Keepers' Diaries, April 2021

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Unlike our friends in Tsavo, we enjoyed a rainy April here at the Nairobi Nursery. While this was a blessing, it also made for some cold mornings, necessitating the Keepers to bundle up the youngest babies in blankets. Even the most stoic orphans, like Naboishu, relented to huddling with the others to stay cosy, while the Keepers walked into the forest with their warm cups of tea in hand. It was funny to watch the orphans urging each other to take the lead, so they wouldn’t have to be the first to pass through the cold, wet bushes!

01 April 2021

As the orphans were settling out to the forest in the early hours of the morning, little Bondeni and Kinyei seemed to be in a playful mood. As Bondeni was rolling around on the ground, kicking his hind legs about, Kinyei was busy leaning against him and rolling around near him. As Kinyei has become quite close to Roho, she now divides her time amongst all her friends and isn’t always with Kindani and Bondeni. This morning, however, she seemed to want to spend all her time with them. 

It was quite a cloudy day as the orphans were finishing their midday bottles of milk down at the mud bath. All the orphans seemed uninterested in the mud bath apart from young Roho who is always amongst the first to enjoy a long mud wallow. Today, however, he didn’t just run into the water, but instead he walked slowly to the edge and then tested the water by only splashing a small amount of water on his feet and legs. It seemed to be too cold for him as he quickly walked away from the edge of the mud bath and went to browse on some of the cut greens instead. All the older orphans were standing around the mud bath, whereas Olorien, Kindani, Kinyei, Bondeni and Naleku were all having a blast rolling around on the soil mound, covering themselves in soil. The soil helps them keep warm in the cooler temperatures. 

Olorien can be a peculiar little character and she seems to be keeping the Keepers on their toes with her different temperaments. Much like the other orphans, she can have her days where she can be a little stroppy with the Keepers and other orphans, and then her days when she is happy being around everyone. Recently, however, she has developed a new like of spending all her time near the Keepers and when the older orphans wander further afield, she doesn’t like to follow them but rather prefers to stay near the Keepers. This afternoon as the orphans were settling back into the forest to browse, Olorien got mixed amongst the orphans and lost sight of the Keepers. As soon as she lost sight of them she began to trumpet and rumble loudly as if to alert them that she was lost. As soon as she did so, the Keepers came over to see what was wrong and as soon as she saw them, she came running over in excitement. 

02 April 2021

Elephants have often been compared to humans with regards to their emotions and the structure of the herd resembling that of a family, and so we compare the elephant orphans to our human children as well. Much like a child would chase their sibling around for their piece of candy, the orphans will often chase each other around the forest for each other’s pieces of tasty branch. This morning, as the orphans were settling back in the forest after their 9am bottles of milk, Maisha was busy running after Kiombo, trying to grab the delicious bit of branch he was gnawing on. Rather than finding her own brunch, Maisha was insistent on chasing after Kiombo, and she began to really disturb him. Eventually, Kiombo had had enough and he decided to challenge Maisha as opposed to run away. He quickly turned and began to push against Maisha in a wrestling match. Being such a strong bull, Maisha quickly backed off and left him to it. 

This afternoon, the orphans had their 3pm bottles of milk down at the mud bath as it was such a hot day. All the orphans downed their milk bottles and then rushed over to the muddy waters to cool off. Rama was amongst the first to stand along the edge and start to throw mud and water all over his body; he was soon followed by Roho, Naleku, Maisha, Nabulu, Kiasa, Maktao and many of the others. Even Ziwadi seemed to be enjoying the Keepers splashing mud all over her back and cooling her off with the hose pipe, but it wasn’t long before she walked off to continue browsing. The Nursery herd was having such a great time in the muddy pool and on the soil mound. It was mainly Bondeni, Kindani, and Kinyei were enjoying their dust bath. The orphans were so happy that they didn’t want to get out the water and head back to the forest. Maktao was the most reluctant to get out, as he continued to roll around despite his Keepers calling him. Eventually, as the orphans had disappeared back into the forest, Maktao got out the mud and ran after them, slowly followed by one of their Keepers. 

The orphans had a short browsing session before heading back to the stockade compound for the evening. 

03 April 2021

Whilst in the forest today, Maisha was really dotting upon Bondeni and Roho as she spent most of her time browsing and walking around with them. Bondeni and Roho both appeared quite happy spending time with her and they seemed to be enjoying all the greens she would drop down for them. Maisha is so big now that she can reach the freshest greens from the top branches, and as she does so she drops some of the tasty vegetation to the youngsters standing below her, much to their delight!  

Kindani, Kinyei and Olorien came to join her and the young boys, and they too enjoyed in sharing her greens. It was great to see Maisha spending her time with all the younger orphans as she will often spend most of her days with Roho, who has been the little sparkle in her eye since his arrival. Whenever Roho is in the mud bath or having fun at a dust bath, it will not be long before Maisha comes over to join him and they both have the best time rolling around near one another. 

This afternoon as Maisha was finishing her bottle of milk, she noticed Roho already splashing around in the mud bath and this appeared to excite her. As soon as she finished her bottle she dashed over to the young bull and let out a deep rumble as if in excitement to join him. Later in the mud bath, Roho lost his balance and he got a little stuck. This caused mass panic in the herd as Maisha ran over and rested her legs up against him so he could get some grip and get up. Once Roho was up, he walked straight out the mud bath. Maisha then remained behind to enjoy a quiet mud wallow by herself. 

Once back in the forest, the orphans enjoyed a short browsing session before heading back to the stockade compound for the evening. 

04 April 2021

Nabulu seemed to be in a bad mood this morning as the orphans were being let out of their stables and stockades. As the orphans were now all making their way out to the forest, Nabulu suddenly began to barrel her way through the herd, pushing all of them around. She began by pushing Mukkoka, Larro, and Naboishu out of the way and then even began to push the younger orphans Kindani, Olorien, Kinyei, Rama and Ziwadi. The Keepers quickly intervened and chased her off, ensuring that all the younger orphans wouldn’t be bothered by her. The orphans always know when they are in trouble and to move away, and Nabulu knew very well that she was now in the naughty corner. 

As soon as Roho and Mukkoka finished their 9am bottles of milk they immediately engaged in a wrestling match as the other orphans continued to finish their bottles. Mukkoka, much like Maktao, is a gentle bull and as such he is the perfect teacher for Roho and Naboishu who are both still learning how to wrestle. Roho thoroughly enjoys his strength testing games with Naboishu and Mukkoka, but he always seemed hesitant to challenge the bigger bulls Maktao and Kiombo, perhaps due to their size. 

After the orphans finished their midday bottles of milk, they all got into the muddy water, including sweet Ziwadi. It was so amazing to watch her walk straight into the water and start to splash the muddy water on her back, and she even lay down! As soon as she lay in the mud, she seemed to quickly change her mind and immediately got up to walk out the pool over to her greens. Although a brief mud bath, it was great to see her enjoying herself in the mud.

The orphans had a quiet afternoon browsing in the forest before heading back to the stockade compound for the evening. 

05 April 2021

There were some heavy showers throughout the evening but when the orphans were let out of their stables and stockades the sun was shining brightly and all the orphans seemed excited to start their day. As soon as they got to the forest, Kindani, Kinyei, Bondeni, Olorien and Maktao all began to enjoy a splash about in one of the puddles they came across. All the little orphans were happily rolling around with their friendly uncle in the muddy water and they all seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Maktao continues to be an excellent role model to all the younger orphans and he continues to take this role very seriously. 

As the orphans were getting ready to dash down for their 9am bottles of milk, Naboishu and Roho were so busy wrestling each other that they didn’t take much notice to the other orphans lining up. Maisha seemed to be keeping a close eye on Roho and Naboishu’s game as she walked over and placed herself very near to where they were wrestling. The bulls were having a great time wrestling one another, but Naboishu, being much larger in size eventually, began to overpower smaller Roho. As soon as Maisha noticed Naboishu overpowering Roho she stepped in and separated them both, and seeing as their game had now come to an end, all three of them were eager to run down for their milk.

Much like the orphans, Maxwell was also full of excitement this morning. As soon as he came out of his bedroom, he began to roll around in his big muddy pool. As the sun was shining, he even took a short nap while his body was fully immersed in the water. As he came out the water, he seemed to want to cover himself in even more mud and he began to roll around in the muddy sections of his stockade, now fully caking himself in mud. Once he we was done, he walked up and down his stockade, scratching himself against the wall. After a long while, he then walked up to his pellets where he began to munch away on them. 

The orphans had a lovely playful day in the forest, enjoying all the fresh puddles and greens. 

06 April 2021

It was another night of heavy showers but this time it was not as sunny in the morning and as usual on such mornings, some of the orphans were slightly reluctant to come out of their stables and stockades. In addition, as the orphans were heading out to the forest, some of them were reluctant to walk as far afield as they didn’t seem to want to walk through the dense bushes and get wet. Mukkoka, Kiasa, Roho, Naleku, Maisha, Nabulu, Naboishu, Kiombo, Larro and Naleku were all reluctant to head further into the forest and they all remained closer to the stockade compound, browsing very close to one another to keep warm. 

Bondeni, Roho, Naleku, Kindani, Kinyei, and Olorien were nestled in between the older orphans including Kiombo and Maktao as well as Maisha, Nabulu, Kiasa, Larro, and Mukkoka. The older orphans seemed to be enjoying looking after the younger orphans and Maisha kept a close eye on the whole herd. Naboishu also decided to join in on the huddle but he stayed close to the older bulls. 

Rama and Ziwadi were the only two that were happily browsing in each other’s company, away from the rest of the herd. They were both happily eating their greens and seemed rather oblivious to the cloudy weather. Ziwadi and Rama have become very close friends, and they both thoroughly enjoy browsing, so much so that they will rarely pause to do anything else whilst in the forest. 

The orphans had a quiet day browsing, only breaking for their milk bottles. 

07 April 2021

Elephants can be quite skittish animals and they seem to scare easily despite their size. As the orphans were settling back in the forest after their 9am bottles of milk, Kiasa was busy browsing on this thick shrub when suddenly a moth flew out straight at her face. Poor Kiasa, who is normally naughty and full of confidence, got such a fright that she jumped back and quickly ran away from the moth, trumpeting loudly. As she was running off she managed to scare Mukkoka, Larro, Roho, Naleku, Kiombo and Naboishu too, as they all appeared concerned about what had given her such a fright. It was like a chain reaction because as they ran off and trumpeted in fear, they too scared the rest of the herd who all began to run. Bondeni, Olorien, Kinyei and Kindani could also be heard trumpeting and rumbling. 

As the orphans were all dashing towards one of the open plains, the Keepers tried to calm them down, but all the older orphans ignored them, and they only managed to calm down the younger orphans. Ziwadi and Rama all ran after the herd but once they saw the younger orphans relax with the Keepers, they too calmed down. The older orphans kept running and then eventually turned back and ran over to where the Keepers were standing. Kiasa was the last to calm down as she continued to bash through the bushes trumpeting. It appears she thought the other orphans were still following her and when she realised that they weren’t she then stopped running around and settled down. Once everyone had calmed down they all returned to their browsing activities. 

As it continues to rain through the evening, Maxwell seems to be thoroughly enjoying the muddiness of his stockade and the Keepers can often here him splashing and rolling around in the evenings and early hours of the morning. He will cover himself in mud and then head back into his bedroom for a bit before coming back out to enjoy his greens and Lucerne pellets. 

08 April 2021

The herd always know who the leaders/matriarchs of the herd are, and they will always respect this hierarchy. In the Nursery herd, all the orphans know that Maisha is the matriarch and that Nabulu is the second in command, and they all respect this. This morning, Naleku, Roho, Kindani, Kinyei, Olorien and Ziwadi were all let out of their stables before the older orphans. The younger orphans seemed to notice that all the older orphans were not out yet and you could see them waiting in the stockade compound. None of them showed any interest in heading out to the forest until the older orphans were let out. Roho was waiting right outside Maisha’s stockade, and Kindani and the others were hanging around Nabulu and Kiasa’s stockades. 

As the older girls were let out all the younger orphans began to greet them with deep rumbles and once all the mornings’ greetings were finished, the orphans began to make their way out to the forest. Maisha was the first to head off and as she walked past Naboishu’s stockade all the orphans began to follow. 

Roho seemed to be getting jealous this morning as every time he saw another of the younger orphans go near Maisha, he would try to bully them away thus keeping Maisha all for himself. He pushed Olorien, Bondeni, and Naleku, so all the younger orphans appeared to grow tired of him and they eventually moved off to browse near some of the other herd members. 

The orphans had a quiet day browsing in the forest. 

09 April 2021

As the orphans were settling down after their midday bottles of milk, Mukkoka, Kiasa, Naboishu and Larro all decided to walk further into the forest, leaving the other group of orphans behind. As Rama, Ziwadi, Bondeni and all the others settled to browse, suddenly, Mukkoka, Kiasa, Naboishu and Larro came barrelling back, trumpeting and rumbling. The Keepers wondered if something had frightened them, but they couldn’t see anything, and they soon realised that perhaps they were just protesting the fact that the rest of the herd wasn’t following them. As they were making such a fuss, they were disrupting all the other orphans who were all now agitated and running about. 

The Keepers eventually decided to lead the Nursery herd in the direction they had chosen in order to calm everyone down. Once Mukkoka and Kiasa realised they were being followed they calmed down. Even Ziwadi and Rama were seen happily keeping up with them, grabbing the odd branch along the way. 

Although Bondeni is known for being one of the most playful orphans in the Nursery, he does also have his quiet days where he enjoys peacefully browsing with his friends. This afternoon was such a day as little Bondeni was enjoying the abundance of fresh greens in the forest. He stayed particularly close to his friends Kindani and Kinyei, following them wherever they went. They were, at times, joined by Maisha and Nabulu and some of the other older orphans, but Bondeni spent most of the day with Kindani and Kinyei.

10 April 2021

This morning as the orphans were settling down in the forest, Maisha was taking her matriarchal role very seriously and was sure to stay close to the younger orphans in the herd. As she was stretching her trunk to grab the freshest branches at the top of the bushes, you could see all the smaller figures huddled around her, eating the branches she was dropping as well as grabbing their own branches from lower down. She was happily being surrounded by Roho, Bondeni, Kindani, Kinyei and Olorien. Roho and Kindani at one point were both seen stretching their trunks up to grab the freshest greens right out of Maisha’s mouth. 

As the matriarch and the protector of the herd, Maisha was more than happy sharing her greens with the younger orphans and she spent most of the early hours of the morning with them. If the youngsters were struggling to get to the greens, Maisha would pull down the branches and they would all quickly grab old of the leaves, getting their trunk full. 

After the orphans finished their midday bottles of milk, they were all making their way back to the forest when Nabulu and the older orphans decided to walk further into the forest, following one of their normal paths. Ziwadi and Rama, however, weren’t so eager to walk so far so they settled in one of their usual spots within the forest. Some of the Keepers remained back with them whereas the others continued with the rest of the herd. The Keepers are always happy to let Ziwadi browse where she is comfortable. 

The orphans had a quiet afternoon browsing together and only had a short break for their 3pm bottle of milk before heading back to the stockade compound at 5pm. 

11 April 2021

As it was raining throughout the evening, Maxwell could be heard enjoying splashing around in his mud bath. As the Keepers were getting the elephant orphans ready to head out to the forest for the day, they thought that Max would perhaps be back in his bedroom after such a playful evening but he was once again out and about, now rolling around with the resident warthogs. As soon as the warthogs hear the orphans moving around, they start to show up in the stockade compound and will often start to munch away at Max’s leftover pellets. This morning, however, the warthogs and Max were all happily covering themselves in mud before the sun was even up. 

As it was a cold and wet morning due to the rain, a lot of the orphans were hesitant to leave the warmth of their rooms and as such the Keepers waited a little bit before calling all the orphans out. Once the sun appeared through the clouds, the orphans started coming out one by one and were now seemingly more eager to start their day. Kiombo was first out, and he started leading the orphans out to the forest, but he didn’t seem to enjoy this very much. As he was leading, he was the one clearing the path for the others and thus getting wet from all the branches and this seemed to upset him as he stopped dead in his tracks. Kiasa appeared to notice what he was up to and she therefore walked up to the front and pushed him out of the way, so that she could now lead. Once Kiasa was at the front all the orphans continued making their way to the forest. 

Naboishu continues to be the vocalist of the Nursery herd and sometimes this can bother the other orphans but most of the time they just ignore him. As the orphans were heading down for their midday bottles of milk, Naboishu was in a group with Mukkoka, Maktao, Larro and Nabulu and when they got to the mud bath Naboishu was making such a noise that he disturbed Mukkoka who was drinking his bottles nearby. Mukkoka got so annoyed that he eventually stopped drinking and chased Naboishu away. The Keepers quickly stepped in and separated them both, moving Naboishu a bit further away so they could finish their milk in peace. 

After the orphans finished their midday bottles of milk, they had a short moment at the mud bath before returning to the forest to continue browsing. They all peacefully browsed near one another until it was again time for them to enjoy their afternoon milk feed. Once again Naboishu was being extremely loud when he ran down for his bottle with Maisha, Roho, Nabulu and Kiombo, but this time Maisha intervened and ushered him away. Once he was quiet, the orphans enjoyed their milk bottles before heading back to the forest for their afternoon browsing activities. 

12 April 2021

Although Nabulu is the second in command she is not always the most attentive to the younger orphans, but she can always be seen watching over the entire herd, making sure all the orphans and Keepers are safe. This morning, as the orphans were being let out of their stockades, they were happily doing their own things around the stockade compound. Maisha, Naleku, Kinyei, Bondeni, Mukkoka, Kiasa, Larro, Maktao and Kiombo were all busy greeting each other when Nabulu, Naboishu, Rama, Olorien, Ziwadi, Roho, and Kindani were coming out of their stable and stockades to join them. 

Kindani and Olorien were enjoying a playful moment of chasing each other around the stockade compound whilst Ziwadi was already busy drinking water from the water troughs as she made her way up the stockade path. Maisha and Roho enjoyed a warm greeting and the bulls were all greeting one another. As all the orphans were busy doing their own things, Nabulu could be seen watching over the whole herd from the top of the stockade compound. 

Rama was the first to start making his way out to the forest, and Nabulu immediately noticed him walking off. As she watched Rama, Nabulu signalled to the others that it was time to go by emitting a low rumble, and all the orphans followed her and Rama out. Once in the forest, the herd split off into two groups, one was led by Maisha and the other by Nabulu. They remained in their two groups until it was time for them to have their 9am bottles of milk. 

In the afternoon, as the herd was browsing, Maisha and Kiombo enjoyed a short wrestling match with each other, chasing each other around the forest. They seemed to be having such fun together, but sadly their game was abruptly brought to an end by Kiasa who seemed jealous of their game. Kiasa quickly came charging over, driving Kiombo away. Kiombo, fed up, moved off to join Maktao and the other bulls browsing. Kiasa then came back and engaged Maisha in a new wrestling match before heading back to their stockades for the evening. 

13 April 2021

Maktao continues to be known as the friendly uncle amongst the Nursery herd and most days he will be seen watching over Rama, Ziwadi, Kinyei, Kindani, Olorien and Bondeni as they don’t always like to follow the others deep into the forest. Today, however, Rama, Ziwadi and the little ones were happy to follow the older orphans deep into the forest to one of the herds’ favourite browsing spots. As the herd was all together, this gave Maktao the chance to enjoy a playful moment with Kiombo and Mukkoka. The three bulls could be seen chasing each other in the forest and pushing against one another to see who was the strongest. 

As the bulls were wrestling, Bondeni and Kindani were happily browsing in the company of Kiasa throughout most of the morning. Kiasa would move off for some time but then she would come back and join them again, and she seemed to always make sure that they were okay before settling to browse near them once more. 

Bondeni was in a very playful mood during his midday milk feed. As soon as he finished his bottle of milk, he dashed over to one of the water troughs and began to head butt it and kick it with his back feet. He eventually managed to spill all the water and this made the bucket light like a football that he could be seen kicking around all over the mud bath area. He appeared to be having such a good time that Kinyei and Maisha decided to join him. The three were having a great time chasing the water trough around, when Roho suddenly seemed to get jealous. Roho came over trying to get Maisha’s attention but when she ignored him and carried on playing, this seemed to really upset him and he then began to bully Bondeni, knocking him to the ground. Bondeni trumpeted in protest which saw Maisha, Maktao and Kinyei all run to his rescue. Maktao and Maisha especially told Roho off as they chased him away, and Kinyei kept Bondeni company, which seemed to calm him down. 

The orphans then had a quiet afternoon browsing in the forest before going home for the evening. 

14 April 2021

It was another long night for the orphans as Nairobi is experiencing more heavy downpours and this seems to bother most of them including little Naleku. Normally, Larro, Roho and Kindani seem to be the most bothered by the rain and when this happens, Naleku is normally the one to calm Roho down and look after him. Last night, however both Naleku and Roho were upset by the heavy showers and loud thunder, and they were both trying to get as close to each other as possible. Once the rain had calmed down, Roho and Naleku both managed to get back to sleep for a couple of hours. 

It was another cold morning as the Keepers were letting the orphans out of their stables and stockades and as usual some of the orphans were more reluctant than others to come out. Naleku, Rama, Mukkoka and Ziwadi, however, could not have come out of their stockades and stables any faster, as they all seemed eager to start their day of browsing. Some of the other orphans appeared to keep themselves warm by engaging in wrestling matches and huddling together as they browsed. 

Out in the forest, it was wonderful to see Nabulu engage Naboishu and Roho in a short wrestling match. She is not always the gentlest with Naboishu, so it was such a pleasant moment for them both to wrestle one another. Maisha was engaging Kiombo in a strength testing match and their game continued for quite some time before she started a game with Kiasa. Kiombo then moved off to play with his friend Maktao. Roho also seemed eager to join in on the fun as he started to wrestle Olorien and Kinyei, who were both just as eager to challenge the bull. 

Later in the day, as the orphans were moving around the forest, Bondeni and Kindani began to roll around on one of the soil mounds. Maisha came over to loosen the soil with her tusks, as it had become compacted by the rain, so that they could enjoy their dust bath even more; this saw Maktao join in on the fun too. As Maktao was rolling around with the younger orphans, Bondeni and Kindani could both be seen climbing on his back and sliding off, all covering themselves in soil. As they were busy dust bathing, Mukkoka was busy browsing not too far away, when suddenly an ibis bird flew overhead. Not knowing what it was he trumpeted out in fear and came running back to the herd. The other orphans didn’t take much notice as they were all having such fun rolling around. 

The orphans then had a quiet afternoon of browsing. 

15 April 2021

Although Roho and Naleku have been getting along quite well, they still bicker like siblings and most of the time these disagreements are caused by Roho. This morning, they were the first to come out of their stockades as the other orphans were still being let out by the Keepers. Naleku’s normal routine is to first walk over and greet Maxwell and then head off to greet the other orphans but as Max was nowhere to be seen this morning, still fast asleep, she went over to Maktao’s stockade to greet him. Roho, unlike other mornings, calmly followed her to the big bulls’ gate and as they were waiting for Maktao to be let out, Roho began to engage Naleku in a wrestling match. 

As they were busy chasing each other around the stockade compound, they were soon joined by Kindani, Bondeni and Kinyei who were all next out of their stables. Kindani and Bondeni engaged Naleku in a short game, whereas Kinyei challenged Roho in a wrestling match. Their games continued until the older orphans and Olorien joined them. 

Rama has fully learnt the milk feeding process now, and he seems to be just as acute as Larro and Mukkoka at alerting the other orphans when it is time for them to run down for their milk bottles. Larro and Mukkoka are still the sharpest at knowing when the time for their milk bottles approaches but Rama is catching up. Rama, however, has a different way of alerting the herd, he will start by putting his trunk high up in the air and then he will start to walk ahead of the herd. As he starts to get closer to the milk feeding point, he will often let out a deep rumble alerting the others who now begin to follow him. It is always great to see new rescues take their place amongst the herd. The orphans enjoyed all their milk bottles in the forest today. 

16 April 2021

Out of all the older females including Maisha, Kiasa and Larro, Nabulu would be the disciplinarian out of the caretakers of the Nursery herd. She is the one who will tell off any baby when they are naughty and will always keep an eye on the entire herd, making sure everyone is safe. This morning, however, she was having a wonderful time with Olorien and Roho. She engaged them both in a gentle pushing game one after the other as she would rotate between them. They played for quite some time before Olorien moved off to browse with the rest of the herd, leaving Roho and Nabulu playing and browsing together. 

For the rest of the day, Nabulu was being rather protective of Roho and she kept a close eye for him. Before the orphans ran down to the mud bath for their afternoon bottles of milk, Naboishu was in one of his timid moods and was being a little shy and aggressive towards the other orphans. As such, he tried to mock charge Roho who was trying to wrestle him. As soon as Nabulu noticed Naboishu mock charging Roho, she quickly stepped in and blocked Naboishu’s path, causing him to stop dead in his tracks. Naboishu then quickly scampered off to join the rest of the Nursery herd. 

Down at the mud bath, after he finished his bottle of milk, Roho walked straight over to the soil mound where he began to roll around and enjoy a long dust bath. As he was busy rolling all over the mound, Nabulu seemed to get protective over him once more as she stood over him making sure none of the other orphans could get anywhere close including Maisha. 

With all the rain about the forest is now full of rain puddles for the orphans to play in. As the orphans were making their way back to the forest, they came across a huge rain puddle. Maisha and Kiombo were the first to get in and they were busy wrestling each other that they hogged the whole puddle for themselves. Their game continued for quite some time but when they finally got out, Maktao, Olorien, Bondeni, and Kinyei immediately jumped in. The four of them had such a great time rolling and splashing around that they stayed in the water for quite some time before getting out. Kinyei and Bondeni had so much fun that when they got out of the pool, they seemed quite tired and they both fell asleep quite quickly once they were back in their stables this evening. 

17 April 2021

It was a beautiful sunny morning as the orphans came out of their night stockades this morning. Unlike other mornings, all the orphans were eager to start their day as they all seemed excited that the sun was shining. As their stockade and stable doors were opened all the orphans dashed out to the forest and enjoyed playing around. Naleku, Bondeni and Kinyei were all playfully chasing the baboons around the forest. The baboons, however, were too quick for the orphans as they quickly managed to climb up the trees and get away. Naleku was quite funny to watch as she would also try to get up the tree, by lifting her front legs up and sort of stepping up the bark. Having no success, she would drop back down to the ground. 

Later in the day, Bondeni could be seen enjoying splashing around in some of the leftover puddles throughout the forest. He was having such fun that when he got down to the mud bath for his afternoon bottle of milk, he seemed eager to continue playing but on the soil mounds instead, and the new tyre inner-tube that the Keepers brought the orphans to play with. The younger orphans love to kick the tube around and lie on it as it is soft and Bondeni was the first to give it a go, remembering that he used to play on one at the Kaluku Nursery as well. Some of the older orphans were a little hesitant as they hadn’t played with the inner-tube before. Naboishu was especially cautious of it, flapping his ears as he smelt it and then quickly running off to where Maisha and Nabulu were standing. The younger orphans, however, were very curious and Kinyei and Bondeni had a fun kicking it around with the Keepers. 

After all the activities of the day, the orphans had a quiet last hour browsing in the forest before being led back to the stockade compound by Kiasa and Nabulu. 

18 April 2021

The orphans were rather quiet this morning as they arrived in the forest. Kiasa, Mukkoka, Larro, Maktao and Nabulu could all be seen browsing together, whereas Maisha and Kiombo were browsing near Naboishu, Olorien, Roho, and Naleku and Bondeni, Kindani, Kinyei, Ziwadi and Rama were all happily browsing near one another. 

As the morning started to warm up, you could see the orphans getting a bit livelier and more playful and this was initiated by Maisha and Kiombo who began to wrestle one another. They were soon joined by Roho who was eager to take part in their game and they were both happy to allow him to, gently challenging him as he charged at them. Naboishu and Mukkoka also had a lengthy wrestling match against one another, chasing each other all around the forest. They would eventually stop wrestling when it was time for them to run down for their midday bottles of milk. 

The orphans all enjoyed their midday bottles of milk down at the mud bath but none of them were eager to wallow in the mud pool, so they didn’t stay down there for long before heading back to the forest. As they walked out to the forest they stopped along the way to browse. Ziwadi was busy browsing on her favourite shrub and Rama suddenly walked off in a different direction to the herd. Normally when he wanders off he is with Ziwadi but today he seemed to want to be on his own. The Keepers kept a close eye on him making sure he didn’t wander too far away. 

As the orphans were peacefully browsing in the forest they suddenly heard Rama trumpet loudly, as though something had given him a big fright. Next thing Rama came charging towards the herd rumbling and trumpeting. The Keepers tried to step in to calm him down, but he just ignored them, so they let him charge around until he eventually calmed down. Once he settled, Ziwadi, Maisha, Maktao, Larro and Mukkoka went over to him and this helped him immediately. The Keepers couldn’t see anything that may have frightened him, so they wondered if he perhaps got a fright when he saw he was alone. 

The orphans had a quiet afternoon browsing before heading back to their stables and stockades at 5pm. 

19 April 2021

Like most mornings, as soon as the orphans were up and about, the resident warthogs started to appear. The warthogs won’t spend much time with the elephants as they are always so eager to share Maxwell’s pellets with him. This morning, however, Max didn’t appear to be in the mood to share his pellets. As he was busy eating the Lucerne, he could be seen listening to the warthogs sneaking through his fence and as soon as he picked up their scent, he became very protective of his food. Instead of chasing the warthogs away, he simply lay on top of his pellets so that they couldn’t have any. The warthogs waited around for a little bit but as Max wasn’t moving, they followed the elephants out to the forest.

This morning Naleku was leading the orphans around the forest, closely followed by Mukkoka. Unlike the older girls, Naleku isn’t always as sure of where she is going but she is eager to lead the herd and seems to enjoy being up front. Once she was happy with a spot, all the orphans settled to browse. 

Maktao and Kiombo have not wrestled as much with each other as of late. As Maktao has been taking his uncle duties so seriously he seems to always be busy lately and as a result, Kiombo has been engaging Maisha in more and more wrestling matches. This afternoon, however, after they finished their midday bottles of milk, Kiombo and Maktao engaged each other in a long wrestling match down at the mud bath. They seemed to be having so much fun challenging each other and rumbling at one another in excitement. 

Olorien on the other hand was being quite naughty today, and she kept bothering Rama and pushing him all the time. Rama kept trying to keep his distance but Olorien would find him and then push him once more. As she is small, she doesn’t hurt him, but the Keepers did get involved and they firmly told her off and chased her away. Every time she tried to come back the Keepers would point their finger at her, and she would know to move away. 

Ziwadi continues her morning and evening routines of drinking from all the water troughs in the stockade compound. This evening, as she arrived back at the stockades, she began to drink from Kiombo’s trough. This seemed to annoy Kiombo as he kept trying to wave her trunk away with his. Ziwadi grew tired of his game and then moved to Maktao’s trough who was happy to share his water. Once all the orphans were in their stables and stockades, they settled for the evening. 

20 April 2021

In the early hours of the morning, as the orphans were wandering and browsing through the forest, they came across two big male buffaloes grazing. The buffaloes were quite happy to graze near the orphans, but at first the orphans weren’t so sure about them. Maktao, Maisha and Kiasa all tried to confront the buffaloes and scare them off by rumbling and mock charging them, but nothing seemed to bother these two big boys, so the orphans also eventually calmed down to browse. The buffaloes stayed for a little bit of time before running off further into the forest.  

Recently, Nabulu has been spending more and more time with the younger orphans and she seems to be in a much calmer mood lately. As Maisha was heading further into the forest with the older orphans this afternoon, Nabulu was quite happy to stay back with Bondeni, Kinyei and Naboishu. She could be seen loosening the soil with her tusks and feet so that the younger orphans could enjoy a dust bath. Bondeni and Kinyei were the first two to roll around, and they were having such fun that Nabulu eventually joined them. Unlike other days, Nabulu allowed Naboishu to join in on the fun and even allowed him to playfully climb on her back. They were having such a great time with each other and played for quite some time before joining the rest of the herd. 

Kinyei seems to be most fond of the new inner-tube that is down at the mud bath. After she finished her afternoon bottle of milk, she was having the best time pushing the tube around the mud pool, kicking it with her back feet, and then sitting on it. As the other orphans continued browsing, she was busy playing, and was so distracted that the Keepers had to call her to follow the herd back to the forest before heading home for the evening. 

21 April 2021

It was a beautiful morning as the orphans were starting their day and heading off to the forest. Ziwadi like most days, was the last to start walking to the forest as she continues her routine of drinking from every water trough along the path. Most of the orphans are impatient to start their day so they will always dash off, but a couple of the Keepers will always wait for her and accompany her out to the rest of the herd once she is done quenching her thirst. 

Ziwadi is certainly also an orphan who doesn’t mind her own company. As soon as, she caught up to the rest of the Nursery herd, she continued to walk off in her own direction to find her favourite greens, seemingly oblivious to what the rest of the herd were doing. Unlike other days, she was today followed by Roho who seemed curious as to where she was going. Roho quite happily settled to browse by her side and Ziwadi seemed just as comfortable with his company. 

It wasn’t long before Maisha, Naleku and Olorien joined the duo, and they could all be seen browsing together. The Nursery herd had a quiet day browsing. 

22 April 2021

It was another chilly morning as all the orphans were waking up. Unlike other mornings, Maxwell was not up and about today, but was instead still tucked away in the warmth of his bedroom, seemingly in no mood to wake up yet. The orphans, much like Max, were also having a slow morning as they were coming out of their stables and stockades. Most of them were walking slowly and as a result they settled to browse on the bushes right behind Max’s stockade as opposed to eagerly walking further into the forest before browsing.

Maktao and Mukkoka seemed to be the most energetic out of the Nursery herd as they began to chase each other around the stockade compound, before engaging in a wrestling match just on the border of the forest. They were making such a noise rumbling and pushing at each other that they seemed to wake up Max, who could now be seen coming out of his bedroom. Max at first walked up to his top stockade where he could be seen listening to the orphans and smelling around him. The orphans were eventually ushered off to the forest and when they were Max seemed to lose interest in hanging around and walked back to where his freshly cut greens were. As the orphans were walking off, Max could be heard crunching down on his greens.

With the colder weather, the orphans had a very quiet day in the forest browsing and only breaking for their milk bottles every three hours. 

23 April 2021

Maisha, Roho, Naleku, and Maktao were the first to be let out of their stables and stockades this morning and they all seemed to be waiting for the rest of the Nursery herd before making their way to the forest. Maisha, as the matriarch, will always wait for the whole herd to come out of their stables and stockades and then start to make her way to the forest. Although she doesn’t always wait for all the orphans once she has started walking. As all the orphans were now up and about, Maisha began to lead the herd to the forest, and she could be seen accompanying all the younger orphans as she walked. 

Ziwadi, this morning, seemed to break her normal routine of drinking from the water troughs and instead walked straight out to the forest to browse on her favourite branches. It was not long before Rama joined her and the two could be seen walking and browsing side by side. As they both gentle and quiet elephants, the younger orphans seem to also enjoy spending time with them and Kindani even enjoyed a morning dust bath with Rama. 

This afternoon, the orphans enjoyed their 3pm bottles of milk down at the mud bath. Maisha was sent down with Roho and they both enjoyed their milk next to one another, and when they were done, they made their way over to the dust mound where some of the other orphans were. None of the orphans seemed interested in having a mud bath so it wasn’t long before they were all ready to head back to the forest. The orphans had a short browsing session before heading home for the evening. 

24 April 2021

Rama and Ziwadi have become very close friends and whenever they are separated for their milk feeds, you can always see Rama looking for Ziwadi before he settles down to mud bath or browse. As the orphans were finishing up their midday bottles of milk down at the mud bath, Ziwadi and Rama could be seen walking off together, away from the rest of the herd. As some of the other orphans began to mud bath, Rama then came back to join them. As always Rama stood on the each of the muddy pool splashing water all over his body.

Some of the older orphans got right into the muddy water, submerging their bodies. The usual candidates such as Maktao, Maisha, Nabulu, Roho and many others were all having a great time splashing around. Olorien and Roho even enjoyed a playful moment, closely watched by Maisha. Kiasa, who has been so well behaved during the milk feeds, also came over to enjoy a mud bath with Nabulu and Mukkoka. Naboishu too joined in.

After a long mud wallow, the orphans made their way back to the forest. Ziwadi and Rama were accompanied by Bondeni, Kindani, and Kinyei, and they all settled to browse together once back in the forest. The orphans had a quiet afternoon browsing together. 

25 April 2021

Maisha, Mukkoka, Maktao, Nabulu, Kiasa, and Kiombo have all begun their training to be translocated to one of the Reintegration Units in Tsavo East National Park. Being the oldest orphans in the Nursery herd, they are all ready to graduate and start the next stage in their journey back to the wild. The Keepers were worried that Kiasa would be very hesitant with the translocation lorry, but her training went swimmingly today and so did Maisha’s, Nabulu’s, Mukkoka’s and Maktao’s. All five of them had no hesitation getting onto the lorry apart from Kiombo. Kiombo seemed to not like the look of the lorry at all as he kept running away and then getting tempted for his bottle and coming back. Eventually, he entered the lorry and drank his milk. He seemed to calm down as soon as he saw Maktao and Mukkoka all relaxed having their milk.

Once they had all successfully finished their bottles on the lorry, they made their way back to the Nursery herd who were all happily carrying on with their browsing activities. As Larro is such a good nanny, the younger orphans do not seem to mind so much that Maisha, Nabulu, Kiasa, and Maktao are taken for their training. The Keepers feel that Larro will have a smooth transition into matriarch of the Nursery herd.

Down at the mud bath, Bondeni and Kinyei were enjoying more playful moments with the inner tube as they were both lying on it and pushing it around. Maisha went and looked at the tube but she didn’t seem too convinced as to what it was and then moved off.  

Once back in the forest the orphans had a quiet browsing session. 

26 April 2021

It was another beautiful sunny morning, and the training of the older orphans was continuing without any hitches. Surprisingly, today the Keepers had no issues with any of them and even Kiombo happily walked onto the lorry this time. As much as possible, the Keepers will try and feed the older orphans on the lorry so that they can be as used to the translocation lorry as possible before their move. Although for the time being, there is no set date so some of their milk bottle feeds are still held at the mud bath. 

The orphans all enjoyed their midday bottles of milk down at the mud bath today and as it was a nice and warm day most of the orphans decided cool off in the mud bath. Kiasa and Roho enjoyed a playful moment together in the muddy waters, and they were quickly joined by Maktao, Nabulu and some of the younger orphans. Maktao loves wallowing in the water and you can often just see his head bobbing on top of the water, as his body is completely submerged. 

Ziwadi was not so eager to have a mud bath today so she quickly walked off to browse on some of the nearby bushes. As it was such a hot day, once back in the forest, the orphans spent most of their afternoon browsing in the shade of the forest and they were sure to avoid all the sunny browsing spots. 

27 April 2021

Although Maktao has been dubbed the uncle of the Nursery herd, Kiombo and Mukkoka have also had their moments with the younger orphans. This morning, as the orphans had settled to browse in the forest, Kinyei and Kiombo were enjoying a short little dust bath together. It was nice seeing Kiombo keep this young girl company as she rolled around in the soil. Whenever the bulls look after the younger orphans, this seems to give Maisha, Nabulu, Kiasa and Larro a bit of a break and they all seem to be enjoying this little bit of off time. 

Throughout the day today, Rama seemed to be waiting for Ziwadi wherever he went. This had started since morning when he was waiting for Ziwadi to finish drinking from all the water troughs before heading out to the forest and it continued all day. Whenever Ziwadi was taking a bit longer to walk or leave a browsing spot, Rama could always be seen waiting for her. 

Since Rama’s arrival, Olorien seems to be spending less time with Ziwadi and more time with the other younger orphans. Although she still seems to enjoy Ziwadi’s company, she also seems to now enjoy spending time with the other orphans in the Nursery herd. Most days, she will move around between the Nursery groups, which is also important as she learns to gain her independence. 

The orphans had a lovely day out in the forest. 

28 April 2021

This morning as the orphans were getting ready to run down for their 9am bottles of milk, Naboishu was once again being extremely loud, even when the Keepers were getting all the orphans ready in their groups. Unfortunately for Naboishu, he was in the same group of Kiasa, and she was once again in one of her naughty moods. As they were running down for their bottles, Naboishu sprinted ahead of Kiasa but she seemed to catch onto his idea, and she picked up the pace too. As the duo were racing down Naboishu was trumpeting and yelling so loud that it seemed as though the whole forest could hear him.

Once down at the milk feeding point, Kiasa already tried to be naughty and push Naboishu away from his bottle but the Keepers were quick to react, and they told her off and moved her far away from him. Naboishu seemed to be so unhappy with her that he kept rumbling and grumbling as he drank his bottles and as soon as he was finished her moved far away from her. Kiasa who seems to enjoy being naughty did not take much notice before trying to steal Kiombo’s milk. The Keepers had to chase her away to give the other orphans peace.

This afternoon, down at the mud bath, Roho and Olorien enjoyed a long playful moment together as they enjoyed a long dust bath. They were soon joined by Maisha who came over to check on them and when it was time to head back to the forest, Maisha led them all away. 

29 April 2021

It was another chilly morning as the weather seemed to turn through the night and there was some light rain throughout the evening. As it was quite cold in the morning, some of the orphans were a little reluctant to leave their rooms namely Maktao, Ziwadi, and Kiombo. Maktao has always been less fond of the colder weather and he is often amongst the last to come out of his stockade on colder mornings. The Keepers eventually managed to get all the older orphans rounded up and ready to start their day.

Some of the younger orphans, such as Ziwadi, Olorien, Kinyei, Kindani, and Bondeni stayed within their stables until the morning warmed up. Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait too long and as soon as they were let out, they all went dashing out to the forest, even Ziwadi picked up the pace. Once out in the forest, all the orphans settled to browse.

Roho seemed particularly eager to spend most of his day with Maisha as he could be seen right by her side throughout the day. Maisha always seems to enjoy Roho’s company so she was quite happy to have him with her. Maktao took a bit of a break from his uncle duties today and spent most of his day with the bulls Naboishu, Mukkoka and Kiombo.

The orphans had a wonderful day in the Nairobi National Park. 

30 April 2021

This morning, as she was let out of her stable, Naleku was up to her usual routine of greeting Maxwell before greeting any of the other orphans. The large rhino was already up and about and as he heard the orphans moving around, he walked over to his bottom gate as if he knew some of the orphans would come and say hi. Once Naleku got to his gate, she tapped Max on his side with her little trunk, which caused the him to jump as he was not expecting it. After a short interaction, Max walked over to his greens and began to munch away at them.

Kiasa, Nabulu, Naboishu, and Mukkoka were already making their way out to the forest and Naleku who had now finished greeting Max was now running after them to walk with them. Maisha was soon to follow with the rest of the herd. Once all in the forest, the orphans split up into their smaller groups to browse together.

The Keepers are continuing with the training with Maisha, Mukkoka, Kiasa, Nabulu, Maktao and Kiombo. As always Maktao and Mukkoka have remained calm and gentle and will always step onto the lorry without any hesitation. Kiombo, however, can be slightly temperamental as some days he will happily get on and others he refuses. This afternoon he was reluctant to get on and the Keepers had to try several times before he finally accepted. All in all, the Keepers are pleased with how the training is going.