Keepers' Diaries, April 2006

Select your unit:

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Kora’s jaw wound is now causing us great concern, because the damaged bone now seems to have developed osteomyilitis, which is a serious bone infection which is difficult to heal. Having consulted South African Veterinarian experts in this field, and our own Vets, Drs. Rottcher and Sanjay, it would appear that a major operation is needed to insert a device into the bone slow releasing antibiotic into the marrow, which would involve being under anesthesia for some 2 hours – a long time for a baby elephant. However, Kora is very healthy and strong in every other respect, and it would appear that we have no other option, if the homeopathic remedies which he is currently taking do not work. This will involve bringing the South African expert up with all the necessary medication to do the actual insertion, but we would like the expertise of Dr. Rottcher as the anaesthetist.

Kora’s jaw wound is now causing us great concern, because the damaged bone now seems to have developed osteomyilitis, which is a serious bone infection which is difficult to heal. Having consulted South African Veterinarian experts in this field, and our own Vets, Drs. Rottcher and Sanjay, it would appear that a major operation is needed to insert a device into the bone slow releasing antibiotic into the marrow, which would involve being under anesthesia for some 2 hours – a long time for a baby elephant. However, Kora is very healthy and strong in every other respect, and it would appear that we have no other option, if the homeopathic remedies which he is currently taking do not work. This will involve bringing the South African expert up with all the necessary medication to do the actual insertion, but we would like the expertise of Dr. Rottcher as the anaesthetist.

All the other orphans are thriving. Little Kamboyo, the most recent arrival, is an extremely loving little elephant, who was out and about with the others the very day after capture. He is a great favourite of Loijuk, who is another very loving and gentle female with the makings of a caring future Mini Matriarch of the Nursery, once Lualeni is promoted. Lualeni and Makena are still inseparable, while Zurura and Kora are firm friends. Zurura is an extremely endearing comedian, who enjoys showing off before the visitors during the noon mudbath, and also thoroughly enjoys provoking Makena which usually ends in a mini punch-up and the intervention of Lualeni to protect her favourite baby. All the starvation victims are now putting on weight nicely. Challa is becoming much friendlier and less pushy, but Sidai, who was a serious life-threatening starvation case, remains very “pushy” at milk feeding times, something not unusual in elephants who have faced starvation through under-age milk deprivation. She and Orok are close but Orok remains extremely wary of all humans, only approaching the Keepers when they offer him milk. He flatly refuses to have either a blanket or a raincoat over his back. Obviously his rather rough handling by KWS Rangers during capture, which involved a blanket, has left a sinister impression, which will probably be with him for life. The quietest Nursery baby is little Sian who seeks comfort from Loijuk and is still grieving her poached Amboseli mother.

Heavy rain has relieved the drought conditions that beset Nairobi, the downside being a plague of black caterpillars who carpet the ground, and have devoured every leaf of the Croton bushes and trees. They seem to be specific in that they target only the crotons, but they invade every inch of ground, our persons, and our homes, those in the trees spinning a thread to lower themselves to the ground before marching off to find another croton on which to feed. They first appeared on the 25th and at month end still persist. We can’t wait for them all to turn into moths or butterflies and depart!

Rhino Orphans:- Magnum has behaved in an exemplary manner this month, living wild and free within Nairobi National Park without feeling the need to even return to base. He has been seen often by visitors to the Park on the plains below the Trust H.Q., who can recognise him because he is not fearful of humans, but only once passing by. Shida, too, is now showing signs that he would like to be a “wild” rhino, on two occasions resisting going back into his Night Stockade. On one occasion he gave his Keepers the slip, and brought himself back home later, but other than that, he is just being a growing and dependent youngster, doing what any rhino of his age would!

April 2006 day to day

01 Apr

All the Nursery females, except Sidai, assembled at little Kamboyo’s stable door. Makena and Loijuk greeted the newcomer, who felt quite comfortable. The Keepers opened up his door, and without hesitation, he followed the females, ignoring the Nursery bulls.

Roan and Kamboyo

Select your unit:
View keepers’ diaries for another month?