Keepers' Diaries, September 2021

Ithumba Reintegration Unit

The month began on a high note, when over seventy wild bulls converged outside the Ithumba stockades for a drink. Our bold girl Nabulu led the dependent herd home, as has become tradition. The orphans treated their wild visitors the deference they deserve and didn’t get up to any hijinks as they settled in for the evening.

01 September 2021

Ex-orphans Loijuk, Lili, Kitirua, Orwa, Naisula, Kilaguni, Bomani and Ishanga arrived to join the dependent orphans in the morning. Esampu, Nabulu and Sapalan had the wonderful opportunity to interact with Lili for a while, before she left to rejoin her mother. After feeding on lucerne, Sattao led the way out to browse. 

It was a quiet morning as all the orphans concentrated on browsing without any major distractions. Older orphans Orwa and Bomani chose to join the orphans for the entire morning. Ambo and Jotto decided to browse together, away from the others. Malima and Sana Sana joined them for a little while, before going to browse from a nice bush with their friend Malkia. Roi walked with Dololo through the bush slowly and escorted the little boy and his friend Musiara to some shade when they looked a little hot. Loijuk and her team joined the orphans again at the mud bath. It was hot today and all the orphans and ex-orphans decided to get into the mud bath to wallow which they really enjoyed. Even Kauro decided to get into the water today! Kamok and Karisa were the first to walk over to the piles of loose soil to dry off. 

In the evening, over seventy wild bulls showed up for water at the stockade compound. Nabulu led the way back to the stockades in the evening. None of the orphans decided to dodge the Keepers today and they all returned at the same time to go to bed for the night. 

02 September 2021

A wild family herd of elephants visited the stockades in the morning and joined the orphans to feed on lucerne. Nabulu, who is always excited and interested to play with babies, was very happy to interact and play with the wild babies. Mutara, Suguta, Sities, Turkwel, Kainuk, Kithaka, Garzi and Lemoyian, who have been away for few days, arrived back this morning and joined the orphans. Dololo was very happy to see his adopted older sisters again. Mutara’s herd chose to accompany the dependent orphans for the whole morning.

At mud bath time, the orphans and ex-orphans had a wonderful mud bath, with Dololo opting to stay close to his senior sisters. Kauro, Enkikwe, Jotto, Sattao and Pare boycotted the wallowing exercise however, and instead opted for soil dusting. At one-point mischievous Enkikwe was seen trying to block Karisa and Wanjala from coming out of the water. The two boys used an alternative way of getting out though. As soon as he managed to get out of the water, Karisa met with Ambo and they both enjoyed a brief pushing game. The orphans started to file out and walk away from the mud bath into the bush two by two; Sana Sana paired up with Kauro, Sattao with Wanjala, Malkia with Mundusi, Maramoja with Musiara, while Kamok walked with Ambo. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area. In the evening, sixty wild bulls showed up for water at the stockade water troughs. 

03 September 2021

After feasting on their morning lucerne, Mteto and Sana Sana led the way out to browse. Malkia accompanied Sattao and Musiara to a rock where the two boys scratched their bodies gloriously. Mapia, who was following behind, tried to push the two boys away from the rock, but he was turned away by Malkia. Mapia had to wait until the two younger boys were through before moving in to scratch his tummy on the same rock. 

Out in the bush, Kauro engaged Dololo in a pushing game and then decided to climb on him as a show of dominance over the young boy. Esampu showed off her skills acquired over the years, as she stepped on branches and used her trunk to break the branches and peel the bark from them to get enough food during this dry season we are currently experiencing. 

At mud bath time, Ambo decided to lead the way for the noon bottle feed. Soon after taking his share, he walked to a nearby tree and relaxed there in the shade for some time before heading for a mud bath. 

Karisa, Sapalan, Sattao, Pare, Mundusi and Dololo saw a wild bull standing a short distance away who seemed hesitant to come over and join the orphans to drink water. The boys decided to approach the bull to see if there was anything wrong, but the wild bull didn’t appreciate being approached by the youngsters and pushed them aside. However, the boys seemed determined to be around the bull and followed him to the water trough. The wild bulls standing there didn't mind them, but they walked away after they were done drinking enough water. 

The senior ex-orphans, led by Loijuk, arrived at the mud bath just as the dependent orphans were leaving. In the afternoon, the dependent orphans settled to browse at in the Kanziku area before heading home to the stockades in the evening.

04 September 2021

Malima decided to stop and have a morning stretching exercise at the gate to the stockade compound. She got down on her knees and blocked the way. Jotto, who was following close behind, decided to climb on Malima to try to get past her and follow his friends. 

Two buffaloes showed up for water and had to share it with two wild elephant bulls who were also present. Shortly later, Rapsu emerged from the east and joined the orphans briefly before leaving again. Guinea fowls, who had flocked to stockade water trough for their morning drink, got it rough as Naseku, Sattao, Mundusi, Dololo and Rapa all decided to chase them. The opportunity to make these birds take flight is irresistible to them! The five orphans kept charging and trumpeting at them, trying to scare the birds away. Eventually, and much to the relief of the birds, they got tired and left the guinea fowls to do as they wished. 

Musiara teamed up with Malkia on the way out to the bush. Mundusi ran into trouble with our ‘stick carrier’, Kauro. Kauro has been christened with this name because of his habit of picking up sticks and carrying them with him each time he walks to get his milk bottles. We’re not sure when he might give up this habit, but we can’t help but think it might be when he is eventually weaned from his milk; only time will tell. Kauro fought with Mundusi when Mundusi tried to take food from his mouth. Kauro even went to the extent of climbing on Mundusi just to prove to him that he shouldn’t underestimate his strength. 

It was quite cool when the orphans made their way to the mud bath, so only half of the group decided to wallow in the water. Nabulu was the first one to get into the water followed by Ndiwa, Sana Sana, Mteto, Esampu, Malima, Ambo and Karisa. Shortly after the orphans left, Challa, in the company of Dad and other two other wild bull friends, reported to the mud bath to wallow as well. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse along the upper Kalovoto seasonal river. In the evening, Nabulu led the first group back into the compound for the night, Sattao led the second and Esampu the third. 

05 September 2021

Kibo was the only ex-orphan present at the stockade compound in the morning during the lucerne feeding time. Soon after having enough, Kibo led the orphans to the water troughs, where they drank enough water to see them through the entire morning. Shortly thereafter, Mteto led the way out to browse. It was all quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing. At mud bath time, Kuishi led the first group to the noon bottle feed. 43 wild elephant bulls came to the mud bath area, to drink water and cool off in the mud bath. Dololo, Esampu, Malkia and Pare emerged as the stars of the day as they sat in the water and whipped it around with their trunks.

In the evening, as usual these days, Nabulu led the orphans back home in the evening.

06 September 2021

Soon after leaving the stockade compound, the orphans were joined by Orwa, Bomani, Suguta and Kibo. Some wild elephant bulls were competing with some buffaloes over the water at the water troughs. Just as the buffaloes were leaving after eventually taking their fill, Sana Sana spotted them. Sana Sana decided to stop feeding on lucerne and instead chase after the buffaloes. She charged and trumpeted after them and the buffaloes, upon hearing the trumpets and seeing Sana Sana behind them, picked up their speed and sprinted away, kicking up dust as they fled. Sana Sana was ecstatic as she had single-handedly managed to drive the buffaloes away. Mapia engaged Jotto in a pushing game that ended in a draw. 

On the way out to browse, the orphans met with Tomboi, as he was on his way to the stockades for a drink. The orphans stepped aside to let him pass with their trunks raised in greeting. Tomboi didn't acknowledge the orphans’ greetings but did stop to say hello to Suguta, who was in the company of the orphans. It’s not clear why Suguta has left her own group of Sities, Mutara, Kainuk, Turkwel, Kithaka, Garzi and Lemoyian, for the time being. An hour later, Suguta, Orwa, Bomani and Kibo parted ways with the orphans, and took Barsilinga, Tusuja, Olsekki, Oltaiyoni, Roi, Naseku and Siangiki with them. Malima teamed up with Ambo and Dololo to browse. 

At mud bath time, the temperature was moderate. After finishing their milk, Maramoja stood with Musiara a few meters away from the others. Once Malkia joined them, Maramoja decided to leave Musiara under her care while she went to swim in the mud bath. Pare engaged Jotto in a pushing game but stopped when they saw Enkikwe walking towards them. Jotto then moved to play with Mapia. After drinking enough water, Nabulu moved close to some wild bulls that were relaxing under a tree. Nabulu just stared at the wild bulls for a while and then walked away. Mteto picked up a piece of bark peel from the ground and started playing with it. Esampu was standing close to her and stared at Mteto as if she had gone mad because the piece of bark was good food for eating, not playing with! Ambo walked with Kamok and engaged her in a lengthy conversation. 

In the afternoon, Mundusi played with Karisa while Pare played with Wanjala. Mapia dodged the Keepers and returned to the stockades early, where he met a lot of wild bulls drinking water. Mapia settled outside and enjoyed some lucerne on his own as he waited for his friends to return too. 

07 September 2021

Malima walked out of her stockades with a leftover branch in her mouth that kept her busy as she waited for the morning lucerne breakfast. Sities, Mutara, Kainuk, Turkwel, Kanjoro, Kithaka, Lemoyian and Suguta were present this morning too. The ex-orphans shared lucerne with the orphans and shortly later, Rapa and Karisa had seemingly had enough, and started their journey out to the bush to browse. Three African wild dogs arrived unannounced, and this made all the orphans raise their trunks up in the air to find out more about the intruders. The wild dogs didn't waste any time and disappeared soon after taking enough water. The tension amongst the orphans died away and they soon followed Karisa and Rapa. 

Throughout the morning, Ndiwa played with Jotto while Ambo played with Nabulu. After having their noon milk feed, the orphans decided to swim in the mud bath. Shortly after the dependent orphans left, senior ex-orphans Yatta, Yetu, Yoyo, Kinna, Kama, Ithumbah, Mulika, Mwende, Mkuu, Teleki and two wild bulls arrived at the mud bath. They later headed to the stockade compound, where they joined 81 wild elephant bulls that had come for water. 

08 September 2021

The ex-orphans led by Yatta arrived in the morning just in good time for some lucerne. The family consisted of Yatta and her two babies Yetu and Yoyo, Mulika with Mwende and Mkuu, and Kinna and her one calf Kama. Ithumbah accompanied them too. Kenze was in a group of wild bulls and joined the orphans to feed on lucerne. Shortly later, Tusuja walked down to the water trough and joined four wild bulls who were drinking water. After feeding on lucerne, Roi led the way out to browse, followed by Naseku, Oltaiyoni and Siangiki. Kinna led the ex-orphans and they walked southeast of the stockades as Roi steered the dependent orphans north of the stockade. 

The orphans had a quiet morning as they concentrated on browsing. At mud bath time fifty-two wild bulls were present. The orphans joined the bulls soon after finishing their milk and thereafter headed for soil dusting before going back out to browse. In the afternoon Jotto took a break from feeding to play with Mapia. Their game ended in a draw and then they resumed browsing. As usual in the evening, Nabulu led the way back to the stockades. 

09 September 2021

Sapalan took his share of lucerne and walked away from the rest of the group to enjoy his lucerne in peace. Loijuk, Lili, Naisula, Kitirua, Kinna, Kama, Ishanga, Teleki, Yatta, Yoyo, Yetu, Mulika, Mwende, Mkuu, Orwa and Bomani were also present this morning. Kuishi, Karisa and Mapia settled to drink water soon after having enough lucerne. Shortly later, Karisa walked over to Rapa and the two boys enjoyed a light conversation as they walked off into the bush together. The rest of the herd streamed out behind them. 

On the way out, Galla and Ndiwa came across an anthill. Ndiwa used her sharp tusks to dig at the loose soil while Galla used his trunk to scoop up the soil and dust himself. Ambo engaged Dololo in a strength testing game that ended in a draw. Later, Ambo played with Malima but ended up losing the game to Malima. Mundusi engaged Teleki in a pushing game but he couldn't withstand the Teleki’s strength! An hour later, the ex-orphans parted ways with the orphans. 

It wasn’t very hot when the orphans went to the mud bath later for their milk bottles, so they didn’t stay in the mud bath for long. They really enjoyed a soil dusting exercise however, soon after leaving the water. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing without any major distractions. 

10 September 2021

The day started with blessings as Makena showed up in morning with a newborn baby girl! We decided to call Makena’s girl ‘Mumo’, which means ‘peace’ in the local Mkamba language. Makena and her baby were in the company of Yatta, Yoyo, Yetu, Mulika, Loijuk, Lili, Ishanga, Teleki, Naisula, Mulika, Mwende, Mkuu, Sities, Suguta, Mutara, Kinna, Kama and Kilabasi, who is heavily pregnant. Ishanga, Sities, Mwende and Yetu were the main competitors trying to be the new baby’s nannies. Shortly later, the dependent orphans left for browsing, leaving the ex-orphans in the stockade compound. An hour later, Yatta led her group west. 

At eleven o'clock in the morning, the ex-orphans met with the orphans as they made their way to the mud bath. There was tension when Mumo decided to follow her mother into the mud bath, as she is still so very tiny. We were worried that Mumo would get stuck, but she appeared to really enjoy her first swim, which lasted for less than a minute. Mumo came out running followed by Sities and her mother, Makena. The dependent orphans joined the queue too, as they wanted to be part of taking care of Mumo. Sities and Ishanga pushed the youngsters away though as they didn't want any of them to come close to the small baby. Only Ndiwa persevered and stayed back to spend some time with the baby. She later left to join her friends again, who were already walking off into the bush to continue browsing. In the evening, Nabulu led the way back to the stockades for the night. 

11 September 2021

Two wild bulls and Kilaguni joined the orphans for lucerne in the morning. After the orphans had enough lucerne, Tusuja, Oltaiyoni, Naseku, Galla, Wanjala and Rapa walked down to the water trough and had some water before following Karisa who was leading the way out. 

Mundusi challenged Kauro and they enjoyed a pushing game that lasted for quite some time. Nabulu settled to browse with Mteto while Malkia teamed up with Maramoja. Malima came across a branch on the ground which she picked up and helped herself to the remaining edible bark left on the branch. 

Mundusi and Kauro, known as the ‘stick carrier’, sneaked away from the group early and arrived at the mud bath to wait for the vehicle carrying the milk bottles. 

Just after eleven o'clock in the morning, when all the orphans had finished their milk bottles, Yatta and her herd arrived at the mud bath too. The presence of little Mumo brought all activities to a standstill, as the orphans scrambled to get a glimpse of the little one. Makena had a hectic time controlling her baby. Malkia and Malima stole the show when they commandeered Mumo and kept moving in circles around the mud bath as all the orphans and Makena followed. They took Mumo into the water for a mud bath, but Makena was quick to steer her baby out the water. Sities, who usually adores Dololo and follows him everywhere, appears to have abandoned the boy for now as she vies for a nanny position with Mumo. Makena was finally afforded some relief when the Keepers assembled the dependent orphans and took them north of the mud bath. 

In the afternoon, Musiara took a break from feeding to play with Dololo. Barsilinga, Olsekki, Siangiki, Oltaiyoni, Tusuja, Naseku and Roi returned to the stockades later in the evening, two hours after their friends had returned and gone into their stockades for the night.

12 September 2021

Makena, Mumo, Sities, Ishanga, Kitirua, Naisula, Kilabasi and Kalama were present in the morning when the orphans were let out. Malima headed straight over to Mumo to spend some time with her, but Makena pushed her away. Several wild bulls were busy drinking water at the stockade water troughs. Two buffaloes approached cautiously as they wanted to have some water too. Sana Sana, Enkikwe and Sattao spotted them and started charging at them. The buffaloes stood their ground but gave up when Sattao started trumpeting. The moment the buffaloes turned and showed him their backs, Sattao gained even more courage and charged after them. The buffaloes ran away with Sattao in hot pursuit. He returned triumphant and seemingly very pleased with himself. When the orphans left the stockades for the day, the buffaloes were finally able to come and have a drink in peace.

An hour later the dependent orphans left the company of the ex-orphans. Kuishi and Kauro came across some loose soil that they played on, as Karisa stood on the road watching them. 

It was very hot at mud bath time, and this prompted the orphans to enjoy a prolonged wallowing session. Musiara was the first one to leave the water and eventually his friends followed him out too. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area.

13 September 2021

Zurura in the company of five wild bulls were busy drinking water when the orphans were let out of their stockades this morning. The orphans settled for lucerne soon after they were let out. Zurura abandoned the wild bulls and joined the orphans for their lucerne breakfast. Shortly later, Mundusi, Rapa, Roi, Sana Sana and Wanjala walked down and joined the bulls to have some water. 

Out in the bush, Galla teamed up with Musiara to browse while Kuishi settled to browse with Mteto and Malkia. The morning was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing up to mud bath time when Nabulu led the first group to have their milk bottles. After finishing his milk, Kauro ran off with the empty bottle and dropped it in the mud bath, giving the Keepers a hard time to try and retrieve it and they had to use a long stick to fish it out. They weren’t very impressed with Kauro, but they just wagged a finger at him for being naughty. Thirty-two wild bulls attended the mud bath and together with the orphans they all enjoyed swimming in the water.

In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area again, where Kauro teamed up with Karisa while Malima settled to browse with Musiara and Mteto. 

14 September 2021

Ambo had an argument with Malima this morning as they were coming out of their stockade. Luckily, Jotto was behind them and saw what was about to happen, and so he walked in between them to make sure that the two orphans didn’t resort to fighting to resolve their issue. Mundusi decided to have a morning stretching exercise by sitting and rolling on the ground. Sapalan and Tusuja took their share of lucerne and moved away from their friends to enjoy it in peace. Kilaguni was the only big elephant present this morning. He escorted the orphans out to browse and settled to feed with them. 

The orphans had a quiet morning and at mud bath time they were joined by thirty wild bulls. The sun was beating down and it was really hot, so the orphans and the wild bulls had a prolonged wallowing session in the mud bath. When they were done the orphans resumed browsing for the rest of the afternoon. It’s really dry at the moment so the orphans concentrated on browsing without becoming distracted with games or wrestling matches, to ensure they had enough to eat and fill their tummies today.

15 September 2021

Twenty-five wild bulls were present at the stockade compound this morning. Makena and Mumo were also present for the lucerne feeding time, and Sities was there, too, as Mumo’s main nanny. After feeding on lucerne, the orphans headed northeast of the stockade. 

Out in the bush, Mundusi challenged Kauro. Mundusi ended up losing and, to add insult to injury, Kauro proceeded to climb on him, just to prove his strength. Mundusi seemed to regret trying to challenge Kauro in the first place. Malkia spent time with Musiara and Nabulu.  

Later in the morning at the mud bath, Sattao, Kuishi and Karisa competed who among them was the fastest as they ran for their noon bottle feed. Sattao, who is younger and a bit sprightlier, won the race. The ex-orphans, led by Yatta, arrived at the mud bath too. Fifty wild bulls were also there, so it was a busy wallowing session. Soon after mud bath, Enkikwe, Sapalan, Naisula, Kilabasi, Jotto, Pare, Dololo, Mapia, Suguta and Malima settled for soil a dusting exercise, before disappearing off into the bush next to the mounds of soil. The afternoon was quiet as the orphans concentrated on browsing without any major distractions. 

16 September 2021

The wild bull known as Dad visited the stockades with friends this morning. One of the bulls joined the orphans to feed on lucerne. Kauro and Tusuja settled to browse together as Maramoja teamed up with Malkia and Musiara. Sapalan had strength testing exercise with Karisa that lasted for only a minute or so. The rest of the morning was quiet. At mud bath time, Nabulu led the way. 

The temperature was moderate and the orphans, in the company of twenty-five bulls who were also present at the mud bath time, enjoyed cooling off in the water. Only Kamok decided not to take a bath. Immediately after coming out of water, Ambo walked over to Kamok and seemed to inquire why, as one of the oldest females in the dependent group, she was setting a bad example for the young ones. Kamok smiled at Ambo in reply and Ambo just walked away from her. Pare engaged Karisa in a pushing game while in the water. 

Later, Maramoja, Mteto and Wanjala moved to a nearby hole in the ground which they dug deeper with their tusks to get some nice loose soil to play with. Ambo and Dololo had a brief strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. Jotto settled to browse with Pare and in the evening, Malima led the way back to the stockades for the night. 

17 September 2021

Mutara, Suguta, Sities, Turkwel, Kithaka, Garzi, Lemoyian, Orwa, Kilaguni, Kandecha, Kainuk and Bomani joined the orphans in the morning for lucerne. Makena wasn’t with them, and it seems Sities, who initially fought so hard to be Mumo’s head nanny, appears to have abandoned that mission for now and has decided to return to her group. It's not clear why she has made that decision, and only time will tell when Makena might choose to show up again with her baby. We aren’t sure where she has gone, as we didn’t see her yesterday. 

Later in the morning, Mundusi challenged Enkikwe, thinking that, because of Enkikwe's bad leg, he would just win very easily. Mundusi got a rude shock however when Enkikwe fought back and emerged as the winner; Mundusi’s strength is no match for Enkikwe, even with a bad leg! Jotto played with Kuishi while Ambo settled to play with Musiara. Dololo was happy to spend some time with his adopted older sisters Sities, Suguta, Turkwel and Kainuk. 

There were only a few wild bulls at the mud bath today. The orphans had a spectacular wallowing session. When they were done, they dusted themselves on the pile of loose soil. Kauro and Malima decided to have a thorough scratching session in the ditch the orphans have carved out. In the afternoon, the herd settled to browse in the Kanziku area. I50 wild elephants showed up at the stockade water troughs that evening. 

18 September 2021

Kenze and Kasigau were sleeping comfortably outside the stockade compound. As soon as the orphans were let out, the two boys woke up. Ambo was the first one to leave his stockade and he went straight over to say hi to Kasigau. A buffalo came for water at the stockade water troughs but got it rough when Esampu decided to single-handedly start charging and trumpeting to chase him away. Kenze left immediately after eating enough lucerne, while Kasigau escorted the orphans out to browse. 

Pare and Mundusi continued their pushing games, trying to establish who was the strongest between them. Mapia engaged Jotto in their own pushing game which ended in a draw. Karisa settled to browse with Kauro. 

At mud bath time it was very hot, prompting the orphans to jump into the water soon after finishing their milk. Rapa and Nabulu were the first to leave the mud bath, and the first to walk over to the soil mounds to dust themselves and dry off. Malkia and Enkikwe were the last ones to leave the mud bath. 

In the evening, Makena, Mumo and Ishanga showed up at the mud bath after disappearing for a few days. Mumo was looking extremely weak and dehydrated. We provided some water and lucerne for them at the mud bath. Later, Yatta and the rest of the senior ex-orphan herd arrived at the mud bath and picked up Makena, Mumo and Ishanga. They walked with them to the stockade compound. Makena was locked in with her baby to try and give them some rest, but she escaped at midnight after bending the metal rails of the gate. 

19 September 2021

A wild elephant herd joined the orphans and ex-orphans to feed on lucerne supplements this morning. When they were done, the family walked off into the bush, while the orphans headed east. Malima decided to have fun by rolling on the ground as Malkia stood by, watching. The rest of the herd settled to browse without any major distractions. 

The orphans really enjoyed swimming in the mud bath after their noon milk bottles, as it was a hot afternoon. Dololo and Musiara spent so much time in the water, messing around and climbing on one another.

Makena, baby Mumo, Ishanga, Mwende and Yetu spent the day some two hundred metres away from the stockade compound. 

In the afternoon, Galla settled to browse with Nabulu while Enkikwe teamed up with Rapa. The rest of the day was quiet, and, in the evening, thirty-five wild bulls showed up at the stockades for water. 

20 September 2021

The day started on a very sad note. At six o'clock in the morning, Makena, Sities, Ishanga, Mwende, Kalama and Mumo were just standing some hundred metres away from the stockade area. Lucerne was taken to where they were standing, and they were left to feed. Half an hour later, Sities came running over to the orphans and ex-orphans that were eating lucerne over by the stockade compound. It seems that Sities had come to announce that Mumo had collapsed and was with us no more. The ex-orphans bellowed in loud voices, sending up the alarm that something was wrong. Wild bulls who were in the area all swarmed closer to check what had happened. They gave their final respects and consoled Makena before leaving again. It was an incredible moment to witness all these elephants, including the big bulls, come together to mourn such a loss. Ishanga remained with Makena to comfort her, even after all the other elephants continued with their day. We can’t help but think Makena should have stayed close with Yatta’s herd, and we are not sure why she walked so far with little Mumo to make her so exhausted. Some things we will just never be able to understand. 

Fifty wild bulls were present at the mud bath when the orphans arrived. Makena, Ishanga and Mwende also showed up to cool off. Makena seemed okay and Ishanga stayed close to her. Esampu was the first one to leave the water, as she employed her usual tactic of suddenly running around and trumpeting to encourage everyone else to vacate the pool. It worked marvelously, and one by one, the orphans charged out of the mud bath, running in the direction taken by Esampu. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area.

21 September 2021

It was a quiet morning. Only Orwa joined the orphans for lucerne in the morning, as three wild bulls were busy drinking at the stockade water troughs. 

As she walked out to the bush with her friends, Sana Sana came across a nice rock that she used to scratch her belly on. The quiet and shy Sapalan disagreed with Malima about something, but we aren’t sure what. All we know is that Sapalan reacted by pushing Malima and then climbing on her. Mundusi engaged Roi in a pushing game that ended in a draw. Pare played with Karisa but their game was disrupted by Olsekki who pushed the two boys away. Shortly later, Orwa, Barsilinga, Tusuja, Siangiki, Olsekki, Oltaiyoni, Naseku and Roi parted ways with their friends and walked off into the bush on their own. 

After having their noon milk bottles, some of the orphans decided to have a mud bath. Only Kamok, Ambo and Kauro boycotted the wallowing exercise. Pare engaged Kuishi in a pushing game as Kauro ran into trouble with Wanjala. Wanjala grabbed Kauro’s ready to bite it! But Kauro managed to free himself and run away. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse in the Kanziku area. 

Later, Barsilinga and his team returned to the stockades early before the other orphans. Tusuja decided not to go into his stockade and instead joined Yatta and her herd who had come for water. Later on, he chose to leave with them, and they all walked off into the night together.

22 September 2021

Several wild bulls were drinking water at the stockade water troughs when the orphans were let out. One of the bulls joined the orphans to eat lucerne. Shortly later, two wild herds came straight to the lucerne feeding area to share the remaining lucerne with the orphans. Sana Sana, Mteto and Maramoja felt protective over their breakfast however, and ganged up to drive the young wild babies away. The young ones ran to their mothers for safety. Maramoja, Sana Sana and Mteto didn’t chase them to their mothers however, as they knew the consequences and none of them wanted to risk being hit or chased! 

The orphans headed east of the stockade soon after finishing the lucerne. Esampu settled to browse with Musiara while Malkia teamed up with Sapalan. At mud bath time it was very hot. Fifty wild bulls showed up to have water in the company of Challa and Tomboi. Kamok, Ambo and Nabulu boycotted the wallowing exercise while the others all went in for a swim, and then a soil dusting exercise soon after wallowing. 

In the afternoon the orphans settled to browse along the upper Kalovoto seasonal river. In the evening, Yatta and her herd came for water and Tusuja, having left with them yesterday evening, was still with them and chose to stay with them tonight as well.

23 September 2021

Mutara, Sities, Suguta, Turkwel, Kithaka, Garzi, Bomani, Lemoyian and Kalama were at the stockade compound in the morning. They joined the orphans to feed on lucerne. Mundusi tried to challenge Kalama, thinking that Kalama might play with him gently seeing as he is so much smaller. Mundusi got a rude shock, however, when Kalama handled him quite roughly. Mundusi left wondering if she didn’t like him very much! Sana Sana broke into a dance as she swayed from one foot to the other, waiting patiently but eagerly for the Keepers to provide the lucerne. When she saw the lucerne coming she stopped dancing and swiftly moved forward for her share. Turkwel walked down and took up position at one of the water troughs, as the wild bulls were drinking from the other one. 

Out in the bush, a fierce fight erupted between Pare and Sapalan. It’s not clear what the disagreement was all about. Suguta, who was close by and watching the two boys, stepped in to separated them. After some time, the two boys walked off in different directions. 

At mud bath time, Kauro the ‘stick carrier’, reported early with his customary stick in his mouth! As soon as he was offered his milk bottle, Kauro dropped the stick, and then picked it up afterwards when he was through with his milk feed. It was quite cool today, and only Rapa decided to wallow. Enkikwe played with Kauro while Dololo played with Musiara. 

24 September 2021

Mutara, Sities, Turkwel, Kainuk, Orwa, Bomani, Kilaguni, Kalama, Kasigau, Kithaka, Lemoyian, Kandecha and Garzi joined the orphans in the morning for lucerne. Shortly later, Naseku led the orphans down to have some water. A lone wild bull joined them briefly for water before disappearing again. 

On the way out to browse, Musiara and Maramoja stopped to have a discussion for few a minutes before resuming their journey. The ex-orphans took the Class Five members with them as they walked off in a different direction, including Barsilinga, Naseku, Roi, Oltaiyoni, Tusuja, Olsekki and Siangiki. The other dependent orphans headed north and had a quiet time browsing. 

When the orphans arrived at the mud bath for their noon milk bottle, thirty-five wild bulls were present. It was quite cool and out of all the orphans, only Karisa, Sana Sana and Enkikwe decided to get into the mud bath to wallow. Jotto tried to entice Dololo to a pushing game but Dololo didn't show any interest and walked away. After finishing his milk, Musiara didn't feel like moving away from the feeding area. The Keepers tried to tell him to go but complained bitterly. The complaints reached Malkia and Maramoja who came running to find out what the problem was. The two girls escorted Musiara to the water trough and later they headed for soil dusting. 

Yatta and her group showed up at the stockade compound in the evening and shortly before dark, the Class Five members reported back too with Orwa, Bomani, Turkwel, Suguta, Lemoyian, Kithaka and Garzi. 

25 September 2021

Zurura, Tomboi and Kanjoro were the guests of honour at the lucerne feeding time. As soon as they had finished the majority of the fresh lucerne laid out for them that morning, the orphans left for browsing. Oltaiyoni and Naseku walked with Ambo out to the bush, and then they walked off with him to an unknown location. Enkikwe walked next to Kamok as they discussed certain things only known to them. Malima ran into trouble with Sapalan when she tried to take some food from his mouth. Perhaps she was just trying to smell what he was eating, but Sapalan got mad with her and turned to teach her a lesson. Malima was very upset because she didn’t mean to make Sapalan angry, but she simply walked away to give Sapalan some peace. To comfort herself, Malima decided to have a lone game of rolling on the ground until Mapia came over to play with her and cheer her up. 

At mud bath time, twenty-eight wild bulls attended the mud bath. All the orphans boycotted wallowing and went for a dust bath instead. Kauro got angry with Mundusi after Mundusi accidentally smacked him with a stick he was playing with. Kauro started pushing Mundusi as punishment, and Mundusi tried to defend himself but eventually just decided to surrender just for the sake of peace. In the afternoon, the orphans settled to browse west of Ithumba Hill.

26 September 2021

Seven wild bulls were drinking at the stockade water troughs when the orphans were let out of their stockades this morning. As usual, the orphans settled for their lucerne supplement food. Shortly thereafter, the ex-orphans in Yatta’s herd arrived. They wanted lucerne, too, so the dependent orphans decided to start browsing in the bush instead. A buffalo joined the elephants to drink water and left immediately after getting enough. 

Ndiwa had a brief chat with Jotto as Kauro engaged Mundusi in a pushing game. Later, Sana Sana engaged Jotto into a pushing game too, but it didn't last for long as Jotto decided to surrender when the going got tough. Jotto later met with Mapia and had a friendly match that lasted for quite some time. 

When the orphans arrived at the mud bath for their milk feed, it was all quiet as evidently the wild bulls were late arriving for some water and the chance to wallow. The orphans moved freely about the water troughs and had some water before heading for a dust bath on the loose soil. Half an hour later, the wild bulls started arriving at mud bath. When they saw the wild bulls getting into the water for a swim, Pare, Sapalan, Mapia, Jotto, Ndiwa and Malima changed their mind as it suddenly looked very appealing – perhaps they just didn’t want to be the first ones in the water! The six orphans decided to leave the soil bathing exercise and get into the water for a cooling-off session. 

In the afternoon, the orphans browsed in the Kanziku area. Jotto joined Malima for the afternoon. In the evening, Suguta was at stockade compound and welcomed her favourite Dololo back. Shortly thereafter, Suguta left with the rest of Mutara’s herd who arrived to pick her up and they all walked off into the night. 

27 September 2021

Wild-living orphans Mutara, Sities, Suguta, Turkwel, Garzi, Kithaka, Lemoyian, Kalama and Kainuk reported early to the stockade compound before the orphans were let out. As the dependent orphans emerged from their stockades, Sities and Suguta were standing to full attention, waiting for their beloved Dololo. Dololo was happily received outside by the two girls. They waited patiently as he enjoyed a scratching exercise against the terrace wall, then escorted Dololo over to the lucerne feeding area. Later, the ex-orphans parted ways with the orphans and left with Class Five members. 

The orphans settled to browse north of the stockade compound. The sun was beating down and it was very hot, prompting the wild elephant bulls to report early to the mud bath before the orphans. When the orphans arrived and had their milk, they headed straight to join the wild bulls wallowing in the water. 

The afternoon quiet, as the orphans browsed and slowly made their way back to the stockades for the night. Yatta and her herd including Kinna, Kama, Mulika, Mwende, Mkuu, Yoyo, Yetu, Loijuk, Lili, Ithumbah, Makena, Ishanga, Naisula, Kibo and Kitirua showed up in the evening. The Class Five members showed up later, too. Tusuja refused to get into the stockades again and chose to leave with Yatta’s herd for the night. 

28 September 2021

Fifteen wild bulls were drinking water at the stockade water troughs early this morning. Two buffaloes also joined the wild bulls drinking water. The orphans settled for their lucerne and as soon as they had enough, Karisa and Malima led the way out to browse. 

Out in the bush, Malima had a light pushing game with Maramoja while Mapia played with Musiara. The sky was clear and this foretold a hot day a head. Close to mud bath time, the temperature soared, making the orphans opt to take a break from feeding and relax under an acacia tree. Despite it being so hot, some of the orphans still chose to skip the wallowing exercise after having their milk bottles. Only Mundusi, Mapia, Malima, Mteto, Musiara, Ndiwa, Enkikwe, Jotto and Esampu decided to swim. Fifty-eight wild bulls were also at the mud bath, enjoying the water. 

In the afternoon, the orphans browsed in the Kanziku area. Mapia challenged Mundusi, but at long last lost the game. In the evening as usual, Nabulu led the way back to the stockades for the night. 

29 September 2021

There was quite a lot of excitement this morning. A buffalo had jumped into one of the water troughs and, because the inside was so slippery, he couldn’t gain the foothold required to jump out. His friends were standing a short distance away, not knowing quite how to help. The orphans, trunks raised, went over to investigate the situation for themselves. When the orphans realised that they had no way of helping, either, they left the Keepers to deal with the situation. Murram gravel was filled down the side of the trough and the buffalo was able to jump out to freedom and rejoin his friends. 

Out in the bush, Mundusi played with Pare while Jotto played with Rapa. Ambo settled to browse with Kamok while Musiara teamed up with Maramoja. Malkia and Mteto took care of Nabulu. Dololo seemed to miss his big sisters in Mutara’s herd. They tried to spirit him away earlier in the morning, but the Keepers realized what was happening and wouldn’t allow it — Dololo is still far too young!

At mud bath time, Pare played with Karisa, a game that ended quite quickly when they saw Barsilinga approaching. Barsilinga and his group had not set foot in the mud bath for quite a while. Ex-orphan Challa was among the wild bulls that attended the mud bath today. In the afternoon, Tusuja — who has been away for a while with the ex-orphans — reported back to the stockade compound in the company of Bomani and Kanjoro. Tusuja decided to rejoin his Class Five members in their stockade for the night. 

30 September 2021

Yatta and her herd, as well as a wild herd, were at the stockade compound in the morning with one mission: sharing lucerne with the dependent orphans. Makena and Kamok walked over to the stockade of Class One and Two to see if they had any leftover branches inside. Dololo met them on their way in and informed them that it was a waste of time since there was nothing left worth having. The two girls didn't listen to Dololo however but decided to continue and check. 

Shortly thereafter, lucerne was provided to all the elephants. The orphans picked up their share and ran away from the crowd to avoid being pushed around by their seniors. Later, Mulika took her daughter Mwende and son Mkuu on a tour of the stockade compound, perhaps explaining that it used to be her home before she became independent — which happened about thirteen years ago now! The ex-orphans eventually headed south after they had their fill of lucerne and water, while the still-dependent orphans headed north.

Out in the bush, Ambo and Musiara took a break from feeding to have a strength testing exercise that ended in a draw. Mutara and her team reported early at the mud bath, with Mutara opting to go straight into the water to wallow. Suguta, Turkwel, Kainuk and Sities decided to wait for Dololo. As soon as Dololo arrived, the four girls guarded him as he drank his milk, then escorted him to have some water from the trough. It was quite windy, so only Sities and Kainuk joined Mutara in wallowing, along with fifteen wild bulls who were also present. Later, Zurura arrived to represent the grown-up ex-orphan boys. Nabulu, who is forging a friendship with Sana Sana, walked together with her to resume browsing. In the afternoon, it was all quiet as the orphans browsed calmly for the rest of the day.