The loss of Mawenzi on the 8th has been a particularly painful loss for us all, for she had been with us almost 2 years, and was dearly loved by all, both four footed and two. For a long time Mawenzi has been ailing from a condition that refused to respond to every treatment we and the Vets could suggest. At least now she is out of pain, and had a peaceful ending surrounded by compassion, love and care, which would not have been the case had she been still a wild elephant calf. Rest in peace, Mawenzi. You are sorely missed.
There were two Rescue alerts this month, sadly neither with a happy ending. The first was an orphan of about 2 years old, rescued on Sagalla Ranch abutting Tsavo East on the 6th, who was extremely aggressive upon arrival in the Nursery, but took milk from a bucket. However, like so many orphans of that age, he was too far gone to retrieve and died the next night in spite of being put on life support when he collapsed. The next alert came from Tassia Lodge in Laikipia, but that orphan died in situ as the Rescue plane was leaving to retrieve it, so the rescue had to be aborted.
The good news is that Murka’s body wounds have all healed wonderfully well, and the spear hole in her head is also closing and showing positive signs of healing, exuding just a little pus occasionally. In order for the head wound to be cleaned, Murka is given a small dose of Stressnil to avoid subjecting her to additional trauma. However, she seems to now understand that the keepers are friends, rather than foe, and is gradually turning into a loving and gentle little elephant. Of concern is the fact that she still cannot use the trunk to take up water and has to be bottle fed water. We hope that this will resolve itself once the hole has sealed completely.
She is now out and about with the other Nursery elephants, and even attends the mudbath along with all the others, having initially been kept away in case the sight of all the visitors un-phased her. However, when she was brought in with the others, she ignored the human onlookers and instead thoroughly enjoyed a good wallow watched over by Mutara, who is extremely caring of her, and has the makings of a wonderful Matriarch. Murka spends a lot of time with Makireti, the other newcomer in the Nursery and she adores the babies, preferring to spend time in amongst them rather than join the Senior Group led by Suguta and Olare. Only Melia is a bit pushy towards both Murka and Makireti. All the others are extremely caring of both newcomers, seeming to understand that they are still grieving the loss of their elephant family and in need of comfort.
Kandecha has settled in very well, and makes a good sparring partner for feisty little Chemi Chemi as well as occasionally taking on Kibo. To begin with Kandecha found pushy little Chemi Chemi something of a trial, but now that he has settle in, he gives Chemi Chemi as good as he gets!
Shukuru enjoys racing ahead of all the other orphans at each milk feed, always the first there and intolerant of any would-be competitors for her share. Sities is a very playful baby, who is cosetted by all the others, but who has chosen Suguta as her favourite Matriarch, much to the disappointment of Olare. Sities reminds us all of Wendi, because she enjoys entertaining the mudbath visitors, running up and down the cordon, and allowing them to touch her in passing. She also enjoys scaring the visiting African school kids most of whom have never set eyes on an elephant before! She runs towards them which leaves them screaming and retreating, something Sities thoroughly enjoys because it makes her feel powerful and important! The Keepers liken her to mischievous Lempaute. Within the Baby Group, Tano is Sities best friend.
Kalama, who is a very gentle and caring elephant, has an appealing evening trick for all the Foster-Parent visitors. She stands with her front legs on the stable door looking out to attract the visitors, allowing them to fondle and talk to her, something that captures all hearts!
Turkwell and Tumaren are inseparable friends, next door to one another in adjoining stables during the night. Both are now out-growing their night space, so intersections have had to be removed to allow them more. In all, it has been a busy month at the Nursery, Daphne and Angela having been absent for most of the month, down in Tsavo.
The Rhinos:- Of very grave concern is Maalim, who developed a respiratory problem on the 16th, which is still with him after a 7 day course of injectible Nuroclav anti-biotic. He is now on a course of Enrofloxacine and another drug to try and clear his bronchials, but he still has laboured breathing, and refusing to browse, but taking his milk reinforced with oatmeal, and vitamins. Apparently, premature babies sometimes have a fragile respiratory system according to the Vet, but we are very anxious about little Maalim, who will be 2 years old in November, and who has been so fit up until now.
Shida, who suddenly unexpectedly turned up behind a couple of visitors who were looking t Melia in the Stockade, understandably surprising and scaring the visitors. However, he was impeccably behaved, and once the Keepers called him by name, he strolled back into his stockade for the usual evening hand-out of Copra and lucerne!
Astonishingly, on the evening of the 28th, a visitor unwisely put his hand into Shida’s mouth and got the end of his finger quite badly bitten! No-one could understand what persuaded that person to put his hand into a full-grown rhino’s mouth, but he did! He was very fortunate not to have had the finger bitten clean off, because rhinos have huge grinders that slice through thick branches as efficiently as any secator! All credit to Shida for being so gentle on that visitor!
Maxwell is as fine as a blind rhino could be, contented and happy in his Enclosure, around which he races confidently without colliding with any obstacle, so much so that one would never suspect that he is totally blind. Shida’s twice daily visits remain the highlight of his dark world, and he also enjoys a trunk run from orphan Melia, who is in the adjoining Stockade to his. He stands there with his eyes closed, as Melia tickles him through the separating bars with the tip of her trunk!