It has been a busy month at the Nursery with the arrival of two newcomers, both victims of poaching. A 9 month old baby bull, whose mother was the victim of poisoned arrow poaching came into the Nursery from the Taita Hills Sanctuary on the 10th and has been named “Taveta”. He was malnourished, with sunken cheeks, so had obviously been without his mother for some time. However, he settled immediately, displaying practically no aggression, and was calm enough to be out and about with the others the very next. All the Nursery elephants crowded around him, welcoming him into the fold, but he is an independent little elephant, prone to wandering off on his own, so Lesanju and Lempaute keep a close eye on him, and steer him back each time. He rapidly mastered the feeding hours, and leaves the others to turn up looking for his milk ahead of time, leaving the Keepers marveling at his intelligence! But, he has thrived from the start, and is gaining weight rapidly.
The l9th saw the arrival of little Saguta, a 3 month old orphan from the far North near Lake Turkana who just wandered into a Samburu homestead one morning, probably yet another victim of poaching. She was taken to the KWS Station at Maralal, and following official permission to move the elephant, organized by phone from Tsavo (where Daphne and Angela were at the time), the calf was driven to Mugie airfield to await the rescue plane. She was extremely malnourished and weak and fell into a coma during the flight back, but fortunately our Head Keeper, Edwin, was able to insert a Dextrose drip into an ear vein during the flight which obviously saved her life. She was still comatose upon arrival at the Nursery at 2.30 p.m. where a Vet was waiting for her, and when she was carried to the stable previously occupied by Kimana. After several bottles of Dextrose, Hartmans, 10 mls.Calvasone for stress and shock, Vitamin E-Selen for muscular dystrophy and Vitamin B 12 for Energy, she regained consciousness around midnight and took some milk and rehydrants. However, by the next morning, she was in a bad way again, so the drip was replaced, bringing her back to life several hours later when she took more milk. However, after several days, diarrheoa threatened, which in a calf so weak could prove life threatening, but we managed to stave this off with Kaolin and Kefir water. Since then little Saguta has been holding her own, and we are hopeful that we will be able to save her, and if we do, she will indeed have been pulled from the jaws of death thanks to Head Keeper Edwin Lusichi.
The dynamics of the Nursery elephants are constantly changing, although one thing remains constant, and that is that Kenia still harbours an antipathy towards poor Shimba, who is a very placid little chap. She continually seeks him out to picks a fight with him. The arrival of the two newcomers has necessitated yet another adjustment to the sleeping arrangements, something that always has repercussions, for change destabilizes the babies who dislike any change to their Nursery routine. Kimana had to be moved out of his stable to make way for Saguta, and instead put in with Shimba and Dida, who occupy a double stable next door to the other newcomer, Taveta. The change did not suit Kimana at all, who was very restless for several nights, choosing to sleep instead during the day, and circling round the stable all night! However, after a few days he settled down.
Sinya, who used to be fond of all the younger elephants, has now chosen Dida as her favourite, and resents the others coming too close, while Lesanju and Lempaute remain joint Matriarchs of the Nursery Group. Wasessa has settled down and now looks the picture of health. She still adamantly refuses to accept being covered by a blanket to protect her against the chill and is very possessive of Siria, who is her best friend, wanting him all to herself. However, as all the female orphans gradually overcome the trauma of being orphaned, they will undoubtedly all become caring of the young, as have many others before them. Initial psychological upsets are to be expected after all they have endured.
Lempaute has been up to her mischievous tricks again, scaring the local school children during the mudbath so effectively that one group refused to return for the viewing! She also scared the Keepers when she kicked over a stone and exposed a snake which headed in their direction, while she ran in the other! Siria is a very gentle and loving little elephant, who is best friends with everyone and adored by Wasessa and Kenia. Kimana certainly has spirit, not afraid of pushing the older elephants just to demonstrate who is boss, especially Dida who now has to share the night quarters with him. However, she is careful to keep Shimba as a shield!