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Please be sure to take the time to look through the daily entries which can be accessed by clicking the calendar days, as this is the section the photographs are placed, wonderful candid shots taken monthly from each of the Units, captured by the Keepers.

Print this Page - Sheldrick Wildlife TrustDiary Summaries Shown Below:  | Nursery Unit |  (Print This Page)

Monthly Summary for: Nursery Unit - 12  /  2009

The Nursery suffered yet another two tragedies during December, first the death of Bhaawa on the 13th, followed by the death of baby Shaba on the 21st, putting a dampener on what should have been the happy build-up to Christmas and leaving us with 20 babies in the Nairobi Nursery.

Bhaawa, was 5 months old when he was flown to the Nursery from Maralal in Northern Kenya on the 15th October, having been pulled from the mud of a drying waterhole by passing herdsmen. Although emaciated, and extremely traumatized, he appeared to thrive initially, but then appeared what the Keepers called “dull”, and thereafter simply wasted away, seemingly having lost the will to live ever since Kenia began rejecting him, not partial to having her ears suckled. However, he never lost his appetite and was taking 40 pints of milk per day up until the day before he died. Obviously he was not absorbing the food, though why has defeated all the Vets, since others have thrived on exactly the same formula. The autopsy revealed all major body organs healthy, but mucous and black spots in the small and large intestine, which would explain the syndrome of brown stools – something that Emily’s wild-born baby, Eve, also had when she was returned to the Voi Stockades by her elephant mother in a weakened condition due to the severe drought conditions prevailing throughout the country. Just prior to dying Bhaawa showed signs of the dreaded turning back foot syndrome, which has been a common denominator in all the calves we have lost from this mysterious “wasting” disease. We have since heard that baby camels in Northern Kenya seem to be suffering the same symptoms.

Baby Shaba, also simply wasted away and died in a state of pathetic emaciation despite feeding well right up until the day before his demise on the 21st December. He, too, had the “foot syndrome” having come into the Nursery on the 20th September as a seemingly healthy newborn calf, but never thrived.

Suguta, Ndii, and Olare are sharing the Matriarchal duties with Dida who due to her calm and kind nature does not mind having some weight lifted off her shoulders. Suguta keeps a watchful eye on the youngsters and puts any bullies back in line. She still has a soft spot for Kibo and often plays with him in the water. Little Mutara is also a wonderful, confident and playful little elephant; she often sticks up for Chaffa & Shukuru who get pushed around by Tano. Mutara has also developed a keen interest in the older elephant groups. She loves to play with the older orphans and challenges everyone to a game. The older orphan groups have now merged; both the Suguta and Dida groups remain together all day except for half an hour during the 11am-12noon visiting hour when they are separated for the milk feed and visit. The older orphans love to spend the day together and new friendships are forming. Turkwel is doing very well now and has put on weight. She is even beginning to become a rather jealous and naughty girl during milk feed and often pushes the other orphans as well as the keepers who she gets possessive of.

Another baby that has caused us extreme concern this month has been Chaffa, who suddenly collapsed with fluid coming from the trunk, indicating pneumonia. Immediately, she had a 5 day course of Enrofloxacine, (which saved little Kibo when he was in a similar condition) and she seems to have weathered the pneumonia, but she has the “foot syndrome”. However, the good news is that she seems to be putting on condition again, and is definitely becoming stronger, so we are hopeful that perhaps the “foot syndrome” is as a result of extreme emaciation and that Chaffa might come right. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, we have had several tests done on the urine and blood, which have revealed nothing untoward – no evidence of tick-borne disease in the red blood cells and no protein loss through the kidneys. Having been defeated by conventional medical analyses, we are now trying alternative healing – Body Talk, Homeopathy, and everything else we can think of to try and get to the bottom of what is ailing so many of our elephant babies during this terrible drought year. The drought has taken a very heavy toll of all wild animals, irrespective of species, and since Global Warming seems inevitable following the failure of the Climate Convention in Copenhagen, 2010 will probably be yet another challenging year for all others that have the misfortune of having to share this small planet with the selfishness and greed of the human species, who seem bent on their own ultimate self destruction as well.

The Rhinos:-
Shida has begun to occupy a territory in the Park and is fast becoming more independent and wild. He has not shown up for the mudbath for almost the entire month and on a couple of occasions he remained out in the Park for several nights. The Keepers did attempt to check up on him to make sure he was ok as it is not usual for him to not come back to the stockades. They soon realized that he is fine and simply growing up and leaving the nest!
Maxwell is growing and becoming a dominant male, despite not being able to see, he moves around the stockade with great confidence. He has taken to creating a dung pile near the main gate to his stockade which the Keepers have to clean daily. He seems very happy in his enclosure, often playing in the mud or in the rain.
Maalim too is growing quickly and getting assertive. This month he had an encounter with the elephant orphans which ended in Maalim getting intimidated and running away! He has been attending the mudbath after the public visiting time is over to avoid him knocking over guests. He actually enjoys having the mudbath to himself. He is becoming less interested in visitors, and in the evening no longer stops to greet the foster parents and instead trots past heading straight for his night quarters. 

Photos Taken During this Month for the Nursery Unit

Tano running upfront 12/1/2009

The orphans on the move 12/1/2009

Mutara biting Adan's hand 12/2/2009

Shukuru having milk 12/2/2009

Kimana (right) playing with Mawenzi 12/3/2009

Maalim follows the Keepers 12/3/2009

Turkwel playing 12/4/2009

Mutara with Adan 12/4/2009

Mutara and Tano 12/5/2009

Chaffa 12/6/2009

Orphans playing 12/6/2009

Nchan playing 12/7/2009

Suguta playing 12/7/2009

Kalama playing with the others 12/8/2009

Bhaawa next to Suguta 12/8/2009

Tumaren 12/9/2009

Kimana playing 12/9/2009

Nchan in the water 12/10/2009

Kibo and Abdi 12/10/2009

Chaffa with Mutara behind her 12/11/2009

The babies follow the Keepers in the forest 12/11/2009

Maalim resting 12/12/2009

Shukuru with a keeper 12/13/2009

Ndii on the left with Kalama 12/13/2009

Maxwell 12/14/2009

Chaimu playing with the others 12/15/2009

Kudup with Thomas 12/15/2009

Mawenzi with Fred 12/16/2009

Chaffa with Adan 12/16/2009

Kudup (right) with Turkwel nex to her 12/17/2009

Turkwel at the waters edge 12/17/2009

Kibo with others in the water 12/18/2009

Maxwell feeding 12/19/2009

Kilaguni having milk 12/20/2009

Melia feeding 12/20/2009

Shaba 12/21/2009

The new arrival on drip 12/22/2009

Dida feeding near a Keeper 12/22/2009

Mawenzi hugs Melia 12/23/2009

Mawenzi in the water playing with Ndii 12/23/2009

Olare playing 12/24/2009

Ndii (right) huddles into Kimana 12/24/2009

Melia in the mudbath.jpg 12/24/2009

Kilaguni hugs Kalama 12/25/2009

Chaimu playing with the others 12/25/2009

Suguta lying down with Melia next to her 12/25/2009

Chaimu (right) with Kimana 12/26/2009

Sabachi 12/26/2009

Sabachi playing in the water 12/26/2009

Suguta playing with Kibo 12/26/2009

Kalama play charging 12/27/2009

Kilaguni enjoying the mudbath 12/27/2009

Nchan splashing in the water 12/27/2009

Dida playing 12/28/2009

Dida soil bathing 12/28/2009

Tumaren having her milk 12/29/2009

Tumaren playing in the mudbath 12/29/2009

Kibo 12/29/2009

Kimana (left) with Chaimu 12/30/2009

Kimana playing with Mawenzi 12/30/2009

Olare having milk 12/30/2009

Tano playing with Galgalo in the forest 12/31/2009

Tano playing with Galgalo 12/31/2009
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