Are walkers who push babies around safely

Umani Springs June 2016

Wednesday June 1, 2016
Murera and Sonje were very busy this morning. As soon as the gates had been opened by the keepers, they ran as if it was a competition to see who could take care of which babies Alamaya and Mwashoti. Murera went straight to Mwashoti's enclosure and waited at the gate for him to come out. Sonje heard Alamaya scolding and rumbling and went straight to him to see what was wrong. She couldn't find any problems, but wanted Alamaya to herself. Ziwa also waited to see if Sonje would come over and greet him, but they only met at the exit gate when they went out. Ziwa was quite jealous of Alamaya and Mwashoti, who walked very close to the lead cows, so that there was no more space next to his favorite mom.
In the forest, Ziwa, Quanza and Lima Lima walked away from their lead cows, who were very concerned about the babies. When the time came for the mud bath, all the babies ran to their milk bottles. The newcomers Mwashoti and Alamaya also grabbed their bottles, and Mwashoti held his bottle all by himself, as he had seen Zongoloni and Jasiri do.

Faraja and Jasiri competing against each other

Thursday June 2, 2016
The babies looked very happy this morning as they started their day's work. Lima Lima was the first to look at young Alamaya; she went to him before he could meet the other orphans, for example her roommate Quanza. She stood at his gate and waited for him to come out, because Mwashoti had already been seized by Sonje and Murera. Mwashoti was immediately taken to the hearts of the two lead cows because they knew that he, like them, had a handicap on one leg. It is very interesting to see that they act like that and know that he needs special care in his first few months. They leave Lima Lima to Alamaya because they know that he is in good hands with her and that he needs less care. Sonje also realizes that Ziwa is no longer a little boy and that it is therefore time to take care of the smaller babies. Ziwa can now slowly assert herself in the scuffles with the big boys, which was not the case in the past. Mwashoti and Alamaya, on the other hand, can easily be pushed around by the older boys.
Zongoloni was a bit rude to Ziwa today and pushed him away so that he would leave her alone. Murera led the hikes today, together with Sonje and her little Mwashoti. They showed him the area and the best places to walk to avoid the sharp-edged lava rocks that the new babies from Nairobi sometimes hurt themselves on. In the evening Mwashoti was very thirsty and wanted to drink a lot of water; Murera took him to the watering hole, but Mwashoti first had to drink his milk before he drank water.

Alamaya leads everyone to the dust bath

Friday 3rd June 2016
Alamaya got very jealous today when he saw Mwashoti playing Lima with Lima; he immediately pushed him away from his new adoptive mom. He wanted to push Mwashoti to the ground, but the latter resisted and was difficult to push away. The keepers came quickly to save Mwashoti from the wild Alamaya. Murera and Sonje also came and supported the keeper because they were worried about Mwashoti's leg. The keepers scolded Alamaya for stopping pushing Mwashoti and he ran away when he saw her pointing a finger at him.
The babies had a long day ahead of them, and they enjoyed the many soft twigs they found in the bushes. They ran up the hills, where the best plants to eat can often be found. Our tail plucking Jasiri tried today to catch Alamaya's little tail stub. Alamayas didn't like anyone grabbing his tail. Lima Lima came to his aid because she knew that Jasiri could hurt him. Alamaya's tail and genitals had been eaten by hyenas when he was a baby. After the milk-feeding, Alamaya was very hot and he went to the watering hole to splash cold water on himself. It is now getting warmer and drier every day.
The newcomers Alamaya and Mwashoti are now the station's greediest elephants. They even overshadow Lima Lima and are delighted every time the milk feeding finally begins.

Mwashoti, next to his adoptive mother Murera, feels very tired

Saturday 4th June 2016
Lima Lima annoyed their keepers this morning. She wanted copra before leaving, but the keepers didn't want to give her any of it in the morning. Instead she got some alfalfa hay, but Lima Lima was not interested in that. She stood demanding at the pantry door, pushing it to get to the pellets herself, and didn't go away because she could smell the goodies in it. The keepers led the orphans out, and Lima Lima was not at all happy leaving without getting copra. She tumbled to Alamaya that he should follow her, and then, after she had not received her favorite food, quickly used another route with him without following the keepers. They went looking for delicious fresh green in the forest.
The orphans went all the way to the Umani Hills. With his bad leg, Mwashoti had to stay with Murera, who has the same problem and is also not very good at mountaineering. They grazed peacefully together further down the slopes. Although they cannot climb the steep parts, they can still slowly get up in a zigzag.
Sonje later took the orphans to the mud hole, where they got their milk bottles. She and Quanza went to the water to drink, where two crocodiles were sunbathing. Mwashoti and Alamaya were quite nervous about the crocodiles they had never seen before. At the watering hole, the babies only splashed their bellies with water before they set off again. A baby crocodile appeared briefly from the water and was unlucky that Lima Lima saw it. She jumped back into the water to look for the crocodile that had shown its head there.

Mwashoti feeds itself

Sunday 5th June 2016
The babies came running out like crazy today as they started their day. Her first stop was at the alfalfa hay corner to see if there was anything else there. Zongoloni trumpeted loudly in the air, and Ngasha followed; his trumpeting was not that loud, but very deep. No sooner had Zongoloni blurted out than all the other orphans followed her and ran around wildly in the bushes. It was an exhausting morning for the trees!
The big wild bull that the Keepers called Osama came out of the forest to join the other orphans who were not trampling the trees like mad. But Murera and Sonje didn't want him anywhere and urged them to go somewhere where they could graze without wild bulls. The keepers kept calling the wild orphans to calm them down and also to keep them away from Osama.
When the babies ran to the Chyulu Hills, the wild bull appeared to have the same goal, but later changed direction. It was very difficult for Mwashoti and Alamaya to hike to the Chyulu Hills because of the sharp-edged lava stones. Mwashoti was a little slower than Alamaya. Murera, however, patiently pushed him forward until they reached the Chyulu Hills and could graze there.

Happy babies in the forest

Monday June 6, 2016
The keepers are very happy that Lima Lima has taken on Alamaya after Murera and Sonje take such good care of Mwashoti. Jasiri tried again to catch Alamaya's cock and you can hardly tell who he is reaching for that short stub. He can't hold back on his friends' tails except when it comes to zongolonis. Zongoloni knows what she wants and does not understand jokes, so that no one attacks her. Sonje and Murera can take care of Mwashoti very well because they see that he - like them - has a handicap on his leg. But they leave Lima Lima to Alamaya because it would probably be difficult for them to control; it runs as fast as Lima Lima and is just as greedy! Lima Lima relaxed a bit in the bushes today and watched the other orphans with Alamaya. Quanza approached him and wanted to touch his tail, but not to pull on it; she just wanted to touch it and understand why it is so short. Still, Alamaya didn't like the fact that his short cock was being examined!
The long hike went on, and all the orphans grazed their way to the foot of the Kenze. On the way there, a couple of antelopes appeared out of nowhere and crossed the path of the orphans. They hadn't seen some of the babies and because they thought they were buffalo they ran away, followed closely by their keepers. Mwashoti and Alamaya were the first to flee. While they are, of course, the babies the Keepers are most concerned about, they were the quickest when it came to running away!

Murera goes on a journey with the babies

Tuesday 7th June 2016
Alamaya saw a couple of the cheeky boys approaching and didn't trust the whole thing. He rumbled to Sonje that she should come over to him quickly, since Murera was further away. Sonje just had a few twigs in her mouth that she dropped to rush over to him and see what was going on. Mwashoti was with Murera. When Lima heard the rumble, Lima went to Alamaya to see what he was complaining about. Ziwa was on the other side, grazing peacefully, glad not to have anything to do with the scuffles!
The big boys of the Umani herd, Jasiri, Faraja and Ngasha, had to measure their strength again in the usual scuffles. Jasiri won today by knocking the other two to the ground. Quanza even had to come over and help them both. When they were done with their wrestling matches, Zongoloni pushed them far away so that they would finally start grazing instead of just playing over and over again. Murera decided to make an example too, and when the boys saw her approach, they ran away to avoid any punishment. Ngasha and his friends knew that Murera's large tusks can be painful.

Jasiri wrestling with Faraja

Wednesday June 8, 2016
The two lead cows played bodyguards for the newbies by preventing the cheeky boys from getting too close and disturbing them. Murera, Sonje and Lima Lima were very concerned about the little babies with the older boys and watched their every step while they grazed. Zongoloni and Faraja did not want to follow them and instead went in a different direction, in which wild elephants had previously been traveling. They sniffed their dung and tasted it to see what those elephants had been eating.
They later went to the spring to drink fresh water. Mwashoti became frightened when some crocodiles jumped back into the water after sunbathing. He screamed at the sound of the splash, and Murera came running but couldn't see what the problem was. Mwashoti and his friend Alamaya are still new to Umani and do not yet know everything there is to see and hear in their new surroundings.
After drinking their milk at lunch time, Alamaya showed the other babies how well he can swim. He went straight to the watering hole and took a bath. He was soon followed by Mwashoti, who was splashing his bum wildly. Then he lay down and completely submerged in the muddy water. Murera and Sonje also got ready to join their pupils, because it suddenly got quite hot. Alamaya and his friend Mwashoti looked like the happiest babies we ever had in Umani! After wallowing, Mwashoti walked away with Zongoloni, who accompanied him out of the watering hole. But Sonje quickly came to take over her babies from Zongoloni, and they followed her back into the forest.

The orphans come out of the enclosures in the morning

Thursday June 9, 2016
The day started very early in the morning for the babies, and older and younger orphans were delighted when they came out of their enclosures. Faraja took the lead and showed everyone where the wheelbarrow that the keepers used to transport the alfalfa hay was being pushed. He used his long trunk to sniff it. A few antelopes had appeared, nibbling on the leftovers from the previous day, and when they heard the elephants come running with a lot of noise and noise, they ran away. Alamaya and Mwashoti looked around to make sure they had really left the alfalfa hay corner. Lima Lima came by looking for her favorite baby and was also on the lookout for the antelopes, but they were already gone. The keepers are always friendly to the antelopes and try not to scare them off, but the orphans wanted their valuable alfalfa hay for themselves.
Faraja and Ngasha then played hide and seek with the keepers. The two boys didn't want to come into the forest at first, but later they followed slowly and followed where the orphans grazed for the rest of the day. A couple of hornbills screamed down from the trees and then flew to Ziwa and Faraja, who were just having a showdown. When that happened, Faraja ran away because he didn't know what had flown over his head.

Lima Lima accompanies Alamaya to graze

Friday 10th June 2016
The big girls asked for bits of copra today. The keepers gave them alfalfa hay as usual, but that wasn't enough for them. Lima Lima went to the pantry and even tried to push the door open because she could smell the goodies inside. Alamaya was waiting with her at the door too. We usually don't give them copra in the morning because they get these treats when they return home in the evening. But today it was different, because they resisted leaving before they had any - even the young Mwashoti rebelled!
Alamaya followed Lima everywhere today. After eating copra, Alamaya was thirsty, and Lima Lima took him to the springs where he could drink water. During the midday mud bath, the orphans were surprised and happy that Mama Daphne had come to visit. Murera and Sonje were accompanied by Lima Lima to the car in which Daphne was sitting. She was surprised how big Murera, Sonje and Lima Lima had become. Her daughter Jill, who accompanied them, was also delighted to see them happy, healthy, and large elephants - very different from the vulnerable little babies they were when they first arrived in Nairobi. Lima Lima came to Daphne with her boyfriend Alamaya to say "Jambo" to her. She raised her trunk and stuck it in the window to touch and sniff Daphne. The orphans were thrilled when Daphne handed them acacia fruits from the car window and didn't want to leave afterwards. The keepers were able to convince them to go back into the forest, where they grazed for the rest of the day. They would meet Daphne again that evening, when she returned from the bush. Mwashoti made Daphne very happy when she saw him swimming in the water and splashing water with his leg, which was once so injured. You wouldn't have guessed that something was wrong with his leg!

The orphans greet Daphne

Saturday June 11, 2016
When the orphans left the enclosure today, baby baboons jumped in. Mwashoti and Alamaya chased the baboons and tried to drive them away. Alamaya then went to his adoptive mom Lima Lima, and cute trumpets could be heard from his little trunk. Murera and Sonje hurried to their adopted child Mwashoti, while the other orphans had already set off for the Chyulu hills.
When they got to the water sources, they found dung from wild elephants scattered all over the area. It was fresh and the wild elephants couldn't be far. The young bulls ate from it to learn which forage is most suitable in the forest. The orphans always know exactly when it is time to feed the milk, and when the time comes they went to the feeding station and the mud hole. Lima Lima and Alamaya took the babies to the mud bath, and the young bulls enjoyed being the center of their new-found mothers' attention.
On the way back to the stables in the evening, Murera carefully held Mwashoti's tail and slowly walked after him after a long day in the woods. When they got their evening milk bottles, Mwashoti picked up his alone from the floor, as he did not want to wait for the keeper. They have already started to copy Zongoloni, who can do this very elegantly, and Alamaya can do it even better!

Murera and Sonje accompany Mwashoti to graze

Sunday June 12, 2016
Today Zongoloni went to great lengths to lead the orphans into the bush. She saw that Lima Lima was busy with Alamaya and decided to take the lead herself. When the other orphans saw Zongoloni leaving in one direction, they followed her. Later Sonje and Quanza left, so that in the end only Ngasha Zongoloni followed. Ngasha saw that Ziwa wanted to wait for Sonje, but he pushed him forward because Ziwa is no longer a baby and no longer has to wait for Sonje.
There was a real race for milk feeding. The greediest babies, Lima Lima, Mwashoti, Alamaya, and Zongoloni, ran as fast as they could to reach their bottles.Lima Lima was the first, followed by Mwashoti and Alamaya. Zongoloni watched the young cops Mwashoti and Alamaya lift their bottle off the floor alone, like experts. Quanza had stayed on the mountain and when she realized she was up there alone and all the other orphans had already left for the feeding station, she cried out loudly. Her friends answered from the mud hole, knowing that it was Quanza who was screaming like this. She then came running alone to the watering hole, where her orphan colleagues were already bathing, and joined them after she had drained her milk.

Lima Lima grazes in the Chyulu Hills

Monday June 13, 2016
The land around the Chyulu Mountains is slowly becoming drier as the dry season begins. This means that the wild elephants, like other wildlife, are grazing more and more in the Umani Springs area. Wild elephant company is good for orphans; only Murera doesn't like this because she is afraid of losing her protégés to a wild herd of elephants. The springs are now one of the few permanent sources of water for the animals in the area. There is still enough vegetation in the Kibwezi Forest for the orphans so that they don't have to walk as far as the wild elephants and animals.
While they were grazing on the hills, Murera and Sonje decided to bring the babies further down so that they don't have to rush down the mountain again when it comes to milk feeding. Mwashoti wanted to go up front, followed by Lima Lima, who made sure her boyfriend Alamaya was right next to her and well protected from the rowdies. Mwashoti ran so fast and purposefully with his broken leg that we could hardly believe our eyes.
As the day wore on, it got very hot, so the babies could no longer graze outside, but instead took shelter in the shade of the forest. Later they went to wallow in the watering hole, where they cooled off in the mud. Alamaya and his friend Mwashoti were the stars of bathing, and Faraja scratched his itchy bum on a rock. The orphans later went back to the stables for delicious milk and copra before heading to their enclosures for the night.

Mwashoti and Alamaya with Murera and Sonje

Tuesday June 14, 2016
The orphans looked very happy this morning and came out of the enclosure full of motivation for the long day. Last night many wild elephants had come to the stables as if to understand who the orphans are and what they are doing there in their enclosures. Sonje, Lima Lima, Murera and Zongoloni caused quite a stir because they did everything they could to get out of their enclosures. They pushed and pulled the gates and Lima Lima tried to climb the barrier to get to Alamaya. Fearing that the wild elephants might run away with their little friends Mwashoti and Alamaya, they tried to protect them from the wild elephants. They made a racket until the keepers came to them to calm them down.
In the morning when the orphans set out for the forest, a couple of cranes landed near Zongoloni. She then raced back and forth, trampling down bushes and trees around her. Mwashoti raised his little trunk in the air to smell the cranes. Murera took the babies to the watering hole so that they could drink water there, while Ngasha, Lima Lima, Ziwa and the other boys went into the bush.

Quanza leads the orphans out

Wednesday June 15, 2016
A couple of wild elephants came to the stables early in the morning to watch their orphan friends come out of the enclosures. They had a little baby with them who was very curious when a keeper pushed the wheelbarrow with alfalfa hay past him. The baby tried to chase the keeper away and he had to abandon the wheelbarrow to avoid the mini elephant. After that there was a bit of confusion, because the babies and the keepers didn't really know where to go to the alfalfa hay feeding station in the middle of the wild elephants, and their wild friends ran back into the forest with loud trumpets. Alamaya looked around in the bushes for the little baby friend, but he was already gone. Lima Lima came up and stopped him from following his wild fellows into the forest. Instead, she took him to the scratching rock, so he quietly scratched his stomach and his short tail. Quanza later led some of the orphans to wallow and drink at the watering hole.

Mwashoti goes to the water hole with Sonje

Thursday June 16, 2016
Sonje took the lead today, while Murera stayed with Mwashoti so that he would not be pushed around by the rough boys. They don't care about his broken leg and whether he might hurt himself while shuffling. The orphans went into the forest and looked for plants to eat and tasty branches. They met a couple of buffalo and cliff jumpers running around on the rocks and fled when they heard the keepers speak. Lima Lima warned the keepers of the presence of the buffalo, and they thanked her for being such an attentive baby.
The orphans did not go into the water today. When it was time for milk feeding, only Lima seemed to have thought of it! When the keepers took them all to the feeding station, Alamaya and Mwashoti preceded all of the older elephants. Once there, they picked up their bottles from the floor alone, as they learned from Jasiri and Zongoloni. After that, the orphans only took a dust bath.

Jasiri and Faraja have fun at the dried up mud hole

Friday 17th June 2016
When Alamaya and Mwashoti came out of their enclosures in the morning, Alamaya was greeted by his friend Lima Lima and Mwashoti by the two lead cows Murera and Sonje. Mwashoti complained loudly, so some of the orphans came back to see what was going on. The goalkeepers were also surprised and went to him in case he had any problems with the scuffling cops. But they found out that it wasn't a complaint at all, he was just happy to see Murera and Sonje! Ngasha and Zongoloni went to Ziwa to keep him company.
Quanza perked her big ears today and warned babies to stay vigilant after hearing trees fall. She guessed it might have been buffalo or wild elephant. But there was nothing to be seen, and so they wandered on through the forest.
When the babies came to the watering hole for milk-feeding and wallowing, Alamaya went into the water and rolled around in it profusely. He rolled over on his back to cover himself with mud all over and to cool off for the rest of the day. When he finished and came out, Sonje went to him so that the cheeky boys couldn't follow him and push him around.

Alamaya enjoys a nice mud bath

Saturday June 18, 2016
The orphans hiked to the Chyulu Mountains today and met some wild elephants on their way to the Umani springs. Lima Lima took the lead on the hike to the hills. They were looking for soft food for the younger babies who are not yet able to chew strong branches. Zongoloni, Ngasha and Ziwa can hike long distances very well. They often run so fast that it is difficult for the little ones as well as Murera and Sonje to follow them. These four therefore run together at the very back. Lima Lima also likes to run fast, but when she thinks about the keeper, her baby Alamaya and the milk bottles, she stops and waits for them to catch up with her.
The weather was cold today, so the orphans avoided the mud bath. Instead, they just dusted their heads with dry earth. The younger orphans Alamaya, Mwashoti and Ziwa briefly splashed water on each other, but quickly left the watering hole when they saw their friends go back into the forest. Mwashoti went back to Sonje, who was lying on the floor, waiting for the babies to come back and climb around on her back. Quanza was also very playful today and fought with Ngasha. But he knew that he shouldn't overdo it, because Quanza doesn't understand jokes and doesn't accept anything stupid. Quanza is resolute and can be very strict with the naughty boys; she has them well under control.

The orphans graze with their lead cows

Sunday 19th June 2016
In the morning, loudly screaming birds sat in the trees and disturbed the orphans at the alfalfa hay breakfast. Zongoloni, Jasiri and Ngasha finally got their trunks full and ran away from the noisy birds. Only Murera and Sonje stayed to take care of Mwashoti and Alamaya.
In the mud bath, all babies enjoyed a great bath, and two antelopes soaked in water. The elephants rolled and played around in the muddy water. The antelopes spent a little time with the orphans, and everyone was very friendly with one another.

Alamaya splashes water on itself

Monday June 20, 2016
All the babies were very playful this morning, happy about the new day and went into the woods to look for fresh branches. Zongoloni and Ngasha led some of the orphans, and Lima Lima pushed her friend Alamaya in front of her so that she could keep an eye on him. Around 11 a.m. Mwashoti was struggling to pick soft leaves from an acacia tree when he was suddenly startled by some bushbucks and a couple of guinea fowl flying overhead. He fled back to the rest of the herd, and Sonje and Murera came running to him and saw him out of breath. They patted him extensively with their trunks to calm him down and reassure him that everything was fine.
When the babies got to the mud hole it was very cold so no one wanted to go into the water. Instead, they all went to the other large watering hole, which has lots of delicious water lilies to eat. Nobody rolled and they just drank water before following their keeper back into the forest and grazing on there. After a while they passed a couple of wild elephants who were interested in the orphans. They didn't really get any closer after hearing the keepers talking behind the orphans.

The orphans graze through water lilies

Tuesday June 21, 2016
The orphans love their copra bits in the evening, but they also seem to get quite thirsty from it. When they came out, Ngasha took his friends to drink straight to the water trough. The orphans then followed Lima Lima and Alamaya to the Umani Hills. Alamaya stopped on the way when he found some dust and threw some on his head. The other orphans were also very busy; the older boys Jasiri, Ngasha and Faraja wrestled, wrapped their trunks around their trunks and tried to impress each other.
While feeding milk near Umani Lodge, Zongoloni and Quanza could be seen racing to the bottle. Zongoloni seemed faster than Quanza, and she picked up her bottle from the floor without waiting for a keeper. Quanza is always waiting for a keeper to offer her the bottle. The larger elephants gathered around Mwashoti and Alamaya in the dust bath to protect them from the cheeky boys Faraja, Jasiri and Ngasha, whom they had already targeted. As the babies got ready to go home, Alamaya was thirsty again. He went to the watering hole and drank like a cow out of the water, with his mouth instead of his trunk, as elephants actually do.

Jasiri wrestles with Ngasha

Wednesday June 22, 2016
When the orphans had finished their alfalfa hay breakfast early in the morning, they crossed the path to the Umani Hills to look for something to eat. Ziwa looked in a good mood and was full of energy - probably the first time since the new babies arrived two weeks ago. Lima Lima got very jealous when Zongoloni came over and tried to take her little Alamaya with her. Zongoloni only wanted to graze with him, but Lima Lima thought she wanted to kidnap her baby. So she pushed Zongoloni away, but that was more difficult than she would have thought. Eventually, however, Zongoloni accepted that Lima Lima did not want her near Alamaya and walked away. Lima Lima is a loyal mother to Alamaya, just as Sonje and Murera are to Mwashoti. Murera and Sonje took their little boy between them so that no one could come and kidnap him.
Quanza followed Lima Lima up the Umani Hills, and all the orphans followed them. Some baboons came running and made a lot of noise; they screamed and their babies cried as if they were in danger. The whole herd dispersed as they all fled from the screaming monkeys. Quanza turned and ran back to the Keepers, bringing all the babies back together. Despite his bad legs, Mwashoti could hardly be distinguished from the other orphans because he ran down the hill as fast as the others. It's nice to see he's doing so well.

Sonje pats Mwashoti after he rolled over to her

Thursday June 23, 2016
Mwashoti used all his skills today to get to the soft grass; he used his little trunk to pluck the sturdier grass and put it in his mouth, along with a few twigs. Murera and Sonje heard him scream loudly and went over to see what was going on. Alamaya also left Lima to see why Mwashoti was screaming like that. Ziwa had tried to push him and pull his tail, which he didn't like. Murera and Sonje pushed Ziwa away from him. Zongoloni also got into trouble with Murera because she was grazing near Mwashoti, which Murera didn't like at all.
While bathing in the mud, Quanza was stabbed in the tail by a tsetse fly. She scratched a rock so it wouldn't itch so badly. She decided not to bathe today and left the watering hole to keep scratching and to keep the flies off her neck. Then, for some reason, all the orphans ran frantically into the forest, trampling bushes and stomping around. Then wild elephants appeared and hunted around with the orphans. The keepers kept very quiet and watched how the orphans reacted to the wild elephants. As usual, Murera kept her herd from going with the wild elephants. After he was not allowed to go with the wild herd, Faraja came to one of the keepers and suckled like an orphanage baby on his fingers. Sonje lay down on the floor so that the younger orphans could play with her and climb onto her back. So she wanted to lure them away from the wild herd! After their conspecifics left, all orphans gathered and spent the rest of the day looking for food again.

Faraja hangs out with the keepers

Friday June 24, 2016
Early in the morning, before the orphans had come out of their enclosures, the bushbuck appeared to drink from the waterer and to eat any leftover alfalfa hay. When Zongoloni came out, the first thing she went to Alamaya was to pat his trunk and convince him to go into the forest with her. Alamaya agreed and followed her, but also looked around to Lima Lima. Ziwa joined the two while grazing. He was friendly today and didn't cause Alamaya any trouble. He was actually very nice to him, and Alamaya really enjoyed grazing in the forest with Ziwa. After lunch, all orphans went to the dust bath. Alamaya sat on the floor and threw dust on his head with his little trunk.

A thirsty bushbuck at the drinking point

Saturday 25th June 2016
The day started well and all the babies were in a good mood and looking forward to a day in the woods. Lima Lima took her baby with her and ran with him to the water springs. Alamaya sniffed the dung of the wild elephants that had been there last night with his trunk. Lima Lima waited patiently, her trunk resting on Alamaya's back. Mwashoti also looked at what Alamaya was doing so that he could imitate him.
In the midday mud bath, the young bulls were again the bathing stars. The big boys like Ngasha and his friends are more shy of water. Alamaya stuck his bum deep in the mud and shuffled it up and down. From outside we couldn't see exactly what he was doing, only that his head was shaking back and forth as if he was dancing!

Lima Lima next to Alamaya on guard

Sunday June 26, 2016
Alamaya and Mwashoti examined the alfalfa hay very carefully today to see if there was any tasty copra hidden in it. Ngasha and Ziwa followed suit because they too were hoping to find some of the goodies that the keepers sometimes give the little ones. They did not succeed, but instead found some very sweet twigs and some acacia fruit that had been thrown from the baboons. While Ziwa was eating, a couple of buffalos appeared near him, so that he was frightened and sought help from the keepers.
In the afternoon it got very hot, so all the orphans went to the watering hole to cool off. Within a few minutes, all the elephants were soaking wet, and some dried themselves off in the grass. Quanza sat on the grass with his bum to dry, and Sonje and Murera, who was also after games, allowed the orphans to climb around on them. After a while Murera got up again and the little orphans wondered why she just went away. Because of her bad legs, however, she cannot play for so long, and so many orphans cannot climb around on her at once.

Ziwa picks branches to eat

Monday June 27, 2016
Lima Lima got support from Murera and Sonje today when she led the whole herd into the forest that morning.The orphans didn't want to go very far today and just grazed on the Umani hills, not far from the path to the Kenze. At lunchtime they all seemed content with grazing and didn't want to go to the mud bath at all. Where they were they had found very varied food. Since it was quite cool, they did not want to bathe anyway, so the keepers brought the milk to them in the vehicle to the hills where they were grazing.

Lima Lima leads the orphans in the morning

Tuesday June 28, 2016
Last night there was a meeting of wild elephants at the water trough in the stables. They came in large numbers and had small babies with them. The keepers feared that they might trample down the fence and come onto the site. But they were just thirsty and looked for water to quench their thirst. They emptied the potions completely, so the Keeper had to get them more water. The orphans did not rest and pushed against their gates because they wanted to go out to their fellows. Lima Lima and Quanza pushed against a wall of their enclosure and actually managed to knock over a post and get out! When the keepers talked to them, however, they calmed down again, and the wild elephants also set off when they noticed all the excitement.
When the orphans came out that morning, they went straight to the watering hole and sniffed what their wild friends had done there that night. Ziwa and Jasiri tried to follow in their footsteps, while the other orphans, including Mwashoti and Alamaya, drank water. The little boys stretched out and fought for their place at the drinking place, even with the older cops. After drinking water, Lima brought Quanza, Zongoloni, and Ngasha out into the forest. Jasiri wanted to go on her own and not follow the cows; Jasiri and Faraja consider themselves big enough that they can take care of themselves without having to rely on the lead cows.

Jasiri and Faraja wrestling

Wednesday June 29, 2016
The keepers watched the orphans early in the morning as they had alfalfa hay for breakfast before they left. The keepers are very happy with Murera; their tusks grow big and strong. The tusks are important to her because they allow her to peel the bark from the branches and also punish the cheeky behavior of her herd members! When the orphans left the stables, some Ziwa and Ngasha followed, while Sonje set off with the young Mwashoti. Quanza was walking in her own direction and when she got to the forest she was suddenly very tired. She stood in the shade and rested while the other orphans grazed nearby. Alamaya walked over to her, tapped her tail and then ran back to Lima Lima!

The keepers have fun with the orphans

Thursday June 30, 2016
Mwashoti grabbed one of Sonje's big ears this morning, put it in her mouth, and suckled on it like little babies do. Later in the mud bath, a swarm of bees flew over the herd as the keepers watched the elephants playing and dusting. Some of the babies became frightened. Ngasha and Ziwa ran away and looked for protection at the waterhole, knowing full well that the bees could not reach them in the water.

Ngasha dusts her back

(translated from the English original)

Categories Keeper's Diary, Umani Springs, Orphan Eli News