A terrible Nursery tragedy this month was the death of baby Mumbushi on the 30th who was deeply loved and will be sorely missed. Mumbushi who was just two months old, came in with a deep cut across his face, one damaged eye that threatened to go blind, both of which entailed a great deal of attention. All this, plus the loss of his elephant family was compounded by the onset of teething, which always causes problems in the infant elephants. It was all simply too much for him. He has been deeply missed by all his Nursery companions, but especially by Tano and Mutara who were always at his Stockade door first thing in the morning to escort him out into the bush. He died during the early hours of the morning, and on that day both ran to his stable door, raised their trunks in the air, bellowed and turned and walked away, obviously instinctively knowing that he had passed away. All the Nursery females grieved for him deeply.
The 6th saw the smooth transfer of Kalama, Chemi Chemi and Ololoo to the Ithumba Rehabilitation Station. This month two new elephants have been rescued and brought in, both obvious poaching victims. “Dabassa” came in on the 12th from the Galana Ranch beyond the Eastern boundary of Tsavo. On the 28th “Rombo” came in from the same un-ele-friendly hot spot that has yielded several of our orphans, some like Murka deliberately mutilated by this brutal community. Rombo was lucky to have escaped with just a spear hole through one ear, which also penetrated the shoulder behind, fortunately only superficially. Both new orphans are about two years of age, and both baby bulls who were very traumatized but have since settled in amongst the Nursery herd, albeit still both fearful of the human company.
Each new Nursery arrival is greeted very warmly by the established orphans, especially Mutara, who always takes the group to greet the newcomers, spending time rumbling reassurance to them at the door of the Taming Stockade. Kilabasi, who was a newcomer last month, is now settled and gaining weight, and hopefully the two latest arrivals will soon be doing the same, having been de-wormed and now benefiting from milk. Dabassa was allowed out to join the other Nursery babies on the 22nd, and Rombo will be ready to be allowed out early in September. Both were extremely emaciated on arrival.
Again the Nairobi Park lions have been in evidence in pursuit of the resident warthogs who enjoy hanging around the Keepers and the elephants for additional protection. The lions have become increasingly brazen, narrowly missing a pig actually within the compound in broad daylight with everyone around just going about their business! On another occasion a warthog being pursued by a lion ran right through the Keepers’ legs as they sat out in the bush with the elephants, scattering all the elephants, and scaring the Keepers witless. A few days later there was another adrenalin rush when the Nursery herd ran into yet another lion which “roared” at being disturbed! And on the 23rd orphan rhino Solio spotted a lioness and her three cubs ahead of the Keepers, and took to her heals, as did the Keepers who were with her!
The Rhinos:- Blind Maxwell’s days follow the usual routine – greeting Solio when she emerges in the morning, running up and down his enclosure while she does the same on the other side, stopping to spar with each other between the separating poles. While Solio is out doing the rounds of the dungpiles and urinals by way of the introduction into the resident rhino community, Max spends his time feeding, sleeping, wallowing and scratching against his scratching post, as well as enjoying visitors who come to take a look at him, when he stands close hoping for a rub. When Solio returns in the evening, his excitement mounts visibly, up goes his tail, and he rushes to be close to her in the next door Stockade, usually marking her with urine, which her Keeper does not always appreciate! Max also obviously enjoys some contact with wild rhinos who approach his Stockade under cover of darkness, evidence of this in the tracks they leave behind
Solio is growing apace. She is a happy, plump, and very exuberant young rhino, who enjoys every moment of every day, delighting in forcing the guineafowl to take to the air, and now confident to extend her domain and explore new ground, obviously feeling more confident of “belonging” within the resident rhino community.