There was a lot of activity centered around the warthogs this month who have cleverly based themselves in the nursery compound and browse alongside the orphans and keepers during the day so they do not fall prey to the lions in Nairobi National Park. The orphans rarely welcome their company however and like to chase them away at every given opportunity, especially when they are trying to eat their precious lucerne pellets! There is always usually one orphan on guard at mud bath time when the orphans are given piles of this nutritious snack but sometimes it takes two to drive them away completely, like the day Rapa had to come and support Tagwa to chase them off. Sometimes even the babies Musiara, Sattao and Maktao join in, chasing baby warthogs around the area, although this is more for fun than for defense of their treats. Sometimes the orphans can be a little threatened by them though; the warthogs have grown so used to the elephants that they know they are full of empty threats and, one day, not even Mbegu, Kauro, Ndotto, Lasayen and Pare could chase away one of the big females. She simply raised her head and pointed her tushes at them and none of their mock charges or threatening stances with raised ears to persuade her to move. Eventually they had to concede those few lucerne pellets to her and her young. Most animals heed the warnings the orphans give them though, including the buffalos. They have been walking around the compound at dawn looking for leftover lucerne pellets from Maxwell’s stockade. One female buffalo tried to chase some of the keepers one day but big orphans Mbegu, Maramoja, Kauro, Godoma and Lasayen, Ndotto, Pare and Rapa marched towards her with their ears spread and trumpeting. They charged towards the buffalo which ran back to her herd and the elephants stamped around until all the buffalos had run away!
One buffalo upset Maxwell however when he came to eat the leftover lucerne pellets from the other side of Maxwell’s gate. Maxwell knew he was there and tried to knock on the metal gate with his horn but the buffalo still did not leave until Maxwell decided to mark his territory and spray the gate and the lucerne with his urine, making the buffalo leave almost at once.
Funny girl Kuishi was very entertaining at the mud bath area during the visiting hour this month. One day she came running in trumpeting and shoving everyone she came across. She found a bag belonging to one of the visitors by the rope cordon and mistook it for a football, and kicked it to Esampu who trumpeted and kicked it back to her, but luckily a keeper intervened and returned the bag back to the owner! Another day she was down on her knees pushing the plastic water trough with her head and trying to spill all the water out. The keepers cautioned her but a few minutes later she returned with her cheeky friend Esampu and they managed to spill the water, using the plastic trough as a football until Kuishi kicked the trough so hard it rolled into the mud pool bringing an end to their mischievous game.
Godoma and Esampu took matters into their own hands one day when the public were making too much noise during the visit and weren’t listening to the Head Keeper’s call for silence. Godoma walked along the line collecting dust in her trunk and any group she felt was making too much noise she would blow dust into the crowd. Esampu also stood on the edge of the mud pool and sucked muddy water into her trunk to spray on people who were talking and making too much noise!
We watched this month as the orphans foraged for extra nutrients in the dry weather, like those found in specific roots that they have to dig for. Some are better than others at uprooting these tasty treats like Rapa and Sana Sana, and then there are those like Murit, Tagwa and Malkia who prefer to wait until the others have finished toiling before taking the prize for themselves!
Little Mactau has settled down very well into life at the nursery and is very attached to the keepers, as is Musiara, which sometimes causes fights to break out between the two as they fight for attention. He doesn’t seem to get on with Ambo very well who took it very personally when Maktao was in a pushing mood; to this day, Ambo doesn’t like to browse with him. He can also be a little mischievous and at mud bath time, he stands by the wheelbarrow and tries to steal more milk! Little Sattao has decided to spend more time with some of the older orphans like Kauro, Ndotto, Ndiwa and Maramoja further away from the keepers, which is good as he can learn valuable skills from them whilst they forage.
On the 23rd of August we rescued a young emaciated male elephant from the Tsavo Conservation Area who we named Emoli and who is still building up his strength to join the others out in their forest for their daily routine. Tamiyoi is his stable neighbour and has grown very fond of him, sometimes reluctant to leave her bedroom in the morning and join the others as she wants to stay behind with him.
Kiko was chased around by the elephants as usual whenever he tried to approach them this month. But one day he encountered some wild giraffes that had three infants his own age. He showed some initial interest in the youngsters at first, but then walked away and then ran towards the elephant orphans when the adults started to follow him. Rapa, Maramoja, Ndotto, Lasayen and Pare scared the adult giraffes away by charging at them and then Kiko ran back towards the stockades.