Keepers' Diaries, April 2019

Nairobi Nursery Unit

It was very hot at the Nursery as we built up to rain and waited anxiously for its arrival, mindful of the fact that as the vegetation dried the orphans had to walk further afield in search of adequate browse.

01 April 2019

Today Kiko decided to spend his day in the compound just walking around and browsing on the trees in the area. He did not even try to go and see the elephants in the forest. Most of the time when he tries to join the elephants they just charge at him and chase him away, so he decided just to stay in the compound today and mind his own business.

Tagwa has mastered Sattao’s ‘voice’ very well. Whenever he yells or shouts out, regardless of how far he is from Tagwa, she will always hear his cry and respond. Today all the orphans were in one area and all mixed together. Tagwa, Sagala, Kuishi and Jotto were some meters away from the group. Mapia decided to push Sattao as they fought over a branch of leaves and Sattao yelled out loud. Tagwa heard and came charging over in his direction. Poor Mapia was still standing next to him and he had the branch taken away from him by Tagwa, who handed it to Sattao as they both walked away from the others.

Sometimes Luggard wants to keep up with the rest of the herd and sometimes he will keep his distance even when they are all walking in a line to a different area of the Park. After the 9am feed this morning and the orphans were all walking in a line to go back out to browse, Luggard stayed right at the back. Jotto however, an old play mate, didn’t want to leave him all on his own, and every few minutes he would walk back to check on him. At one stage he even pushed Luggard from behind, as if to try and make him keep up with the others! In the end the two friendly bulls ended up browsing in each other’s company.

02 April 2019

Enkesha recently seems determined to form her own little herd. Early this morning she was seen leading Luggard, Nabulu, Kiombo, Mukkoka and Larro into the deep thicket. The seven stayed away from the orphan herd for so long that the Keepers had to go look for them when it was time for their 9am bottles of milk. They were all found with Enkesha in the front and Larro and the others following closely behind. 

As the older group of orphans finished their midday bottles of milk, Luggard was spotted running down to the mud bath area. Luggard, who normally stays in the forest with his Keepers, today snuck off to join the older orphans and enjoyed a short wallow in the mud bath before going back to the forest. 

Maxwell seems to be enjoying Kiko’s company in the mornings. This afternoon, when Kiko was let out into the field Maxwell began to charge around his stockade and pushing against his gate, as though he wanted to follow Kiko too.

03 April 2019

Ambo and Mapia still enjoy playfully challenging each other, and Ambo often seems to be the winner in their strength testing matches. Today as Mapia was enjoying a drink of water from the hose pipe, Ambo approached him sneakily as if he wanted to steal the hose pipe. Mapia, who had noticed Ambo approaching, began to flap his ears and rumble. As the pair challenged each other for the pipe, Jotto snuck over and quickly grabbed the hose and moved off to drink some water. The boys seemed to realize they had lost the hose so they walked off in different directions. 

Kuishi is always spotted stealing the spilled milk in the wheelbarrow and she doesn’t seem to like to share this milk with any of the other orphans. Today the Keepers struggled to give the other orphans their middy bottles of milk whilst Kuishi was around as she kept blocking the orphans such as Kiombo from getting near the wheelbarrow. The Keepers had to constantly move around her and even when they did so she would try to kick at Kiombo who was waiting for his milk. 

04 April 2019

Malima is good at watching over the younger orphans, she is very protective and is always around to help them when needed. She seems to be very fond of little Larro. This morning, Sagala accidentally stood on Larro’s foot causing the young girl to trumpet loudly. Whilst Sagala was checking Larro’s foot with her trunk, as if to check that she was okay, Malima came charging over and pushed Sagala away. Sagala seemed irritated by this, and immediately turned to push back at Malima but was stopped by the Keepers who were nearby. Malima then walked off with Larro, and they were followed by Kiombo, Nabulu, and Dololo. 

During their midday feeding time and mud bath, Sagala who is normally quite quiet, was seen playing with the football around the mud hole. She placed her right front leg on the ball before kicking it towards Tagwa. Tagwa ran after the ball and pushed it towards Malima with her trunk. Malima then charged around with the ball not letting any of her friends get to it. Jotto seemed to also want to play and joined in chasing Malima around the mud hole trying to get to the ball.

05 April 2019

This morning, Maxwell enjoyed a short game with Ambo, Tamiyoi, Maisha, and Kiasa before they headed off into the forest. Maxwell was seen running from one gate to the other, playfully charging the orphans at each side. 

Most of the younger orphans seem to enjoy playing with Musiara, but he seems to avoid some of them such as Emoli who appears to be quite a naughty young bull. Today, Sattao, Maktao, Kiasa and even Mukkoka each seemed to want to play with Musiara as they all tried to get him away from the other. But their games were quickly interrupted by Emoli who came over and nudged Musiara out of the way. Musiara appeared to lose interest and moved off to browse elsewhere. He was closely followed by his friend Sattao. Once away from the others Sattao and Musiara started a strength testing game and they were quickly joined by Luggard who was browsing nearby.   

This evening, when the orphans were returning to their stockades, Larro followed Sagala all the way into her stable and refused to leave. The Keepers had to entice her out with a bottle of milk, and slowly walk her back to her stable. 

06 April 2019

Maktao and Kiasa seem to constantly be in disputes over each other’s greens in the evening. Last night, as soon as Kiasa had finished her milk she stuck her trunk through the wooden divider and began to reach for Maktao’s greens. This appeared to upset Maktao who responded by charging at her. The Keepers tried to stop the two but to no avail, as the pair continued with these activities throughout the night. 

This morning Tamiyoi wouldn’t allow any other orphans to approach the water trough where she was drinking water. She first charged Musiara, then Maisha, Enkesha and Emoli, forcing the Keepers to intervene and move her away from the water trough so that the others could have a drink. 

07 April 2019

Larro is always seen following the older orphans. Although this could be for protection and comfort, the Keepers also believe that it is due to the lack of rain in Nairobi in the past couple of months. As all the vegetation seems to be drying up the orphans have to work a little harder to reach the nicer, more succulent greens on the top branches. Tagwa, Sagala, and some of the larger females can reach these higher branches quite easily and because of this Larro is often seen near them grabbing the greens that they accidentally drop on the floor. Tagwa has sometimes been seen breaking branches and giving them to the young calf. Kiombo seems to have caught onto Larro’s strategy and was seen following her the whole of today.

The orphans spent their afternoon browsing in the forest. Mapia and Jotto began a strength testing game and wouldn’t stop despite Kuishi constantly charging at them trying to stop their fun game. 

08 April 2019

Last night around 8pm, the Nursery had a new rescue arrive. A young female estimated to be 10 months old that was rescued from the Masai Mara. She was put into the stockade neighboring Maktao’s. Maktao who at first seemed afraid of the new arrival, later calmed down and then moved closer as if to investigate who is new neighbor was. He tried to interact with her by putting his trunk through the wooden divider, but the new female seemed uninterested in interacting with him. 

Even though it has been so hot, the Keepers still have to convince some of the orphans to have a mud bath after their midday bottles of milk. Musiara, however, doesn’t need to be convinced. Once he finished his bottle of milk he walked straight into the water and began to wallow in the mud. He was soon joined by Emoli, Maktao, and Enkesha and before the end of their midday feeding time all the orphans, apart from Dololo, were in the water. Dololo doesn’t seem to enjoy wallowing in the mud. 

09 April 2019

Mukkoka is starting to behave like Mapia when he runs down for his midday bottle of milk. Like Mapia, he doesn’t want any of his friends to overtake him and is often trumpeting loudly as if to tell everyone that he is coming for his milk. 

Malima has always had a funny habit when she comes for her milk. If she arrives at the mud bath area before the other orphans and the Keepers are not ready with her bottle, she simply kneels down on her front legs and patiently waits. This continues to amaze the Keepers. 

After their midday bottle of milk, Enkesha, Mukkoka and Nabulu moved away from the other orphans, to browse quietly together, and only resurfaced when it was time for their afternoon bottles of milk. Enkesha seemed to know that the other orphans were down at the mud bath area as she was seen leading the other two. 

Larro has such a unique way of falling asleep. In the evening she falls asleep resting on the walls in her stable and then lies down as soon as she knows the day’s activities are over. 

10 April 2019

Emoli seems to be the naughtiest boy in the herd at the moment. This morning, after her had finished his bottle of milk, he playfully charged at Larro and Dololo who were drinking near the wheelbarrow and knocked Larro over. Larro who got a fright trumpeted loudly whilst getting back on her feet. Tamiyoi, who doesn’t always intervene, was seen charging towards Emoli. Emoli quickly ran away, as though he understood that he had done something wrong but was caught by Malima and Tamiyoi who appeared to tell him off for upsetting little Larro.  

During their midday feeding time, Maktao and Musiara were seen enjoying a long wallow in the mud bath. Maisha can sometimes play quite rough with her peers. Whilst Maktao and Musiara were wallowing, she started poking Maktao with her tusks. Maktao seemed to get annoyed with her and decided to leave the pool. He was closely followed by his friend Musiara.

11 April 2019

Nabulu has settled well into life at the Nursery. She now knows the milk feeding times and knows that after having her midday bottle of milk, she is to have a mud or dust bath before heading back to the forest. Although she has adapted well, she is still cautious of the naughtier characters such as Kiasa. Kiasa, Maktao, and Dololo can often be spotted trying to climb on her back and disturb her during her mud bath. However, she is often hanging out with Tamiyoi, Malima, Sattao and Larro as they all appear to enjoy her company. 

She has also formed a good relationship with her Keepers. Although she loves to trumpet for more milk when she finishes her milk, she seems to always respect the Keepers when they wave her away and doesn’t push or charge them.

12 April 2019

Mukkoka is growing into a strong young bull and he can often be quite naughty. He seems to have a mind of his own and does not always want to listen to the Keepers and the other older orphans. For example he will not allow Kiombo, who is older, to get to the milk wheelbarrow before him. If Kiombo overtakes him, he starts to push him and trumpet loudly as though to warn him away. 

Kiombo, despite Mukkoka’s milk antics, seems to be adapting well to life in the Nursery. He sometimes appears to do his own thing and can been seen browsing on his own. Most of the time, however, he is seen with Kuishi and Malima who both protect him from naughty boys such as Mukkoka. 

13 April 2019

Sagala has always been one of the quieter females who keeps to herself. However, recently she has been showing more interest in looking after the younger orphans, especially little Larro. This morning, as the orphans were coming out of their stockades, she was spotted waiting outside Larro’s stable. As Larro came out, Sagala greeted her with her trunk and escorted the little girl out into the field. 

14 April 2019

Due to the continuous heat, the orphans have been especially enjoying their mud baths, even little Larro has been joining in. However, some orphans such as Sattao and Dololo don’t seem to enjoy getting into the pool as the other orphans are often wrestling and rolling around in the muddy water. The two bulls keep their distance and rather enjoy a peaceful dust bath away from the commotion. We are sure that Dololo does not enjoy the mud baths because of how he was rescued when he was found alone and stuck in a muddy pool.

15 April 2019

Mapia and Ambo are good friends. This morning, from the moment that they were let out of their stables the two bulls begin their strength testing games, pushing against each other all the way out into the field. Tagwa appeared to try and calm the two bulls but to no avail. It was quite funny to watch because every time Tagwa would approach the two bulls they would stop playing but then as soon as she would leave, they would start again. Tagwa seemed to decide to leave the two bulls and let them have their fun. 

Kuishi, on the other hand, didn’t seem to want to allow the two bulls to continue playing as she kept coming in between them and pushing them. This continued for some few minutes, before the bulls gave in and went on their way leaving Kuishi triumphant. 

16 April 2019

This morning, Kiasa, Maktao, Dololo, Mukkoka, Maisha, and Musiara were having fun charging and chasing a troop of baboons away from the Nursery herd. They managed to chase the baboons up some trees and then remained near the trees, ensuring that the baboons didn’t come down. 

It was all fun and games until Kiasa cornered a baby baboon up one of the trees. The baby baboon screamed for its mother and in response a large dominant male baboon came charging for Kiasa. Kiasa got such a fright that she quickly fled the scene, trumpeting loudly. The other orphans, having seen Kiasa run off back to the herd, quickly followed her and sought the protection of the other orphans who were peacefully browsing. 

17 April 2019

Sagala seems to have adopted little Larro. Today, as the younger group of orphans headed down to the mud bath area for their midday bottle of milk, Sagala did not want to remain behind and trumpeted loudly as the Keepers stopped her from sneaking down and following Larro. 

When Sagala had finished her midday bottle and mud wallow, she quickly charged back to the field to greet Larro. Once reunited, Sagala appeared to hug little Larro with her trunk, which seems to be a sign of love and compassion. Larro was happy to stay close to Sagala for the rest of the day. 

Although Jotto is one of the larger and older bulls he seems to still enjoy remaining close to his Keepers whilst in the field. Today Jotto spent the entire day browsing right next to his Keepers. 

18 April 2019

Luggard appears to be such a happy bull. He is always seen playing with his friends Ambo and Jotto and spending time with his Keepers. This morning, once in the field Ambo and Luggard started a strength testing game and despite his leg Luggard always seems to keep up. As Luggard’s tusks have grown quite a bit he sometimes seems to accidentally poke Ambo which seems to abruptly end their games as it is quite painful. But nonetheless, the bulls always seem to enjoy each other’s company. 

Luggard seems to enjoy spending his days browsing with his Keepers, as he always stays close to them and is often given some nice branches from his Keepers. Maktao, Musiara, and Dololo also appear to enjoy Luggard’s company and these extra branches as they are often spotted near him sharing the fresh greens.  

19 April 2019

Kuishi is quite a naughty girl who tends to keep her naughty character hidden from the Keepers until the moment when they least expect it, and then she does something very mischievous. As soon as the Keepers are not looking, she tends to take the opportunity. One example is in the afternoon when all the orphans are back in their stockades for the night, and foster parents are walking around the compound and seeing all the babies in their rooms. Kuishi always takes this opportunity to give the foster parents a fright, by standing back and waiting until they come closer, when she suddenly charges at her gate and gives them a shock causing them to jump backwards. Kuishi’s foster parents are always so happy with this funny girl’s playful character. 

20 April 2019

Kiko is back to his old self and stomping around the Nursery compound doing exactly as he pleases and not listening to the Keepers at all. Today when he was escorted out of boma into the forest at noon, he first went with the Keepers, but then decided to do a quick u-turn and ran all the way back into the trees near the car-parking area, where he decided to stay and pretended to browse just to annoy his Keepers. He then walked to the milk mixing area to browse on the tasty acacia trees there which he enjoys so much, before walking down to the elephants mud bathing area. There he browsed on the greens and on some of the flowers in Daphne’s garden, until following his Keeper later in the day. This is just what he used to do before the lion attack made him a little shy and unsure of walking all over the compound, but now he is back to his usual self.

21 April 2019

Sagala is becoming very close to little Larro and it seems their relationship is developing every day. Most of the time they are seen walking together, standing together or browsing together, with Sagala pulling branches down so that both she and little Larro can eat – it is amazing sometimes how the characters of our older females can change, and how they can grow attached to the little ones eventually. Larro is enjoying the protection and guidance from the second biggest girl in the Nursery as well. 

22 April 2019

Nabulu’s love for her milk bottle is growing every day. She doesn’t seem satisfied with her normal two bottles and every time she finishes them she complains about it. She always rumbles a clear indication that she isn’t satisfied. Today during the public visiting hour, she complained so loudly that the visiting public were in awe of how loudly such a young baby elephant could showcase her dissatisfaction, as she moved towards the wheelbarrow in order to try and steal another bottle, but she was moved away by the Keepers. Kuishi then tried to come in closer to the wheelbarrow as well, to suck up any spilled milk, and this was something she managed to do twice before being moved away by the Keepers as well – they knew her bad intentions! 

Malima showed off her playful character today as the foster parents lined up in the late afternoon to watch the babies come home. They were watching all the orphans as they came running in to go into their stockades for the night, and when Malima came running down she pretended to be focused on running to her room, but then she changed her direction and mock-charged the foster parents standing there, causing some of them to jump back as they got a shock! Malima is quite a naughty girl and we think she with her naughty friend Kuishi and perhaps Mapia will be the first orphans to graduate to Tsavo with the next move.

23 April 2019

Kiko doesn’t like to go deep into the Park these days and prefers to browse around the safety of the compound. He got a fright earlier though when a warthog ran out of some bushes and Kiko turned and ran back to the stockades from where he was browsing near Maxwell’s. He ran at top speed, but giraffe’s always seem to look as if they are running in slow motion, and the Keepers watched as he ran all the way back and into the safety of his room! They soon managed to coax him back out though, when he realized nothing was wrong, and he was soon happily browsing on the acacia in the compound again.

Jotto and Malima have always been good neighbours and lived next door to each other in the evenings peacefully, but today was different for some reason. Something happened to cause a rift between the two, as Malima was in one of her naughty moods and decided to steal some branches from Jotto’s side, which obviously annoyed him and he decided to defend his share, and a fight broke out. As the two babies tried to fight with one another between the wooden posts separating their rooms, in the process one of them was broken and had to be repaired the next day, but Jotto managed to defend his food! 

24 April 2019

Musiara and Luggard have always been friends and neighbours too. With the limp he suffers from, Luggard doesn’t move very fast and Musiara knows this as well; he never walks very fast either. Since the other orphans always move fast, the two bulls lag behind as the others disappear off into the thicket. As the two bulls were browsing, two male impalas started fighting and came running past, which caught Musiara and Luggard off guard. Musiara cried out loud, which immediately drew the attention of the matriarch Tagwa who came running to see what was happening. As Tagwa ran to find the two boys, the rest of the herd decided to follow her, trumpeting and stamping their feet and raising their ears high. Mapia and Emoli broke some tree branches and tossed them in the air as bushes were overturned as the Nursery herd approached whatever ‘enemy’ might be awaiting. Tagwa, Musiara and Luggard joined the herd and peace returned as the babies realized there was nothing to be afraid of. 

25 April 2019

Since the Nursery area has received some rain, this morning it was chilly and still drizzling a little. This meant the youngsters like Larro, Mukkoka, Dololo and Maktao have to be protected from the cold and wore blankets to keep them warm for most of the morning. By the afternoon the sun pulled out from behind the clouds, and the babies had the opportunity to bask in the sun and warm up. Some were dusting themselves with the damp but warm soil, and others were rolling in the muddy areas. Bigger boys like Mapia, Jotto, Ambo were digging into the loose soil with their tusks and the smaller babies like Dololo, Emoli, Maisha, Musiara and Maktao enjoyed the soil they were digging up as well, spraying it on their backs. As the evening approached however and the sun dipped lower, it became cooler and the young ones had to don their blankets once again to keep warm.

26 April 2019

The day started off warm and sunny, but by the afternoon the clouds had rolled in and the rains had started. Larro, Mukkoka, Dololo and Luggard were quickly walked back to their stables to take cover. Unknown to the Keepers, Musiara and Maktao decided to follow their friends back to the stockade compound to also seek shelter. 

As the rains got heavier the orphans sought refuge under larger trees, some of the orphans even squeezed under the Keepers umbrellas. Maxwell, on the other hand, seemed to be loving the rain as he was spotted charging up and down his stockade and rolling around in the mud. By the end of the rain Maxwell as well as the walls of his stockade were covered in mud. 

Once the rains had stopped Larro, Mukkoka, Dololo and Luggard were let out of their stables to join the rest of the orphans in the forest. 

27 April 2019

Kiasa’s naughty antics seem to continue. Today, during the midday feeding time and mud bath, Kiasa decided that she wanted an extra drop of milk and went back to the wheelbarrow to suck up any of the spilled milk. Much to her disappointment, there was no milk at the bottom of the wheelbarrow. In protest, she seemed to throw some of the empty bottles on the ground before moving away. 

28 April 2019

Larro’s neighbour, Sattao, is always extremely social and friendly. In the evenings, when he his back in his stable, he is often seen greeting any passersby, putting his trunk over the door and smelling any visitors standing nearby. He always seems happy to greet people. 

29 April 2019

It was a beautiful day with the sun shining and clear skies. Some of the orphans were peacefully browsing whilst others were busy playing. Tagwa, Sagala, Kuishi, Larro, Maktao and Mukkoka were all busy enjoying some fresh greens from the bushes, and Mapia and Ambo were busy play fighting. Jotto, who had spotted the two bulls playing came over to join in Ambo and Mapia’s strength testing game. Jotto appeared to challenge Ambo which then seemed to upset Mapia who began to play a little rougher. In response Jotto got hold of Mapia’s tail and before Mapia could defend himself Jotto bit his tail causing him to trumpet loudly. This marked the end of their games as the young bulls moved off in different directions. 

A little later, Musiara decided that he too wanted to play and tried to get his friend Maktao to play with him. Maktao seemed uninterested in any strength testing games as he just lay down letting Musiara climb on his back. Their game was abruptly interrupted by Kiasa who came running over and bit Musiara’s tail. 

30 April 2019

Although the warthogs are always welcome around the stockade compound, Maxwell has decided not to welcome them into his stockade recently. Most days, they squeeze through the gates to his stockade and share in his morning Lucerne pellets. This morning, however, Maxwell did not want to share his pellets. As he heard the commotion at the top of his stockade, he came charging over to find the warthogs already enjoying his pellets. This appeared to annoy Maxwell as he chased the warthogs away, cornering one of them in his stable. The warthog, seemingly afraid, began to squeal loudly. One of the Keepers having heard the warthog came rushing over and ushered Maxwell away, giving the warthog an opportunity to escape through the bars of the gate.