This month was significant because the new orphans were settling into their new routine and getting to know their new family in the Nursery, whilst the older orphans adjusted to the changes that the arrival of the newcomers had caused. Ukame and Wanjala were moved to the stockades adjacent to Maxwell the rhino’s on the other side, and to begin with they were very unhappy with the new arrangement! Even having been escorted by the whole herd, they still gave their keepers a hard time; as the month wore on they got used to it. Tamiyoi, on the other hand, was delighted with her position next to a new baby and hung her trunk through the partition all night, in an effort to touch and caress the baby. Ambo, too, loves his new pen and runs in there every night as fast as he can. He is very playful and wants to play with his neighbor, Malima, who, unfortunately for him is more focused on her food! In fact, every night it is amusing to watch the babies attempt to steal food from each other through their partitions; the saying “the grass is always greener’ apparently rings true! One afternoon Ndotto was busy stealing branches from Maramoja, while Lasayen was happily munching away on what Ndotto thought he had saved for later! Obviously he was not happy to discover that his own tasty stash of grewia branches had been eaten as well.
As the rain fell this month, the new babies were worried to begin with by the sound it made on the tin roof of their stable. As usual, Maxwell was ecstatic, as he loves the feeling of rain on his back, and ran around his Stockade in excitement, chasing the warthogs that dared to enter and steal his delicious lucerne.
New arrivals are often bullied slightly by the young bulls in the orphan family, even if they are older and bigger! It is as if they are taking advantage of the newcomers’ somewhat shy personality whilst they settle in, but as soon as they find their feet, the tables are quickly turned. Rapa has often bullied Pare but this month Pare returned the challenge! Rapa pushed Pare so hard that he would have fallen save for a tree that propped him, after which he initiated a Pushing Game so challenging that Rapa ended up retreating into the bushes! Lasayen is still a bit of a bully towards Ukame, and has to be watched. Sometimes he blocks her path and stops her from walking along certain routes. Soon she will learn not to tolerate this behaviour though and then Lasayen will be in for some disciplining. Of course none of the tussling is ever allowed to get out of hand with our elephant Keepers vigilant at all times, and there to intervene if necessary.
Although they are not usually very rough with the baby group, the older males like Kelelari, Karisa and Pare are not particularly interested in the smallest ones, and often run away from them when the youngsters persist in wanting attention! It is, of course, Mbegu and the younger females like Godoma, Malima and Malkia who are obsessed with the young babies and often wander off in order to find them in their small separate group. One male that bucks the trend is Luggard who, having spent so much time with the babies due to his bad leg and being unable to walk as far as his age-mates, adores the babies and will now not go out in the morning unless he is accompanying them! Mundusi, a young boy who was rescued at the end of March, joined the orphans for the first time out in the forest this month, but was struggling to settle in and trust his new human family. He found a friend in Ndiwa who was also rescued at the end of March, and later on in Luggard too, and he enjoys browsing in his their company when he wanders off from the main herd in search of him and the babies. Ndiwa has picked up a naughty habit of sneaking off and returning to the stockades, doing this sometimes twice a day and sometimes in the company of others too. She, Mundusi and Mteto have often been caught returning to the stockades in search for more milk and are becoming quite greedy characters! Enkesha once managed to lure these three down to the mudbath but it was only so that she could enjoy her own private mud bath, whilst the other three began yelling for their milk bottles that they thought were coming!
Kuishi has another funny habit, as she always runs down for her milk at public visiting, trumpeting and making such a fuss that causes havoc down by the mud bathing areas as the Keepers struggle to control the visitors who become scared by her rowdy entrance! She is one amongst others like Godoma, Esampu, Sana Sana and Ngilai who keep far away from the water on cloudy and cold days running away from the Keepers when they spot them carrying the shovels that portent an unwanted shower is at hand!
Sweet Solio, our independent 7 year old rhino now living wild in Nairobi National Park, chose to visit us and Maxwell this month. She spent the night around the compound area which kept Maxwell awake and in a frenzy all night and when she left to return to the forest after her eating her lucerne in the morning; he finally went back to sleep after a long night of excitement playing with Solio through the bars of his Stockade.
Kiko, our 20 month old giraffe, changes his mind from one day to the next – sometimes he is bursting to get out into the forest and on other days he is desperate to return to the Stockade Area. He was very well behaved towards the end of the month though and did not give his keepers any trouble returning to his stockade in the evening. He seems to have overcome his obstinate ways for the time being!