Keepers' Diaries, August 2016

Nairobi Nursery Unit

The Nairobi Park remains lush and green in contrast to our Tsavo Elephant Relocation Units, so our baby elephants have had plentiful food. Nairobi temperatures have been extraordinarily cold for this time of year, for close on three months now. Apparently, according to the weather man, these chilly conditions are set to continue! Our infant orphans have had to be bundled up tight to keep warm and protected from the elements, and our older orphans have been less than enthusiastic about their mudwallow in recent months, opting instead for a red earth dust bath. Lorry loads of red earth are brought in for them to enjoy, which gives them hours of joy.

01 August 2016

The orphans came out of their stockades today as usual and headed out into the bush. Kamok and her adopted baby Ngilai broke away from the other orphans and went to browse in some bushes nearby. Their busy time alone came to an abrupt end though when two lions that were also in the bushes near there roared out load to make their presence known! This made Kamok and Ngilai run back bellowing to the other orphans and their keepers. Their reaction saw Oltaiyoni run out to meet them, followed by Roi, Mbegu, Kauro and Tusuja who had a busy time trumpeting and bashing the bushes down, accompanied by the keepers who also shouted to make the lions go away! As the lions continued to roar Oltaiyoni broke down some branches and started throwing them around, charging in the direction of the roars! The keepers started to walk the babies away but even as they did so, Oltaiyoni, Roi, Mbegu and Kauro stayed at the back stamping and bashing around to make their anger with the lions very obvious. Kiko was taken to the stockades until it was certain the lions had gone.

02 August 2016

During public visiting today it was extremely hot which promoted all of the orphans to drink their milk quickly and run into the mud pool. Mbegu, Godoma and Dupotto love the mud and were the first to get in there rolling and twisting around, promoting the interest of Ngilai, Ndotto, Lasayen and Ambo to do the same. They were all rolling and posing in the mud, scratching against each other and having a great time. Little Jotto together with Murit and Tagwa as well enjoyed the mud bath slightly to the side and assisted by their keepers, as they were slightly weary of the boisterous behaviour going on. Ndotto, Lasayen and Ngilai were all climbing and sliding on Dupotto and Mbegu and they didn’t really want to get involved! Playful Ngilai then came out of the mud and ran up to the rope cordon where the school children were standing, rubbing against them to get them all muddy! They were amazed to see all the elephant’s mud bathing together. Ngilai kept playfully running between the mud pool and the school children who had a lot of fun playing this game with him as well.

03 August 2016

As the orphans were going into the bush today Kauro and Tusuja were busy challenging each other, wrestling and trying to find out who was the strongest between them. Kauro is the oldest out of the orphan family at the nursery and he is relying on this fact to send the message to Tusuja he is the dominant bull in the family! This is why he is often found challenging Tusuja. Oltaiyoni is her usual good role model and when all the other orphans are running for their milk bottles, she walks in last to enjoy them last and allow the others first. She does the same when walking to the visiting times and leaving the area as well, she always goes last so she can make sure everyone else in the herd is okay. When the orphans walk back into their stockades in the afternoon she always makes sure she is the last as well – all these actions show her strong maternal instincts – we are sure she will be a caring and protective matriarchal figure in her years to come.

04 August 2016

When the orphans settled out to browse in the forest, Naseku was walking a group of her own which consisted of Ndotto, Lasayen, Rapa, Godoma, Maramoja and Roi but unfortunately leaving out Mbegu and Oltaiyoni. They were all happy walking in the bushes until they came across a large herd of buffalos that were busy grazing. Their sudden encounter with such a huge herd that they had not seen before sent the group of elephants running, whilst letting out noisy trumpets. Ndotto and Lasayen got separated from the group and were unable to track their way back to the others which caused them both to bellow out loudly, sending a signal to the keepers and to the other orphans that something was wrong. Oltaiyoni, Mbegu, Dupotto and Kamok heard their distressed call and went to rescue them; it was so special to see the caring side of the elephants as they marched into the forest to find the two other boys. Oltaiyoni sent out a rumbling sound call that he boys heard. As the two boys reconnected with the rest of the group, they were warmly embraced by all the big girls. They spent the rest of their time happily browsing.

05 August 2016

Its coconut oil bath day for the orphaned herd and as soon as the orphans had downed their bottle of milk they were bathed in the Oil. It was amazing to see Tusuja, Kauro and Tagwa drawing the coconut oil from the buckets and spraying themselves with it independently. Oltaiyoni and Mbegu were also busy rubbing their trunks on the bodies of Tagwa and Kauro to gather the coconut oil and cover themselves with the oil even further. Meanwhile, Naseku, Rapa and Maramoja were all busy trying to run away, giving their keepers a hard time as they attempted to bath them. It is funny to see how much of the orphans hate the oil whilst others love it. As soon as the keepers finished bathing them, all the elephants relaxed and then enjoyed rolling on the ground in the dust. Out at during public viewing, Rapa and Lasayen were out and about showing off their naughty characters as both were bullying poor Galla; head butting him and not letting him join them. Galla is a very quiet orphan who is always calm and polite, therefore he spent the majority of the time avoiding the other mean boys. Rapa was busy running from one end to the other trying to head butt Galla who was busy eating the greens; Galla is a lot bigger in size than Rapa so his actions did not have much effect anyway!

06 August 2016

Soon after Kiko joined the baby elephants out on the field he happily turned into a playful mood. He chased and charged at the warthogs surrounding the orphans all the way into the bushes. It was clear he had a secret mission to chase them far away from the baby elephants who were busy grazing, and from the keepers. The baby elephants and Kiko were led to the mud wallow through the stockades and brought back again to where the babies could settle down. Kiko was enjoying his walk until he came across two male Impalas fighting each other. This frightened Kiko causing him to run back to the safety of the keepers and the baby elephants. It was clear Kiko was intrigued by the fight though, as he stood in absolute silence watching the Impalas fight from a distance.

07 August 2016

As soon as the first group of orphans had finished their bottles of milk, they were now free to enjoy the public visit out in the public viewing ground. The three cheeky boys, Lasayen, Ndotto and Ngilai attracted most of the attention from the public most as they were all showing off and putting on a dramatic play. Whilst Lasayen was playing around in the mud bath, he noticed his best friend Ndotto playing outside in the dirt and he ran to climb on him. This further sparked Ngilai to join in too. The way the three of them were playing with each other it looked like a funny game, which the public absolutely loved watching. However, the naughty boy Rapa was watching them too and envied their game. He wanted to join in too and when Ngilai saw Rapa coming towards the three of them, he quickly got up and walked away. After also spotting Rapa Lasayen quickly followed Ngilai too. Poor Rapa was left annoyed and alone asking himself why they stopped the game. He had no option but to leave it and go back to eating the greens.

08 August 2016

Today Ngilai unfortunately woke up with all four legs were extremely stiff making it difficult for him to stand and walk. His playmates Ndotto and Lasayen heard him yell and came back to help him walk. It was clear Ngilai was eager to join his playmates but he only managed to take a few steps until he needed to stop and relax before continuing. It was lovely to witness Kamok turning back to help her adopted boy and when they greeted each other, Ngilai tried to cuddle her whilst she was trying to inspect and check out what was wrong with him. It was amazing to see the elephants who are close to Ngilai realize something was wrong with him as he was not in his usual playful self. Kamok pushed and encouraged Ngilai to slowly move and gradually he made his way to the rest of the group out in the bushes. When he reached the group, Mbegu, Roi, Kamok and Dupotto assured Ngilai that everything was going to be okay and comforted him on the walk. This has never happened before with Ngilai and to keep an eye on him he did not attend the public visit but stayed in his stable to rest. After the visit was over, Kamok and Roi eagerly ran to join Ngilai and once they met they happily embraced him and checked him over again and again. It was lovely to see how the two girls observed Ngilai and tried to help him, and to see their maternal instincts in action.

09 August 2016

In the early hours of the morning, the orphans were busy playing and walking out of their stockades, making their way to the bushes. Thankfully, Ngilai’s condition from the previous day had disappeared and he was happily playing a pushing game with Ndotto. Ngilai’s human family were delighted to find Ngilai’s quick recovery. By 9 o’clock the orphans had finished their bottles and Tusuja had started teaching Ndotto and Lasayen how to tackle and challenge each other. The two boys were extremely confident and determined to discover their own strength and try it out on each other. Even though Tusuja was teaching the two boys naughty tricks, he is always a gentle and calm elephant who is always polite to the little boys. Out at the public viewing, the two boys love to interact with people and play around together in the mud pools. There was no major events that happened out in the viewing area other than the orphans playing around in the soil and covering themselves in dust. Jotto, Murit, Ambo, Ngilai and Godoma were especially enjoying rolling in the dust and happy to be aided by the keepers. A lot of the visitors today were school children and teachers who felt extremely lucky to be able to come this close to the largest land mammal in the world. They students were shocked and couldn’t believe that enormous adult elephants start out as tiny and small as Jotto.

10 August 2016

This morning it was funny to watch little Esampu, who is relatively new in the nursery, leading Sana Sana, Pare and Maramoja put from the bushes near the stockades, far down to the milk feeding point and close to the orphans’ mud wallow. Before the keepers had reached them to walk them back, Esampu, upon seeing no keepers there and no milk, walked back to another bottle feeding point to see if the milk bottles were ready there either. Her clock was off time though as it was still far too early for bottle feeding time. Once again she turned her group back to where the other orphans were browsing and the keepers were left in awe of this little elephant who had the wit and intuition to lead others to other feeding places to look for milk. The fact such a young elephant was leading others such as Sana Sana and Maramoja who are older and capable of leading, proved to the keepers she is a clever little girl.

11 August 2016

After the orphans had their 9 o’clock bottle feeds, they spent some time mingling and interacting with Tamiyoi ‘s young group who do not feature in the public viewing and who they also do not spend a full day with. Tagwa and Murit were extremely happy spending time with Tamiyoi and the other babies that when the other group began moving further into the forest leaving Tamiyoi behind, they were very reluctant to go. The keepers tried to usher Tagwa and Murit away from Tamiyoi, Esampu, Pare and Luggard but Tagwa refused and ended up bellowing in a firm tone. Eventually the keepers managed to get Tagwa and Murit back to the other group away from the more until it was time for the public viewings. During the public viewing, as the older group was about to have their feed, when Kauro suddenly decided to cause a stir. He walked out and intentionally blocked Tusuja, Mara Moja and Naseku from getting to their milk bottles. Due to Kauro preventing the others from having their bottle feeds, Naseku- who is already very greedy when it comes to milk- began yelling loudly in an attempt to scare Kauro and sneak past. Kauro paid no attention however, and warned Naseku by spreading his ears and pointing his trunk out. The keepers tried to caution Kauro and persuade him to let his friends through; eventually when Naseku managed to get through, she ran down in a crazy manner calling out in protest due to the delay. After getting her bottle the attention of the people was soon pointed towards the elephants enjoying their milk.

12 August 2016

At midnight the previous night, lovely Solio visited the orphans stockades, prompting poor Maxwell to have an sleepless night, where he spent busy moments knocking on the wooden fence separating his and Solio’s stockade. Lovely Solio responded to Maxwell’s actions by knocking on the same wooden fence, prompting Maxwell to knock it ever harder. Both remained busy doing this for a considerable amount of time. Solio then called and announced her presence to the Keepers so they would bring her some lucerne feed, with the night mixers duly brought to her. They spent the next few hours giving Solio more lucerne, and every now and then Maxwell would knock on the posts to get her attention again, but Solio was not interested whilst she was busy feeding.

13 August 2016

As the first group of orphans were running down to enjoy their 11 o’clock bottle feed, Rapa was the last one to arrive and he was really annoyed to have been left behind by Lasayen, Ndotto, Godoma and Tagwa since he always likes to be the one to lead them down! Upon arriving he found Godoma and Tagwa still enjoying their bottle and he head-butted Godoma in the hind, prompting her to run away from her bottle yelling, before the naughty by targeted poor Tagwa where he pulled her tail which forced her to stop drinking to turn around to yell at him. Due to his harsh warnings from the keepers, Rapa ran away and went to drink his own bottle near the wheelbarrow. There is could enjoy his milk on his own away from the others, for if any walk close beside him whilst he is drinking he stops to push them away.

14 August 2016

This morning the older girls Oltaiyoni, Roi, Mbegu, Naseku and Dupotto were all milling around the babies’ stockades trying to open their doors for them to come out early as well. As the babies stayed inside Oltaiyoni and Mbegu reacted by knocking on the door and playing with the hanging buckets which holds the milk bottles and the keepers warned them away. When the five girls failed at bringing the babies out this cold morning Oltaiyoni reacted by running away from the stockades out into the forest trumpeting in anger at being thwarted. As all this was going on, Kamok and Ngilai were busy out in the car parking area chasing after warthogs until they saw all the others had gone out to the forest and they ran after them to catch up.

15 August 2016

This morning the orphans were lovely and peaceful out in the forest; they concentrated on browsing and there were no show offs or even any pushing games amongst the young bulls. During the public visiting hour little Jotto captured the attention of the public as he posed on the loose piles of soil placed there for them, rolling around and doing head stands putting his hind legs in the air one at a time. Jotto’s games were then superseded by the expert attention-grabber Ndotto, who, together with Sana Sana, took on playing with Mbegu in the mud bath and after in the loose soil as well. As Ndotto tried to climb on Mbegu, Sana Sana was busy scratching her hind legs on Mbegu’s muddy head! Ndotto would climb on Mbegu then run away pretending he was finished with the game, before running back to try and climb on her again. When Mbegu had enough of the game she just pointed her trunk at him and Ndotto knew the game was over!

16 August 2016

As the orphans were walking out into the field this morning, Roi, Naseku, Dupotto, Rapa and Galla were all scampering around in the bushes, charging and chasing after a group of impala who were innocently trying to enjoy their browse. Roi and Naseku in particular were happily trying to chase the impalas around the bushes, though the impala were brave enough to challenge them too by sprinting and jumping with small kicks in the air. They put up so much of a challenge that at some point Naughty Rapa and Galla decided to leave the chasing game and retreat to the side with their ear spread wide, indicating not to come close to them. Roi and Naskeu chased a baby impala that had become separated in the confusion right up to the boys who were standing to the side, and they bellowed as the baby impala ran past them. This reaction by the two boys saw the entire herd react and run towards them to see what had happened. Oltaiyoni and Mbegu were of course at the forefront showing off their maternal instincts. The whole orphan herd came together to make sure everyone was okay and check on the young ones, and so it was the chasing game came to an end!

17 August 2016

It has been a day full of drama for little Sana Sana. She is used to browsing away from the others, especially during the early morning hours when she likes to be on her own in the forest. When she stays away from the others she normally hangs around the milk feeding point in the forest, so that when the milk feeding wheelbarrow arrives she is usually the first one to get her bottle. But this usual tactic did not go down well for her this morning. She was busy browsing there as usual but then some strange animals appeared she had not met before. A dik dik ran through her feet which she did not mind as she was used to them, but when she turned expecting to find another dik dik there were two jackals there instead who had been chasing the dik diks! She got quite a shock, although the jackals could not harm her as they are too small, and she screamed in fear which saved the life of the dik diks as the jackals ran off in fright too! Sana Sana was scared to death and went running to her keepers who were a short distance away but able to see the whole thing. She was left feeling nervous the whole morning and did not dare to leave the herd or the keepers again. Later on in the day as the herd carried on with their usual routine, Jotto came across six lions, three females and three males. Jotto was playing running up and down and falling in the short bushes and rolling in the long grass, when he saw them. He tried to charge towards them but when they paid him no attention he turned around and ran screaming for help from his keepers. Pea was also with the group and perhaps they had been thinking of targeting her, but thank goodness Jotto raised the alarm. When the lions realised they had been spotted by everyone they left, and Kiko and Pea returned to their stockade for awhile. Kiko was not happy being put in his stockade since he loves roaming around in the forest and doing what he pleases these days – but it was for his safety!

18 August 2016

Kauro is the oldest bull in the nursery and it seems like he is trying to prove that to the rest of the herd family as well. Even after his peers left he has stayed very disciplined and obedient with both the other orphans and his human family. Sometimes the calm bulls tend to change slightly when the older ones leave, and they become the dominant bull in the herd, but not Kauro. Once he finds somewhere nice to browse out in the forest, he prefers to stay and eat all day, rather than engage in games. Sometimes he is alone and sometimes he is with one or two of his friends so he is a very quiet bull. When most of the babies go running to their keepers and shove each other to get their milk, Kauro stays in the bushes and the keepers have to call him to come for his milk. Today when it was time to return home to bed, some of Kauro’s friends decided to join him out in the bush, and not return for milk and their bed time. Dupotto, Godoma, Kamok and Tusuja decided to follow him out into the bushes and none looked like they were in a hurry to return home! Oltaiyoni doesn’t like anyone to stop by where the visitors are standing and wants them to all walk in, in an orderly way. To ensure this happens she always stands and waits for the last orphans to come and then follows them in at the back. She must know or count how many small babies have gone in and know when there are some missing as she did not want to go in until the keepers had located Kauro’s mini herd still out in the bushes. She just stopped and waited before the foster parents who were waiting for all the orphans to come in, despite being urged to go forward to her stockade she refused. Then Oltaiyoni heard Godoma shouting from the forest and she ran back responding to Godoma’s shouts. Kauro’s herd was found busy feeding in the bushes not showing any interest in coming home yet! It was only Godoma who realised that everyone had already gone home and that is why she started to shout. She ran ahead of the rest and on her way she met Oltaiyoni, who waited for Kauro and the rest of the herd to reach her before starting to head home.

19 August 2016

Friday is coconut oil day and as we have said, not all of the orphans enjoy getting this excellent moisturizer for their skin applied! Some will keep dodging the keepers trying to skip the oil – Naseku, Godoma and Rapa are the most stubborn and unwilling participants! Once these three spot the coconut oil buckets arriving they start running in all different directions. Today it was Godoma who saw the coconut oil wheelbarrow arrive and when she saw it she thought it was milk! She ran towards the wheelbarrow and when she smelt it was the oil she turned around and ran towards Naseku and together they ran into the bushes. When Rapa saw all the orphans being moved into a group together he started trying to find a way out, as he realised what was about to come. He managed to find a way out and join the other two who were standing to the side watching. The keepers brought them all back to the rest of the group however and after they had all had the oil applied they started rolling in the dust. When the orphans went to the public visit today they all enjoyed a lengthy mud bath, right up until the end of the visiting time. In the first group it was Esampu who led the others into the mud bath, and later in the older group it was Maramoja. As we know, all the elephants have their own individual characters. Tagwa is a little girl that likes to complain a lot! The other orphans know that and some enjoy teasing her because of it, even the very little ones like Tamiyoi, Jotto and Ambo. Like today the two little boys Ambo and Jotto were pushing Tagwa from the front and the other from behind and the more Tagwa shouted to complain, the more they did it!

20 August 2016

Just like with humans, when it becomes too hot the young orphans struggle to deal with the temperature. As all the babies were converged under trees flapping their ears, Roi moved out to go and find some water they could cool themselves with. As she headed out in her mission, Naseku and Dupotto decided to follow her. Roi found some water and started making a mud bath for the others to enjoy! It was a small mud bath which couldn’t accommodate all of them at once, and it was so nice to see the elephants taking it in turns to cool their bodies, one after the other. When she had enough she -gave way to Naseku and then to Dupotto – this went on until Oltaiyoni arrived and she pushed everyone away; those who were waiting on the side had to leave and make way for the matriarch! Oltaiyoni used the nice mud and she would only let her adopted baby Ambo near there!

21 August 2016

Esampu is growing into a strong and energetic little girl, having arrived almost skeletal and in very poor condition a few weeks ago. She has continued to do well so this meant her graduation to the older herd today from the baby group. Her first ever appearance at the public visit went very well. After finishing her milk bottle she decided to join the others in the mud bath where she had a great time, before finishing up with a dust bath. By the time it came for her to leave to make way for the older group to have their milk, she didn’t want to go! During the visit, Ngilai, who has been naughty and bullying the little boy Jotto recently, behaved very badly. Ngilai kept following Jotto around the visiting time today to pick on him, and the keepers had to keep telling him off for his bad behaviour!

22 August 2016

Sometimes Rapa does not always mean to be so rough but it seems he is just like that, even when playing! Lasayen invited him to play today but instead of a fair pushing game it turned into a more serious fight. Ndotto wasn’t happy with what was happening to his friend Lasayen so he came over to assist him and help. He drove Rapa away from Lasayen into the thicket. After Rapa has gone he engaged his friend in a friendly wrestling game. Later in the day Ndotto, who just loves a good game, engaged Mbegu and Kamok in a lengthy pushing and climbing game. Each and every day Ndotto seems to find someone else to play with! Later in the day around 4.40 naughty Rapa played a trick and lead Maramoja and Galla back to the stockades before it was time to go home! Tamiyoi, Luggard and Pare normally go home slightly earlier than the others at 5pm and Rapa seems to have been watching this and today decided to follow the baby group! His plan failed though and he gave the keepers a hard time before accepting to go back to the forest. The keepers took him and the others a different way back out to the bush to stop them from just going into their pens too early and without their milk ready. At 5pm all the orphans walked in together!

23 August 2016

Tamiyoi was in a very happy and playful mood this morning when she came out of her stable. This little girl had a fun time playing in the dust while her keepers helped her dust her whole body. She then moved on to trying to chase the warthogs who were interrupting her. She raised her ears high and tried to trumpet to scare them away, but this is not something she knows how to do very well yet. Ngilai is a very lucky young boy as there are so many of the older female girls want to protect him all the time. Dupotto, Roi and Kamok all keep an eye on him! Out of the three he seems to love Kamok the most, though the three will take it in turns to look after him. Roi loves Ngilai too but he will only turn to her in the absence of Kamok and Dupotto. Out in the field today Ngilai was playing and messing around with Maramoja. Naughty Rapa came over and headbutted Ngilai, probably because he was getting jealous of the fun game he was having! Roi was close by and came running over to find out why Ngilai was yelling. Before she could help the little one to his feet she noticed Rapa and she knew he would be the cause of his shouting. She went after him as Rapa went running to his friend Tusuja. But Tusuja was not ready to defend him and Roi caught up with Rapa to discipline him and send him away from the rest of the group. She went back to Ngilai and patted him over to make sure he was okay, and the two marched away together back to the bushes to find Kamok. Kamok cuddled him and allowed him to suckle on her ear in reassurance.

24 August 2016

Godoma and Lasayen were having a fun time playing together today. These two are known to the keepers for their differences and they like to settle them through wrestling games! Today it was different though and they were being really nice to each other, particularly enjoying a hide and seek game in the bushes. Whenever the warthogs with the piglets tried to approach the herd as well today, these two enjoyed chasing them off. Sometimes Galla is a naughty boy who likes to bully the little ones. During the public visiting today he kept pushing Jotto and Ambo, and Mbegu came over to discipline him. With her little tusks pushing him in the back she sent him away from the group. Rapa likes to pick on Murit because he is a gentle and quiet boy. Whenever the orphans are walking in a line he is either at the front or right at the back. Today Rapa deliberately came out of where he was in the line to wait for Murit to try and push him! Murit shouted at him and the keepers had to come back and help him with the naughty boy Rapa. It was very unusual but this evening when ex rhino orphan Solio visited the stockades, Maxwell hardly paid her any attention. Solio shared Maxwell’s lucerne from the other side of his gate and left, whilst Maxwell kept himself busy having his own meal of lucerne.

25 August 2016

Esampu is joining up with the little group consisting of Naseku, Roi and Godoma who make sure that nothing stands in their way when it is milk feeding time! Just in the short time Esampu has been in the main herd, now she is leading the others for milk feeding time. She has also managed to memorize the milk feeding hours! As the time for milk draws closer, the little girl starts raising her trunk in the air to try and catch the smell of it. Lasayen, Kamok, Rapa and Galla are among those that also like to be first for milk, but given the opportunity they will stop and wait for someone else to lead them. This morning Mbegu refused to join her age mates out in the bushes, even when her keepers tried to convince her to follow the others. She wanted to stop and wait for the babies to come out to the forest as well. When it was their time and Mbegu saw Jotto, Ambo, Tamiyoi and Tagwa coming up she raised her trunk in the air and spread her ears wide to greet them with a rumble. She greeted all the babies and then the adopted babies Jotto and Ambo followed her for awhile. She didn’t worry about them very much as they followed her, but Ambo kept following as he wanted to find his adopted mother Oltaiyoni. Jotto ended up having a good time with his ostrich friend Pea, who always allows him to suckle on her feathers. Tagwa also tries to hold her neck with her trunk, and the whole time Pea just stands there patiently.

26 August 2016

It was a sunny morning today and all the orphans looked happy as they walked out to the bush, and Kamok was playing her usual tricks with the keepers. She was browsing with the rest of the herd in the bushes near the stockade, but after a few minutes she managed to slip away and she took Ndotto. The two must have left together but they ended up going separate ways. Ndotto stayed within the thicket and Kamok made her way to the parking area. There has been a lot of renovations and work going on at the head quarters so there were a few people working there. Kamok knows this well and it was probably her main reason for going there! She hid in the bushes there and was able to see everyone walk in the main gate, if it was someone new that she didn’t recognize she chased them and drove them away before going back to hide in the thicket again! Ndoto meanwhile was waiting for Kamok to return, and when she did not come back he returned to the main herd. We learned of all this happening from the people when they made it through and reported to the keepers that Kamok was preventing people from entering the compound by the car park – only those on a motorbike managed to get through and tell them! By then as well her trumpets as she chased the motorbike notified the keepers in the forest that one of the orphans was not within the group, and they ran over and managed to help the rest of the workers by controlling Kamok! Kiko wanted to do his own thing again today, and wanted to go wherever he chose to. Then he was confronted by a herd of wild giraffes and within the herd there were babies his own size. He did not approach them though and walked back past the elephant orphan herd all the way back to the stockades and did not go out for the rest of the day.

27 August 2016

After Esampu drank her bottle of milk this morning at the public show, she began walking along the rope cordon as if she was looking for something. She then looked as if she hadn’t found it and began walking back out to the forest! She didn’t pay any attention to the keepers calling her name to come back, one of them had to run out and bring her back. It wasn’t a very easy task though as she started shouting and causing a scene. Mbegu became concerned with her shouting and ran over to where she was standing with the keeper. Mbegu comforted her and after a minute she complied and started following Mbegu and the keeper back to the mud bath area, and settled down with the rest of her family. After their session at the visit was over, Esampu led in front followed by Mbegu. There is a bit of water that the orphans need to cross which feeds into the mud bath and when Mbegu crossed over this she stopped and waited for the others to cross too. The last one to cross was Jotto and Mbegu watched his every step to make sure he did not fall into the water. After he had crossed she walked behind him with her trunk resting on his back in affection; she has so much love for this little boy.

28 August 2016

The sweet little boy Murit can stand up for himself when needed. This boy was being hand fed by a keeper with some plants out in the forest when Ngilai came over. He also wanted to share some of the food Murit was enjoying. Because Ngilai is fast at eating, he kept snatching everything that was meant for Murit. This started to annoy Murit and he felt the only thing he could do was push Ngilai away so he could enjoy his food in peace! Today we had a very special visit from nine First Ladies including Kenya’s first lady H.E. Margaret Kenyatta. The naughty babies were kept back from the visit – the likes of Kamok, Roi, Naseku, Maramoja, Galla and Rapa all stayed behind and were fed earlier. Tamiyoi was one of the lucky ones to come down and meet the First Ladies and other V.I.Ps. When the naughty group saw their friends return from this visit they started fighting to get down to the feeding area as well for extra milk, but that was obviously not possible and we hoped this would be a good lesson for them!

29 August 2016

Oltaiyoni still does not seem to fully accept Maramoja into the herd. As the orphans were busy feeding, Maramoja found a nice tasty branch that she was feeding on. Mbegu moved in to share the big branch and then Roi and Dupotto joined as well. When Oltaiyoni saw them altogether sharing a meal she also went to join them but unfortunately she turned against Maramoja who was the original owner! When she tried to pull the branch from one end, Maramoja managed to hold onto it from the other. Oltaiyoni pushed her away and she went into the bushes and landed on Tagwa who was feeding there. When Roi and Dupotto saw what happened to Maramoja, they abandoned the branch and walked away from Oltaiyoni. Her friend Mbegu continued to feed though and they both ate the entire thing. Tagwa’s shout when she fell down brought Kamok and Kauro who were feeding close by. They came running over but saw Oltaiyoni quietly feeding close by. They just made sure Tagwa was okay and went back to browsing again. Today the orphans played with a very big new football that was donated to them and Mbegu has a really fun time playing with it. Most often they will kick it with their back legs which is good for their coordination and to practice their defensive techniques for their return to the wild. Ndotto and Lasayen also had some time with the ball, though Ndotto did not play with it for long – it was Mbegu and Lasayen who enjoyed it at length. Tusuja did not like the size of it and he kept walking away whenever it was kicked towards him.

30 August 2016

Tagwa and Esampu are becoming very greedy and stubborn during milk feeding times. At 11am these two were the first ones to arrive for the feed. Tagwa gets the maximum of two bottles of milk but still it does not seem to be enough for the little girl! When they both finished their share they went on fighting for more and trying to snatch a bottle from whoever was being fed. Tagwa caused so many problems as she kept running back to the wheelbarrow holding the bottles and dropping them when she managed to lift them up. When she was told to stop she yelled very loudly! The clever girl Mbegu had to intervene and try and help to control her. Tagwa has tried to take Mbegu’s bottle as well so she had seen everything she had been up to. Mbegu drove her away from the wheelbarrow and kept guard over her until the end of the feeding session. Kauro is such a big boy and sometimes he browses away from the others like an older bull. This evening as the family was preparing to return home for bed we realised that Kauro was missing with Galla. It was thought he had gone with the first group but when it was confirmed he had not, we realised he was missing. The keepers had to walk back to where they had all been browsing and they found the two boys browsing happily there and not in a hurry to return home. When they were called it was Galla who came running fast towards the keepers, but a keeper had to walk all the way up to Kauro to lead him home! Galla ran but Kauro just walked back slowly with his keeper to the stockades.

31 August 2016

The day has been very cold since morning and this has meant most of the little ones have had their blankets all day. Jotto, Ambo, Tamiyoi, Pare and Luggard have all been wearing blankets since morning. The extra big ball was brought out for the orphans during public visiting today but the first group paid no attention to it. Out of the older orphans it was only Tusuja who had seen it before, it was new to the other 8 who had not seen it the other day. Kamok and Roi liked the ball so much and they had a great game with the ball, kicking it around with their hind legs. Kamok emerged as the best kicker out of them! When she kicked it into the mud pool though, it was Roi’s duty to go in to get it out, which she did very well with the help of the keepers too. Tusuja still did not like the ball though and always moved away from it, and the same for Naseku. When the ball came to Oltaiyoni she tried to destroy it with her tusks! The keepers tried to stop it but at last when Roi missed a kick from Kamok Oltaiyoni got the ball again and poked her tusks into it and that was the end of that! At 3pm the orphans had a lot of fun rolling in the loose soil down by the mud bath area. Kamok was playing on the ground and Ndotto was climbing on her. Tusuja tried to push him away to take over the game but Kamok shouted because he was heavy! Kauro came over and pushed Tusuja away, so Ndotto came back and the two carried on playing with their dusting game until they all went back to the forest.