Keepers' Diaries, August 2015

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Losoito was struggling. A victim of the family of five gunned down in Southern Tsavo west the month before, this tiny lone survivor was found and rescued 48 hours later. However the stress and trauma, dehydration and intolerance for the milk formula all proved too much for her and we never managed to stabilize her stomach and one loses baby elephants fast when that is the case. Once the tummy goes this is the single biggest threat to young elephant calves. Scouring in this case was not due to any bacterial infection but stress, and harder to retrieve as a result. She died on the morning of the 2nd, joining her recently deceased family in the great somewhere. A tragic loss that Mbegu felt deeply, as we all did.

01 August 2015

Poor Losoito is still plagued by a bad stomach and loose stools. This morning he woke up looking dull and lacking energy. He stopped to rest in the bushes just after Maxwell’s stockade in the company of Mbegu, Mwashoti, Murit and Lasayen. Sweet Mbegu, always the caring one, lay her trunk on Losoito’s back as he in turn put his trunk near her mouth for comfort. Later Losoito was put on a drip infusion to try and restore some of the body fluids he was losing through diarrhoea. As a result of this Losoito regained some energy and he was able to walk around the bush in the afternoon.

02 August 2015

It was a sad morning today as we lost poor Losoito in the night. Despite the drips and medication he was put on, he lost too much fluid and energy through his bad stomach. He died quietly in the night under the watchful care of his keepers, who were sad to see him go despite the short time he had been with us. Early in the morning Kamok and Mbegu waited outside Losoito’s stable as usual, to walk him to the bushes. They were annoyed when he wouldn’t come out. Mbegu kept knocking on the door and rumbled low and loudly trying to get a response from Losoito. After a short while she turned and trumpeted as she ran to join Kamok who had walked away to join the other orphans. Her actions showed that she knew poor Losoito was not there anymore. It was at least comforting to see that Simotua’s wounds are healing well and that the intense swelling around his wounded leg had dramatically reduced, although the joint is not yet very flexible. He is more trusting of the keepers and is quite attached to the orphans Rapa and Tusuja although those two elephants spend the most time together. Rapa often enjoys suckling on Tusuja’s ears.

03 August 2015

Elephants can be quite fearful animals. As the orphans were enjoying their early morning browsing session a young impala got trapped amidst them and panicked as it could not see its family. Arruba, Suswa, Mashariki and Rorogoi, all big girls now, scampered through the bushes wailing and trumpeting with their ears erect running towards their keepers. They stopped in their tracks next to their keepers and listened for further noise. They remained quite nervous and on edge for sometime before settling down to browse again. After the orphans had begun browsing in the bushes again after public visiting, Mwashoti began teaching young Lasayen some pushing techniques. The boys enjoyed a fair and tender pushing game with cool Mwashoti allowing Lasayen to push him as he only softly pushed back. Their game was interrupted when Kamok started rolling on the ground next to their game which earned Mwashoti’s interest. He left Lasayen and went to climb on Kamok, though she did not like it and got up and pushed him away, which brought a swift end to all the games!

04 August 2015

Soon after the orphans had their 9 o’clock bottle, Suswa and Mashariki had a busy time enjoying a dust bath. They completely lay down in the soft soil and as they were partially hidden by the flying dust, Pea and Pod also decided to join in on the dust bathing session. They too lay down on the loose soil close to Mashariki and began flapping their wings to pick up the soil and dust themselves. Suddenly Mashariki got up and ran after them with her ears spread and threw her trunk towards them. Pea and Pod got up and sprinted away. As they tried to turn back to the dust bath they were then faced with Suswa charging towards them, and they had to abandon hopes of finishing their dust bath and settle on feeding instead. Suswa and Mashariki turned back to enjoy their happy dust bath, until the keepers led them off into the forest. During public visiting at 11am, soon after the first group had their bottles, playful Kamok was seen performing a dramatic display of sitting along the cordon rope, lifting her trunk high into the air, before bringing it down and head butting the ground and trying to lift her hind legs in the air. She then went and picked up the spade used for mud washing and tried to balance it on her forehead with her trunk, before suddenly throwing it in the mud pool! This was a scene that gained a lot of applause from the visiting public, enjoying the ability and power nature has afforded even these babies. Kamok is always playful and displaying dramatic scenes.

05 August 2015

As the majority of orphans were busy browsing this morning Olsekki and Sirimon were fully engaged in a pushing game, with each exerting their full strength to try and dominate the other. Sirimon managed to push Olsekki onto his forehead, but he got up and quickly ran after Sirimon and climbed on him. This prompted Sirimon to yell out as Olsekki stepped on the tip of his trunk. The yelling did not bother Olsekki but it bothered Suswa, who was browsing nearby, who ran out to rescue Sirimon. Olsekki got off Sirimon and ran off as soon as he saw Suswa coming with her trunk pointed. As Suswa was busy inspecting Sirimon, he rumbled his appreciation for being cared and protected for. During public viewing, soon after the orphans had their bottles, Mbegu, Dupotto and Rapa had a fun time playing in the mud bath. They took their time with this game and Mbegu performed a dramatic display of walking out of the mud pool and sliding back in down the edge. Before getting up Dupotto and Rapa would try and lie on her like in a game of rugby. The three are certainly mud bath lovers!

06 August 2015

Today young Lasayen was happy and playful. Walking out for public viewing the keepers watched him run past Ndotto, Murit, Ngilai and Mbegu to pose in front of them with his little ears erect, teasing them. Just as they were approaching the public viewing area, crossing the water pools, Lasayen ran past Mbegu and started pushing her, blocking her path to her milk bottle! Mbegu did not react however, she just touched Lasayen’s forehead with her trunk and he moved aside so Mbegu could walk to her bottle. As Mbegu was busy downing her milk bottle, playful Lasayen turned towards the visiting public and ran along the rope cordon bumping into the public and prompting the young children to scream and laugh. The applause from the public made Lasayen run back to the mud bathing area, trumpeting, to join his favourite friend Ndotto who was with Ngilai and Murit soil dusting. The public missed Lasayen’s attention and tried to call him back, but he did not listen and did not turn back so continued to dust himself with his friends.

07 August 2015

Once the orphans had left their stockades and settled into browsing, Boromoko and Mwashoti started playing a pushing game instead. Today their usual game was slightly different however as Boromoko has developed a small growth on his left hind foot. It is just a small boil or wart and can be handled with some treatment but the swelling interrupted the game with his favourite friend Mwashoti and Kauro too. During public visiting it was cloudy and cold which meant the orphans only wanted to enjoy the dust bath and avoid the mud hole. All the orphans were enjoying their dust bathing and Suswa, Embu, Mashariki and Arruba were lying comfortably on the loose soil. Kauro was busy climbing and sliding on them one after the other but his game came to an end when he went to climb on Rorogoi who quickly got up forcing him to fall over. Before he managed to get up Rorogoi pushed him so Kauro rolled away before getting up and walking off to find a new game.

08 August 2015

Today was a very chilly day and it drizzled for most of the morning. This saw the little ones Ndotto, Ngilai and Lasayen to stay in doors for some time as they are very fragile in bad weather. The other orphans out in the field had a busy time rolling and soil dusting to keep warm. The blood test performed on Balguda today, showed that he has similar symptoms to what Ziwa had. At the moment he is looking more active, feeding on greens and his dung looks good compared to when he came in from Umani. These are all good signs obviously and his condition will continue to be monitored with the medication he is receiving. A few minutes before 3pm, Elkerama and his favourite Ngilai were found to be missing. Little Ngilai was found some minutes later in the bush and after walking a bit further Elkerama was found browsing near a wild black rhino in the dense bush. When it saw the keepers the black rhino ran further into the bushes which promoted Elkerama to run as well! Eventually he came back to the keepers and they returned to the stockades. As he was rescued as an older orphan Elkerama is much more independent and loves to browse on his own in the bushes, which means he sometimes wonders off a bit too far!

09 August 2015

Today started off even chillier than the previous day! It was raining harder which meant that the little babies Ndotto, Lasayen and Ngilai wore raincoats over their blankets to keep them dry and warm. At around 7am the showers became a bit lighter and the big girls were happily enjoying soil bathing as they rolled, bumped and slid off one another. Suswa, the biggest girl in the Nursery, deliberately lay on Embu which caused her to shout out. Mashariki looked up quickly to see what was wrong with Embu and finding Suswa lying on her, pushed her off. Embu got up and walked off with Mashariki and put her trunk in her mouth, a sign of comfort and affection. As the two walked off Suswa was left rolling around in the soil on her own, quite happy to have the area to herself! After public viewing the orphans returned to the soil dusting area where Oltaiyoni, Roi and Mbegu had a busy time dusting themselves. Roi and Mbegu had a happy time rolling around on the ground as they played and bumped into each other. Their game attracted little Lasayen and Ndotto who joined in and happily placed themselves in between the two girls. Tiny Ndotto enjoyed climbing on Mbegu, whilst Lasayen tried his luck on Roi. Unfortunately Lasayen sat on Roi’s head which caused her to throw him off and Lasayen to land on his forehead – the keepers gave Roi a warning. This unfriendly act of Roi made Lasayen and Ndotto walk away and settle close to Alamaya and Mwashoti, their usual friends. Roi and Rapa can both be naughty with the young ones and it takes the older girls and the keepers to keep them in line.

10 August 2015

During the public viewing today it was pretty sunny, unlike the previous days which had remained chilly. Soon the first group had downed their bottle and Mwashoti, Rapa, Dupotto and Mbegu playfully entered the mud bath and took their time enjoying themselves. They all kicked around in the pool to make it extra muddy and better for mud bathing. They splashed and sprayed mud all over their bodies. Mbegu deliberately sprayed mud out towards the applauding public who also enjoyed watching their fun in the mud pool. The cheering of the public also saw Dupotto get out of the mud bath and start running after Pea and Pod who were busy feeding on green leaves around the grounds of the mud wallow. Dupotto wasn’t entirely successful though as the keepers warned her off, which saw her lazily get back into the mud bath again. As the second group of orphans were busy taking their bottles, Olsekki and Enkikwe were giving the keepers a hard time, running between them and trying to push the others aside so they could get more milk! Their actions made Suswa run out after Olsekki, who was bothering a keeper trying to feed Boromoko, and grab his tail and force him towards the mud hole until the other orphans had finished their bottles. Older elephants can discipline other orphans just as human siblings would do!

11 August 2015

Rorogoi is becoming quite tough towards the young bulls such as Olsekki, Enkikwe, Sirimon, Sokotei and Kauro. Today as the orphans were waiting to go for their 9am bottle feed, young Kauro stood in front of Rorogoi who is very greedy for her milk. The fact that Kauro was blocking her saw Rorogoi head butt him so hard he went down on the ground before she pricked him with her small tusks on his back. Kauro shouted out in pain and the keepers ran over to rescue him from the greedy and stroppy Rorogoi. On seeing the keepers run towards then Rorogoi quickly moved away so that she was not punished for her bad actions. Out in the field Roi displayed her greedy character. After downing her bottle feeds she was scampering about trying to find extra bottles she might be able to steal. Eventually she came across the wheel barrow holding the milk bottles and managed to steal one and empty it in her mouth, running off with it and holding it very tight so it could not be taken off her by the keeper running after her telling her to drop it. She challenged the keeper though and ran off into the bushes still drinking the milk, only dropping it when she was done. As she saw the keeper approaching she rumbled loudly as she was afraid of being told off for what she had done!

12 August 2015

Early in the morning around 6am, Solio paid us a visit at the stockades and had a busy time ‘talking’ with Maxwell alongside his stockade gate. Maxwell seemed very happy to meet Solio again as she had been away for some months. They played by sparring through the bars of his stockade and Maxwell was obviously delighted to smell Solio as he had a busy moment of running around his stockade before turning back to play with her as she waited patiently. As they did this, Arruba, Mwashoti and Suswa spotted them playing and walked out to where Solio was with their ears erect to try and scare them away, but Solio paid them no attention and focused instead on her friend Maxwell . Arruba and company had no option but to walk away and leave Solio playing with Maxwell. Eventually their play time took its toll and Maxwell was pushing hard on his wooden fence to try and reach Solio standing outside. In his excitement Maxwell weed and did so accidently in Solio’s face thorough the fence! This made Solio run away back into the bushes, leaving Maxwell to scamper around his stockade.

13 August 2015

Last night around 8pm, Solio returned to visit again. She came up to the orphan’s stockade and came across Maxwell standing near his gate. They spent some time tackling each other through the gate before Solio went into her old stockade where she was given some lucerne, which she happily munched on for most of the night. In the morning they spent some charging each other around either side of the fence, before Solio walked away. Maxwell seemed very restless for the rest of the morning. At the public visiting time only Dupotto and Mbegu decided to take a mud bath. After her bath Mbegu left the mud hole and went to dust herself where she showed off to the crowd by sitting on the loose soil and posing with her head held high and her trunk spinning around in the air. The audience loved it and clapped for Mbegu. Her game gained the interest of Dupotto and Lasayen who joined in my pushing Mbegu – Dupotto sitting on her and Lasayen scratching himself on her head; a fun game which wrapped up the morning visiting hour quite nicely.

14 August 2015

The orphans were all playing after their 9 o’clock bottle feed and enjoyed having their coconut oil bath. Though Rorogoi, Enkikwe and Sirimon tried to avoid the oil bath and tried to walk away, they came back and actually all three enjoyed the bath in the end. The little boys Lasayen, Ndotto, Ngilai and Rapa had a very busy time rolling on the ground and bumping into each other as the keepers threw soil on them for a dust bath. Rapa was not being very nice though and kept bumping Ndotto and Lasayen too hard so the keepers moved him away. Rapa has never been very friendly to the little boys but he is always happy and content to be around his friend Tusuja, the quiet boy! Just before it was his turn to go to the 11am public visiting time Sirimon threw a strop and let out a big shout before running to join the young group who were already down at the mud bath with the public – he came rumbling and running down to the mud bath creating quite a spectacle of himself and getting all the attention! Around 2pm a report of a baby elephant that needed rescuing came in from the Tsavo, Voi unit. This calf was found in the morning down a water hole in Godoma Valley within Taita Wildlife Sanctuary by their personnel. They contacted Ziwani desnaring team who coordinated with the Voi keepers and both units rescued the elephant calf from the water hole and took it to Salt Lick Lodge to await transport to the Nairobi nursery. The calf was found to be in good body condition though she had some bruises on the cheeks and legs incurred from falling down the water hole. She had her teeth already and was feisty, not overly friendly to her new human family which is actually a good sign as it means she is strong. She was assumed to be around 6 months old and we called her Godoma after the valley where she was found.

15 August 2015

Godoma spent a restless night, showing only intervals of calm character! She was given a very warm welcome by the caring Mbegu who naturally loves young babies and is in the stable next to her. Although the trauma Godoma went through losing her family meant she sometimes charged at Mbegu, Mbegu just rumbled back in order to comfort her and show affection by trying to touch her. Godoma woke up in the morning looking strong and still only showing moderate good behaviour towards her keepers. Once Mbegu left her stable to go out for the day, Godoma showed some signs of unrest and tried to follow her; because she is not fully settled yet she needed to spend another day in her stable. She fed on a little bit of greens and milk a little and often.

16 August 2015

Dupotto is a baby girl with a real character and she appears to have gone back to the habits she had when she first arrived at the nursery. She was such a grumpy baby and hardly slept at all. She would dance around the stable and shout all night. For the last couple of nights she has resumed this behavior but last night it was even worse. When she arrived for bed she finished her milk really fast and settled down to bed but not even two hours had passed before she was up again and this time she didn’t go back to sleep. She stayed up the whole night shouting, head-butting the wall and dancing around. Sadly this gave Lasayen rather a sleepless night as well as he had to stay up listening to her shout. We still don’t know what makes Dupotto act this way sometimes. Kamok had a nice time with Maxwell in the morning. When she came out of her stable her first stop was Maxwell’s gate as she had seen him standing there. With her strong trunk she reached out to Maxwell’s ears and started fondling them. Maxwell remained calm the whole time and seemed to enjoy it, as he always enjoys his ears being played with. Mwashoti and Mbegu joined her a bit later but Mwashoti had a different idea as wrestling is what he loves doing most. He used his trunk to pull Max’s horn and trying to pull it through the bars. Mbegu pushed him away in an attempt to stop him doing it but Mwashoti got carried away and started a pushing game. As they pushed each other Max got very excited listening to them playing by the gate. He went running round in circles and jumping up and down in the stockade. As Max butted the gate with his horn Mwashoti got even more excited by the noise and the game lasted for quite some time before the babies proceeded to join their friends who were already browsing in the bush.

17 August 2015

As the orphans left to go out for their day in the park, the keepers saw that Tusuja did not look that good. Even though he is hasn’t been that well for awhile, this morning he was looking very dull and weak and lagging behind the group. He even rejected Rapa who usually follows close to him, suckling his ears. After finishing his feed at 9 o’clock he was escorted back to his stable for a drip to boost him up. When Pea and Pod saw Tusuja leaving they followed him too and went straight into their room at the stockades to see if there was any food for them there. After finding nothing they ran back out to the parking area and started playing in the dust. The keepers tried to drive them away but they refused until they were finished dusting themselves and then they left on their own accord to find where the elephants were. By the time they reached where the elephants had been they found they had already left for the public viewing. They stayed with the older orphans though, who had yet to go down and accompanied them to the visiting area later. When Tusuja left the forest to go and get his drip Rapa was left unsettled and tried to follow him but he went the wrong way. When the keepers realised he was not in the group they went to look for him but couldn’t find him. Eventually he just wondered over on his own accord from a direction the keepers hadn’t thought to look. By 3pm Tusuja was done with the drip and went back out to the forest to join his friends. Rapa was delighted to see him and ran over to greet him before suckling on his ear. During the private visit at 3pm Balguda was very happy and interactive with his friends, enjoying a lengthy mud bath with them which is something he hasn’t done for many days.

18 August 2015

Godoma joined her friends in the bush for the first time this morning. A few of the babies returned to the stockades at 9am to collect her. Kamok and Mbegu led the group who came for her as they are the only ones who have really met the baby through their stable walls since she arrived. When her door was opened, she didn’t want to come out. Both Kamok and Mbegu tried to greet her and show her the way out but she didn’t seem ready. Finally, she rushed out of the door and shoved through the babies wanting to get ahead. As soon as she had the chance she burst forward and ran into the bushes ahead. As the keepers tried to block her she charged with her ears raised. All the other orphan babies followed; Oltaiyoni, Roi, Kamok and Dupotto all trumpeting which made Godomo even more excited and aggressive, running through the bushes. The keepers ran after her and when they caught her they had to hold onto her whilst they waited for the older orphans to arrive. Mwashoti and Arruba were the first ones from the older herd and they immediately approached Godoma in a caring way to calm her down. As all the orphans arrived and surrounded her she settled down, although she was still not very comfortable with the keepers’ presence. She was very comfortable when surrounded by the older girls. When it became time for the public visiting hour Tusuja, who was not attending, Suswa, Arruba Mashariki and Dupotto all escorted her back to her stockade as it was too soon for her to attend. After the show she was taken back into the forest with the other orphans and had a good afternoon with Alamaya. Kamok and Mbegu together with Simotua escorted her back to the stockades for the night. It was not very easy to get her back into her stable, but eventually the keepers managed. Tomorrow it is another day for Godoma in the nursery and each day will be easier as she grows up with her new elephant family, giving her a second chance.

19 August 2015

It is often remarked upon how similar elephants are to humans and we do believe this is true. It applies even at an early age as we see the different characters and personalities each baby has, similar to a human child. Our little boy Ndotto has a sweet character. Sometimes he wants to behave like a big boy and even stay by himself or with older boys for the day. There are times when he has great interest in the little ones too, or just attaches himself to the keepers. Sometimes he is cheeky and doesn’t want to listen to what the keepers are telling him. He is very entertaining and interactive if he is in one of his better moods, like today. Today he woke up in a very happy and playful mood. He has been full of excitement making even the quieter elephants happy and active, like Tusuja. When he runs up and down through the group of orphans his little body has little issue running through the gaps. He continued to test the tempers of the older orphans today as he pretended to charge at them with his ears raised. Kamok was among those that actually enjoyed his little games today though and they had fun together rolling on the ground. Whilst on their knees they enjoyed a pushing game, head to head. As all the orphans moved slowly off into the thicket, Tusuja was left behind. Seeing everyone move on and Tusuja being left behind, the little boy Ndotto came back to him. He put his head to Tusuja’s and seemed to have a little word with him as after they had exchanged trunks they began playing and then pushing each other gently. They enjoyed a short game of cat and mouse but this didn’t last long as Tusuja was not quite strong enough. Ndotto kept him company until the orphans moved off for the public viewing, which Tusuja does not attend at the moment.

20 August 2015

Mbegu had a great time with Pea and Pod in the field this morning. It was wonderful to watch these two different species interact and have fun together. Early in the morning in the forest as Mbegu was browsing and picking at some wild fruit, the two ostriches approached her and started feeding on the same things she was eating. Whatever Mbegu stretched her trunk to collect the ostriches took it before she could get hold of it. This went on for awhile until she abandoned those branches and decided to send the ostriches away. Pea and Pod ran away in different directions which left Mbegu confused over which one to run after. They then ran back to her and danced around in circles as Mbegu just stood and watched. They then laid their long necks on the ground and seeing her chance Mbegu ran at them both, trumpeting and with her ears raised up to scare them off. As she charged she dug her foot into the ground to show her real intentions. The ostriches got up in fear and ran off into the bushes. They pretended to have given up on the game as they watched Mbegu go back to browsing but suddenly they jumped out of the thicket and ran towards her. She shouted in a loud voice so that Arruba would run to help her. The entire herd looked up with their ears raised facing where they could see the ostriches running. After confirming that it was only Pea and Pod that had made Mbegu shout so loud Arruba just carried on browsing as Mbegu drove the ostriches into the bushes where they eventually gave up their game. Roi has joined Alamaya in babysitting Godoma today. The three have spent their entire day together with the older two caring for the new little girl who is still settling down into her new environment and way of life; though she has started cooperating with the keepers much more today. At the 3pm private visit it was very hot and most of the babies were in the mud bath to cool down. Godoma is also fond of wallowing in the mud and she was one of the first ones to be driven out by Suswa who is not being very nice to her younger peers recently. Today she kicked out almost all of the little ones from the pool! A couple of times Godoma went back in but Suswa kept charging at her as well as Roi and Enkikwe. She didn’t listen to the keepers either who were telling her to stop as she started charging at Mbegu as well, until they were all sent out of the pool!

21 August 2015

Boromoko is a soft, playful boy and this morning out in the bush he engaged Lasayen in a pushing game. Ndotto stood a short distance away watching the two. Eventually he decided to join in with his friend in tackling the strong boy Boromoko, who remained gentle to the little ones throughout the game. It even looked like he was pretending to be overpowered by the little ones in order to let them win. This made them very happy, thinking they had won over the older boy as he lay down on the ground. The two little boys teamed up as a duo running in different directions with their ears raised and trumpeting. Eventually Boromoko got up and ran into the bushes trumpeting as they ran after him doing the same. Just like all the other new arrivals, Godoma has reacted to the presence of the ostriches as part of the elephant group. She is not yet used to Pea and Pod and during public visiting she kept charging at them whenever she saw them. At the 3pm private visit the likes of Kauro who doesnt like getting wet had a good time playing in the red soil, whilst Mbegu and the others were all in the mud pool. After their bath they all crowded onto the heap of soil to dust themselves which they enjoyed at length.

22 August 2015

Sokotei enjoyed a good game with Sirimon this morning. Olsekki was standing close by and felt jealous of their game until he couldn’t wait any longer and decided to interrupt their game by taking on Sokotei. Sirimon wasn’t happy and to defend his friend he charged at Olsekki. Now Enkikwe, who is Olsekki’s friend, saw what Sirimon did and he came over to assist his friend! Sokotei has changed from his ‘bullying’ days and decided not to rise to the fight and instead go back to browsing. Sirimon, who is proving to be quite a ‘tough boy’ managed to put both the other boys in their place, dealing with one after the other. They both ran away and went to play in a different place, out of sight from Sirimon. Roi seems to be annoyed with Dupotto at the moment as she keeps bullying her. At the public show today she even tried to bite her tail! But Dupotto was saved by Oltaiyoni who drove Roi away.

23 August 2015

In the morning when Godoma came out of her stable, Kamok and Mbegu were waiting for her at her door. She came out in a hurry with her ears raised up to charge but there was a keeper to block her from running to the main gate. She attempted to bump the keeper but when she saw him standing his ground she ran past him and Kamok and Mbegu to Daphne’s parking area. She got herself lost in the thick bushes here and Kamok and Mbegu were taken over there to see if they could help calm her down. They ended up not being able to see her there at all and it was only thanks to the shout from Ngilai (because Elkerama was not allowing him to suckle his ears) that enticed the little girl back to the stockade area to see what the shouting was about. From a distance Oltaiyoni, Mbegu, Arruba and Mashariki heard the little girl rumbling as she was scared. They all responded by rumbling back and putting their trunks in the air to smell where the little baby was. They raised their heads in the opposite direction towards the thicket with their ears spread. Then the keepers saw the baby running towards the group and they all ran to greet her, rumbling in order to comfort her. She stayed close to Arruba and Mbegu for some time whilst she settled down and actually stayed right next to Mbegu for the rest of the day.

24 August 2015

Sometimes we have one baby that is different to all the others and it seems Godoma is a bit different! She has been with us for almost ten days now but still she is quite wild and aggressive. She still doesn’t totally feel comfortable with the keepers yet either, despite the loving relationship the other orphans have with them. This does seem to cause a rift between her and her peers as even the ones that are normally social and friendly to the newcomers have gone off her. Today even Oltaiyoni, Mbegu and Kamok seemed to be tired of her aggression and she has been very hard work with the other babies today! Feeding her is still quite difficult and she is more comfortable taking her bottle when she is surrounded with the older orphans – this can be a challenge though as then they all try and take her bottle too! When you try to push them away, she runs away as well. Mbegu was playing with Ndoto and Lasayen in the dust but when Godoma went over to them she sent her away for fear of her bullying the other babies. The keepers are desperately trying to be her friend but she still runs away from them whenever they approach her calling her name. In the evening when coming home to bed she was in the company of Kamok, Dupotto, Mbegu and Alamaya and again it was hard to get her inside her stable. She kept running back into the bushes leaving those who had escorted her in her stable. In the end she did go in though and her keeper spent the next few hours soothing her and calming her down for the night.

25 August 2015

Early in the morning, before the older and younger group part ways for the day, Boromoko and his friend Mwashoti were enjoying a good game. It seems that both young elephants understand each other very well. Boromoko is always gentle and knows how to play nicely with younger and slightly disadvantaged babies like Mwashoti. Even when Mwashoti starts to play rough, Boromoko knows how to deal with it and never rises, even breaking off from the game to leave Mwashoti thinking he has won. By 7 o’clock today it was already hot and so all the babies that enjoy mud bathing had a wonderful morning. Mbegu, Elkerama, Arruba, Rorogoi and Mashariki enjoyed a lengthy mud baths wherever they came across the opportunity. Even out in the bush if they came across a mud hole they would all jump in it and start wallowing. In the older herd, Sirimon and Olsekki spent most of the day trying to see who was stronger than the other. By the afternoon it seemed that Sirimon had emerged as victorious. It is still quite a problem to get Godoma into her stable in the evening. She ran around and the keepers struggled to get her inside before she eventually gave in when some of her friends escorted her inside.

26 August 2015

Kauro is still not looking very comfortable with the older herd he is with now. He is always on the look-out for Kamok’s little herd so he can go and join them as he enjoys Kamok, Mbegu and Murit’s company. Embu and Rorogoi are the ones behind Kauro wanting to find the younger group as they bully him and he wants to find his younger friends. Kauro was browsing with Balguda, a gentle boy, when Embu charged and pushed him away. Kauro decided to move away and stay closer to the keepers. But even with the presence of the keepers Rorogoi didn’t leave him alone and tried to pin him near a tree so he couldn’t move away. Rorogoi knew she had made a mistake though and ran into the bushes and browsed slightly further away for the rest of the day. Due to these incidences though Kauro went off in search of his friends in Kamok’s group. The herds were quite far apart though and Kauro was unable to find them. He ended up getting lost and started shouting as he couldn’t find anyone. The keepers heard and went to look for him and when Kauro saw them he ran towards them, relieved to not be on his own anymore. After re-joining the group he didn’t leave the keepers’ sight. Even though it was a warm day, Kauro surprised everybody later by being one of the first orphans into the mud bath during public visiting, as he normally does not like it. He enjoyed a long mud bath with the whole group and later left with them back into the forest. It is important for Kauro to be with the older orphans now so he can grow up and learn new skills to become a strong and social young bull elephant – he will get used to the older group in time!

27 August 2015

Elephants are such an intelligent animals, even at the young age of the babies in the nursery. It is becoming apparent to the keepers that the orphans understand it is nearly feeding time when they start communicating on their radios. They have already mastered the feeding hours and when they hear radio communication start they all run towards the keepers excited about their milk bottles. Sokotei and Simotua were browsing together in the bushes and when they heard radio calls they both turned back to their keepers ready to move. They raised their heads and trunks up in the air to try and smell and confirm if there was any milk. This attracted everybody’s attention and all of a sudden all the orphans converged surrounding the keepers. This time around they were wrong though and the milk had not arrived yet. Enkikwe, Olsekki, Rorogoi and Roi all started pushing and shoving each other, excited to get to the feeding area, and as soon as the milk arrived they rushed off to get there first. Greedy babies! Balguda is looking active today and is being very interactive with the other orphans. He was in the mud pool at 11am and again at 3pm which is a very good sign. He enjoyed it immensely and after both times he went to dry himself off with a dust bath. These are good signs of improvement and hopefully this means he is on the mend.

28 August 2015

The normally very quiet and polite boy, Murit, reacted furiously to uninvited guests at the mud bath today. As the other babies enjoyed the mud bath and other rolled in the dust, Murit stood to the side watching everyone. When a warthog with her babies strolled amongst the middle of the herd with the aim of cooling down on this hot day, Murit suddenly jumped up and started chasing the warthogs, creating a lot of confusion. He chased them from the entrance and the sides were blocked by the visiting public and there was no option left for them but to run through the crowds. Murit stayed on alert to make sure the warthogs did not return. Whilst out in the bush Oltaiyoni, as an older female, performed her role of guardian. Using a very low rumble she called the whole group together as she was worried all of the orphans were browsing too far apart and too far away from the keepers. To confirm that all was okay, Mbegu and Ndotto were the first ones to respond that all was okay. Then the others followed by rumbling in reply. After a short while, they all started to move at once in the same direction under the leadership of Oltaiyoni. Tusuja is showing great improvement today as well and was even trying to dust himself which he hasn’t done for such a long time.

29 August 2015

Soon after the orphans had settled down to browse in the morning, Enkikwe and Sokotei spent quite a while testing their strength on each other. Most of the time, Sokotei was seen to be the winner, and he climbed on Enkikwe forcing Enkikwe onto the ground on his forelegs. Enkikwe did not give up though and managed to break free, stand up and defend himself against Sokotei. As no one surrendered their game became more intense until Mashariki intervened and brought an end to the game. Sokotei went on to try and challenge Mashariki but she got hold of his tail and Sokotei cried out as he tried to run away – the older girls always know how to discipline the naughty boys!

30 August 2015

During public visiting at 11am the young boys were having a lot of fun. Ndotto, Lasayen and Ngilai ran into the viewing area after Pea and Pod who ran daintily ahead of them. Tiny Ndotto tried to get hold of their tails but with no success since his little trunk could hardly reach. Lasayen tried to butt them with his head but he couldn’t reach either due to their tall bodies and his little stature. Pea and Pod went over to the loose soil to enjoy a dust bath but their happy time was short lived as Lasayen and Ndotto went running over to them, charging with their little ears up. They kicked up dust which sent Pea and Pod running, leaving the two naughty little boys to enjoy rolling in the loose soil as they played and bumped each other, and much to the visitors delight.

31 August 2015

Little Godoma is doing well today but she is still learning to trust her keepers and still remains shy and slightly nervous. Out in the field and during public viewing, she keeps herself between the other orphan babies. She still does not enter her stable easily and is always escorted in by Mwashoti, Murit, Alamaya, Kamok and Mbegu. She has been moved into Mwashoti’s stable, since it continuously proved difficult to get her into her stable at the front next to Kamok and Mbegu. With her new stable, Mwashoti easily guides her in and it is much less of a struggle than it was before. She seems very happy in there. Tusuja is still fighting his poor health condition, although he is not as weak as before he needs to still put on some more weight. He is feeding on milk and greens well so we will have to see with time and continue to monitor him. Simotua’s wounds are healing pretty well and he continues to put on weight and looks happy with his other friends, who he has been so kind and caring towards recently.