Keepers' Diaries, December 2016
Nairobi Nursery Unit
For some reason Esampu and Ambo really do not get on with one another. Esampu tends to be a bit grumpy with everyone sometimes, but this is taken to a new level with Ambo, despite the fact they are stable neighbours! Sometimes, just the sight of him sends her running to head butt him, but Ambo is no push-over and the Keepers usually have to intervene to restore order! We are not sure what it is about Ambo that annoys Esampu so much! Malkia was promoted to the older Nursery herd so that she could receive some discipline from her older peers. However, this triggered misbehavior from Tagwa who was then also later promoted to the older herd to learn better manners from older members.
01 December 2016
It is known that when a lion is full or satisfied that no matter how close their prey come, they show no interest. In the afternoon the orphan elephants were all enjoying their browse when they heard a warthog piglet shouting and screaming. The piglet came running down the path towards where the elephants were browsing and there was a lion chasing it from behind! But the lion didn't seem to be putting that much effort it and rather was teasing the piglet and pretending to chase it. The mother warthog was running behind the lion trying to save the little one - the drama came to an end however when courageous Kamok, who doesn't like the lions, left the group and stepped out of the bushes to scare away the lion. The lion ran away and disappeared into the thicket and the little piglet was reunited with its mother.
Today it was such a hot day since early morning and come 3pm and time for the private visit, Malima finished her milk and led Ambo, Jotto and Mbegu into the mud pool. Later sweet little Godoma joined them too and together with Mbegu the two submerged themselves in the mud from head to tail. Mbegu allowed the little ones to climb on her back and slide down into the mud. This group later left the mud to go and dust themselves with loose soil to dry off. Ndotto and Lasayen then decided to go into the mud and they enjoyed new games of their own - kicking a football to one another and doing headstands in the mud as well. Finally they abandoned the football and started the game that Ndotto loves best, a pushing and climbing game.
02 December 2016
Sometimes Esampu can be really grumpy and a naughty girl too! The majority of orphans who are neighbours get on really well with those next to them and are friends or at least decent to each other. Little Esampu is quite different though! Ambo is her immediate neighbour and although she can be grumpy with everyone, when it comes to Ambo her behaviour is intolerable! This morning when coming out of her stable, Ambo was walking past and heading out to the forest with the others, she ran into him and knocked him down to the ground. But when Ambo got up it was his turn and he chased her as she ran back to her stable. She tried to hide inside her room but Ambo grabbed her tail and tried to pull her back out. She turned around and started pushing him and the next thing is there was a fight between the two babies! They didn't listen to the keepers when they tried to separate them and the little tough girl went on fighting Ambo! Ambo was good and listened to his keepers when they asked for peace, but not Esampu! One keeper had to hold her as the other went off with Ambo. She struggled with the keeper and managed to get away, so as all the babies were walking out to the forest she ran after Ambo and tried to push him - it took the intervention of both Mbegu and Oltaiyoni to bring peace among them. After Oltaiyoni learnt that it was Esampu trying to push her baby she wanted to discipline her - but luckily Mbegu read the situation and ran ahead to take Esampu away.
Sana Sana is another baby that hardly goes down into the mud bath to wallow. But today was different and with the hot weather she couldn't stand the heat and as soon as she finished her milk she walked directly to the mud pool and stayed in there until it was time to return to the forest!
03 December 2016
Every day when Karisa sees the other orphans walk out of their stables and out into the forest he is left very agitated and gets into a charging mood in his stockade, mock charging anyone that comes up to or walks past his gate. Murit might have been hiding in one of the stables this morning because as the others were leaving he immediately went up to Karisa's gate and started sharing his food and interacting with him through the bars. He was okay then but as soon as Murit was called by his keepers and left to go with them into the forest, Karisa became angry and charged at his gate in frustration to join the others. Compared to the other new boy there is quite a stark difference as even though he is older, Kelelari is much calmer in his stockade. Kuishi is even more settled, always looking for a keepers finger to suckle on.
Lately Murit and Tamiyoi have teamed up and developed a new naughty habit - of sneaking off and returning to the stockades to find lucerne pellets to eat! They will finished their own share throughout the night, so when they return it is to raid their friends stables for any they might have left! They are so clever because whenever they hear any movement they stand very still and quiet until whatever it is (a keeper coming to find them) passes. It was so funny the first time we found Tamiyoi as she knew she had done something wrong as she left Jotto's room shouting and running back to the forest, and Murit went running after her too!
04 December 2016
Godoma is one orphan that doesn't like and is less tolerant of any noise during the public visiting time. She also happens to be one of the most curious orphans! Today’s incident began as she was playing a pushing game with the naughty boy Rapa. The warthogs kept interrupting them as they tried to enjoy their game in the mud pool, but they were just trying to cool off too as it was so hot. Godoma, however, was not ready to share the mud pool with anyone else. As she tried to scare them away there was a group in the audience who cheered her on, but she rounded on them next and raised her trunk in the air to trumpet at them! They didn't understand what the warning meant though and she got out of the mud to charge at them the next time they did it, spraying them with mud that she had sucked up into her trunk. They were definitely quiet after that and Godoma was happy she had got the message across too!
Malkia has been promoted to the older herd so that she can receive some discipline from her older peers in the herd, but this has now meant that Tagwa has started misbehaving and today during the public visit she was promoted to the older herd too, so that she can learn the same manners and social habits from the older ones like Malkia.
05 December 2016
This is a happy day for Kuishi as she has been in her stockade since her arrival but today after public visiting a small group came back to the stockades and to collect her and take her out to the forest for the first time. Oltaiyoni, the herds matriarch, Roi, Ndotto, Maramoja and obviously the most caring girl Mbegu were the ones who came back to collect her. Upon their arrival Kuishi was so excited to see them and to walk out freely into the forest. Oltaiyoni kept blocking the gate with her big size but when she moved they were all happy to receive her and walk her out to join the others. Mbegu was shoving against the others so she could be closest to the new little one, as they all surrounded her. Once in the forest Kuishi immediately set about trying to find her most favourite greens to browse on. Wanjala and Maramoja were also very interested in meeting her and walked around her as she browsed. Even more interestingly Kauro also came over to meet the little one and he had been quite far away from the herd when she first came out. He patted her gently as he is such a gentle bull and it was not long before Roi, Mbegu and Dupotto came over too to confirm all was well with her. The five all stayed together until 3pm when Kuishi joined the private visit in the company of Wanjala, Esampu, Malkia and Galla - she behaved so well and her walk back to the stockades for the 5pm foster parent visit went really well too - she is truly a part of her new family herd now!
06 December 2016
Sometimes a matriarch is a leader who rules with an iron rod; sometimes Oltaiyoni is one such leader! Sometimes it will take her some time to accept a new orphan into the herd, and other times she just looks at them once and welcomes them in! Today she was not very nice at all to little Kuishi and the keepers had to intervene and tell her off for her bad behaviour!
Murit might take time to get used to things but he is a very placid young calf. Lately he has come to love mud bathing because of the prevalent hot weather, but he will always stand and wait on the edge of the mud pool until the rough ones within have left, before he gets in! Today he enjoyed the mud at length, and this was after Mbegu, Pare and Godoma had been having their fun and wrestling in the mud pool. He was showing off his football kicking skills in the mud bath, and Rapa joined in by kicking it back to him every time he kicked it out of the mud wallow.
Back in the forest after visiting time, he engaged Jotto and Luggard in a gentle wrestling game. Luggard and Murit seem to be developing a strong friendship and love to engage each other in lengthy pushing games whenever they meet.
Kuishi has adapted very quickly to both her human and elephant families and apart from her run in with Oltaiyoni in the morning, she has had a wonderful day out in the forest. She joined in the private visit today and was so calm, mostly enjoying the mud bath with her friends.
07 December 2016
The presence of lions around the area of the orphanage has almost become a daily thing recently. Their frequent sightings have caused some discomfort for our giraffe Kiko and he spends most of his time in the stockade area now. They have never attacked any of our elephants, lions in Nairobi park do not know how to, but the elephants nevertheless still do not like their presence, nor do the keepers! Every time they are spotted Oltaiyoni, Kauro, Roi, Kamok and sometimes even Tusuja are always attentive and keeping an eye on the younger ones. Kamok charges towards them and today she did the same, stamping the ground and trumpeting to scare them away.
Back in the stockade compound sometimes Kiko fights to be able to go out into the forest too, but he does not know the lions are out there and he is safe within the compound where he can browse in peace. After the lions realised there were no prey amongst the lions coupled with Kamok's reaction to them, they decided to leave the orphans alone and retreat back into the park.
Oltaiyoni can be such a good matriarch as well, as she will always be the last one in when the orphans return home in the afternoon. There is a place where the foster parents stand to watch the orphans come in and Oltaiyoni was hanging back waiting for the last one to come in as usual, when suddenly she ran very fast up to the front again to block any of the visitors from touching the babies. If anyone attempted to do so, she moved as if to push them aside; she is a very caring and protective matriarch!
08 December 2016
After arriving into the forest this morning and after a little while, Godoma dodged the keepers and sneaked back to the stockades. When she got there she went straight into Dupotto's pen to spend some time communicating with Kelelari in his stockade. She spent a good while interacting with him and whenever she heard anyone approaching, she his herself in the back of the pen in the corner. After that person had disappeared she would come out to speak with Kelelari again. When she was finally caught running to hide in the corner again she was taken back out to the forest but the keepers.
Ukame normally spends most of her time with Malima but today she was led out to the forest by the grumpy girl Esampu and Wanjala too. These three slowly became separated from the rest of the herd as they browsed. Because the herd was altogether in the same thicket it was thought they were among them too but the keepers realised they had been browsing separately when they came to rejoin the herd from another direction.
After the 9am feed this morning, Mbegu, Roi, Oltaiyoni, Tamiyoi and Ndotto went back to the stockades to escort Karisa out for the first time today! When he gate was opened it was Roi who went in first but when Karisa saw her coming in he raised his ears high to charge at her! Roi responded by blocking him from coming out and then Ndotto tried to get in too; it was only when a keeper went in too to lead him out that he looked very jovial and happy to be a part of the group escorting him out to the forest. He went on wanting to get to know everyone and came across Kuishi, Tamiyoi and Malima - he was very interested in them and especially Malima, but she kept running away from him! Generally he has a wonderful day out in the forest and gave no problems to the keepers - he is much better behaved outside of his stockade than within!
09 December 2016
Kelelari seems to enjoy his life in the stockade - every morning when his neighbour Dupotto goes out to the forest he doesn't seem to mind and watches them all walk away while he munches on his greens. He seems to be okay with this style of life for the moment! Although one day we will of course want him to join the others out in the forest and socialising altogether. He has put on a lot of weight since being with us and his condition is looking really good, his injuries healing well.
It's so funny how a big girl Like Ukame has become attached to a little girl like Malima. To this day she follows Malima wherever she goes. Today, just before the 3pm milk feeding time, Malima led a group of elephants down to the mud bath area. She and her friend Ukame were interested in a mud wallow as it was a very hot day by that time and it seems that was why they intentionally came down to the mud wallow. A short distance behind them some others had sneaked away and were following behind them. Ambo, Oltaiyoni, Tagwa, Pare, Lasayen, Ndotto and Malkia all came down after them, but they had different intentions as they were after their milk bottles! Malkia arrived and found no one waiting with a bottle of milk which is the norm and began screaming for her bottle. Oltaiyoni and the others just wondered what was going on, and as the keepers tried to convince them to follow them back out they tried to dodge them and wouldn’t pay attention to their call at all. As all this went on with the others, Ukame and her little friend just went on enjoying the mud bath! After they had finished Malima led Ukame out again and back out to the forest, upon which the others decided to follow behind them as well until it was the real feeding time at 3pm and they would come back down again with the others.
Rapa has really fallen in love with this squeaky toy which he enjoys playing with all the time, even in his stockade, but Maramoja doesn’t like it at all, and it is almost as if Rapa knows this! He deliberately plays with it when Maramoja is around, especially in the afternoon when they are in their stockades.
10 December 2016
Today Ukame missed going out with Malima to the forest and instead she had Karisa as her little companion for the day. The whole group had been browsing altogether since morning, except for these two who decided to browse separately from the others. Karisa is willing to make friends with anyone who invites him on a walk and he is always looking for the invitation. As the first group prepared to go down to the mud bath for their milk feed it was discovered that Ukame and Karisa were not with the rest of the group. A search for them began but they were nowhere in the close vicinity and the feeding time had to begin. Some keepers stayed to look for them and the others went down for the feeding. Ukame and Karisa ended up missing the entire milk feeding session and were eventually found busy browsing deep in the bushes. When Ukame saw the keepers approaching she seemed to come to her senses and she ran out of the thicket to see them, with Karisa running behind her. They both seem to have regained their memory and started looking for their beloved milk from the keepers, but seeing as it was so close to the next feeding time they just rejoined the rest of the orphans and had their milk bottles a bit later.
11 December 2016
The orphans came out of their stockades this morning in a very jovial mood and they were trumpeting all over the place. Naseku was the ring leader and was trumpeting and running everywhere which was bringing the others to attention. Ndotto, Lasayen and Murit were very easily lured into her game! All this was going on behind Maxwell’s stockade and he too didn’t want to be left out; he began running around in circles and charging up and down. Old friends Kamok, Mbegu and Kauro also joined in the game and teased Max by running up to his gate and knocking on the bars. The game went on for quite some time, until the orphans decided to return to browsing instead. Murit and Lasayen somehow got lost in the thicket as they walked deeper into the bushes. Kamok, Kauro and Mbegu were playing pushing games for a long time together though Kamok was distracted by chasing some warthogs away, which gave way to Mbegu and Kauro to enjoy the game more. A few minutes later Murit and Lasayen started calling for the others as they had become lost and separated in the forest. Roi heard them and responded to their call, helping them trace their way back to the group. All the excitement and games came to an abrupt end when it was time for the 9am milk feed!
12 December 2016
During the 9am morning milk feed, the training process for the orphans moving down to Ithumba stockades for the next step in their return to the wild, was also initiated. Oltaiyoni, Kamok, Kauro, Naseku, Tusuja and Roi will all be graduating soon to the next phase. Being that is was their first time to be fed inside the lorry, it actually went really well considering the change of routine. Oltaiyoni, Kamok, Kauro and Naseku were all okay but Tusuja was more difficult and Roi as well, who has the habit of stealing milk at feeding times. These two were more afraid and did not want to get in the moving lorry. Those that went easily into the lorry straight away got their delicious milk bottle, but those that didn’t had to wait. Tusuja was not happy with this arrangement and felt jealous of those drinking their milk. As he waited to see whether the keepers would change their mind and feed him, Naseku walked in front of him having finished her milk, and he head butted her out of spite. She yelled out and Oltaiyoni abandoned her milk bottle to come and help her.
Kiko has been missing his time with the orphans as he spends his days in the compound area, due to the presence of lions around the forest. So when he saw some of the orphans returning to the compound at an unusual time of day, for their lorry training, he got very excited. As they drank their milk and got in the lorry he stood there watching and even tried to get in the lorry as well. After the feeding was over Kamok made a swift move towards him which poor Kamok wasn’t expecting. She smacked him with her trunk to scare him away and he decided to speed off as Kamok had her ears raised and clearly didn’t want him around. Kamok chased behind him trumpeting so Oltaiyoni and Roi felt compelled to join in! He ran into a stockade for safety and the keepers ran after them to help rescue him from the rowdy elephant babies; poor Kiko!
13 December 2016
The stubborn girl Malkia managed to sneak away from the older group to join the first group at the public visit today. She seems to have devised this plan a little earlier as she was well prepared to situate herself in the bushes to sneak away. As she emerged on the other side of the thicket into the clearing, she was heard yelling as she ran down to the milk feeding point – perhaps to notify the others that she was on her way and to get her bottles ready too! She still hasn’t seemed to learn her routine yet and after her two milk bottles she started shouting for more again. Sana Sana was watching a short distance away as Malkia fought her friends for their milk bottles and fought against the keepers as well for access to the wheelbarrow holding more bottles. Sana Sana walked over and when Malkia came towards her following a keeper holding an empty milk bottle, and started pushing him demanding more, Sana Sana stepped in and started guarding her, keeping her away from the wheelbarrow and everyone else until the end of the session!
Back out in the forest the elephants were all hanging around and browsing quietly whilst they waited for the keepers to finish their lunch, as is the norm. Ndotto loves his keepers and has a very close bond and trusting relationship with them. He kept charging at a small thicket close by to where the keepers were eating. He ran up to the thicket and back to the keepers trumpeting as best he could. He was very persistent as if alerting the keepers but they did not understand what he wanted. Eventually the keepers decided to accompany him to where he was making a noise, and Ndotto stuck very close to them but he was certainly emboldened by the company of his keepers. As they approached the thicket a lioness jumped out of the bushes from where she had been feeding on an impala! Ndotto started seriously trumpeting and charging around, which attracted the attention of Kauro and Kamok who ran over. When the lioness saw the keepers and the big elephants approaching she disappeared quickly into the bushes and ran away. The orphans were all called together and they all moved to go and browse in a different part of the forest.
14 December 2016
Kuishi is always trying to get closer to her keepers and wanting to hang around them. While trying to bond with them this morning though Tamiyoi seemed to get jealous of that, as she is always close to the keepers, and pushed her away from them as she tried to suckle their fingers. Kuishi didn’t retaliate though and this is all down to respect for older peers within the nursery hierarchy.
The lorry training for the elephants moving down continues – for Oltaiyoni, Kamok, Kauro, Tusuja, Roi and Naseku this is a change to their everyday routine but they are getting used to it and all of them except Tusuja are drinking their milk in the lorry. Tusuja would still rather not have his milk than enter the lorry but we hope it is just a matter of time for him to overcome this problem.
Today Kuishi, Luggard and Karisa started officially attending the public visit. Luggard and Kuishi came down in the first group with Mbegu. Luggard was very happy to attend the visit because he could spend plenty of time in his favourite mud wallow, which he enjoys so much. After he had finished his milk he went straight to the mud and played there until the end of the visit. Kuishi went all the way along the rope cordon smelling and touching the audience from one corner to the other, and after her inspection she joined Luggard and some of the others in the mud pool. Godoma and Mbegu didn’t want to leave the mud bath at the end of their visit, even after being asked by the keepers to follow them and the others! They eventually left in their own time, when the rest of their group had already reached the rocks. Karisa came in last in the company of Ukame whereupon they were fed at the same spot before Ukame led Karisa to the mud bath where he enjoyed a nice wallow – all three newcomers to the mud bath/public visiting time were very well behaved!
15 December 2016
This morning as some of the orphans were enjoying their browse and the others were playing, Kamok was in the car park area chasing the warthogs around and flushing them out from where they were trying to hide. She was trying to block those who were endeavoring to come in through the main gate, and unfortunately for one male bush buck, he got caught up in the games as well! When the warthogs ran under one of the containers for safety, Kamok turned her attention to the male bush buck who was there as well. This caught him off guard as he wants expecting Kamok to chase him, and he ran off as Kamok turned her attention to the warthogs again. Her games didn’t last too much longer though as one of the keepers that she listens to the most called her to come back to the forest to join her peers, and she obediently obliged!
Kuishi has started gaining a lot more confidence in the herd. There was a time when Malkia could be a bit of a bully towards her, but now she has started to stand her ground. Murit ha d a good time playing with Ngilai today as well; Ngilai tends to be a bit of a rough boy when it comes to playing, but whilst playing with Murit today he was very gentle. Ndotto and Rapa are also becoming close wrestling friends! These two engaged themselves in a lengthy wrestling game until Lasayen came over and wanted to play with them as well. Ndotto always likes to please others so he just gave way to Lasayen so he could enjoy a nice game with Rapa too. Instead Ndotto just went over to climb on Dupotto who was lying in the long grass close by.
16 December 2016
Out in the bush in the early morning, Murit had a wonderful time playing with Luggard who he has been showing very strong attachment to recently and it seems the two are becoming great friends. During the public visiting today the first group of orphans were led out by Mbegu soon after finishing their bottle feeds to the mud bath, where they all cooled down their hot bodies in the midday sun.
Little Malima, Jotto, Tamiyoi, Ambo, Esampu and Kuishi were all busy bumping and sliding against each other as they spun around in the mud pool. Off to the side Rapa was busy pushing Lasayen and when Lasayen tried to get out of the mud wallow he held onto his hind leg and tried to pull him back in! Lasayen was holding onto the bank of the wallow but Rapa eventually managed to pull him back in and he landed on his hind deep in the mud. Rapa’s naughty antics captured the attention of the visiting public who thought it very funny to watch such a mischievous little elephant!
17 December 2016
When the orphans were on their way out to the forest in the morning, Kuishi, Tamiyoi, Malima and Esampu sneaked back to the stockade area under the leadership of Tamiyoi, who led them to feed on the lucerne beside Maxwell’s gate. Kuishi started rumbling and yelling when she saw the keepers cleaning out the stockades. When she saw one of them pushing a wheelbarrow containing dirty hay, she went ran after him and started pushing him, believing the wheelbarrow contained milk bottles instead and that it was mil feeding time! It was only just after 7 o’clock though, so she really was just over excited. When she realised it was not milk, she yelled in protest, a reaction that caused Tamiyoi and the others to come over to her to see what was wrong. Then the keepers led them all back into the forest to stop causing trouble in the stockade area and browse with the others as they should be.
18 December 2016
As the orphans were coming out of their stockades this morning to begin their new day, Kamok and Roi were busy greeting Kelelari through his stockade gate by entwining their trunks with his. Kelelari was happy to greet them as he showed more interest in joining them out today, though he is still not very comfortable with his human family. We are sure that with time and the 24 hour love and care that the keepers give him, he will come to accept his human family. Up to now he drinks his milk from a bucket still and not from a bottle from a keeper, but his condition is looking really good and the injuries on his back and to his tail are healing well.
19 December 2016
Out in the forest this morning we watched as young Karisa enjoyed a playful pushing game with Tusuja, proving that he really is becoming truly settled into the nursery family and daily routine. Karisa is a lovely gentle boy who loves his human family, despite what humans did to his mother, and he really loves his milk bottle feeds!
During public visiting this morning the first group were having their milk bottles and it was quite interesting to see tiny Tamiyoi bullying little Malima and Kuishi who were trying to approach the keeper bottle feeding Tamiyoi. She ran over very fast to encounter them before they reached her keeper. Nowadays Tamiyoi is looking pretty strong and healthy and is showing this off to all the others in the nursery so they know not to mess with her or her milk bottles!
Due to the frequent presence of lions around the forest area, Kiko has been spending his days within the stockade area compound so as to avoid encountering them, equipped with greens and milk all day long. His vents his frustration at not being allowed to go out and join the other orphans on his keepers, sometimes kicking at them as he does not realize the danger posed to him out there!
20 December 2016
As the second group of elephants was busy drinking their milk during public visiting, greedy Roi and Naseku were busy causing havoc after finishing their bottles, trying to snatch the bottle from Maramoja who was still feeding. When the keepers tried to warn Roi away from Maramoja, she managed to snatch the bottle from her, as she was feeding herself, and run away with it trying to drink the lovely contents, leaving Maramoja screaming in protest. Naseku was also struggling with Roi and trying to snatch the extra milk bottle for herself, but Roi was being too clever and blocking her with her hind. As Roi kept blocking Naseku from the bottle Naseku kept yelling trying to reach the bottle with her trunk. Roi then dropped it and Naseku struggled to pick up the now empty bottle from the ground which she found a struggle as it kept rolling away from her. She abandoned her efforts and ran back over to the feeding area only to find that the wheelbarrow carrying the bottles had already gone as well! Naseku was an unsuccessful milk thief today and once she realised that she decided to go and wallow in the mud bath instead.
21 December 2016
As the orphans were busy settling out in the bush to browse, Naseku, Kauro, Galla, Wanjala, Roi and Ukame decided to go in their own direction away from the others and deep into the forest, with Naseku and Galla in the lead. As they were walking out though they were frightened by a herd of buffalos that were grazing there. Naseku and Galla, as they were in the lead, were the first to turn around and run shouting back to the rest of the herd, with Roi, Kauro and Wanjala behind them. Their abrupt reaction and noise caught the attention of Oltaiyoni and Mbegu who ran trumpeting up to them. When Naseku’s group met them they all rumbled, communicating what had happened, and they then all set about stamping their feet and bashing bushes down as a show of strength. The group remained in this restless mood for some time until they realised there was actually no threat or anything to worry about, and they set about browsing again, eventually joining up with the others who were still browsing and who hasn’t bothered to join in their reaction to the buffalos!
22 December 2016
As soon as Lasayen and Ndotto finished their milk bottles during the public visit, they both decided to engage in a pushing game, with playful Ndotto trying to climb on his best friend Lasayen’s head. Lasayen then pushed Ndotto in retaliation and he fell into the mud bath whereupon Lasayen rushed in after him, followed by Ngilai, to continue with their pushing and climbing game. Both the boys challenged Ndotto in this game but Ndotto managed to turn it around and climb on Ngilai in defiance; Ndotto is always fond of climbing.
When the orphans returned to the forest after the public visiting hour, Malkia and Esampu were very busy chasing and charging after a warthogs and its young ones who were hanging out close to the keepers waiting for some of their leftover lunch. The warthogs put up a challenge to the young elephants though, as they are very greedy pigs, and they kept coming back again to try and get some scraps. Their activity got the attention of Rapa, Ngilai and Pare but instead of chasing after the warthogs as well they came to chase after the girls! Poor Malkia and Esampu’s game was ruined as they ran to Oltaiyoni, Roi, Naseku and Mbegu for safety from the mischievous boys… something which saw the naughty young boys quickly end their chase and shy away.
23 December 2016
As the orphans began their new day out in the bush, Malkia, Sana Sana and Ngilai were all in a playful mood and scampering around, trumpeting and knocking down some small bushes… but about what the keepers were not sure! Their playful time attracted the attention of Murit, Luggard, Tamiyoi, Ambo, Tagwa and Jotto who joined in and they all had a playful time running about the bushes; though their game came to an end when Ndotto, Pare and Lasayen joined in and chased after Tagwa and Tamiyoi, wanting to climb on them. Their alternative game was cut short when the keepers warned them away.
The training for the translocation process is going on with all the intended elephants to move dow, though Tusuja still has yet to take his bottle actually inside the moving lorry! When Oltaiyoni, Roi, Kauro, Naseku and Kamok are drinking happily in the lorry and enjoying their milk, Tusuja stands outside and yells in protest that he cannot have his bottle there too!
24 December 2016
Maxwell woke up in a playful mood today after naughty Kamok went over to his stockade gate where he was standing and knocked on it, scaring poor Maxwell and causing him to scamper about his stockade. He then turned around and knocked on the gate with his horn where Kamok had knocked it, before turning and charging up and down whilst Kamok watched him run around. At one stage when Maxwell knocked the gate again, Kamok reacted by trumpeting and charging at him but Maxwell did a u-turn and in an attempt to scare Kamok away he sprayed urine in her face – this made the naughty Kamok leave quietly and leave Maxwell to spray his urine around the rest of his stockade marking his territory – he cannot see but he likes to demarcate his territory nicely still!
25 December 2016
It was a Happy Christmas as all the orphans and their human family woke up to begin their nice day out in the forest. They all looked happy and healthy as they walked out to the bush in a playful mood, scampering around and bashing bushes down as they trumpeted with Oltaiyoni, Mbegu, Roi and Naseku leading them out. It was lovely to watch them all playing around and sweet little Luggard too. Charging and bashing bushes down on his three good legs, though always standing close to Murit, Tamiyoi, Jotto and Malima since they are the most friendly to him out of everyone. Their happy moment took a turn however when Ukame lost her balance and fell over with a shout – whilst she tried to stand back up the entire herd had to turn around to see what was wrong with her, and by the time they reached her she was back on her feet.. and they all happily walked off into the forest to browse.
26 December 2016
As the orphans were settling out in the field to browse, Galla and Wanjala were busy wrestling and having a lot of fun. Then they came across a group of eland who were nearby grazing. Galla and Wanjala decided to fold their wrestling game and go and try and scare the Elands instead! They spread their ears wide and charged at them trumpeting as best they could – this succeeded in frightening the elands who ran off into the bushes, leaving Galla and Wanjala bashing around in the bushes. What they didn’t know though is that a big male bull eland was still in the bushes and hadn’t been frightened by their commotion at all. He started trotting towards the young elephant bulls and they ran back yelling towards the rest of the herd who were quietly browsing. Galla found his way back to the herd but Wanjala got lost in the bushes and was unsure of which way to go. He bellowed loudly to find where the others were and also announce his location so one of the others or the keepers would come and find him. As the keepers walked the others in the herd to where they had heard Wanjala, he was so happy to see them at last and eventually settled to browse next to his good friend Galla.
27 December 2016
The Tsavo translocation process is still going on for the six older elephants who will move down over the coming days, though two of the orphans are still giving the keepers a bit of hassle about getting in! They need to get it right before the elephants are loaded on the final day at about 3 in the morning and there is no time to waste on getting them on the road to Ithumba. Oltaiyoni sometimes gets in the lorry and other times she stands outside, but Tusuja is far worse and has never been inside the lorry once! He stands far off and just starts yelling to the keepers to bring him his milk, as he watches the others being fed inside.
Due to Roi causing a lot of trouble during bottle feeding times, especially during the public visiting, Kauro has been dropped from the list of the first three to go, as he is very gentle, and it will be Oltaiyoni, Kamok and Roi who are the first to go to the next stage at the Ithumba stockades – if all goes according to plan this will be at dawn tomorrow! The next three will therefore be Naseku, Tusuja and Kauro who are doing really well at getting into the lorry, except for Tusuja of course. He still has some time to get this right!
28 December 2016
At dawn Oltaiyoni, Roi and Kamok were all ready to set forth on their journey back to the wild, making their way with a bottle of milk onto the lorry to Ithumba. A few minutes before 4am, all three were ready to follow their keepers with some milk onto the lorry. Kamok and Roi were loaded fine and settled down fine to enjoy their bottles, but as Oltaiyoni watched her friends enter the lorry and saw the doors shut behind them, she quickly realized what all their training had been for and she didn’t want to be shut on the lorry too so she quickly walked off and gave the keepers a hard time by standing near Kelelari’s stockade, which was her old stockade too! The keepers tried to appease her with more bottles of milk but without success, and due to the time factor and having to get down the Mombasa Road to Tsavo as quickly as possible before it was too hot as well, they pushed her from behind using the milk bottles as well eventually she was loaded into the lorry, and they were off! They safely arrived at Ithumba, though looked very tired when they arrived due to the long drive and the heat of the day building up. They didn’t want their milk straight away when they arrived but instead went to splash some water behind their ears. Minutes later they were welcome to their new stockades by old friends Olsekki, Sokotei, Boromoko, Sirimon, Siangiki and Kithaka and Barsilinga too! Olsekki and Barsilinga were being naughty and trying to climb on them, promoting Kamok to stick close to her keepers. All in all they seemed okay in their new ‘home’ – the next stepping stone before returning to the wild once more.
29 December 2016
The move of Oltaitoni, Roi and Kamok to Tsavo has changed the demographic in the Nairobi nursery. The orphans used to be led out by Oltiayoni and Roi but today Naseku led Kauro, Tusuja, Galla, Wanjala, Karisa, Ukame and little Ambo out to the forest. She turned around and started rumbling trying to locate Oltaiyoni and Roi, but then settled out with the others to browse, occasionally turning to rumble for her friends with little Ambo standing next to her too. Naseku is not such a good care taker of the babies though which saw Ambo after some time go and attach himself to Mbegu instead who willingly doted on him and made a fuss of him. Today Mbegu spent the entire day very close to her family whereas in the past she had stayed with Roi, Kauro, Oltaiyoni, Ambo, Tusuja, Galla, Wanjala, Ukame and Karisa. For now all the babies are under her new leadership – she did not walk far but instead stayed close to the others and especially the babies.
30 December 2016
Out in the forest early this morning, it was unusual to witness all of the orphans browsing close to their keepers, even the older ones like Naseku, Kauro, Tusuja, Maramoja, Karisa and Ukame were all browsing close instead of walking off further. Tusuja, Kauro, Naseku and Maramoja were sometimes witnessed trying to nudge the little ones like Ambo, Jotto, Tamiyoi, Tagwa, Murit, Malima and Malkia away… so that they could be the closest to the keepers! This suggests they are still missing the leadership of Oltaiyoni who used to lead them off further into the forest, unlike Mbegu who likes to stay close to the little ones. This will all balance out when the older ones are moved down too and Mbegu will most likely become the new leader, or matriarch, of the nursery herd, and guide the babies around.
Today is the last day for Kauro, Tusuja and Naseku to have their final rehearsal for the lorry. Kauro and Naseku are happily taking their milk inside unlike Tusuja who is still refusing, so he will be a difficult one to load tomorrow morning when they are due to depart for Ithumba! We will have to see.
31 December 2016
Early before dawn Kauro, Naseku and Tusuja were on their way to the Ithumba Relocation Unit where they were to join their friends Oltaiyoni, Roi and Kamok who were move just a few days before. Kauro and Naseku were loaded without trouble but Tusuja, who up until that moment had never got in the lorry, proved more difficult and he stood far away from the lorry, watching Naseku and Kauro drink their delicious milk bottles. Because time was of the essence and he had always proved difficult, the keepers had no other option but to steer him with blankets onto the lorry until he was safely inside, and then once he was he was fine! Because they had suspected he would prove difficult the keepers had started loading earlier than before, and actually the lorry was away in record time, off down the Mombasa road towards Tsavo. We wish them all the best for their transition back to the wild and hope they live a full and successful life!