Keepers' Diaries, April 2017

Nairobi Nursery Unit

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.

01 April 2017

Ambo and Enkesha were the first morning callers for all the orphans this morning. Ambo started knocking and pushing on his door, struggling to get out at around 5 o’clock this morning. It was still too dark for all the orphans to go out yet but the more Ambo pushed on his gate making a noise, the more Enkesha responded by screaming. This went on for some time and then Esampu on the other side of the stockades got involved with the screaming. Just before 6am it was decided to let Enkesha and Ambo out of their stockades to let them roam around. They both ran around in joy, Enkesha running behind Ambo and rumbling. In front of Jotto and Tamiyoi’s stables there is an open space and they turned this into their playground. They were running after each other and trumpeting like very excited babies. Meanwhile everyone could now watch their game and they were pushing and pulling on their gates, climbing on the walls and struggling to get out to join the others in their game. It turned into a game for them all for as soon as they were let out of their pens, each one went to join in the game unfolding in the courtyard area. Murit, Pare, Lasayen and Ngilai were involved in a game of hide and seek, while others were rolling on the ground and climbing on each other, like Jotto and Tamiyoi. The game came to an end when the keepers started to lead them out into the forest. At 9am we received a call from the Masai Mara that a small calf had been found all alone. A rescue team left by 10am and was back at the Nursery by 2pm. The girl was very tiny and less than a week old. She was very weak and had obviously been alone for some time.

02 April 2017

Yesterday afternoon Ukame and Wanjala did not want to enter their stockades; even with the whole herd escorting them there, it still didn’t help and it took the keepers about an hour or persuading to get the two into their pens! Ukame and Wanjala are not happy with their move, but with time they will get used to it, as they always do. At 6.30am a rescue team left heading to Kabarnet in Baringo county. This was to collect a baby after we had received a call from Rimoi game reserve last night informing us about the calf. By 10.45am the team were back with the calf which was under a month old. It was still on a drip and looking very weak. It is a girl who we have named Rimoi, and it was reported she had been found fallen down a gully. With the arrival of Rimoi, Ambo was promoted to a stockade in the Nursery and he has proven to be a cool boy – not giving any trouble to the keepers about going into his new room. In fact he looked much happier in there being so close to Malima too, and they started playing with each other immediately.

03 April 2017

As soon as the baby group reached the forest, Enkesha, Esampu and Mbegu were ready to receive them. Esampu was so happy to meet the smallest of them and she managed to take her away from Mbegu who had been surrounded by the other small babies. She was good to the little tiny girl who was walking around the place and who enjoyed suckling on Esampu’s ears. Meanwhile Enkesha was playing with the hanging blanket that had been put there for the babies! The time these three spent with the babies came to an end when it was time for them to go for their 9am milk feed. After their milk, the main herd went back to the stockades to escort Mundusi out to the field. Some waited beside Maxwell’s stockade while a select few actually went forward to his stockade to escort him out. When his gate was opened he came forward with his ears raised high, ready to charge at anyone. Murit went forward to stop him from charging and gave him a little push down, and after that lesson he behaved himself and moved out with them to the forest. They joined those that were waiting beside Maxwell’s stockade and they all walked out together with Mundusi in tow. Out in the bush he did not pay much attention to his new family, but only to Ndiwa who he kept following around. He did not attend the public visit today, but stayed in the forest. Ndotto made sure that Rapa was not able to bully him either, which is all down to his sweet nature for welcoming new orphans. Before 5pm when all the orphans return home, he was escorted back by Galla, Godoma, Tamiyoi and Mbegu. He went into his pen without any problems.

04 April 2017

Tamiyoi is very happy being next to a baby in the night stockades. She loves the younger one and understands the importance of being close to the babies, and what it means to them. Before the little boy came she used to sleep next to Jotto, but now the little baby has moved next door and she constantly hangs her trunk across the wooden bars separating their rooms, touching the little one. Takaywa is still settling down and sometimes tries to climb up the wooden slats trying to get to Tamiyoi’s room. It was all about celebrating in the main orphan herd during the early morning hours this morning. Ambo, Galla, Tamiyoi Rapa and Godoma led this movement of excitement as they ran around trumpeting and stamping their feet around in a joyous mood. They wound up their happy game with a soil dusting on the loose soil that was heaped up and meant for the little babies to play on later. Mundusi’s second day out in the forest has gone okay without any dramas. Ndiwa has developed a new habit of sneaking away from the rest of the group and heading back to the stockades – it is a habit we hope she won’t teach Mundusi as the two have become quite close recently. Today she made about four separate appearances alone to the stockade compound! Karisa, who is known to be a quiet and calm boy, today has been acting quite different. He has been so playful the whole day and even engaged Lasayen in a pushing and climbing game.

05 April 2017

Solio paid Maxwell a visit last night! She arrived just after 9pm and she found Maxwell asleep. When he heard her he got up and started charging around in different directions. It was hard for the keepers to approach Solio at first as they were not sure if she was alone or not. She decided to spend the night beside Maxwell’s stockade until the morning when the keepers started moving around the elephant started coming out of their pens. She then started calling for lucerne and when she was finished with the meal, she vanished into the forest. This was also good for Max because as soon as she left, he went back to sleep after a long night of unrest and moving around. Ngilai and Malima have spent their day together out in the bush and sharing browse. It is so funny to watch Ngilai as he is one of those babies that seems to love the camera. When a film crew was here today he was always one tracking the camera and pulling funny poses! Ambo hardly leaves Mbegu’s side when they are out in the forest. He is often under her neck whilst feeding or just doing his own thing close by. Sometimes Dupotto will stand in for Mbegu whenever she is away or visiting the very little ones of late. Jotto seems to be recalling the days of the hanging blanket today and he sneaked away from the main herd to go and spend some time with Musiara’s baby team. As Musiara and Chumvi have been in the baby herd the longest, they always think that everything, the Keepers or blanket or anything else around, belongs to them. Musiara is always jealous of who comes near the Keepers or plays with the hanging blanket too. Jotto made the mistake of playing with the blanket, but facing in the opposite direction. Musiara had not seen him approach the blanket but when he noticed his presence he pushed him from behind. As Jotto turned around Musiara tried to charge him, but Jotto knew this was just baby behaviour and walked away to save upsetting the little one.

06 April 2017

As the orphans went out to the field this morning the weather was so chilly from last night’s rain. The rain is a blessing to all the wild animals – buffalos were still around enjoying the results of the rain last night as the babies went into the forest. They are quite tricky and dangerous animals, the buffalos, and you cannot always detect their presence. The elephants were walking towards them as they went further into the wood and as they got closer the buffalos decided to run away. They were not aware of the animal but only the stamping footsteps, which sent Ngilai leading the run back to the stockades for safety. Esampu, the trumpeter, and Ukame were leading the trumpeting team as they ran behind the group. Whilst almost the whole herd turned back to the stockades in fear, Karisa, Kelelari and Ndotto were not even bothered by the commotion and simply carried on browsing. The other group would only come back and settle with lots of reassurance from their keepers that all was well. They decided to relocate to a different feeding area whilst the three other boys would only join them for the milk feed a bit later on. At one point today one of the little babies had to receive an antibiotic injection. Mbegu was browsing with the main herd quite a distance away but she heard it shouting from the pain of the injection and ran all the way, ears raised and calling out to save the baby. She had to be calmed down by the keepers not attending to the baby, who reassured her that all was fine with the little one. She spent some time with the baby after, before returning to the main herd once she was sure all was well. Kiko spent some time out in the forest with the elephants this afternoon, though it didn’t take long before he was demanding to return back to the stockades – it has been a long time since he has spent a whole day out in the forest.

07 April 2017

It was a sleepless night for the two babies Musiara and Chumvi last night due to the long downpour and the sound of the rain on their roofs. They were both screaming and moving around their rooms the whole night. They were the loudest but they were not the only ones who were affected by the rain as Esampu, Tagwa, Lasayen, Kuishi and Wanjala were also bothered. Maxwell on the other hand, couldn’t contain his excitement and was running around in happiness, chasing the warthogs who were feeding on his food. He enjoyed running after them and found it even more fun when they got stuck at his gate, teasing them as if he was going to hit them with his horn. He wound up his exiting morning with a lengthy mud bath. He fell asleep on the edge of his mud bath and was woken up by the heat of the sun later on. As we wait for the rains to come, the orphans still have to walk further into the forest to find good browse. For this reason Luggard has joined the baby group again, for the time being, so he does not have to walk as far on his bad leg. He also happens to like his keepers, just like little Musiara. Today Musiara has been trying to charge at poor Luggard whenever he seeks some attention from the keepers and he didn’t allow any of the other babies to play with the hanging blanket – it seems he is a very jealous baby for the time being! Ambo seems to love his new room so much and loves running into it in the afternoon when it is time for bed. When he came home this afternoon he was in a very playful mood, wanting to play with Malima all the time. Malima was only interested in stealing Ambo’s food however, from the other side of the pen. Ambo then decided to guard his meal by staying by his food and whenever Malima starched her trunk to through to his side to steal some branches, he charged at the wood divider to fend her off!

08 April 2017

Two babies of very different character but of the same attitude towards little ones, decided to walk away from the main herd in the early morning hours. It was Tamiyoi and Esampu that decided to visit the baby group this morning – Esampu known for her cheeky and greedy behaviour, and Tamiyoi for her polite and calm character, most of the time. As all the orphans were browsing in the thick forest, the keepers there just thought they were with the herd, and did not realise they had gone to see the babies until the 9am feed when they were reunited with the rest of the main herd – they were both so happy to have been given the chance to spend that time with the babies. Ndiwa has still not stopped her habit of revisiting the stockade in the middle of the day at unusual hours – today she did it twice. The first time she was accompanied by Mbegu, Jotto and Tamiyoi. The second one was whilst everyone was waiting to go for the private visit and 3pm milk feeding time. She was met by some keepers on her way down to the stockades, accompanied by Ukame, and led back to the group in the forest.

09 April 2017

Rapa often bullies Pare when they are together but today Pare decided to challenge him back! This is a common trait for new arrivals in the nursery who, despite their age, size or strength, often respect those in the nursery due to the time they have already spent there and the bonds they have made. So the new ones are shy and just accept they will be pushed around a bit by their peers until they have found their place in the Nursery. Pare was having a nice pushing game with Karisa when Rapa came over and pushed him. He almost fell down but thankfully there was a big tree next to him which kept him upright. He steadied himself and then took on Rapa in a wrestling game and eventually Rapa had to surrender and run into the bushes! The same happened earlier between Ukame and Lasayen – as Ukame has been experiencing the same problem as Pare. Lasayen had tried to block Ukame from entering the mud bathing area, pretending to drink water from the stream at the entrance. It took the intervention of the keepers for him to allow her access, despite her being older and bigger! She will stand up to him eventually we are sure, and Lasayen will learn to respect his elders.

10 April 2017

Mundusi is not yet fully settled into the orphan family, even after spending a few days out in the forest with his new family. He doesn’t show much interest in the herd, but Mteto has been trying to reach out to him recently. It seems today Mteto tried to use Maramoja and Ndiwa to win Mundusi over as well. Mteto and the two girls were together for some time exchanging trunks, before walking over to where the young boy was standing all alone. When they got to where he was standing though, he walked away from them, and went into the thicket. He disappeared there for some time and when the keepers went to look for him later, they found him lying down, some distance away, in the bushes. Because he is still not completely trusting of his human family, and sometimes charges at them, he does not go for the public visiting time just yet. Back at the stockades in the evening, it is funny to watch almost all the babies try and steal food from their neighbour. Ndotto was unlucky today as when he was struggling to pull Maramoja’s branches through the bars separating their stockade, Lasayen was busy eating his that he thought he was saving for later! When he turned back to his stash of food he found it had gone, as his naughty friend Lasayen had taken it all.

11 April 2017

From today the little babies will always be visited by their older friends for at least 2 or 3 hours a day – which the younger babies are delighted with, and the opportunity to suckle on the older elephant’s ears. Normally the older ones visit the babies after public visiting and whilst some are not bothered by the younger ones at all, for others, like Esampu, Maramoja, Godoma, Malkia, Sana Sana, Malima and Mbegu, it is a precious moment and puts a big smile on their elephant faces. They live to visit the little ones and spend some time with them. Dupotto was there too but only for a short time as she was not too friendly with one of the babies, so she went to join Kelelari, Galla, Wanjala and Ukame who had less interest in the babies. They had moved deep into the forest to browse. All in all if there were any elephants who had the most fun with the little babies then it was Mbegu and Malima, as they refused to leave the babies even when all the others had started to walk away, and stayed with them right up until the 3pm milk feeding time. Even then Mbegu wasn’t a walk in the park for the keepers and gave the keepers a rough time trying to escort the babies back towards the stockade area. After the private visit though Mbegu managed to sneak away from the herd in the company of Tamiyoi, Jotto and Malkia to visit the babies again, and the keepers had to come and walk her back to the forest.

12 April 2017

There was a fiasco this morning when all the orphans were crowded together and busy browsing, and two jackals jumped out of the same bushes that the orphans were feeding from. They had two pieces of fresh meat in their mouths and because they were small they could run under the orphans’ feet! Mbegu, Godoma, Dupotto, Ndotto and Rapa went wild, charging, trumpeting and chasing them away. The herd of elephants ran in different directions trying to get at the jackals, and then the jackals all ran in different directions which confused all the elephants who ran all over the place. Eventually the jackals managed to dodge the elephants and disappear into the bushes, leaving the orphans confused which way to go. Mbegu and Ndotto were the most furious and continued stamping around in the bushes, but when they could not find them Mbegu and her small team eventually gave up and went back to browsing with the others. Today, Mundusi, who still hasn’t settled completely into the herd, found a new friend in the afternoon. He had been left behind with his keeper when the rest of the herd went down for public visiting; he doesn’t mind staying alone as long as he has a keeper nearby. But all of a sudden he left the keeper and walked off. The keeper traced his steps and found he was walking to where Luggard and the baby group were in the forest. When Luggard saw him coming he walked to meet him and the two had a lengthy conversation and browsed together. It was nice to see Mundusi making a friend in this way.

13 April 2017

Today the boy that loves to play, Jotto, decided to have some fun enticing naughty girl Esampu into a game with him, and luckily Esampu was in a different mood today. There was no fighting, just having a good time with little Jotto. Jotto happens to be such a kind orphan who always wants to put a smile on everyone’s face, no matter their age, size or character. The two enjoyed a game of hide and seek around the bushes, wrestling and climbing on each other. During the babies’ hourly visit from the older herd this morning, Mbegu handed over the main responsibility to Godoma and Malkia who enjoyed plenty of time looking after the young babies. Sana Sana was involved as well, watching what the other two were doing with the little ones. She stayed a few steps behind Godoma and Malkia, seemingly not very accustomed to the young babies and their trunk touching and ear suckling habits. Ngilai and Rapa were sent away by the keepers after they started misbehaving. Ngilai kept following one of the babies around, pulling at his hind legs and trying to bite his tail. Rapa was also chasing some of the babies and trying to climb on them. They were very lucky that Mbegu did not see them or discipline them, as she usually does with those that mistreat young babies. The main herd would not leave the babies before having some fun on the heap of loose soil that has been made for them in the forest. On their way to the 3pm milk feeding time, Pare, Mundusi, Kelelari and Galla were the first to dust themselves, followed by the rest of the herd once they saw how much fun those 4 were having. They dusted and rolled in the soil before continuing on with their journey to the mud bath.

14 April 2017

When the orphans arrived out in the forest Mundusi, Ndiwa and Mteto were in a very restless mood and were spotted several times trying to sneak back to the stockades. All three of these babies are becoming quite greedy characters these days for their milk, and this is why they try to sneak away from the others and back to the stockades, to see if they might be able to find any more milk. It is funny that Mundusi is always the leader of the three and yet he is the newest arrival! During public visiting today Jotto, Malima, Esampu and Ambo were enjoying cooling themselves down in the mud pool. Jotto and Malima were busy playing a pushing game and rolling and bumping against each other, though their happy game was soon challenged by the naughty Esampu. She frequently interrupted them by bumping into them, before running out of the mud bath and up to the rope cordon where the public where standing, splashing mud against them; although the visitors did not seem to mind! Esampu is one of the babies who is always prominent during the public visiting time due to her naughty behaviour!

15 April 2017

Soon after the orphans had settled to browse in the forest this morning, we watched on as Godoma, Malkia, Esampu, Malima and Tamiyoi frightened the entire orphan herd by running out of the bushes, trumpeting as they went, and running towards where the baby group was relaxing. The babies were yelling amongst themselves too, and fighting over who got right of the hanging blanket. Godoma’s group led the whole herd over, and when they arrived they enjoyed touching and embracing the little babies, though Kelelari, Karisa and Pare all shied away from being touched by the babies. One of the babies started following Kelelari, which saw him run away from the herd as he didn’t want to play with them. The little one cried out when she couldn’t reach him, but Tamiyoi, Godoma and Malkia rushed over to comfort her and she enjoyed being patted all over with their trunks.

16 April 2017

As the orphans were walking out of their stockades and into the forest, Ndotto, Lasayen, Rapa and Ngilai were busy chasing after Kuishi and Mteto, struggling over who would be the first to climb on these two orphans! At one point all the boys chased after Kuishi with Rapa in the lead, which really made her yell out in protest. Lucky Mteto had managed to escape the naughty boys and ran into a thicket. Kuishi’s yelling saw Dupotto, Maramoja and Ukame all run after them to rescue her from the troublesome boys. As soon as Ndotto, Lasayen and Ngilai saw the big girls coming towards them, they ran away for fear of being disciplined. Ukame ran after Ngilai which prompted him to yell out! But she turned back to check on Kuishi who rumbled with appreciation as Dupotto and Maramoja joined her.

17 April 2017

During the public visit today the orphans were not as active as usual as it was a cloudy and chilly day so they certainly didn’t feel like playing in the mud. None were even interested in soil bathing as they had been during the previous sunny, dry weather that has predominated over the last few months. It was quite funny to witness even Enkesha, who is a mud-bathing rock star, shying away from the mud pool after testing the temperature. Godoma, Esampu, Sana Sana, Kuishi and Ngilai kept themselves far away from the mud pool once they saw the keepers passing out shovels, which they use in order to assist with the mud bathing activity. If the keepers happened to walk towards or close to them with the shovel, they quickly moved away from what they thought was cold mud! They all decided to browse on the greens provided there for them instead, which they ate for the duration of the visit today.

18 April 2017

The day started off cloudy which soon turned to light rainfall which saw some orphans like Murit, Malima, Ambo, Tagwa, Malkia and Mundusi to stay inside their stockades, unhappy and unwilling to get wet! Murit, Mundusi, Malima and Ambo yelled in frustration as they saw the other orphans happily walking out and enjoying the rain. Even when the keepers came to talk to them, they moved back further into the depths of their stockades, not wanting to come out in the rain, and they stayed put until it had stopped! Since Luggard has been spending so much time with the babies recently, he has started acting like one too! It’s always interesting to watch him walk out in the morning with the older orphans, but as soon as he reaches the end of Maxwell’s stockade and realises the babies are not yet out of their stables, he keeps yelling and turning back, walking to stand and wait for them outside their pens. Today he walked out of his stockade but refused to walk any further when he saw Musiara and Chumvi still inside their rooms. Out in the forest when he is taken over to where the big orphans are browsing, he runs back to stay with the little ones; it probably helps that he always gets his milk like them and gets provided with some yummy greens too! He doesn’t even have to search for them for long like when browsing with the older orphans. Obviosuly he does not have to walk as far as them either, and tire himself out with his bad leg. He really likes the company of the little ones!

19 April 2017

When the orphans were out in the forest this morning, Galla and Wanjala were spotted enjoying a pushing game with each other; a fierce challenge in which they sought to push each other to know who was the most dominant. They both put up a vigorous fight which eventually drew the interest of Kelelari, though when he joined the two boys they swiftly ended their duel, due to his big size and length of tusks compared to them! Thus as Kelelari presented himself as available to play with the boys, neither of them showed any interest and walked away. Their lack of interest prompted poor Kelelari to protest and stamp his feet, and begin trumpeting as well, which succeeded in drawing the attention of Galla and Wanjala, but also Karisa, Ukame, Dupotto, Maramoja and Ndiwa who all came running over and they all enjoyed a busy time of running around in and out of the bushes, trumpeting and stamping with excitement. As their excitement continued poor Ndiwa accidentally tripped on a tree root and she struggled to get back up again. This saw the group end their game as Ukame, Dupotto and Maramoja ran over to help her up! It was heartwarming to see Dupotto and Ukame even go down on their knees to support Ndiwa to stand up again, and it worked!

20 April 2017

As usual the older orphans walked out of their stables before the little ones in the early morning. But today the ones that love the babies the most like Mbegu, Godoma, Malkia, Tamiyoi, Esampu and Malima waited around in the stockades, trying to buy time and wait for the babies to come out as well. Due to the poor weather this morning the babies were being kept in their pens a bit longer this morning, so the older group waited around without success. The others in the rest of the herd had continued to walk out to the forest, so Mbegu had no other option than to leave and ran out charging and trumpeting, protesting that the babies had not come out with them that morning. On their way out they came across a group of warthogs that were also waiting around and browsing, waiting for the baby group to come out as well as they usually browse close to them during the day. Mbegu and Godoma chased the warthogs but they challenged them by disappearing into the bushes, leaving the two girls to carry on their charge into the forest to meet the rest of the group.

21 April 2017

During the public visit today many of the orphans were enjoying a lengthy mud bath with Mbegu, Ukame, Galla, Kelelari and Karisa being the first in and making such a display that it attracted the attention of all the others as well. We watched on as Mbegu and Ukame chased Rapa, Lasayen, Galla and Wanjala out of the mud pool because as soon as they came in they started trying to clamber all over poor Malkia and Tagwa as they were trying to enjoy their own bath. Ndotto was just standing around on the edge of the mud pool, and when he saw the other boys being driven away he made sure to stand very far away! Sometimes he doesn’t like to get into the mud pool at all, and just waits for others to get out so he can scratch himself on them and get some of the mud on him too! Ngilai sometimes does the same. Even on hot days when the rest are in the mud pool, he can be spotted just rolling around on the wet, loose soil on the edge.

22 April 2017

Ndotto is a baby who is always confident in himself in taking on pushing games with the older orphans, even though they are bigger than him, and his best playmate is probably Mbegu. Today in the early morning they were spotted pushing each other with playful tiny Ndotto really taking on the challenge and even trying to climb on Mbegu! Mbegu tried to warn Ndotto from taking the game too seriously, but their game had already drawn the attention of Kelelari who was jealous of Ndotto, and he came over to push Ndotto away so he could enjoy playing with Mbegu too and climbing. It was so funny to watch little Ndotto chasing after Kelelari who was chasing Mbegu through the bushes! Tiny Ndotto tried to push Kelelari away from Mbegu, though he was so small he could hardly make him move. Ndotto is a very determined little boy who is not afraid of challenging the older orphans!

23 April 2017

When the orphans settled out in the forest to browse, the majority of them, especially the young growing bulls like Ndotto, Lasayen, Ngilai, Murit, Pare, Wanjala and Karisa, were all very busy initiating and enjoying pushing games. Murit really engaged Godoma and Ngilai in a game but Ngilai did not stay there for long as he was quite intimidated by the size of Murit’s tusks! He kept raising his trunk in the air and showing them off which saw Ngilai shy away from him, leaving Murit to only take on Godoma who he happily chased around in the bushes whilst she challenged him to catch her. These days Pare and Rapa seem to becoming close playmates as well and can often be spotted enjoying pushing games with each other.

24 April 2017

Nowadays it is not just Tamiyoi but also Murit, Pare, Kelelari, Mbegu and Dupotto who can be seen running out of their stockades in the morning and into the pens of their friends like Jotto, Esampu, Malima, Kuishi, Mteto and Mundusi to see if they have any left over lucerne pellets! Thus it has been quite hard for the keepers to control them as when some of the orphans are trying to come out of their pens, others are trying to go in, or running from one stockade to the next, and it can be rather chaotic. Recently it has taken some time to get them all out to the forest! Sometimes when Mbegu, Dupotto, Kelelari and Murit fail to find any leftovers, they start protesting by knocking or shaking the stockade gates! When the keepers cautioned them today they left the stockade area yelling as they ran out to the forest.

25 April 2017

It was funny to watch Kelelari this morning walking towards Maxwell’s lucerne as he usually does, greedily approaching Maxwell’s gate where it is put for him, only to find Maxwell already there and sleeping on the delicious grass in such a way that Kelelari could not pull it out to feed on it! Kelelari decided to still put his trunk through the bars anyway to try and get some of the tasty lucerne, but in the process he brushed Maxwell’s nose which gave him such a fright he jumped up with a start, which in turn frightened Kelelari and he ran away yelling to join his friends who were already walking out to the forest. Kelelari’s behaviour made them all start charging and trumpeting, though Kelelari over took them and was far ahead, with Ndiwa, Mteto, Mundusi and Karisa chasing after him. They did not understand why they were running and why Kelelari was running so far ahead of them! Kelelari hates anyone running behind him so the more the four followed him, the further he ran, which gave the keepers some difficulty in retrieving them all. After a long struggle, they were all brought back to the main herd. Meanwhile poor Maxwell was left most disturbed in his stockade, scampering around and protesting by knocking his horn on the wooden poles of his stockade until he got tired and went to settle down in his mud pool.

26 April 2017

It was unusual this morning to see all the orphans browsing quietly and calmly without any of their usual games. Usually at least even the boys are engaged in some kind of pushing game, or trying to chase the girl and tease them by running after them. But today seemed a different start to the day than usual and the playful boys Ngilai, Ndotto, Lasayen, Rapa, Pare, Murit and Galla were all spotted being very quiet and busy browsing. However it was Enkesha who broke the morning’s peace by sneaking away from the group and leading Mundusi, Ndiwa, Kuishi and Mteto to the mud wallow where she settled into the mud pool to enjoy an early mud bath! The others were expecting to find milk bottles and when they realised there weren’t any they started yelling in protest, running back to rejoin the main herd. Enkesha did not seem bothered though and continued on with her nice mud bath until the keepers came to get and led her back to the forest.

27 April 2017

During the public visiting time today we watched as funny Kuishi came running out of the bushes, yelling and trumpeting towards the feeding area to get her bottle of milk. This entrance managed to scare all of the young orphans that were already around the mud wallow. Tamiyoi, Jotto, Malkia, Esampu and Ambo all ran towards the rope cordon where the public were standing and bumped into them, especially Esampu and Malkia who had a hide and seek game with the keepers who were trying to steer them back towards the mud wallow. They kept running either side of the rope as the keepers tried to move them back towards the others, which the public found very funny as well. After a few minutes they all settled down again and went back to the mud pool to enjoy a mud bath.

28 April 2017

As the orphans were going out into the forest this morning, they came across a troop of baboons who were also going out to begin their day of foraging. Maramoja, Wanjala, Godoma, Ukame, Karisa, Kelelari, Rapa, Ndotto, Galla, Lasayen, Sana Sana, Ngilai and Ndiwa were all walking out and as the young baboons bounced around on their mothers back and they all chatted loudly, Maramoja, Galla, Wanjala an Karisa marched after them with their ears erect and trumpeting as they stamped around, a show of strength to see the baboons away. It was funny to watch this group marching behind the baboons and eventually forcing them up into the trees to make way for them. Galla, Wanjala and Karisa came across a young baboon that had climbed a tree but could not jump to another like the other orphans. When the young baboon started chattering in protest, Galla started knocking and shaking the tree. The baboon tried to come down but the three boys would surround the tree again. Suddenly the baboon went quiet and took a leap from the tree, successfully landing down close to Galla which gave him a fright, and they all ran away to join the rest of the herd.

29 April 2017

This morning little Tamiyoi, Malkia, Jotto, Esampu and Malima frightened the rest of the group when they went rumbling and trumpeting all the way back to the stockade area. This forced the other orphans to do the same, and they went running from the forest trumpeting and complaining (about what, they did not know) following Tamiyoi’s group back to the stockades. It seems that all the first group wanted to do was a) find any leftover lucerne pellets belonging to their friends in their pens, b) Tamiyoi and Malkia wanted to meet with the little babies and escort them out to the forest; they were so happy to join them! Kiko has been a good boy today; after fighting so much to go out into the forest, he was given a chance to go and join the elephants in the forest. Ndiwa and Rapa kept chasing him away but he would only disappear for awhile before returning back to the herd. The two elephants eventually gave up on chasing him as he only kept coming back. Kiko behaved so well that even when the first group of elephants when down for the public visit, he did not fight or dodge the keepers like he normally does, he just stayed there browsing. It was not until 4pm that he decided to make his way back to the stockades; sometimes he does not go straight back to his pen but first to the car parking area to give the keepers there some trouble before walking to his pen, but today he was a very different boy and went straight to his pen to enjoy his meal placed there without bothering anyone!

30 April 2017

Some of the orphans do not like noisy environments especially when down at the public visit. When there is lots of shouting the likes of Wanjala, Sana Sana, Malkia, Rapa and Mbegu get cross. Today during the visiting time Wanjala, Rapa and Malkia got angry with those that kept making a noise. Mbegu had tried to stop them by her usual habit of splashing them with mud but this did not work, so these three decided to run at them and they crossed the rope cordon which caused the others at mud bath to trumpet and cheer them on in excitement. It took a few minutes for the keepers to calm them all down again, and the Head Keeper requested again for everyone at the visit to please be quiet!