Keepers' Diaries, April 2007

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

This month, the tiny babies have been interacted more with the older elephants, and it has been very interesting to see all the older females vying with each other to “adopt” a baby for themselves. Chyulu, even though still a baby herself, is extremely motherly, especially towards little Shimba, whilst Sian, Loijuk and Makena all want tiny Lempaute and Lesanju. However, Lesanju doesn’t want to be “possessed” by anyone other than the Keepers, and sticks close to them when the older elephants are trying to win her affection. Even Lenana has joined the competition, showing great interest in Shimba, who actually loves all the attention, and happily sucks on whoever’s ear he can latch on to.

This month, the tiny babies have been interacted more with the older elephants, and it has been very interesting to see all the older females vying with each other to “adopt” a baby for themselves. Chyulu, even though still a baby herself, is extremely motherly, especially towards little Shimba, whilst Sian, Loijuk and Makena all want tiny Lempaute and Lesanju. However, Lesanju doesn’t want to be “possessed” by anyone other than the Keepers, and sticks close to them when the older elephants are trying to win her affection. Even Lenana has joined the competition, showing great interest in Shimba, who actually loves all the attention, and happily sucks on whoever’s ear he can latch on to.

Kenze is now the strongest boy amongst the bigger group, and easily puts Kamboyo in his place, having been treated somewhat roughly by Kamboyo when he arrived in a weakened near-death condition of starvation. He and Lenana, both milk deprivation cases, are best friends, and enjoy feeding slightly apart from the main group. Sian is a very proficient Matriarch. A very interesting event occurred when the Keepers were leading the group out into the forest one morning, and Sian halted the elephants, and refused to follow. This puzzled the Keepers. Sian then pointed in the direction the Keepers wanted to go with her trunk, and turned and took another route. A short time later, the Keepers were amazed when a lioness emerged from the bushes Sian had indicated, and astonished that she had detected its presence, and warned them, despite being only two years old herself!

Lempaute is an extravert – never happier than when she has an audience. She is a very mischievous and confident character, who enjoys scaring visiting children by running towards them and watching them flee in disarray. She can always be counted upon to put on a good show at the mudbath hour. In fact, all the elephants enjoy an audience, and enjoy putting on a good display for the visitors, often chasing the piglets around, and working themselves up into a trumpeting frenzy! Lempaute and Lesanju are inseparable, so much so that Lempaute now has to actually be inside Lesanju’s stable at night, refusing to sleep in the adjoining compartment.

Zurura and Kamboyo are good friends, who share a Stockade during the night, as do Makena and Sian. Makena is taking on the role of a very proficient “Nannie” to Sian, whilst Loijuk is also a caring budding Matriarch. In fact, all the Nursery females enjoy a Matriarchal role, especially when the tiny babies are with them, each vying for the affection of one of the babies.
The Rhinos:- Sadly, the operation to remove the cataract on Max’s left eye has not been a success, inter-ocular scar tissue having again clouded his sight. However, his sense of hearing and scent is extremely acute, and whenever Shida appears, Max is instantly aware of his presence, and follows his progress outside the Stockade, and into his own next door, almost as though he had his sight. Max becomes very excited whenever Shida is present, and Shida is also extremely interested in Max, though showing no signs of aggression, other than depositing copious quantities of urine at the four corners of his patch. However, Shida, spends a lot more time back at base these days, the attraction obviously little Max.

Having consulted more with the Eye Specialists, and also our Vet, a decision will be made as to whether it is worth trying to operate on Max’s other eye, despite the fact that the prognosis is not encouraging, the cells in animal eyes apparently differing from those of a human. All the options, and pros and cons, will be weighed up carefully before a final decision is made.

Meanwhile, Magnum has not returned back to base now for several months, so we assume that he is fully established holding a territory elsewhere, which he dare not leave un-attended. And so, insofar as Magnum is concerned, we can proudly say “Mission accomplished”.

April 2007 day to day

01 Apr

Little Lempaute was very excited to see young children along the rope during the mudbath hour. She ran in amongst them, causing confusion, which made her feel very important and very good! Lempaute ran after them when they dispersed, before strolling back importantly. Lempaute loves an audience, and is always very animated when there are onlookers.

Lempaute being her naughty self

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