Keepers' Diaries, April 2016

Nairobi Nursery Unit

This year the April/May long rains have hit Nairobi with full meteorological might, causing flooding in some parts of the city. Nor have we been spared here at the Nursery after days of non-stop continuous rain leaving the orphanage under water, with Daphne’s veranda collapsing under the weight of so much water after a storm of more than five inches overnight. However, this has not deterred the visitors who have been as keen as ever to catch a glimpse of the orphans during our one open public hour between 11 -12 noon. The orphans have understandably not always been willing mudbath candidates, and sometimes have been eager to return to the forest under the cover of the trees. Our new orphan, Galla, has seemed unperturbed by all the rain, instead apparently relishing so much mud and water, rolling around in the mudbath even during storms. Despite taking a while to tame and settle down, he has really now adapted to Nursery life and trusts his Keepers implicitly, finding a new-found friendship with little Murit.

01 April 2016

Finally there was a heavy downpour last night after a long, dry wait. Due to the heavy rain some of the babies had a sleepless night. Kauro, Rapa, Lasayen, Ngilai and Kamok all had a pretty rough night. With all the noise on the roof together with the lighting and the thunderstorms was quite unsettling for them. The rain went on throughout the whole night and only stopped in the early morning. These five orphans were happy to see the light of day! As each one of them came out they walked straight out to the forest. It was Galla’s third time to try and join the orphans out in the forest too. The first few times were not successful because he was quite aggressive and just ran away from the herd. On both occasions he was brought back home early after spending less than 2 hours out with his new friends! At 9am Dupotto, Mbegu and Roi were brought back to the stockades to escort him out to the bush. He did not show much excitement at being allowed out of his stockade; his gate was opened wide but he did not want to come out. After waiting for him for quite a long time, Dupotto decided to enter his pen to help try and push him out. He immediately stepped out of his pen as Dupotto was about to try and push him. He started running into the forest as the other orphans followed behind him. When Oltaiyoni, who had been left behind in the forest, saw him running in the wrong direction she went after him. We all thought the ‘mother’ of the herd was running after him in an effort to control him but instead she surprised us; she started poking him in the back pushing him further into the bushes. The keepers had to intervene and shout at her to stop it. In the end it was the boys Enkikwe, Boromoko, Kauro and Sokotei who spent the most time with him, protecting him from the others. He even managed to attend the private visit at 3pm where he behaved very well. He was later escorted back to the stockades a few minutes before 5pm by Boromoko and Kauro.

02 April 2016

It was early morning when the baby elephants were heading out to the forest. The majority of them were all in a subdued and dull mood which is a normal reaction to the cold weather (after the rain we have been having). Maxwell is having a good time in his stockade as his mud bath is very full and he is so playful, full of excitement running from one gate to the other, up and down. He enjoys this kind of weather very much! The elephant orphans on the other hand were not enjoying it this morning and none of them wanted to go into the bushes so they could avoid getting wet. They all crowded together to browse on the short vegetation out in the open. By the time it was starting to warm up it was almost public visiting time. As they were separated into their two groups for this milk feeding time as usual, the keepers were waiting for the signal to send them down in small groups. Naseku however, quietly vanished taking a few of the babies with her. Mwashoti, Lasayen, Ngilai, Ndotto and Dupotto all accompanied her and vanished into the bushes. Mbegu was in the group that had stayed with the keepers, who thought that everyone was still around them. It seems that those in the little group could not tell the time very well, and the whole feeding was delayed as the keepers tried to find them. They were found a short distance away, browsing in the area they had been before visiting time arrived, and herded towards the milk feeding ground for their bottles.

03 April 2016

Kauro and Ndotto are becoming great play mates regardless of their age and difference in size. Kauro has been engaging the small boy in some wrestling games and teaching him a lot. Sometimes the games are not fair though as Kauro tries to climb on Ndotto. Kauro is known as this big climbing boy, and Ndotto as the small climbing boy. Therefore whenever the two are playing a keeper always needs to keep an eye on them so that Ndotto does not get hurt as he is so much smaller. Today these two have spent their whole day playing since they first came out of their stockades this morning. The little bully boy Rapa has been giving Galla a hard time today. He has set his sights on him and will not leave him alone. No matter how far away he is he runs up to him and starts pushing him away. The keepers are having a hard time controlling this bad behaviour as no matter how much they monitor Rapa, he still finds his way over to Galla to harass him. Our sad news is that just a few minutes before 5pm, Kerio passed away after a long struggle with her comprised condition.

04 April 2016

Today Kiko seems to have sensed danger or just did not want to stay out in the forest. He wasn’t out in the forest for even an hour before returning to the stockades on his own. When he came back he would walk past his stable straight to the milk mixing area. He would feed on the acacia trees there and also by Edwin’s office. His keepers would come down and lead him back out to the forest following his milk bottle – but after a short while he would come back again! Pea and Pod also decided not to be with the baby group today but rather with the older orphans and maybe this is another reason Kiko kept coming home. Oltaiyoni, Enkikwe, Siangiki, Sirimon and Roi had a lengthy mud bath during public visiting today. They made the visit into a real show and all the visitors left smiling and laughing as the orphans rolled and climbed on each other in the mud pool. Oltaiyoni ended the show by pushing everyone out of the mud in order for her to enjoy it alone. There was a bit of confusion this afternoon when the rain came early, before 5pm which is the time that foster parents can visit. It was such heavy rain that the babies started coming home in fear of the loud thunder which made it difficult to give them their bottles as the keepers were not all in place yet to help feed them! Some like Olsekki, Sirimon, Mwashoti and Boromoko went on feeding themselves as well as taking their neighbours bottles! The greedy ones enjoyed this chaos very much. Some lost their way to their own rooms and ended up in their friends rooms instead.

05 April 2016

The weather was looking much better for the babies this morning as they headed out to the forest. Before Kamok and Mbegu joined the rest, they first decided to say hello to Luggard. Every morning when Naseku, his neighbour, leaves her stockade the little boy is always left in a nervous mood and fights to accompany her out. This morning the two girls were at his gate as soon as Naseku had come out. They interacted for a long time and reassured the little boy. After that and sharing some of his greens too, they both moved out to the forest to join the others. When they left Luggard was much more relaxed – he was calm and settled and not fighting with anything but instead browsing quietly on his greens. Galla seems to be making more friends day after day. Murit, the quiet little boy, has been his friend since day one. They browse right up until the afternoon together, when Murit escorts Galla back to the stockades earlier than the others as he is not used to the routine yet. Kiko had a very different day to yesterday when he was trying to return home all the time. While out in the bush this morning he met some wild friends, a mother giraffe with her baby boy, smaller than Kiko. The wild mother giraffe was very interested in Kiko and kept trying to approach him but Kiko kept running away whenever she got close enough. After trying for some time the wild giraffe gave up and instead waited to see if Kiko would allow her baby boy to approach him. When the little boy approached Kiko he paid more attention as the little on got closer. Just a few steps before reaching him Kiko ran away and the boy went back to its mother and they decided to leave and walk away further into the park. Kiko was left to go on with his normal daily routine. Later in the afternoon he was up to his usual tricks and did not want to join the keepers to return to the stockades. He was left behind to be with the older orphans and slightly later he came back of his own accord.

06 April 2016

Ngilai happens to be one of the happiest babies at the nursery. He has always been a jovial one and when he is not playing with his orphan friends he is playing with his keepers. When interacting with his keepers his favourite thing is to push them mostly. Kamok has always been his favourite adopted mother since the departure of Elkerama to Tsavo. At public visiting today he was in such a playful mood and just wanting to play his pushing game with any keeper that came along. He also hung out with Kamok the whole day they were out in the bush, just like a real baby with its mother in the wild. They would spend a few minutes browsing, then he would spend a few minutes suckling on her ear and playing with her too. This has helped him so much health wise, never developing any complications since his arrival at the nursery. Sometimes the orphans are just like humans and they will quarrel over the smallest things. This happened between Mbegu and Dupotto at public visiting today. These two are almost the same age and size too and are in the same herd. Mbegu is the mini matriarch of the family and sometimes the two compete over leadership roles even though Mbegu normally comes out on top here. Dupotto was feeding on a branch when Mbegu tried to snatch it away from her. They started fighting over it and a keeper had to jump in and intervene by dividing the branch into two pieces. Later in the evening as the orphans were grouped together waiting for the time to go home to bed, Alamaya had a nice branch with leaves and full of ripe seeds. Roi came over to take it from him but he wasn’t prepared to let his food go! Again this resulted in a fight and a keeper had to intervene by cutting the branch in two for them to share and restore peace.

07 April 2016

Some of the babies will try to copy the behaviour of their older peers. Like Ndotto today whilst having their 9am feed. Today he was copying Sirimon who is known to play tricks on his keepers at feeding time. He will drink his milk and pretend not to have had his share yet, looking for more. As usual during milk time the babies will come for their milk in small groups. Ndotto had arrived together with Tusuja, Naseku and Murit. They were the first ones to have their share and when they had finished Tusuja, Naseku and Murit left in the opposite direction to make way for the next group. Ndotto however walked to join the next group that was yet to have their feed. When the second group ran down for their milk he didn’t accompany them but when the third group came down he joined them, running in the middle. When he arrived at the feeding area he was ready to receive milk but no one paid any attention to him. He decided to walk back and come in with the forth group to try his luck once more. He ran to the wheelbarrow and tried to find some milk for himself but he was turned away by the keeper there. Eventually he gave up knowing that he had been found out and he was not going to get any extra milk. Later on today while at the mud bath ground around 3pm for the private visit, Ndotto decided to behave like Rapa and head-butting anyone he felt like pushing around. After they had all had their share of milk Godoma was standing about 10 meters away from Ndotto. Ndotto ran into her knocking her down to the ground. This was behaviour we had never seen from him before and is exactly like how Rapa behaves! Knowing very well he had done something wrong he disappeared into the thicket surrounding the area to avoid being told off.

08 April 2016

Kauro and Kamok have been together since they were little babies and for that reason they understand each other very well. Most of the older boys like Enkikwe, Sokotei and Olsekki go on bullying Kauro, Siangiki too does not seem to like Kamok and she keeps bullying these two sometimes. Because of this bullying by their older peers, Kauro and Kamok have decided to browse together and keep their distance from the herd today. Since morning the duo have been browsing and playing away from the others whilst out in the forest. Enkikwe and Siangiki are responsible for today’s isolation of these two babies. When they went out in the morning it was as if they had the two bullies had planned to bully Kauro and Kamok as they kept harassing them both at different times and places, until Kauro and Kamok decided to go off on their own away from the whole herd. It is amazing how the orphans even understand things like the loudspeaker that is used during the public visit. They seem to know then when the speaker is on and the talk is going on they need to stay within the mud bathing area – when it goes quiet they seem to understand that is their queue to go back out to the forest! What made us realize this is today there was an electrical problem with the speaker in the middle of the session and it went off before the talk was over. After 5 minutes Alamaya and Balguda led the whole group away from the area as the keepers tried to block their path until it was closer to the due time. The orphans all forcefully left in different directions though, believing it was time and the keepers were left with no option but to allow them back into the forest!

09 April 2016

Boromoko and Roi had a happy playful time out in the bush this morning. Whilst out in the forest these two invaded the territory of two little dik diks. There were about 6 pairs of them and they seemed to be sleeping in the same area. The two orphans starting flushing them out of their hide by pushing trees, pulling short bushes and trumpeting and rumbling to scare the dik diks out. The little animals got up running in every direction, confused about which direction to go in. Boromoko and his team mate Roi were behind them, not giving them a break at all! It was a relief for the dik diks when some baboons emerged from nowhere jumping in the trees. When Boromoko and Roi heard this noise in the tree and not seeing what it was they started running back to their keepers in fright. This attracted the attention of all the other babies who were browsing nearby who also ran to the keepers for safety from what, they did not know. After the keepers had restored the peace and assured them they were safe, Oltaiyoni and Sokotei turned back to see what had caused the mayhem amongst the babies. They came across the baboons and drove them all away.

10 April 2016

Murit still enjoys the company of his keepers than his older peers. When the orphans go out into the forest, most of them will begin to wonder deep into the forest away from the keepers but the little ones will always remain within sight of them. Because Murit is so fond of his keepers he tends to spend more time with the little baby group. Yesterday and today he has gone to find the baby group regardless of where they are. He will raise his trunk in the air to find out which direction they are in and within no time he will be with the baby group. Knowing that he is not supposed to be with the baby group he will try hiding in the bushes before he is noticed. By the time he shows himself in the bushes the older group will have gone so far he knows he will not be pushed to go and join them. By the time the babies came out of their stables this morning his group was still browsing close to the stockades. He saw them as soon as they came into the forest and joined them, only leaving to go and receive his milk bottle and after his feed as the rest went further into the forest he sneaked away to locate where the babies were. Later he left them to go for a mud bath but again in the afternoon he went to hide from his herd and join the baby group. It started to rain in the afternoon though which meant the babies returned home earlier than usual and within a few minutes of their arrival at the stockades, Murit arrived from another direction and went straight into his stable. This evening when all the babies had returned home for the afternoon, Naseku had a nice time with Luggard. They were hugging each other with their trunks for a long time and she was holding him around his neck. They communicated for a long time which really relaxed the little boy and he ended up falling asleep whilst still standing, despite his wounded leg.

11 April 2016

Kauro remains the most disciplined boy during milk feeding time. Once he finishes his share he will always walk away to make space for the others. The rest can be real trouble makers though! Sirimon and Olsekki especially are two that will play tricks on the keepers to get more. Roi will keep on fighting to steal more from the wheelbarrow whilst Enkikwe is one that has to be watched by everybody, his peers and the keepers. Today during public visiting these four caused a lot of trouble. Enkikwe unfortunately managed to join the first small group of older orphans that went down and when he finished his milk he started fighting those that were still feeding, wanting to snatch their bottles. He wouldn’t even listen to the keepers and was ready to charge at them. There is no other boy that can face up to him and it is only the two older girls that can discipline him, Oltaiyoni and Siangiki. These are the only two he has any respect for. It reached a point where he charged at Sokotei, knocking him into the wheelbarrow. The bottles fell out and Roi had the chance to steal one and make off with it! The keepers pointed finger and shouts meant nothing to the naughty boy and was not until Oltaiyoni arrived that saw him leave the area. He did not leave peacefully though and went along head-butting anyone that was in his way! Kiko has been up and down to the stockades today. He first visited at 11am as the public were lining up to attend the public visit and they all turned to take a photo of him. As they were crowding to do so Kiko left back for the bush in a hurry at the sight of so many people. He would return another 3 times during the day before returning back at 4pm when he was finally locked up in his pen for the night.

12 April 2016

Galla is finally settling down and accepting the keepers as well. He is now a part of the elephant family and they seem to have accepted him too. There is not much bullying from his peers towards him and he no longer disappears from the herd like before. Today he joined Mbegu’s little herd for the public show, where he behaved so well and acted like he had been there before! Kiko with his two friends Pea and Pod went for the private viewing at 3pm today without being invited. The three had spent the whole day together apart from when Kiko had visited the baby group during milk feeding time for his share as well. Then he returned to the ostriches and as they fed on grass he was feeding on the thorny leaves by their side. They watched the older orphans from a distance as they went down to the private visit in small groups and after a few minutes they followed them down the same path to the mud bath. Pea and Pod stayed around the rocky area feeding on the seeds and other little things in that area, whilst Kiko walked directly to the acacia trees next to the mud pool. After the session they walked behind the keepers back to the forest. In the forest Boromoko and Ndotto engaged each other in a friendly pushing game. Ndotto went behind a big tree and surprised Boromoko from the other side and start pushing him. As they went on playing, Pea and Pod were feeding on the grass. They got a bit too close to the boys who were playing and Boromoko smacked one of them with his trunk and Ndotto started chasing the other one. They abandoned their earlier game and started chasing the ostriches around. All of them, Boromoko and Ndotto as well as the ostriches seemed to enjoy this game. It went on for some time until Pea and Pod decided to speed off to the stockades and that was the end of that. Galla seems to have memorized the time he is to return home and he didn’t need as escort today for coming home to bed. It was only that he took the wrong route and went via the mud bath area then through the gift shop area on the way to his pen! He was all by himself without any other orphan or a keeper so it is quite amazing that he managed to do that.

13 April 2016

Godoma can be another little greedy and pushy girl but this morning she was doing something different. Mbegu led her out this morning along with Ndotto and Murit to visit the little babies. Whilst with the little babies she was different from her usual character. She was friendly and gentle with the little ones, almost copying Mbegu’s behaviour with them. She would allow the babies to take the greens she was chewing from her mouth and was not pushy like she normally is. The four only left the babies at 9am to go for their milk feed. As the orphans left the milk feeding area they all went in different directions. Roi, Naseku, Murit and Ndotto decided to go in the same direction. Roi led the three to go and eat some wild fruits as in the morning there is always wild fruit on the ground that has fallen in the night probably from roosting birds. Roi knows where to find them so she took these three younger orphans to go and eat them. It is amazing to watch their little trunks picking the small fruits off the ground. This group only fed on the fruit the whole time, not browsing on the leaves around until they left for the public visiting time. Today we had to perform a rescue. It was a really small baby girl under a month old which arrived at the nursery at around 10.30 in the morning. She is believed to have been rescued from a muddy well two days ago near Mpala Ranch in Laikipia. She had been rescued by the Mpala research staff and taken to their centre where she spent the night. She was fed on sugar water throughout the night until we came to rescue her in the morning. The baby is looking very weak with bruises on her body from her ordeal in the well. She seems to have strained her neck very badly and cannot see very well.

14 April 2016

As the babies were all out enjoying their day in the forest as usual, Galla came across Kiko who was alone looking for his favourite thorny bushes. When he saw him he raised his ears to charge and scare him away. But Kiko has grown used to the older orphans lately and he wasn’t shaken by Galla’s threats, he just stood he ground and waited to see what Galla would do next. As Galla got closer Kiko jumped out of the bushes kicking his legs in the air. Galla thought Kiko was out to attack him and ran back to the herd screaming for help. Enkikwe came out to save him and started running after Kiko. Kiko stopped to turn around and see what was going on and saw Enkikwe running at him. When he saw this he turned around and started walking towards him. Enkikwe now stopped too and looked at Kiko rumbling and trumpeting to warn him. But Kiko was unmoved and when Enkikwe saw him marching directly towards him he turned and ran back to the group leaving Kiko just standing and watching the herd of orphans. He then decided to go back to his feeding area. For a couple of days now Ndotto has become everyone’s playmate, especially the older orphans. Every day he has a different and older elephant to play with. The fact remains that most of the older orphans love him too. Today Kamok was his playmate of choice. Since this morning these two have been playing together, pushing games and hide and seek… not forgetting what he loves most, his climbing games! You can imagine the tiny short boy trying to climb on Kamok’s back and how funny that looks. Today we had to conduct a rescue and the baby arrived from south Turkana and Turkwel area. She was found by the community yesterday 7 o’clock. The mother was searched for but all in vain. She is looking very think and weak meaning that she has been without her mother’s milk for quite some time. She is under 1 year old and we have called her Lorogon.

15 April 2016

When the orphans came out of their stockades early this morning they were busy walking around greeting and welcoming each other. Mbegu and Roi were busy at Galla’s stockade touching and embracing him as they patiently waited for him to come out so they could escort him to the forest. Galla was eager to join them too and began knocking on his gate until his keeper came over to open it for him. The two girls were delighted and sandwiched him between them to walk out to the bush. Galla is very used to the routine nowadays and knows all the feedings points as well as the bottle feeding areas out in the field, the public feeding area as well as which one is his own stockade! Sometimes when the milk is not ready out in the forest, Galla walks over to the bottle feedings area and when he fails to find it ready he starts yelling loudly to draw the attention of the keepers to bring it soon – he is quite a clever boy! Most days out in the field he has been observed browsing closely with calm Murit who is always so welcoming to any individual. Although he is bigger Galla avoids interacting with Lasayen, Ndotto, Rapa and Naseku since sometimes they can bully him; lovely Mbegu is always on hand to protect him from the rougher youngsters however!

16 April 2016

Out during the public viewing hour the first group of orphans had drunk their bottles and was busy competing over the greens that had been put out for them. Lasayen was seen happily posing beside one of the water troughs; using the top of the trough to scratch his belly with his trunk high in the sky enjoying the water pouring out of the trough on either side, and the applause he was getting too. As the public cheered him on playful Lasayen changed his game and sat right in the water trough with his hind legs right inside as he scratched, making even more water spill out! This game attracted his friend Ndotto who came running over and head-butted him in the water trough which drew even more laughs from the public; what a pair!

17 April 2016

The orphans settled down to browse again out in the forest after their 9am milk bottle. As many were busy browsing, Roi had a busy time charging and chasing after some warthogs that were trying to graze alongside the orphans. As she was busy charging them she unknowingly chased them right to where Kiko was busy browsing. This gave Kiko a fright and ran away where he suddenly bumped into Roi which ended up frightening her too! She ran away shouting loudly trying to find where the other orphans were. Oltaiyoni, Siangiki, Mbegu and Naseku all popped out of the bushes running to meet her to see what was happening. As trio met Roi Kiko just stood tall nearby watching them all comfort Roi and settle her down. Kiko tried to approach them but he was not lucky as Oltaiyoni and Siangiki charged at him, seeing him run to join Pea and Pod who were busy browsing not far away.

18 April 2016

When Kiko came out of his stockade this morning he was reluctant to go out into the bush and instead walked all the way down to the milk mixing area ad enjoyed browsing on the acacias there until his milk was ready – then is was used to lead him out to the bush and into the forest! Out in the forest around 2pm he had the chance encounter with three female giraffes plus two young giraffe boys! At first he shied away but the females kept following him and appealing to him to join them. They waited patiently as Kiko slowly approached them until one of the boys his size approached him too and they spent some time smelling each other! They also rubbed their necks against each other but this was a bit too much for Kiko and he ran back to his keepers. The two little boys tried to follow him, wanting to spend more time with him and their mothers stood back still watching. Kiko stayed put with his keepers for a few minutes, and later turned back to join his wild friends again. They all stayed together until it was time for Kiko to come home again. When he was called to come home he left his wild friends but before reaching his keeper one of his wild friends came running after him not wanting him to go but this sudden run scared Kiko and he ran all the way back to the stockades and into his pen.

19 April 2016

There was a bit of drama during public viewing today – soon after the first group had drank their milk bottles, Ndotto walked away from his bottle and started bumping against the public that were standing along the rope cordon. After doing this for some time he changed his game and sat down on the ground close to the cordon and started playing – lying down, head stand poses and at one point sitting down on his hind and posing with his trunk high in the air – he is such a little entertainer! After the second group of orphans walked in and they were busy bottle feeding, greedy Olsekki showed off by quickly downing his bottle ad chasing poor Kauro as he was trying to enjoy his milk! Olsekki defied all the commands from the keepers intent on his greedy action and he ended up making poor Kauro drop his milk bottle and before the keeper could reach it Olsekki picked it up and ran off, challenging the keepers as he scampered around between the other orphans. He and the drama he was creating really captured the attention of the visiting public. When he had finished the bottle he went into the mud pool and started a funny game of splashing the water with his legs, going deep into the water and blowing the water high out of his trunk and trumpeting. He really can be a bit of a show off sometimes!

20 April 2016

Today Pea and Pod decided to spend their day with the older orphans unlike other days which they like to spend more in the company of the babies. Though when they were with older orphans today Tusuja, Mwashoti, Alamaya and Rapa were teasing them charging and chasing after them when they fed close to them. The big birds knew how to trick them though and would challenge them by running very fast and when the babies followed them they would suddenly stop and start spinning round fast with their wings open; something which frightened the naughty Tusuja and Rapa and which sent them running back yelling out loud in protest, and leaving Mwashoti and Alamaya who spread their ears wide at Pea and Pod but they just ran away again in a zig-zagging motion. Mwashoti and Alamaya were left to bash the bushes down and trumpet with their ears wide as a show of defiance to the birds! As Mwashoti and Alamaya were busy with this show of strength they accidentally had a head-on collision whilst they were both stamping around! Mwashoti fell on his side and this annoyed him. He got up quickly and walked away from Alamaya, bringing an end to that whole game and leaving Pea and Pod finally in a bit of peace to enjoy their browsing.

21 April 2016

The day started extremely chilly and wet with a downpour of heavy rain which meant the orphan herd began their day in a happy and cheerful mood! Out in the field they were all witnessed rolling around in the wet and muddy soil enjoying a fresh mud bath. The big orphans like Sirimon, Enkikwe, Olsekki, Sokotei, Oltaiyoni, Siangiki and Boromoko were all busy rolling around and provided fine play mates for the younger boys such as Lasayen, Ndotto, Rapa and Ngilai who enjoyed bumping, climbing and scratching against them. At one point Lasayen, Ndotto and Ngilai were all piling on top of Boromoko… except for Ngilai who could not quite reach and in his best attempts he just slid down Boromoko’s back. They happy time came to an end though when Rapa pushes Lasayen who was on Boromoko which made him fall down on his head and yell out loudly. This scared the young boys from playing on Boromoko any further which just left Rapa but Boromoko did not allow him to play with him anymore when he saw he was not playing nicely with the others. He warned him away and pushed him, and Rapa went off to where Tusuja, Roi and Dupotto were playing. Out during public visiting the orphans remained calm and there were no major activities except for between Enkikwe and Sokotei. They began a pushing game that saw Enkikwe accidentally fall into the mud bath and he slipped whilst trying to challenge Sokotei. As he tried to come out of the mud bath, Sokotei was guarding his exists and would not let him come out. Whenever he tried to come out Sokotei would just push him back in. Enkikwe is clever though and eventually he used his front feet to kick a load of muddy water in Sokotei’s face and soon he turned away so Enkikwe could finally come out of the water.

22 April 2016

Having spent a very busy day yesterday rolling around in the mud and enjoying the rain, today the orphans went out into the bush without much activity. They just busied themselves with browsing on the bushes. As some were slowly browsing, Kamok, Naseku, Balguda, Siangiki, Roi and Alamaya were all seen walking very fast and browsing further than the others. As they were busy seeing who could browse faster than the other, they came across two male impalas that were rutting with each other. They frightened these two male impala who suddenly jumped past the group and this sent them scampering back and yelling out for their keepers; except for Balguda who remained unshaken and who lagged behind the others, but still with his ears wide and trumpeting in protest.

23 April 2016

As the second group of orphans was coming down to the public viewing area they walked in an unusual way; normally the greedy boys will always come running down to get their bottle but today greedy Olsekki, Enkikwe, Sokotei and Boromoko were all seen walking rather daintily down as they allowed others to pass them… this is something they have never done before! Soon after finishing their bottles, two warthogs stole the show by dramatically rolling in the muddy soil right next to the rope cordon. However their jovial moment of enjoying the mud bath took a new twist when Kauro began charging and chasing them around the mud pool… but poor Kauro accidentally slipped and fell into the mud himself! He got out though and followed the warthogs who had moved on to enjoy the water of a little running stream that had formed in the area from the rainfall. Kauro kicked a huge amount of water at them which saw them run away into the nearby bushes leaving Kauro charging and trumpeting as he enjoyed running alongside the water kicking it with his feet in victory.

24 April 2016

The day began very wet as we received frequent downpours all morning. This meant Maxwell also began his day in a playful mood running around his stockade and rolling in his muddy soil. He showed off dramatic styles in his game – rolling onto his back and posing with his legs in the air. From here Maxwell would suddenly start running around and then dig his horn into the wet soil and scoop huge chunks of soil to throw them in the air and then he span around very fast before finally relaxing along the wooden fence, sharpening and grooving his horn on the wooden posts. He has a very playful morning! During public visiting today it was very wet and still raining, which meant that after the orphans had drunk their milk they remained restless and even tried to walk off back into the forest; perhaps because they could not hear Edwin speaking either, which they have come to learn means they should stay in the feeding area. They were all hard to control as Oltaiyoni remained restless and since she was rumbling and calling her herd together to follow her back out to the bush to enjoy the downpour there, under the trees browsing.

25 April 2016

It was another rainy day today and it rained almost the entire day. This did not deter the orphans from enjoying their daily activities though and all were see happy and playful as they walked out to the bush in the morning. During public visiting we had heavy downpour again and the stream on the way to the milk feeding area was full to the brim, meaning little ones like Murit, Ngilai, Godoma and Lasayen took slow deliberate steps to cross through but the older ones crossed with ease. As they were running towards their keepers at their different feeding points greedy Sokotei slipped on his hind leg in his haste to reach his bottle. He tried to get up but the wet and slippery ground made it tricky from him and it took him several attempts – he started to yell out as he was struggling and his friends were now already enjoying their milk bottles! He finally managed and went straight to his bottle, very thirsty and serious with his ears held out. As it continued to rain the orphans remained restless around the mud bath area and tried to sneak back out to the bush again. Kamok and Kauro seemed to be enjoying themselves through and were busy interacting with the visitors along the rope cordon, making them muddy as they happily enjoyed touching the orphans. Playful Kamok was trying to shelter herself under the visitors umbrella’s too, with the cunning intension of also trying to pull the umbrellas down – the visitors roared with excitement as this funny interaction with Kamok and Kauro and they had a great time.

26 April 2016

Settling out in the field in the early morning the orphan herd were all extremely calm, busy walking out and about the thicket browsing on shrubs and delicious new green shoots. None seemed interested in playing or enjoying a mud bath unlike previous days when playing and rolling in the mud was the only thing they wanted to do! As the orphans were enjoying their browsing session Balguda, Siangiki, Naseku, Sokotei, Oltaiyoni, Enkikwe, Sirimon, Boromoko and Olsekki happened upon a lone male buffalo that was busy enjoying a mud bath. As it was busy rolling in the mud it posing saw Balguda and the group to stand dead still with their ears spread intensely watching the buffalo and its next move until Oltaiyoni trumpeted loudly; this prompted the buffalo to stand up suddenly and see Oltaiyoni and group trumpet and march towards him, with their ears held out wide. This caused the buffalo to run off into the thicket, leaving the orphan group charging and trumpeting around, bashing bushes down as a show of their strength. This game soon came to an end though when the keepers cautioned them for their rebellious behaviour. A few days ago Pea and Pod were moved from a stable to a stockade next to Naseku and for the last few days they have been showing their displeasure at this move. They have been firmly resisting going back into their stockade in the afternoon and sometimes run away from the keepers back into the bush. Today when it was time to walk back to the stockades in the afternoon, the keepers approached them as usual to walk them back and they quickly sprinted far away to avoid going back. This presented a challenge for the keepers and it took some time convincing them to come home – it was almost 6pm when the ostriches finally returned home.

27 April 2016

As the orphans were going out into the field this morning soon after coming out of their stockades, Alamaya had a happy time chasing after Roi trying to climb on her. Roi was running about in the thicket and Alamaya was trying to find her to climb on her. The game attracted the attention of Boromoko and Kauro and both joined in the chase. As Alamaya was running he accidentally tripped over a tree stump and unluckily for him Boromoko and Kauro decided to climb on him instead while he was on the ground! Roi charged and trumpeted around protesting as Alamaya yelled out because of the heavy weight of both the big bulls on him. Alamaya’s yells attracted Oltaiyoni and Siangiki who came running to the scene to see what was happening, and as they approached Boromoko and Kauro knew they had to leave and Alamaya was able to get up at last. The public visiting area is pure mud and none of the orphan herd are interested in mud bathing and instead they prefer to walk along the rope cordon interacting with the public – Sokotei, Enkikwe and Olsekki even tried to force their way through to where the public were standing! These boys were proving a handful for their keepers and when they tried to control Enkikwe and Olsekki they just pushed their tusks against them as they tried to walk into the public. Boys will always remain difficult and naughty since they always want to prove their strength.

28 April 2016

Sometimes it is hard having two orphans of the same age in our orphan herd, especially girls. Mbgeu and Dupotto are the same age and because Mbegu displays more matriarchal qualities some times, this does not always sit well with Dupotto who tries to challenge her. Ngilai was the cause of today’s rivalry between them during public visiting. Everyone was busy – if they were not playing they were feeding on the greens laid out for them for the visiting time. Just as with human children, sometimes the orphans can feel that what others have is better than what they have themselves; and what looks good is what is on someone else’s plate! Ngilai went over and snatched some of the green that Godoma was feeding on, but Godoma did not want to give him any. Ngilai fought to take the branch from her but this was going on in front of Mbegu. She gave them some time to resolve their own differences but after they failed to do so she had to intervene by pushing Ngilai away to separate them. Ngilai started complaining by shouting at this attracted the attention of Dupotto. Dupotto came over and started a fight with Mbegu but Mbegu was not standing for it. Neither of them was prepared to give up and the keepers had to intervene to bring peace amongst the middle group!

29 April 2016

With the presence of lions around the National Park close to the orphanage, Kiko, Pea and Pod stayed in their stockades until it was confirmed it was safe. This was hard for Kiko who has become quite naughty of late and he is fully prepared to stand his ground. He normally goes the way he chooses and while in the stockade he was struggling to get out, but in vain. Later in the afternoon when it was confirmed the lions had gone, the three were let out into the forest. Kiko, proving how desperate he was to reach the forest, set off at a high speed, kicking in the air with both feet. The same went for Pea and Pod, as soon as their gate was opened they also set off – also proving what fast runners they are as they soon overtook Kiko. Kiko fought hard to catch up but he couldn’t, try as he might. As they all ran towards the forest, Enkikwe, Siangiki, Naseku and Roi were watching from a distance. As they got closer to the babies the four orphans raised their ears high ready to send them back the way they had come! As the orphans went to drive them away, Kiko was also trying to kick at them, helping his friends Pea and Pod. It turned into a game of four against three and all were enjoying this great game. When Kiko, Pea and Pod were jumping over short bushes trying to run away from the elephant babies, the elephants were following behind, bashing those short bushes down using their feet and trunks. The game went on for some time until Sirimon came over to chase Roi and Naseku. He engaged Enkikwe in a wrestling game while Siangiki decided to call it off to go and browse. Kiko settled down to eat his favourite greens – the thorniest ones – and Pea and Pod accompanied him whilst eating grass.

30 April 2016

It has been pouring with rain heavily from last night up to this morning. With the sound of the rain beating on the roof, new little Ambo did not sleep well at all. As the older orphans went out into the forest, the baby group were left behind in the stables as we waited for the weather to improve. As it continued to rain, the majority of the orphans convened under the trees. Galla, however, was delighted with the rain – is was rolling and wallowing in the mud all alone! He never stopped rolling in the mud – he would only browse for a short while and then went back to rolling in the mud again. The rain went on even during public visiting. It was very animated as everyone was slipping and sliding in the mud – the babies and the keepers as well! With the state of the area around the mud bath some of the babies did not move at all after drinking their milk. Galla was still in his good mood and even enjoyed the mud bath as the others just watched him. Ndotto and Lasayen were the other two that brought the visiting time to life as they began playing and trying to climb on each other. They wrestled along the rope cordon and then Ndotto even tried to plant muddy trunk-kisses on the visitors standing there!