Lima was given the privilege of looking after Luggard. This is because Murera wanted to feed on her share of the lucerne and knew she would be a while. She could see Luggard was eager to start his browsing activities and so got Lima Lima to start without her. Lima Lima, overjoyed with this special honor, led Luggard out towards the browsing fields. As soon as Murera was done, she caught up with Lima Lima and took over looking after Luggard again.

As the Umani herd was making their way out towards the midday milk area, Mwashoti stopped at the water trough for a drink of water. The resident baby crocodile that lives in the water trough popped his head out startling the big boy. Mwashoti got such a fright that he did not even stop to look at what it was and ran toward the safety of where Shukuru and Enkesha were browsing peacefully.  

The six night-clubbers also turned up at the middy milk feed. Looking very hot and dusty, all of them made a beeline for the water troughs. It seems wherever they were they may not have had access to any water and they appeared very thirsty. They stayed for a while at the water troughs, splashing and filling themselves with water, knowing that it might be a while before they had another chance. As soon as Zongoloni was done, she turned towards the forest, signaling her group that it was time to leave.

20 September 2020

The orphans had a leisurely start as no one seemed to be in a hurry today, so they spent some time at the stockades enjoying their lucerne and scratching their bottoms against the trees.  

After awhile loud trumpets were heard. It seemed as though another wild herd was coming through the forest. Some of the orphans felt a bit unsure and sought out the safety of their Keepers. Luggard knew he would feel safer if he was closer to Murera and so he started to walk through the bushes in search of her. They met halfway as Murera was already walking through the forest looking for her beloved boy. Both were very happy and relieved to see each other. The wild elephant herd had two new born babies. Zongoloni was curious, wanting to make friends with the two little ones, she moved closer to one of them, but the matriarch of the herd put a stop to it by blocking Zongoloni.  

As evening approached and the orphans made their way back home, the Keepers were surprised to find Alamaya already at the stockades waiting for them. All the orphans were making their way to their individual rooms, when the Keepers saw Alamaya walking towards his old room. He stood at the entrance of his quarters and then walked in, sniffing it, perhaps recalling the days when he used to share his room with Murera. The Keepers decided to give Alamaya some lucerne which he thoroughly enjoyed and seemed most grateful for. As the sun started to go down, Alamaya set out towards the forest where no doubt he would meet his friends for whatever adventures lay ahead.  

21 September 2020

Sometimes we get the occasional wild elephant venturing into the stockades. Today a young girl with no tusks arrived as the Keepers were getting ready to put out the lucerne for the stockade-dependent orphans. It was very rare for an elephant her age not to have tusks, so the Keepers were quite puzzled. She continued to watch from a distance, and then slowly approached the stockades.

Some wild elephants can be a bit wary of the Keepers, as they are not used to seeing humans and elephants together, but this girl was quite calm. She waited patiently until the Keepers had a laid out the lucerne before she walked up to the lucerne corner. The Keepers were happy to let her feed.

Faraja and Jasiri, who were visiting this morning, had other ideas. As soon as they saw the young female elephant in the stockades, they stood firm and strong, spreading their ears to appear bigger to intimidate the young girl. A little scared, the young elephant turned around and left. She must have not gone very far, because as soon as the orphans left the stockades to go towards the Kenze Hills, she returned to enjoy the leftover lucerne in peace.

22 September 2020

A big bull turned up at the mud bath today. He attempted to interact with the Umani herd, curious to know who these new elephants were.  

Sonje was a bit cautious and so stayed away from him. Later on Alamaya and Ziwa joined the orphans and when they greeted the older bull in a knowing and friendly manner, that is when the Keepers realized that these two younger bulls knew the wild bull. He must be one of the older bulls that our partially-independent orphans spend time with at night, when they are out in the forest. Murera’s protective instinct took over and she moved Luggard away from the wild bull and moved closer to the bushes where the Keepers were standing keeping an eye on everyone including their new visitor.

As soon as the orphans were done at the dust bath after their midday bottles, Enkesha and Quanza moved to the water trough where they found a flock of crane birds drinking water at the edge of the water trough. Enkesha was feeling a bit playful and decided to chase the birds. Quanza joined in the fun by letting out a few loud trumpets which sent the birds flying in different directions. Quanza didn’t stop at the trumpeting; she thought a little chase was in order as well, she ran after the crane birds until they were all out of sight. Luggard, Lima Lima and Murera who were browsing nearby, carried on with their activity, unaffected by all the trumpeting and chasing.

23 September 2020

Today when the night-clubbers, Faraja, Ngasha, Zongoloni, Jasiri, Ziwa and Alamaya did not turn up in the morning at the stockades or even at the midday milk feed, the Keepers decided to drive around the Umani Springs area and Kibwezi forest to see if they could spot them.

As they were driving past the forest, Faraja and Zongoloni emerged from the thickest bushes. These partially-independent orphans know the sound and color of the milk vehicle very well. They must have heard the vehicle driving past and came out thinking they might be lucky enough to get a bottle of milk. Of course there were none, but both the Keepers and elephants were happy to see each other.

Alamaya was next to come out of the bushes with Jasiri, Ngasha and Ziwa. They all looked very happy and healthy. The Keepers, satisfied that their wards were well, climbed back into the vehicle and returned to the stockades.

24 September 2020

Even the sweetest of elephants sometimes need lessons in manners, and no one better to impart this then Sonje and Murera who continue to prove why they are the successful mother figures of the Umani herd. Today at the water trough, little Luggard was being a bit stubborn and not moving out of the way to allow Sonje and Murera to get to the water. They gently tried to persuade him to step back, but Luggard would not budge. Sonje placed her trunk on Luggard’s back and Murera let out a low rumble, signaling the little bull that the time for games was over. Luggard immediately moved aside to allow the girls to have their fill of water.

The rest of herd was feeling rather playful. They all indulged in lengthy mud wallowing sessions. Splashing and rolling around, rubbing their bottoms in the mud. Shukuru and Enkesha were the first to exit the mud-bath and make their way to the dust pile. They wanted to avoid Mwashoti’s boisterous games. Of late, Mwashoti seems to have taken up the habit of climbing on top of Lima Lima. Lima Lima does not like this, and avoids Mwashoti as much as she can.

After everyone was done at the dust pile, Murera and Sonje signaled the orphans to start moving towards the forest. Everyone was browsing peacefully, when a big baboon, not aware that Luggard was browsing in the trees startled him. The poor little boy let out a trumpet and this sent Murera into action. Murera and her rescue team of Lima Lima and Sonje ran towards the sound to see what had happened to their little boy. The big baboon startled by all the commotion, ran off into the trees.

25 September 2020

Enkesha had a great time in the mud bath today; she rolled and splashed, covering her entire body with mud. The mud not only cools them down and provides a protective layer on their body but it also protects from insect bites and the sun. Elephant skin looks very tough, but it can be sensitive and get sun burnt.  

Mwashoti’s naughty character came into play today; he decided to attempt climbing games with Quanza but was not very successful. Quanza is taller than Mwashoti, so even at his very best Mwashoti was unable to reach Quanza’s back. Shukuru as usual preferred not to engage in these games and proceeded to find a quiet spot by the mud-bath, far from everyone else, where she could play in the mud by herself.  

The orphans decided to spend the afternoon browsing in the forest where they encountered a few wild bulls. Murera, as always because of Luggard, was very cautious, and decided to retreat further into the forest, putting some distance between the two of them and the wild bulls. The Keepers observed that the wild bulls were actually quite friendly and not at all scared by the Umani herd or the Keepers. In fact, so much so, that later on, when Zongoloni and the other partially-independent orphans joined the Umani herd, the wild bulls joined them and accompanied the orphans back to the stockades. 

26 September 2020

The orphans decided on a new route today, one they have not used before, and as the orphans settled into browse, everyone was quite surprised when Alamaya joined them.

We are finding that Alamaya is spending more and more time on his own, and occasionally chooses to join the Umani herd. Alamaya has become quite an independent bull, so it is quite possible that he prefers to venture out on his own as opposed to being in a herd where Zongoloni is the matriarch. Murera was glad to see Alamaya, and received him with great affection. She was still very protective of Luggard as she knows Alamaya is another quite boisterous bull. 

Once the orphans had had their midday milk bottle and were indulging in some well needed mud wallowing, Alamaya decided to make his own way back to the forest, possibly to join up with some of his wild elephant friends. Lima Lima accompanied him up to the edge of the forest and then returned to re-join her herd.

27 September 2020

As the orphans were making their way down to midday milk feed Lima Lima was in the lead, with Luggard in the middle, followed by Murera. Murera preferred to do it this way as this ensures that Luggard is protected from both sides.

Mwashoti proved to be the swimming star today, he made sure to wade right into the middle of the mud-bath, where the thickest mud is, and proceeded to splash and roll around covering his whole body with the mud. Shukuru did not leave the mud-bath when Mwashoti was showing off his skills; instead she stood by and watched. We realized why, as she was waiting for Mwashoti to exit so that she could have her turn. As soon as Mwashoti made his way to dust bath, Shukuru waded into the mud, where she stayed for quite a while, enjoying a good wallow. In fact everyone indulged in the mud-bath today, since it was so hot and they needed to cool off.  

As Quanza and Enkesha were browsing together in the late afternoon, out of the bushes came Jasiri, Ziwa and Faraja. Quanza was overjoyed to see her friends and let out low happy rumbles. The Keepers heard the rumbles and wondered what was going on. They walked over to where Quanza was, only to see the orphans greeting their friends with trunk hugs and more rumbling. It was quite a joyous sight, as they had not seen each other in a few days.

28 September 2020

A big wild bull arrived at the stockades, early this morning and was accompanied by Alamaya. It seems as though when Alamaya goes out into the forest, he makes friends with a lot of the wild bulls, but then doesn’t stay with them for too long as we have seen he prefers his own company.  

The bull stayed with the Umani herd all day. Not getting too close but staying rather curious as to why elephants would be with humans. Ziwa was at the dust bath and tried to engage the wild bull in some games but the bull was not interested. Sonje and Murera made sure to steer clear of the wild bull and kept Luggard out of sight at all times. Zongoloni did the same with Enkesha. The Keepers remained vigilant too.  

As the evening drew closer and the Keepers and orphans started to make their way back to the night stockades, the wild bull also followed them. Jasiri felt quite protective of his friends so decided to accompany them all the way to the compound. The wild bull reached the gate and then decided to turn around and leave.

29 September 2020

Alamaya joined the orphans during their early morning forage. He found some juicy acacia branches and reached up with his trunk the break them. His concentration was broken by a few bushbucks running past, and then some noisy baboons decided to jump around in the acacia tree. This annoyed Alamaya and as he tried to scare them, they just ran up and down the tree making even more noise. Luckily Mwashoti was not to far away and could see Alamaya’s dilemma. The two teamed up and chased the baboons out of the trees so that they could browse in peace.

At the dust-bath, Murera rolled around in the soil as Luggard stood watching. He was waiting for Murera to finish so that he could have his turn. As the afternoon got hotter, the orphans decided to take a break from their foraging and instead walk in the forest where it is much cooler. They also hoped to find a water hole or two where they could stop to quench their thirst and cool down and if possible by wallowing too. 

30 September 2020

The day started off very well today, with the night-clubbers arriving very early at the stockades. Both Ziwa and Faraja kept themselves busy on the soil pile that is near the stockades as they waited for the Keepers to bring out the Lucerne. The Keepers were quite surprised to see the partially-independent orphans and they loaded more Lucerne in their wheelbarrows for them too. The six nearly independent orphans couldn’t wait much longer and started to pick the Lucerne bales out of the Keepers wheelbarrows even before they had a chance to put them down.

Enkesha was particularly happy to see her friend Zongoloni, who was waiting by the gate for her little friend. All the orphans enjoyed the Lucerne together. Today no wild elephants or any other wild animals visited the stockades so it was a very quiet and peaceful start to the day. The night-clubbers made their separate way back into the forest after their Lucerne. 

At the midday milk bottle feed Alamaya was the first to arrive, followed much later by the other five partially-independent orphans too. As soon as Zongoloni arrived, she encouraged Enkesha to join her and the two girls spent the rest of the day browsing as though they were two friends catching up after a long time. They day ended on the same note, quiet and peaceful with the dependent Umani orphans making their way back to the stockades in a single file.