Ngasha Moves to Ithumba

Published on the 26th of August, 2023

Ngasha, Umani's famous (and occasionally infamous) rogue, has embarked on an exciting new chapter in his life. After several years in the Kibwezi Forest, he has spread his proverbial wings and moved to Tsavo East National Park.

Ngasha graduated to our Umani Springs Reintegration Unit in 2015. He initially thrived in his new home, but in recent years, he has become very ill-mannered and boisterous. Bulls of his age typically travel far and wide, but Ngasha remained rooted to Umani. He seemed singularly focused on establishing himself as the ‘top bull.’ This behaviour alienated his old friends, Jasiri and Faraja, and his disruptive presence unsettled the dependent orphans and Keepers.

After much consideration, we decided that Ngasha would benefit from a change of scenery. At Umani, he was a big fish in a small pond: The Kibwezi Forest is a relatively intimate environment. While it is home to a thriving population of wild elephants, it lacks the volume of wild visitors and ex-orphans that can be found in Tsavo.

There is no proverbial ‘bigger pond’ than Ithumba. The vast, northern sector of Tsavo East National Park boasts endless wilderness and massive elephant populations. Ithumba is particularly known for its bulls. If there was ever a place where Ngasha would learn how to spread his wings — and, of equal importance, learn some manners — it was Ithumba.

On 26th August 2023, we relocated our big boy to his new home. He was sedated, loaded aboard a flatbed truck, and driven through national park roads to Ithumba. The journey was quick and uneventful.

Ngasha's first steps in Ithumba, with Kauro coming to say hello

Shortly after 11 o’clock, the truck arrived at the Ithumba stockades. A whole group of ex-orphans happened to be visiting, including a familiar face from Ngasha’s Nursery days: Kauro, who had a year of overlap with Ngasha in Nairobi. Given how Kauro made a point to stay behind and greet the newcomer, we can be sure that they remembered each other. The incredible communication powers of elephants strike again.

Kauro escorted Ngasha over to his friend Rapa. The three bulls walked over to the larger group of ex-orphans, who were waiting a short distance away. Together, they all disappeared into the wilderness.

We haven’t had a confirmed Ngasha sighting since. We feel certain that he is exploring his new home, learning the lay of the land, and acquainting himself with friends old and new. It's a very busy time around Ithumba — some nights, over 100 ex-orphans and wild elephants converge outside the stockades — so it’s also entirely possible that he has already visited us, unnoticed.

It was a bittersweet moment for our Umani family, as they said farewell to one of their own, but we know this move was best for everyone.The Umani orphans can rest easy, without their domineering friend’s daily dramas. Ngasha, meanwhile, will benefit from the mentorship of older bulls, who will teach him manners and encourage him to embrace a fully wild life.

Share the article