Keepers' Diaries, April 2014

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Little Kamok, as “mini matriarch”, is very protective over Ashaka, meeting her at the stable door in order to escort her and Kauro for another day in the bush. Their days are spent playfully bumping and barging into each other, dust bathing with the fresh red soil and of course Keeper time. Their tiny trunks can only pick up small amounts of soil so the keepers happily assist them. All three babies are doing well, playing and putting on condition.

01 April 2014

Tiny Kamok woke up in a happy mood, and immediately went to Ashaka’s stable door to collect her, playfully bumping into one another as they then went o Kauro’s door where they waited for his Keeper to let him out. As soon as he merged, they greeted him warmly, and all three then made their way out into the bush, pausing en route to take a dust bath in loose soil. As they could only pick up a little in their tiny trunks, the Keeper assisted them.

02 April 2014

Baby Ashaka has developed some small swellings on the inner side of her left leg which exude a little pus, and once cleaned are anointed with green clay. They do not seem to inhibit her movement in any way. She is playful and happy, and feeding well.

03 April 2014

Once again, Murera and Sonje are separating Orwa, Teleki, Jasiri, Faraja, Quanza Zongoloni and Lima lima from the other orphans and taking them deeper into the forest, today walking as far as the Banda Gate, where they have never previously been. The Keepers found them there browsing happily and reluctant to return.

04 April 2014

Kithaka is always the centre of attention for the foster-parent visitors in the evening, attracting them to his stable by waving his trunk and allowing children to blow down his trunk and blowing back at them. They all leave smiling!

05 April 2014

Lemoyian, who is a close friend of mischievous Kithaka, is copying some of Kithaka’s bad habits during the public visiting hour, deliberately bumping into Guests within range.

06 April 2014

Little Ashaka appeared “dull today”, so a blood sample was taken which revealed a mild bacterial infection, so she was given Nuroclav and an IV drip to restore body fluids. She is still feeding well.

07 April 2014

Solio came in the early morning to pay Maxwell a visit as he was sleeping on his bed of hay. She made a loud snort at his side Gate, which instantly awoke him, and he went to interact with her as usual, locking horns between the separating poles of their Stockades. Solio remained until about 8 a.m. before leaving. Max cried when she left, because he would have liked more time with her!

08 April 2014

Ashaka is looking herself again after the antibiotic course and an IV drip. She is again playful and happy and she and Kamok put on a good show for the midday public, enjoying a dustbath together. Little Kauro is still struggling to cut his last two baby molars, which always causes the infants trouble, but has not lost a lot of condition and remains strong.

09 April 2014

As the orphans made their way out into the forest this morning, the boys pushing each other in tests of strength, they happened upon some buffaloes who were resting. When the buffaloes stood up, the younger orphans such as Oltaiyoni, Kithaka, Lemoyian, Rorogoi and Barsilinga panicked and rushed back to their Keepers trumpeting. Later the older orphans, led by Murera and Sonje initiated a “bush-bashing” display, once the buffaloes have moved away.

10 April 2014

This morning, Jasiri, Faraja, Teleki, Nelion, Lentili and Lima lima were scared when a bushbuck scampered past them. They embarked on a trumpeting “bush bashing” display which attracted the rest of he herd, who joined in, Murera, Sonje and Orwa remaining behind to continue the deterrent threat.

11 April 2014

It was a lucky day for a calf in the Samburu National Reserve, whose mother had been ailing for some time and was being monitored by Samburu Scouts. When she finally collapsed and died the previous night, the calf joined another herd, but was located and captured and taken to the Oryx airstrip to await the Rescue Plane from Nairobi. The 5 month old male calf, named Sokotei, the name of an indigenous shrub used by the local people as a toothbrush. The calf was very hungry and took milk upon arrival, since his ailing mother had no milk for him as her condition worsened. Barsilinga’s team then came to greet and welcome him, but he was missing his mother and was disturbed.

12 April 2014

Sokotei was sufficiently calm to be able to join the younger group of orphans such as Arruba and little Oltaiyoni, who welcomed him warmly, although the young boys such as Kithaka, Lemoyian and Barsilinga attempted to push him, and had to be warned off by the Keepers.

13 April 2014

The second day for Sokotei to be out with the other orphans, and showed no indication of trying to escape. Although Lemoyian, Rorogoi and Barsilinga again tried to bully him, the Keepers protected him and disciplined the naughty trio, after which Barsilinga and Lemoyian embarked on a Play Fighting game to try and impress the newcomer as well as the visiting public during the public viewing hour.

14 April 2014

Young Sokotei is still strong, but is suffering from stomach problems, having been starved of milk and having to adjust to the artificial formula. He was given Kaolin and Green Clay to try and stabilize the diarrheoa. During the public viewing hour, he walked back to join the older orphans rather than partake of the wallow with his peers. Kauro is still struggling with his teething, and a blood analysis indicated a bacterial infection, so he was given oral Sulphadimidine. At 2 p.m. 2 lions attacked and killed a young male warthog near where the three young orphans were browsing. They clung to their Keepers, who slowly walked them away as the lions dragged their kill into the bushes.

15 April 2014

Little Sokotei is still grieving his lost mother, although he integrates with the other orphans, though is reluctant to join the noon mudbath hour, preferring to remove himself from all the mudbath activity. In the evening he returns in the company of Murera and Sonje, but is then escorted into his stable by Barsilinga, Rorogoi, Kithaka and Arruba. Once there, he settles down with Barsilinga as his neighbour who reaches through a trunk to comfort him now and then.

16 April 2014

During the night Murera and Sonje charged their Stockade Gates in an attempt to deter some hyaenas who were prowling around the Elephant Stockades, howling. They were more deterred by the presence of the night Milk Mixer!

17 April 2014

It has now been l0 days since Solio last paid Maxwell a visit, but we all hope that she is safe, and enjoying her wild status amongst her wild rhino friends. She has befriended a young rhino cow who has a calf of about Solio’s age.

18 April 2014

Today Teleki entertained the mudbath visitors by putting his head in the mudwallow and lifting one hind leg high in the air, which made all the guests laugh! They love seeing the orphans contented and happy with their human carers.

19 April 2014

Murera and Sonje are still in the habit of taking Lima lima, Quanza, Teleki, Faraja and Jasiri from the main group to feed apart from the other orphans, and are always reluctant to return in the evening when the Keepers try and round them up and bring them back home! At over five years old, Murera feels sufficiently confident to act like a wild elephant, and will shortly be moving to the “Invalids’ Rehabilitation Unit along with Sonje in the Kibwezi forest once the new facilities have been completed and are ready to receive them.

20 April 2014

As soon as the Big Girls left their Night Stockades in the morning to go and check on the younger elephants such as Sokotei and Oltaiyoni, mischievous Kithaka challenged Balguda to a vigorous Pushing Game in a test of strength, which is the main preoccupation of the young boys. Balguda won the day, much to Kithaka’s disappointment who then took on his best friend, Lemoyian. This contest eventually ended in a draw which made Kithaka feel happier.

21 April 2014

Sokotei, although fond of his Keepers, suckling their fingers, has lost condition since his stomach has yet to stabilize to the new milk formula. Having been reluctant to enter his stable in the evening, now that he is escorted there by his peers, he goes in happily.

22 April 2014

Little Ashaka and Kamok are now putting on weight, their sunken cheeks as a result of teething filling out and becoming rounded. Kauro is still struggling to push out his fourth baby molar, but his appetite remains good, even though he has lot body condition, which is usual during the teething process.

23 April 2014

A French TV Unit were at the Nursery early to film the orphans leaving their Night Stables. Little Kamok, who views herself as the Mini Junior Matriarch tried to push the TV Unit away from Ashaka and Kauro. The film crew enjoyed an exciting event when 2 lions appeared from the bush in pursuit of a warthog, who managed to get away by running into a thick bush. The lions continued to patrol around the bush in pursuit of the warthog, as the Keepers with the small elephants, who are clad in red “Masai Shukas” that act as a lion deterrent, steered the orphans away from the vicinity.

24 April 2014

As a light drizzle of rain greeted daylight today, the four small babies were kept indoors clad in their blankets until the weather improved, while the older elephants enjoyed rolling in damp earth on their way out to browse. Oltaiyoni and even little Sokotei enjoyed this activity and is now much more comfortable as part of the orphan herd, although he still resists appearing at the noon Open Hour before all the visitors.

25 April 2014

Sokotei is becoming attached to Mashariki, who has been keeping close company with him out in the field, and escorts him back to his stable in the evenings, keeping mischievous Kithaka and Barsilinga (who have another agendas) from bullying the newcomer.

26 April 2014

Having last been seen on the 7th, the orphans encountered Solio who was making her way back to the compound to greet Maxwell and visit her old Stockade to take a rest and enjoy some Lucerne. Murera, Sonje. Quanza and Orwa charged her, which prompted her to hasten her progress with her tail up. Max was wildly excited by her appearance, as always, and enjoyed their playful interaction locking horns between the separating poles of their two Stockades. When Solio returned to her stable for a rest, Max came to lie as near to her as possible, and was visibly disappointed when she decided to again leave.

27 April 2014

Of late Bomani has taken to separating himself from the other orphans, to go and browse independently, as a young bull, eager to demonstrate that he is self sufficient and not reliant on his peers. Orwa and Teleki are the older boys who usually stick close to their best friends, Orwa enjoying being with Murera and Sonje while Teleki seeks out the likes of Ziwa, Lima lima and Quanza.

28 April 2014

As the three small babies, Kamok, Ashaka and Kauro made their way out to join the other elephants in the morning, Rorogoi went to intercept them accompanied by Barsilinga, who greeted them warmly.

29 April 2014

Solio paid Max another visit today, en route back to the Stockades startling the elephants orphans, who ran back trumpeting to their Keepers, unsure of what had disturbed them. Solio spent a long while inspecting all the interesting rhino scents on the rocks beside the forest on her way back, while the Keepers rounded up the nervous elephants, some of whom had run back to the Stockades! As usual Max was overjoyed by yet another Solio visit.

30 April 2014

It was a cold morning today, so the orphans bunched together to keep warm. New red soil had been brought in for the Public Viewing hour, which all the orphans enjoyed, including little Sokotei, who for the first time attended the public viewing hour as well as the Private 3 p.m. slot. good news at month end was that Kauro had cut his fourth baby molar, and as a result is much more lively and happy again, enjoying the company of Kamok and Ashaka and their attendant Keeper as well as being part of the older group from time to time.