Keepers' Diaries, December 2017

Nairobi Nursery Unit

With 36 orphans in the Nursery at the beginning of the month, it was time to move some of the older elephants to the Ithumba Rehabilitation Unit. At three years old it Rapa, Pare, Maramoja, Sapalan, Namalok's turn to graduate and come one step closer to living a life in the wild once more, and the sufficient rainfall received in the Ithumba region throughout November and December meant that it was a good time to move them; there was ample vegetation re-growth and the water holes and dams were brimming once more.

01 December 2017

Ambo decided to spend time with the older boys Kauro, Ndotto, Sapalan and Lasayen today. When Mbegu saw that Ambo was okay in the company of the older boys, she went over to the keepers where the young babies were and took Sattao with her. Tagwa saw them walking away and ran over to accompany them, and the three of them walked out into the forest. They stayed out there together until it was milk feeding time. When the three walked back to the rest of the group for milk, Sattao was running ahead very excited and playful with Mbegu and Tagwa just walking behind. He was so excited he tripped over a tree root! Jotto and Malima heard Sattao and came running towards him trumpeting, and all three ran towards the milk feeding area. All three were very happy with their game and were trumpeting with excitement. Namalok has never missed a public visit since he was introduced to them, but today he was attached to Kauro and Ndotto and the three of them disappeared into the forest after the 9am milk feed. The keepers thought the orphans would show up to the public visit because of Ndotto, but they did not arrive. After the public visit the others found them just browsing in the bushes nearby and just waiting for them to return!

02 December 2017

Tagwa is so good at looking after the young ones and even seems to take over from Godoma in this department when Mbegu is away from the group. This morning the very tiny girl joined the main herd whilst they browsed in the forest. She arrived in the forest and announced her presence with a very loud and happy rumble. Mbegu, Maramoja and Tagwa ran from different directions to meet her. Tagwa arrived first and then the other two and Tagwa was the most attentive of all to the little one. Some orphans keep the characteristics they develop from when they were little. Ngilai used to love suckling on the ears of his older peers. When Mbegu was in the forest attending to the tiny one, Ngilai was busy trying to suckle her ears. Mbegu knows what Ngilai is like so she didn’t have a problem with this. Kiko emerged from the bushes towards the end of public visiting today. There was a wild female giraffe that was browsing in the bushes close to the mud bath and when she saw Kiko, she moved a little closer. Kiko didn’t pay her any attention though and just moved around the acacia trees there, so eventually she walked away.

03 December 2017

The orphans came out of their rooms this morning and looked so happy with nice big smiles on their faces. Some of them came out and met near Maxwell’s gate. Maxwell was dosing and they enjoyed eating his leftover lucerne pellets that had spilled through to the other side of the gate. Kauro, Sapalan, Rapa, Murit, Maramoja, Namalok, Sana Sana and Malkia were shoving each other out of the way, each one wanting to be closest to the gate to stretch their trunk through the bars and grab even more of the pellets. Mbegu and Tagwa were not interested but instead went to look for the tiny girl; even when they pushed on her door though she did not wake up as she was still fast asleep. Jotto, Ambo and Malima were playing with Tamiyoi and running after each other all over the place, and playing gentle pushing games. Mbegu and Tagwa decided to start moving out to the forest and the others followed them, except for Kauro who wanted to finish as many lucerne pellets as he could! At 9am Kauro, Namalok, Sapalan, Rapa, Pare and Maramoja started training and the familiarization process with the translocation lorry for their graduation from the Nursery and move to Ithumba. The first day went so well as they all got on the lorry for their milk bottle and were not afraid. Mapia came to the mud bath and public visit today for the first time; he loved the mud pool very much as he had a lot of fun with Jotto.

04 December 2017

Maktao has been giving some of the other little elephants a hard time since he arrived at the Nursery. Musiara, Sattao, Maisha and Emoli dare not stand in his way. This morning however, Musiara decided to teach Maktao a lesson. When he charged at him whilst he was eating some nice vegetation out in the forest, Musiara turned and wrestled Maktao off. Musiara was not willing to surrender, and it took Malima’s intervention to save Maktao from the angry Musiara. Malima did not only stop the fight but she invited the boys to join her in a game. There was a heap of loose soil nearby and she went to the top of it and rolled down. The two little boys enjoyed rolling and sliding on her back, and forgot about their earlier fight. We do not often find Tagwa engaged in pushing games with her friends. She is most often looking after the little ones and once in a blue moon, we find her engaged in a small wrestling game. Today was one of those days, as we found her playing with Ambo in a lengthy pushing game. Both of them seemed to be having a great time. Ndotto is such a lovely boy and he is starting to become more independent. Often, when the orphans reach the forest, he can be found walking off in his own direction and only coming back to the group when it is time for the 9am milk feed. Ngilai is so funny when he has his milk bottle – he has his own unique style! He sticks his trunk straight up in the air like an aerial, unlike the others who normally wrap their trunks around their bottles.

05 December 2017

All the orphans went out to the forest as usual this morning, but Elkalal, the little girl that arrived recently, wasn’t doing that well. She has been on a drip since yesterday afternoon but she is still not responding very well. The lorry training for the six graduates is still going on and at 9am, Namalok, Sapalan, Kauro, Maramoja, Rapa and Pare seem very comfortable feeding there and are ready for their journey. In fact after finishing their milk they didn’t want to leave and were playing and hanging out in the lorry. Out in the forest, Mapia seems to be enjoying the company of Kauro and Ndiwa – the two are being very kind to Mapia and enjoy his company; they do not push him around at all. They lead him out to his favourite vegetation, the tall green grass which he loves to browse on. Sadly, just before visiting today, Elkalal passed away in her stable with her Keeper, unable to shake the infection that she came with despite all our best efforts and treatment. Mbegu was in a selfish mood today. Before the visiting time she took the babies Sattao, Malima and Mapia away from the others and hid in the thicket with them. She didn’t come when the keepers called her and the three babies ended up missing their feeding time. She knew what she was doing though as when it came to her milk feeding time she came out of hiding with the three little ones. We were surprised as she does not normally behave like this and always leads the younger ones down when it is their feeding time, if she happens to be with them. She was in a funny mood today!

06 December 2017

Kiasa seems to have finally settled into the orphans’ routine here. She no longer sneaks away from the herd like she did before and although she is yet to find a special friend, she is doing well now. She is sort of a keeper’s baby, as she likes to spend quite a lot of time with them, but Maktao has a few things to say about that. He does not make it easy for her to get close to them but she does not give in easily, and challenges him when he tries to stop her. Maktao thinks as the youngest he should be the closest to the keepers and gets very jealous of anyone else trying to spend time with them. Luggard didn’t want to come out to the forest this morning for some reason. He woke up nicely and had a lovely time playing with Musiara, then Ambo and Jotto in the stockade compound as they waited for everyone else to come out of their rooms. But as everyone else moved out to the forest he seemed reluctant and didn’t want to follow them. He stayed browsing in the bushes surrounding the compound and later decided to follow his friends but still kept his distance. He eventually joined the group when it was the 9am milk feeding time. Mapia has really come to love the mud bath and gets into it all the time. After his milk bottle at visiting time today he ran into the mud bath where Murit, Enkesha and Jotto kept him company as well. The four later came out and enjoyed a dust bath to dry off before going back out to the forest.

07 December 2017

It was 2.30am when the process began of loading Kauro, Sapalan and Namalok to begin their journey to Ithumba. Kauro is very familiar with the lorry as he has already been in it twice – down to Ithumba and back again when he became unwell. Namalok and Sapalan were already used to the lorry as well, having undergone their training and familiarization. Each orphan came out of their room with a keeper enticing them towards the lorry with a milk bottle; although of course for Namalok it was a bucket of milk as he never accepted the bottle! It was an easy walk and entrance into the lorry for Sapalan and Namalok and their gates were shut immediately. Kauro took a little more convincing as he got half way into his pen when he stopped and stretched his trunk forward to smell around. He drank both his bottles at the entrance and the keepers had to go inside and call him in. He heard their voices and walked the rest of the way onto the lorry and then his gate was closed too. Just after 3am the lorry was on the way. The orphans were a bit anxious in the forest this morning as they wondered where Kauro, Sapalan and Namalok had gone. They were very jumpy and it took awhile for the keepers to try and settle them. Mbegu saw the tiny baby walking in the distance and left the rest of the group to accompany her on her walk. The exercise has done the little one a lot of good; helping to strengthen her muscles that were weak and underdeveloped when she arrived.

08 December 2017

Jotto was trying to climb on Malima early this morning. She turned to him and pushed him away, which started a pushing game between the two. Jotto was playing as usual but Malima was being a little more aggressive; she was obviously showing her disapproval of being jumped on every now and then. During the 9am feeding, naughty Maktao knocked down poor Kiasa before she had even finished her bottle. She yelled and he walked out into the group for safety but Tagwa was there and she pushed him with her little tusks, walking him towards the keepers. He was worried the keepers would discipline him too and so he ran off yelling. Ndotto, Lasayen, Ndiwa and Mundusi were very restless today, as if they were wondering where their older friends were as it was Kauro that usually led them out further than the others. Today Ndotto took charge and rumbled to his friends to follow him.

09 December 2017

Training continued this morning for the three orphans Maramoja, Rapa and Pare. They have been doing well at feeding inside the truck, but today Rapa was a little more doubtful. He took a little time before going into the lorry but the other two seemed find, entering with ease and downing their milk bottles. Kiasa seemed to be very friendly with Mapia today, and the two joined up with Luggard and little Musiara who were beside the keepers. Musiara feeds well but hangs back because he wants to be with his friend Luggard who doesn’t move around very much and likes to dust himself in loose soil. Today the other two fed next to Mapia as well.

10 December 2017

Murit decided to discipline Ambo this morning as they were both eating left over pellets beside Maxwell’s gate. Mbegu came to the rescue as soon as she heard her adopted baby crying out and Murit went back to feeding on the pellets as if he had done nothing wrong; even Mbegu wondered what had happened to her baby to make him yell out! Ambo decided to follow her as she followed the rest of the herd who had already walked out of the compound towards the forest. During the public visit Emoli gulped down his bottle then ran towards Maktao who was still drinking. Both of them started fighting and the visitors watched in awe as Maktao tried to defend his bottle. They were both separated and Maktao was taken off in a different direction in order to finish his bottle.

11 December 2017

Sana Sana is not as motherly towards the younger ones these days but she does discipline them from time to time. We are not always sure why though, like today she pushed Mapia when he was just walking by and having his milk, and she followed him pushing him until the keepers came over to intervene and walked Sana Sana away. During public visiting time today Malima and Murit were enjoying a pushing game and climbing on each other, as the others enjoyed wallowing in the mud. Kiasa especially enjoyed being in the pool and was very excited, splashing water everywhere and spraying the visitors with mud. Esampu also jumped in the mud pool after she had finished her bottle. After a short while in the mud she got out and ran along the rope cordon, bumping into visitors and getting them nice and muddy. The keepers had a hard time trying to control her naughty behaviour!

12 December 2017

There was a lot of excitement amongst the herd this morning as the tiny baby joined the herd out in the bush for the first time. The older girls like Mbegu, Tagwa and Godoma were especially excited as they welcomed the little girl to the rest of the herd with loving rumbles and even some trumpeting. Tagwa seems to be a very motherly figure despite Mbegu being the oldest and little Godoma being a very loving character as well. After they had all spent some time with the little one, some of the females went back to browsing, and Tagwa was left with the baby who seemed so comfortable in her company, trying to suckle on her ear. Ndotto continued with his own independent agenda today, walking deeper into the bushes to browse alone without the company of any of the others. He is always the last one back for his milk these days!

13 December 2017

Esampu’s naughty character continued during the public visit today. The funny girl wanted to get an extra bottle and was willing to apply all tactics in order to accomplish this! She even went down on her front legs beside the milk wheelbarrow just to get an extra slurp of the delicious formula. She kicked out at Mundusi as he enjoyed his last bottle but this annoyed this ‘no nonsense’ elephant and he pushed Esampu to the ground, keeping her there despite her cries for help. Eventually Mbegu came over to rescue her. To show her anger, Esampu pushed Mteto into the mud hole as she walked past, before the keepers calmed her down. Ngilai emerged from the mud hole, fully covered in mud, and ran along the rope cordon line, spraying the visitors with mud. Sana Sana stayed in the mud until the last possible moment, and then, unbeknownst to the keepers, she decided to take a different route through the crowd, making sure that anyone who dared to touch her got very muddy as well. Luggard and Tamiyoi were quietly sharing a branch together than Lasayen had broken just before. Murit came over to join them and at that moment, a warthog came running past which scared poor Luggard. He went limping off yelling for help and Tagwa stepped in to chase the warthog away.

14 December 2017

Kiasa was in a sassy mood today and decided to dodge the keepers like she used to do. After the 3pm visit and milk feed all the elephants seemed relaxed and composed, quietly browsing in the bushes around where the keepers were. Neither the keepers nor the mini matriarchs noticed that Kiasa had left the group and taken herself back to the stockade compound, where she was sharing Maxwell’s lucerne near his gate. It took the effort of two keepers to convince her to come back to the forest where the others were browsing. Before she reached the group, she rumbled loudly, drawing the attention of Mbegu and Tagwa. They came over to see what was happening as the little boys Musiara and Sattao approached as well. Musiara moved closer to touch Kiasa with his trunk but she was in a bad mood and pushed him away. It was a hot afternoon and Ndotto, Lasayen and Mundusi moved deeper into the forest looking for cooler areas under the trees. They walked further away but then came across two lone buffalo bulls. They wagged their ears and bashed down some bushes as they came running back, led by Ndotto, back to where the others were browsing.

15 December 2017

Kiko was feeding on some acacia trees a short distance away from where the rest of the orphans were. As he was enjoying his browse, four wild giraffe’s approached. Kiko stood still staring at them, and one that looked younger than him moved closer trying to smell him. After a few minutes, the cowardly Kiko rushed back to where the other orphans were, leaving the wild visitors wondering what to do. The giraffes then drew the attention of the elephants, with playful girls like Malima mock-charging the motionless animals. Malkia, Mteto, Kuishi and Godoma then charged in as Murit, Ambo, Jotto, Sana Sana and Ndiwa backed them up. Upon seeing the little elephants charging towards them the wild giraffes turned and disappeared back into the Park. Enkesha’s love for mud baths continues and was very evident during the public visit today. She drank her milk bottles in a big hurry before going to fully immerse herself in the mud bath. It was funny to see the little girl fully submerged in the muddy water as she swam from one corner to the other.

16 December 2017

This morning at around 3am the process of loading Pare, Rapa and Maramoja into the lorry for their journey to Ithumba began. Pare went into the lorry easily but Maramoja hesitated, forcing the keepers to use extra effort to push her into her pen so they could close the gate. Rapa had the same problem, probably because he sensed that Maramoja had hesitated before and that something else was afoot other that a milk feeding! Because of the noise that Maramoja and Rapa had made some of the orphans were awake now, and the ones closest to the loading area like Luggard, Musiara, Maisha and Sagala started shouting and pushing on their doors when the lorry started up as it was very loud. Kiko started kicking his door as well as the elephants were causing such a ruckus, but once the lorry had left all the orphans calmed down once more. We wish the next three orphans all the best of luck on the next stage of their adventure.

17 December 2017

At exactly 6.30am Shukuru alighted from the lorry and once again set foot in the Nairobi Nursery. She has not been fairing well at Ithumba and has always been a sickly elephant, but if there is any chance for her we strongly believe it is here at the Nairobi Nursery. She was received by several of the orphans like Malkia, Murit, Lasayen and some others. Tamiyoi was especially interested in learning who this new and very large orphan might be, as at 8 years old Shukuru dwarfed all of the babies in the nursery. Tamiyoi touched the big girl with her tiny trunk and Luggard came from the other side to smell the ‘new’ arrival as well, but Mbegu, Sana Sana and Malkia moved away as they seemed to be a bit afraid of the new girl! They kept moving away from her even though she was interested in greeting them. Kiasa was the funniest as she followed right behind the older girl but was quick to move away if Shukuru turned to greet her!

18 December 2017

It is Shukuru’s second day after returning to the Nursery and she seemed to wake up in a good mood in the company of her neighbours Malima, Musiara, Sagala and Mteto. It was baby Sattao who stole the show this morning however as he enjoyed the privilege of standing under Shukuru’s belly; he has not enjoyed this opportunity until now but Shukuru is big enough to allow this! Musiara and Maktao did not seem to mind the attention Sattao was getting either. As the orphans disappeared into the thicket in the forest, the keepers did not realize that they had left Enkesha behind! The little girl had sneaked into Sattao’s room, presumably to steal some of the left over browse and pellets in there. After finishing those she visited Maxwell’s gate as she looked for more lucerne pellets. Two warthogs also then came over to have their share of Maxwell’s food and a commotion ensued as all the animals tried to have their share. This attracted Maxwell’s attention who moved swiftly to try and scare the warthogs away. In the process he also caught Enkesha’s trunk between his horn and the gate and she shouted out with pain and fright as her trunk is already very sensitive. As soon as she was free she ran after her friends to join them out in the forest. She was met mid-way by Mbegu and Malkia who were alarmed by her screams for help. The matriarch Mbegu touched Enkesha with her trunk and raised her ears looking from side to side in search of what might have hurt the young girl. When she found nothing and Enkesha was settled, they all walked out to the forest together to join the others.

19 December 2017

The day started as usual for the orphans as they came out of their stockades in the morning to go out to the field, all except for Shukuru who remained behind for some tests. She stayed in until around 930am when she went out to join the rest of the orphans in the forest. The tiny baby was out with the others in the forest and was enjoying the love and attention from main matriarch Mbegu. Tagwa and Godoma were also trying to win the affection of the little one by patting her little back with their trunks. Then Esampu came in and tried in vain to walk the little baby away from the other three girls. Just to make her point she pushed Tagwa from behind who accidentally knocked into the little one. Her little cry drew the attention of everyone including the keepers. Mbegu turned and without hesitating disciplined the naughty Esampu and took the tiny one away to a safer area. Esampu disappeared into the thicket and angrily broke some branches down to show her frustration at not being with the baby and having been told off. Close to 10am it started to drizzle but before long this turned to hard rain and the little one had to return to the stockades to protect her from the bad weather. The rain didn’t seem to bother Kiko however; he just moved from one tree to the next browsing as he went.

20 December 2017

In the afternoon around 2pm, two warthogs sneaked into Maxwell’s stockade and enjoyed eating the lucerne pellets that had been placed there for him. A lion came and was interested in chasing the warthogs but they sensed danger and ran away. Maxwell did too and ran around his stockade which chased the lion away. The lion ran in the direction of where the keepers and the orphans were, but they too sensed danger. The small ones moved next to the keepers while Mbegu, Ndotto, Lasayen, Malkia and Ndiwa moved forward to protect the herd. Shukuru, despite her bad health, used her size and position as the biggest elephant and also moved forward. Due to her height advantage she had noticed the cat before anyone else, and we do not see them very often around the Nursery these days. Kiko stood in the middle of the gallant keepers who firmly stood their ground to protect him, as although the lions in Nairobi National Park have no taste for elephants because there are none, they might consider attacking a giraffe. As Mbegu’s group stamped their feet and trumpeted louder and louder, the single lion moved off into the bushes, but the bush-bashing continued for quite some time until the orphans decided the coast was clear, and they all settled for their 3pm milk feed. Kiko was led back to the safety of the stockade compound as we did not want to take chances.

21 December 2017

It is so lovely to see the bond between Mbegu and her babies Ambo, Sattao and sometimes even Musiara as well. Despite their age difference Ambo and Sattao often browse close to their adopted mother. Musiara often doesn’t want anyone else to browse next to Mbegu when he is there, apart from Ambo, whereas Sattao is much more tolerant. Today as the orphans moved further into the forest more of the babies wanted to browse next to Mbegu, but this didn’t sit well with Musiara. In his bid to deter anyone else from touching ‘his’ Mbegu he knocked poor Maisha and then Emoli received the same treatment as well. Maktao too came forward and touched Mbegu with his trunk before he met resistance from the feisty Musiara, but he in turn decided to fight back, and a fight ensued. It looked light hearted at first but then Musiara took it seriously. Maktao is younger than Musiara but strong, and pushed Musiara into a nearby tree. Musiara shouted for help and Sattao came to his rescue, despite his earlier behaviour. Kiasa came in to support Maktao however, until Malkia came in to separate all the fighting babies. Mbegu’s attention had been focused on the smallest baby who had joined them all in the forest. The limping Luggard was seen following Ndiwa and Mundusi as they moved further into the thicket to search for more browse, whilst Jotto and Mapia decided to hang around the keepers whilst the others browsed.

22 December 2017

As the sun rose today the orphans made their way out to the forest to browse as usual. The babies are usually led by Mbegu but today Shukuru led them out. She could be seen high above the others like Murit, Maisha, Emoli and Sagala who followed behind her. Malkia, Tagwa and Mundusi were not far behind. The herd reached an open area in the forest just as the sun rose and started to warm their backs. Two orphans were delighted by the rising temperature as day broke; Kiasa and Maktao were engaged in a light pushing game and then Sattao joined them, followed shortly by Enkesha. Musiara then came over as well but not to join in the game. He lay down on the warm ground and spread his legs and stretched his trunk out, which inadvertently brought an end to the game as the others decided to come over and join him on the warm ground. Their ears flapped in excitement. Playful Ngilai came over and spread his big body out, landing on Kiasa who screamed out for help. The fun came to an end as Mbegu came running over to help Kiasa. It was quite hot during the public visit and the orphans enjoyed a mud bath during their time at the mud hole. The playful girl Malima sprayed the visitors with drops of mud as she enjoyed her bath. It was hard to get Luggard out of the bath as the first group made their way back to the forest! As the second group started coming in for their milk, the defiant Luggard was still rolling around in the mud. Mteto drank her milk in a hurry before launching herself into the mud; so did the rest of the group except for Ndotto who just dusted himself with loose soil throughout his time at the mud hole area.

23 December 2017

Sana Sana and Lasayen were busy enjoying a branch that Ndotto had pulled down and left when the playful Ngilai provoked him, causing a pushing game. Little did Sana Sana know but the naughty girl Esampu was approaching from behind. She pushed Sana Sana who then bumped into Murit who had recently walked over to also enjoy some of the branch. The ruckus drew the attention of Godoma who swiftly engaged the naughty girl in a serious fight, before the keepers came over to intervene and separate the two girls. Esampu’s bad moo carried on throughout the private visit when she tried to get extra milk from Ambo who rumbled his displeasure loudly, alerting the matriarch Mbegu who was just running in to have her own bottles. Mbegu pushed Esampu away from the group to go and browse with the others who had already finished their milk.

24 December 2017

It has been a week since Shukuru returned back to the Nursery from Tsavo for further diagnostics to get to the bottom of her ailing health. From observing her over the past few days it appears that she recalls her Nursery days very well! Despite having been in Tsavo for the past 4 years, she knows her way around and his not fazed by any of the visiting times. During her first public visit since being back she behaved very calmly despite there being a large number of people due to the holiday season; having been used to only her friends, her keepers and other wild elephants in Tsavo for a number of years, she seems to be peacefully slotting into life back in the Nursery with no trouble. She is such a quiet and lovely elephant and we hope we can get to the bottom of what is ailing her soon.

25 December 2017

Today is the only day we are closed in the whole year but the elephants do not know that, or that it is Christmas, and their day began like any other. They came out of their stockades to go and browse in the forest as usual and they were pretty calm today, and did not mess around like they do other mornings. The tiny baby was not left behind as she was seen struggling to reach up to Mbegu’s ears, as she is fond on suckling on hers, Tagwa’s and Godoma’s ears for comfort. Soon after the 3pm milk feed, Ndotto, Lasayen, Mundusi, Ngilai and Ndiwa challenged the keepers and sneaked away from the group to browse deep in the forest right up until 5pm, when they still showed no intention of coming home as they were busy enjoying the tasty vegetation they had found! It was funny when Mundusi and Ndiwa saw the keepers as they got a fright, which frightened the others and they all went running back to the stockades on their own.

26 December 2017

Mapia and Kiasa are becoming little trouble makers these days at feeding times. Today when they came down to the public show they came in running and yelling. After their bottles they both remained restless, pushing others alongside them as they looked for more milk to steal. When Musiara and Luggard walked in, they never run, Kiasa was hectic and hassling poor Musiara and Luggard for their milk. When she realised she couldn’t have any of their milk, she ran over to the milk wheelbarrow and started trying to feed on the milk there. When the keepers tried to force her away she resisted and threatened to push the wheelbarrow over! The keepers decided to put a bit of milk into a bottle to lead her away, a trick which worked very well! Due to her greedy character, and Mapia as well, they will be the last ones to the bottle feeds in future.

27 December 2017

Early in the morning soon after the orphan herd walked out of their rooms, many of them were enjoying touching and bumping into each other in morning greeting. Little Musiara, Sattao and Maktao were seen busy chasing after one another round and round the compound. Sattao and Maktao then enjoyed a pushing game and then tried to climb on Musiara, who reacted by trying to head butt them! Maktao loves soil dusting and rolling on the ground, and he spotted some fresh murram soil that had been laid out in the stockade compound. He lay down which made Musiara and Sattao want to come over and climb on him, but he yelled out for help with the weight of the two babies on top of him! Tagwa and Godoma came running over to see what was happening, and when the two boys spotted the older girls running towards them, they got off Maktao and ran off trumpeting into the bushes where all the other orphans were browsing, knowing they were doing something naughty! When the boys turned back to see what Maktao was doing, he was walking towards them escorted by Godoma and Tagwa. Playful Musiara tried to touch him with his trunk but was not happy and he had obviously not forgiven them, and head-butted him hard! This prompted Musiara and Sattao to stay away from Maktao for awhile.

28 December 2017

This morning we received a tiny orphan from the DSWT airwing; the tiny elephant was brought by the DSWT helicopter having been rescued from the Kimana area within the Amboseli Conservation area. The baby drank its milk formula very well and settled into its new environment, under the 24 hour care and protection of the keepers. Once finished with its milk and guided to its new stable, the baby did not spend very long walking around before it settled down to sleep after its tiring ordeal. During the public visit today the temperature was soaring prompting the orphans to quickly drink their milk bottles and get into the mud pool to cool down. The public watched on as Godoma and Sana Sana playfully entered the pool by lying on the edge, dangling their trunks inside before sliding their bodies in, splashing the public standing nearby. This was their new favourite game – getting out of the mud and sliding into the mud pool again making a big splash.

29 December 2017

When the orphans were browsing in the forest this morning, youngsters Kiasa, Maktao, Musiara, Sattao and Enkesha were busy charging and chasing after warthog babies who were also browsing close to the elephants and keepers. Maktao and his friends had tried and failed to chase the mother warthogs, so had turned their attention to the babies who were playful and skittish. Maktao, Kiasa and Enkesha managed to chase two orphans from the group back into the stockade area, but the warthogs ran through the bars into Maxwell’s stockade which presented a challenge! The warthogs made high pitched squeaking/grunting noises signaling to their mothers where they were, whilst the three elephants took to their heels, trumpeting as they ran back to the bushes where they had left the rest of their group.

30 December 2017

The little male calf from Amboseli is doing very well and has become very attached to his new human family in such a short space of time; not wanting to leave their side and playing and suckling on their dustcoats. Shukuru having been treated for a few days now is looking a bit better today, and seems to be slowly improving. Out in the bush she leads some of the orphans deep into the forest, and keeps up a high browsing momentum compared to when she first arrived. During the public visit she has been enjoying the mud baths over recent days, something she did not partake in when she first arrived. She has a happy face and looks a bit more comfortable than before, but her condition overall still needs to improve and she needs to put more weight on.

31 December 2017

As the sun rose over the horizon warming the earth, the orphans enjoyed the rising temperature and engaged in some play fights, others were lying on the ground and some were browsing in the bushes. Musiara and Maktao pushed each other gently before Emoli joined their game. Emoli was rougher than Musiara and Maktao stepped up his game as well. Sattao watched from a distance as the three boys played. Kiasa came running over to join in but got over excited and bit Musiara’s tail, which quite rightly annoyed him, and he pushed Kiasa hard. Jotto, who is a bigger boy, stepped in to separate the sparring babies as Malima mock-charged them to get them to end their game, throwing a back kick in Maktao’s direction.