Keepers' Diaries, December 2011

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Intermittent showers of rain and overcast mornings meant that the smaller orphans often had to remain behind in heir night stables longer than the older orphans who are let out at dawn, something that is never popular. The older females such as Mutara, Shukuru and Tano invariably stand outside the stable doors waiting for the Junior occupants to emerge. This month Naipoki, who previously had been jealous of the attention paid to Nursery newcomers such as Orwa, has become more caring of him.

01 December 2011

The orphans were in a jovial mood this morning and began the day with a game of hide and seek. Naipoki and Kainuk enjoyed this most hiding behind bushes then coming out charging with their ears spread wide. Orwa met the rest of the orphans today with Naipoki and Kithaka being the first to greet him before the others arrived. Naipoki was particularly affectionate with him which was a welcome surprise for the keepers as usually she is the one who distances herself from the newcomers pushing them around whenever she can.

02 December 2011

We have been experiencing heavy rains through November and the beginning of December and as such the younger orphans usually head out to the bush later than the older ones do. At 8am Tano and Naipoki came to the stockades to get Orwa. As they walked out to join the others Naipoki walked beside him embracing him with her trunk. Kithaka kept Orwa company for the duration of the day.

03 December 2011

Ishanga who has never paid much attention to the younger orphans is now regularly seen with Kithaka, Sasab and Orwa. She watches over them and comes running when they cry or scream. Kainuk is constantly fighting with Ishaq-b and Kihari. Today during the private visit she knocked Ishaq-B to the ground. Ishanga was quick to reprimand her before consoling Ishaq-B.

04 December 2011

Rombo has become a strong headed bull and is sometimes difficult to handle. He has taken to spending time browsing on his own when out in the field and often finds a way to separate himself from the rest of the group even during milk feeding times.

05 December 2011

Sasab was not feeling well today and as such did not join the others out in the fields. Kithaka remained behind to keep him company. At 3pm the older orphans were brought closer to the stockades for their milk feed. The babies detected their presence and began to look for them crying out for their older peers. Turkwel and Tano were attracted by the babies cries and began to look for them. Turkwel went straight to Sasab and Tano to Kithaka.

06 December 2011

Yesterday evening Sasab had to be put on a drip as he became very week. His appetite has decreased and he does not want to drink his milk. The orphans all gathered at his door before the keepers led them out for the day. Turkwel did not want to leave him behind and it was difficult for the keepers to get her to follow them. Solio pulled a disappearing act at 9am this morning and managed to hide in the bushes and avoid her keepers who spent the morning searching and calling for her to no avail. She eventually came out of hiding 3 hours later. Despite being annoyed with her the keepers were glad that she had decided to rejoin them.

07 December 2011

Orwa has settled in nicely and has learned the feeding schedule. At 4:30 he decided to head back to the stockades as he knew it was nearly time for a feed. He stopped when he realized that the rest of the orphans had not followed him and returned with his keeper to rejoin his peers.

08 December 2011

Today was a very sad day for the keepers and the orphans as little Sasab died last night at around 9pm after putting up brave fight over the last few days. In the morning all the orphans congregated at his stable door to bid farewell to their friend before heading out for the day.

09 December 2011

Tano is very protective of Kithaka and was quick to push Makireti who accidentally stepped on Kithaka’s leg. The training of Dabassa, Layoni and Rombo for their move to Tsavo is going well although Dabassa refuses to go into the truck taking his milk nearby.

10 December 2011

It was a very hot today and all the orphans enjoyed an extended mudbath. Sities had a great time playing with the visitors. She continually went into the mudbath before exiting and running along the cordon getting mud over the visitors who were near the rope. Layoni continues to be very wary of people and prefers not to get too close to anyone, including the keepers.

11 December 2011

Solio headed out to the bush for the day a little while after the orphans and headed in a different direction to that chosen by the keepers who had no choice but to follow her. She walked deep into the bush where she came across a troupe of baboons and charged at them forcing them to take cover by escaping into the trees.

12 December 2011

The minute the older orphans were out let out of their stockades Mutara headed straight to Kithaka’s stable and waited for him to be let out embracing him warmly before joining the others in the nearby bushes where the two were welcomed by Makireti, Turkwel, Kilabasi, Tano and Shukuru. It was not long before Kithaka was sucking on Shukuru’s ear.

13 December 2011

The morning was cloudy as the orphans headed out for the day. Kasigau, Rombo and Layoni stopped to play pushing and strength testing games which were brought to an abrupt halt when they were startled by two passing giraffes. By 9am the keepers treated the orphans to their weekly coconut oil bath which Orwa really enjoyed.

14 December 2011

Orwa is still mourning the loss of his elephant family and as such is a quiet elephant that is not very playful and does not interact much with the other orphans. This is often seen in new orphan arrivals. He does however love the company of his keepers and is feeding well and gaining weight.

15 December 2011

Once the orphans exited the stockades they all greeted one another before the older boys engaged each other in pushing games before they all headed out to the bush where they encountered a group of Impalas who were promptly charged at by Sities, Tano, Mutara and Turkwel. Their excitement quickly spread to the other orphans who began charging around bush bashing. Rombo, Kasigau and Dabassa were the only ones not to join in and instead headed off to browse on their own.

16 December 2011

The morning was spent browsing before the orphans headed to the 11am public visiting hour for their milk feed where Sities had a lovely time bumping into the visitors as she walked along the cordon covering them in mud.

17 December 2011

The temperatures were soaring at the mudbath and as such the orphans quickly downed their bottles of milk before entering the mudbath to cool down. Kithaka was the only one not to partake and instead took cover under an umbrella his ears covered in sunscreen. After the mudbath the orphans returned to the field to browse where Ishanga and Rombo had fun chasing a warthog and its piglets.

18 December 2011

As the orphans waited for the 9am milk feed Kainuk and Kihari engaged in strength pushing games. The two were separated by Turkwel when the game became heated as neither of the two was wining or willing to give up. Ishaq-B is steadily putting on weight and her injured leg has healed and is no longer causing her any pain. She enjoys running and playing with the rest of the orphan group.

19 December 2011

The orphans met up with a group of Impalas when they arrived in the browsing fields. Makireti, Rombo, Shukuru and Kasigau charged after them in an effort to chase them away. At 11am the visitors were treated to a huge surprise when a lion and lioness walked of the bushes and onto the rocks above the mudwallow before disappearing back into the bushes.

20 December 2011

The orphans were in a jovial mood this morning and they enjoyed playing as they ran around trumpeting. Naipoki, Ishaq-B, Kihari, Sities and Kainuk were especially enjoying themselves and continued playing long after the rest had began browsing. While the other orphans enjoyed a mudbath in an effort to cool off Kithaka was treated to a dustbath by his keepers. Rombo, Layoni and Dabassa are all now comfortably entering the translocation truck to have their milk which is a good sign that they should all easily go into the truck on moving day.

21 December 2011

The orphans had fun wallowing and dust bathing at the mudbath. Sities, Naipoki and Kainuk kept the visitors entertained by running up and down the cordon getting mud over those close to the rope. Orwa also pleased the visiting public by slowly walking along the rope, stopping every few steps to allow the guests to touch him.

22 December 2011

Rombo, Layoni, Dabassa and Ishanga are constantly evading the keepers by taking off into the bushes when the orphans arrive at the browsing fields. This morning the keepers had a hard time locating them managing to do so just before 11am. They repeated their disappearing act in the afternoon while Makireti, Shukuru and Mutara stayed with Kithaka.

23 December 2011

As it is Friday the orphans were treated to a rub down with coconut oil before they all enjoyed a dustbath. Kihari and Ishaq-B fought over an ant hill that they both wanted to roll around on and the two had to be separated by the keepers.

24 December 2011

Orwa spent the morning browsing close to the keepers as he gets bullied by Kihari, Kainuk and Ishaq-B who seem to enjoy head butting him. At the 3pm milk feed Makireti was watching Kasigau slowly drinking his milk. She walked up to him and before anyone knew what was happening she had snatched the half empty bottle out of his trunk and downed the remainder of the contents.

25 December 2011

Once again the four older males separated themselves from the rest of the group, moving deeper into the bush to browse making it hard for the keepers to find them. Kithaka is being thoroughly spoiled by the older females who surround him and shower him with love and affection. Mutara, Shukuru, Makireti, Turkwel and Sities all take turns to look after the youngest member of the nursery group.

26 December 2011

In two days Rombo, Layoni and Dabassa will be on their way down to Tsavo and as such are given all their milk feeds at the truck.

27 December 2011

It was raining today and the orphans enjoyed running around sliding on the wet soil and wallowing in the rain filled puddles. Kihari and Kainuk were having the most fun as they also engaged in pushing games, made all the more difficult as they slipped on the wet earth. The game came to an abrupt halt after Kihari accidentally stepped on Sities tail, Sities retaliated by charging at Kihari and knocking Kihari to the ground.

28 December 2011

Today is a big day for Rombo, Layoni and Dabassa as this morning the three of them were loaded onto the truck for the journey to Voi where they will begin the reintroduction process. Kasigau will now be the oldest male in the Nursery and will probably be one of the next orphans to be moved to Tsavo.

29 December 2011

As soon as Shukuru was out of her stockade she ran to Kithaka’s pen to greet him. Kainuk was busy running around the compound trying to find someone to play pushing games with while Ishanga charged at a family of warthogs scattering them all over the place.

30 December 2011

After the 9am feed Naipoki and Sities led the rest of the orphans into the bush to browse. Mutara, Shukuru, Turkwel and Makireti were busy pushing and shoving each other in an effort to be close to Kithaka. Kihari on the other hand was taking advantage of everyone being otherwise engaged to chase Orwa. Turkwel saw what was happening and chased Kihari as Ishaq-B, who also chases Orwa, hid behind Kainuk.

31 December 2011

This is the last day of 2011 and everything is going well. Kithaka has started teething and we hope that he will not have any problems. Shukuru continues to mother Kithaka and Naipoki is trying to learn from her by helping her look after the young calf. Mutara keeps busy by checking on Kithaka and Orwa moving from one to the other to ensure that they are both ok.