Keepers' Diaries, December 2018

Nairobi Nursery Unit

On the 4th December, Sana Sana, Malkia and Ndiwa made the all familiar graduation to the Ithumba Reintegration stockade in Tsavo East, first opened in 2004, which has since then seen over 90 orphans pass through on their journey back to a wild life. It is important to understand that this is a journey, and one that takes many years, sometimes up to as many as eight to ten years before an orphan has the confidence to spend protracted time away from their human family.  

01 December 2018

Sana Sana, Ndiwa and Malkia only have a few days left in the Nairobi Nursery now, before they graduate to the Ithumba stockades in Tsavo. They have been undergoing their practice sessions of entering the lorry for a few weeks now, and while Sana Sana and Ndiwa have been doing well and easily having their bottles on board, Malkia has been shying away. Malkia made much more progress today and almost made it all of the way on to the lorry. There she had her bottle while the other two were very comfortably exploring their surroundings, playing with the doors and knocking them as they moved from one compartment to another. They were on the lookout for the lucerne pellets which had been placed inside so that they would move around the lorry and feel comfortable inside. We have great hope that on the day all will go well and Malkia will enter the lorry, as she is getting better and better – before she would not go anywhere near it and now she will have her bottle almost all the way in, so that is some progress. 

02 December 2018

Tiny Maarifa the baby rhino is doing well in the Nursery and is enjoying her 24 hour care and protection from her loving human family. She is a very little thing who loves her Keepers and she will not walk anywhere without them. She is also very playful and when she goes out to the bush she enjoys charging and chasing after little warthog babies. It is good for her to start to meet the other animals around the forest. She is also quite clever as she knows where her stable is and sometimes when she comes back in the evening she runs off away from the Keepers and runs in front of them to go straight into her stable without them having to show her the way.

03 December 2018

Today is the final rehearsal for Sana Sana, Malkia and Ndiwa to enter the translocation lorry and all three were very well-behaved today, entering and having their milk bottles with ease. This means they are ready for their move and we are not as worried about how the loading will go early tomorrow morning. Even Malkia, who the Keepers thought would be hard to handle, entered and drank her milk bottle without a problem and with no doubts like before. She seemed very happy and was even walking from one compartment to the next, like Ndiwa and Sana Sana too, as they all looked for delicious lucerne pellets to enjoy. Their good behaviour today the Keepers thought was a great success on their final day of rehearsal.

04 December 2018

Today early before dawn it was time for Sana Sana, Ndiwa and Malkia to enter the lorry for their journey to Tsavo. At this special hour their loving human family all bid them farewell and wished them good luck on the next stage of their life. Sana Sana and Malkia were the first ones onto the lorry and theirs was a very smooth entry. Unfortunately Ndiwa took a little longer as the gate behind her was closed too quickly and it touched her on the bum so she tried to back out, but after another attempt she was soon loaded and safely concealed into her compartment ready for her journey. Everyone who witnessed their departure, with two Keepers to accompany them to Ithumba, wished them a successful transition back into the wild where they belong.

The orphans left behind in the Nursery spent their day altogether, with Tagwa watching over them. Sagala, who was very attached to Sana Sana and Ndiwa, spent her day close to Tagwa and Kuishi as she missed her friends who she used to go for walks with.

05 December 2018

The absence of Sana Sana, Ndiwa and Malkia is obviously still being felt by some in the Nursery as they don’t walk to walk deep into the forest like they used to do. All the orphans are now spotted browsing close to the Keepers since Tagwa and Kuishi are not that fond of going on long walks.

Jotto and Mapia, who used to be bullied a bit by Malkia, Sana Sana and Ndiwa, are slightly happier and enjoying interacting with lovely Tagwa and Kuishi. Today out in the forest, Jotto was spotted playing with Tagwa and Mapia was playing with Kuishi too. Their new games showed how happy and comfortable they were without the presence of what must have been their disciplinary masters! Tagwa seems very happy too, to be leading the entire orphan herd without the presence of any elders to push her around, as she has always been a docile and gentle girl who does not like to fight. Usually if anyone tries to pick on her, she just walks away and does not engage them in a fight.

06 December 2018

Boys will be boys and today some of the younger bulls were being especially playful. After their milk bottles Maktao, Mukkoka, Dololo and Sattao were walking along the rope cordon, greeting some of the public standing there. They then went to feed on some greens while some of them went to slide down the piles of soil. Playful boys Maktao, Musiara, Sattao and Emoli were chasing each other and charging around the mud wallow, trying to climb on each other’s backs. When Maktao and Musiara did not succeed in climbing on who they intended, they ran over to climb on Tamiyoi and Enkesha instead, who were busy rolling on the damp soil.

Emoli feels like the boss of this the younger group now, and he started a funny game of trying to climb on Sattao’s head when Sattao challenged him. This habit of climbing on the head of his challengers head was copied by Maktao today, who saw him and decided to try this on Enkesha. To watch them all playing and messing around that this was very funny.

07 December 2018

These days we have witnessed little Enkesha browsing away from the others. We suspect this is because she is a little polite girl and she doesn’t like to bully others, nor does she like to be bullied, so she browses away from the others to avoid all of these incidences. Even when the orphans come out of their rooms in the early morning, she sneaks away from them and keeps herself hidden in the bushes in between the stockades and the forest. She stays there and listens to the other orphans leaving, but she is very funny because when she can no longer here them, she starts yelling for a Keeper to come and find her and escort her out! When the Keepers come for her, she looks very happy and makes happy rumbling sounds as she playfully swings her trunk and follows the Keeper to the other orphans. She is such a gentle girl who does not like to cause any trouble.

08 December 2018

Today was a very chilly morning which was very rainy, which meant that little Maarifa stayed inside her stable. Dololo and Mukkoka the little elephants stayed in their stables as well, as they are not yet strong enough to endure such cold weather either. All the other orphans went out to the forest and had a fun time rolling in the mud and the streams that sprang up all around. Tagwa, Sagala and Kuishi set up the mud bathing event and then the rest joined in. The boys like Jotto, Mapia, Ambo, Emoli, Sattao, Musiara and even Maktao were all busy trying to climb on the others as they all rolled on the ground mud bathing. It was so funny to watch tiny Maktao try and climb on Tagwa, but there was no way he could and he just kept sliding down her back. When he got up and found Musiara about to try the same thing, he angrily head butted him, either jealous of him stealing his game, or for thinking he was the reason he slid down onto his back! Maktao can be such a funny little thing. They then spent a few minutes challenging each other before Tamiyoi sorted them out by sending Musiara away from Maktao.

09 December 2018

Ambo is becoming a firm boy who spends his days out in the forest throwing his weight against his play mates Mapia and even big boy Jotto too! As the orphans settled out in the forest this morning, he was spotted wrestling with Jotto, but Jotto is too soft with the younger bulls and eventually he gave up. He then went to find Mapia, who was busy teaching Emoli pushing tactics. Being proud of feeling strong, Ambo approached Mapia and Emoli by playfully charging over and bashing the bushes, trying to get Mapia’s attention so he would abandon his game with Emoli and play with him instead. When Mapia saw how Ambo approached him he too started stamping his feet as he got ready to take on the proud Ambo! They tackled each other and vigorously wrestled, with neither one wanting to give up against the other. Their wrestling match was badly timed however, as the 9am milk feeding time forced them to fold their game. That is one thing that will always be able to stop a game, as the elephants love their milk formula too much!

10 December 2018

Tiny Maarifa is a jovial, playful little thing and she has her own mind. Sometimes she likes to challenge her Keepers on the way they should go. Today as she was walking down for her brief visit to the public visiting hour, at first she was walking fine, but then she started staring at the visitors and did a quick u-turn back to the bushes. The Keepers approached her and offered her a finger to suckle on, which she did and then she started playing, scratching her little head on the Keepers legs. Some warthogs appeared which prompted her to run out from the bushes and follow her Keepers, who then started to run so that she would follow them. She made her ten minute visit and was very happy, before running out behind her Keepers back to the forest again.

Dololo and Mukkoka are very good friends as they were both rescued recently and they spend a lot of time together. They can often be spotted browsing shoulder to shoulder and it tends to be Dololo leading Mukkoka around.

11 December 2018

What a night. It rained all night last night and the babies did not sleep very well because of it. Kiasa, Maktao and Sattao did not like the rain at all. Maxwell however had a very happy night, as we all know how much he enjoys the rain. The whole night he ran up and down his stockades in the rain and he rolled around everywhere in his pen, turning it all into a muddy pool. To begin with none of the orphans wanted to come out of their rooms and into the rain, but eventually they came out and made their way into the forest to browse. Sagala, Enkesha, Maisha and Kiasa all got together around one thicket and started to browse together. Emoli, Sattao and Maktao had a different plan from the rest, and they decided to play in the mud. Emoli and Maktao started a pushing game before they got down on the ground and started rolling. When Sattao saw them he decided to come over and join them. Tagwa then saw her adopted boy Sattao having fun so she walked over and joined in too – and so it was that eventually everyone abandoned their browsing mission and they all started enjoying and having lots of fun in the rain. Dololo, Mukkoka and Luggard stayed in their stables until the rain came to a stop.

12 December 2018

It was a warm morning for the babies this morning compared to recent days. All the orphans were up and out early to embark on their usual morning routine. Tagwa is stepping up to her matriarchal duties. Before Sana Sana left, she was a very good play mate of Jotto’s. Usually when they were out browsing, at some stage Jotto and Sana Sana would be engaged in a pushing game. Tagwa seems to have stepped up as Jotto’s play mate and they were embroiled in a pushing game since they reached the forest in the early morning. Sagala attempted to interrupt the game at one point, but Jotto pushed her away so he could play with Tagwa on his own.

Sometimes Enkesha likes to keep away from the herd. This morning she had been keeping Luggard company, when Luggard walked to catch up with the rest of the group. As time went on she didn’t re-join the others, and because she was alone her milk clock was slightly wrong, and she started looking for milk. She decided to run back to the stockades, but of course she did not find anyone there and no milk. She started yelling and ran to the milk feeding point in the forest, but again there was no one there. She yelled some more and Tagwa heard her this time, trumpeting back to her so she could locate where the herd was. She went running up to them, and Jotto was the one who ran up to her to welcome her to the herd. 

13 December 2018

It has become usual for the rain to start in the night at the moment, and as the rain carried on into the morning, the orphans were not very active as they took shelter under trees. Dololo and Mukkoka stayed indoors for awhile until the rain stopped. They had their 9am milk bottle in their stable, as the others had theirs out in the forest. Dololo is a clever boy and is very used to the routine now. When the rain stopped and they went to join the others in the forest, Dololo put his trunk to the ground when they reached forest feeding area, to smell the footprints of the others. He then proceeded to lead Mukkoka in the right direction that the others had taken. After walking for about 1k through the bush, he located the herd and joined them. It didn’t take long for him to sneak away from them again, and the Keepers looked all around for him. He was found not far away, busy browsing and without any concern.

14 December 2018

After their 9am milk bottle as the babies walked off back into the forest to browse, some of them decided not to browse but to try and dust themselves instead. It all started with Enkesha and Musiara. They were the ones that decided to start digging at the soil to try and play, but when Tagwa saw them struggling she knew she had to come over to help them. As overall ‘mama’ to everyone, she walked over and shoved Enkesha to the side, so she could use her big tusks to help dig up the soil. As she began digging the soil, Ambo and Tamiyoi joined her. Musiara was already on the ground, taking advantage of all the loose soil that was being thrown up.

Ahead of where Musiara was lying were the warthogs who were still sleeping in their dens with their babies. The warthog thought that a predator was after them and they came running out of their holes one after the other, very quickly. Musiara got such a fright he jumped up yelling. Malima rushed down from the bush she was browsing on to help save the little boy. Jotto, Mapia and Kuishi teamed up with Malima and they all chased after the warthogs, driving them away into the thicket. Tagwa and the others used their holes as they new play site and everybody joined in dusting themselves in the loose soil. 

15 December 2018

During the public visiting time today, Maisha and Emoli were the most active by far. After finishing her milk, Maisha was in a playful mood, and approached Enkesha for a game. Enkesha was not interested however and paid little attention to her. She went to try her luck with Musiara, but he just ran away, afraid that Maisha was going to bully him as she sometimes does. Emoli was standing to the side, watching his old friend make attempts to play with the others. She eventually walked over to engage him in a game, and he did not hesitate to oblige as he loves playing games when he is in a good mood too. The two had lots of fun, chasing each other around, wrestling and climbing on each other too. Meanwhile, Kiasa and Maktao had a lot of fun rolling around in the mud pool. They shared the same spot too, without fighting each other as they normally do.

Dololo is adapting to the Nursery routine very well and is happily coming back home with the rest of the herd in the evening. Today he came back with Musiara behind him, and they walked in splendidly with no worries, and into their respective rooms for the night.

16 December 2018

In the early morning the orphans walked out to the forest and most of them were in a very playful mood. Mapia seems like he is trying to weigh up Ambo’s strength whenever they are engaged in a pushing game. Ambo thinks they are playing a game at first, but Mapia seems to take their wrestling matches much more seriously and applies much more force to try and overpower Ambo. Today the two had a lengthy pushing game which we think Mapia was treating as more of a fight.

Kuishi hardly ever plays with Jotto and this is because she is a little rough when she plays games. In most cases Jotto and some of the other more gentle elephants will therefore try and avoid playing with her. This morning however, Jotto decided to try and engage Kuishi in a wrestling game. Their game was fine and the two played very well until Tagwa came over and interrupted their game.

Today during the 11am milk feed there was a little drama caused by Ambo and Jotto, as they both came in for their milk at the same time. Ambo finished his milk before Jotto, and then he tried to fight for some of Jotto’s share by snatching at the bottle. Jotto wasn’t pleased with this and when he finished his milk he approached Ambo, who knew he had done wrong and raised his ears, ready for a fight. Jotto was very angry and went ahead and challenged him, and the two boys bumped heads. Jotto pushed Ambo who started yelling for help, and Sagala and the Keepers came over to help him.

17 December 2018

Maarifa has been attending the public visit for the first few minutes every day recently. She is such a sweet and tiny girl. She certainly enjoys playing with her Keepers and running after them. She is the size of a little warthog and we think the warthogs enjoy hanging around her too. Today she was lying in the long grass in the forest and two young warthogs approached her and decided to take a nap next to her too! When she woke up and started walking around, they too woke up and started following her, walking back to the stockade compound area with her. The warthogs then slipped through into Maxwell’s pen to eat some of his lucerne pellets, while she stood on the outside waiting. Then Maarifa was called back by her Keepers into the forest, and she left her friends behind. When she attended the public visit today, it was fun to see her trying to climb on the piles of loose soil.

The elephants also had fun in the mud bath area today, with the piles of soil. Maktao, Maisha, Kiasa, Enkesha and Dololo especially were thrilled, as they did not want to mud bath. For them is was also about the dust bath, and Maktao was the lead as far as this game was concerned. Tamiyoi, Mukkoka and Musiara were more interested in feeding on the greens. 

18 December 2018

At milk feeding times, Musiara is always more relaxed than the others and is always just sure that his share will be waiting for him at the other end. He always walks in slowly, whereas the others don’t delay or hesitate to run in for their share. Today we watched a race between Maisha, Emoli, Tamiyoi and Maktao as they all came in to go to bed. Tamiyoi is known for her speed as she always out runs everyone, especially to the stockades – she wants to try and grab some of Maxwell’s pellets on the way past as well! Today things were slightly different however, as Tamiyoi was ahead of the group for the morning feed, but as soon as they reached the open area before the stockades, everyone else gained pace and Emoli who was right at the back, ended up over taking them all. Tamiyoi and Maisha tried their best to catch him up but all in vain. They got to the feeding point with Emoli first, then Maktao, Tamiyoi and Maisha last to arrive.

When the second group of seven elephants were on their way down for the same milk feed, a male impala jumped out of a bush and scared the group. They split up and Tagwa, Sagala, Kuishi and Jotto arrived at the milk feeding point first with their ears still raised and still slightly scared. They finished their milk and were still in the same jittery mood when a warthog tried to join them at the mud bath area. Tagwa wasn’t in the mood and chased the poor chap away from the scene!

19 December 2018

We have noticed that recently Malima is becoming quite close with Musiara. She spends a lot of time beside this little boy, which is surprising as she can have quite a rough character. Today Malima and Musiara spent most of the day browsing together.

Sometimes some of the orphans can have ‘off’ days, even if they are usually the quiet ones. This was one of those days for Musiara, and he behaved so differently from his usual polite character. Sometimes instead of letting an incident go, the orphans decide to seek revenge. Musiara was in a group including Emoli, Sattao and Maktao while running for their milk bottles and he decided to totally block Maktao from running ahead of the group. Maktao is one of those that always wants to be first at the feeding point while Musiara is never that bothered about running down for him milk. He paved way for Sattao, his friend, and Emoli to go ahead, but then he kept blocking Maktao! We wondered if this was him seeking revenge for something Maktao had done earlier. It was not until Enkesha and Tamiyoi came behind them that Tamiyoi managed to block Musiara and Enkesha escorted Maktao down.

20 December 2018

When the orphans like to go deeper into the forest, Luggard will always like to stay behind. He will go as far as the distance he is comfortable covering, and then will stop and browse on the bushes in that place with a Keeper for company. This morning it was a wet one and there was a lot of soft green vegetation everywhere, so he felt no real need, considering his bad leg, to waste lots of energy accompanying the herd on their long walks. Sometimes some of the babies want to stay and keep him company too. Today Maktao didn’t want to leave Luggard’s side.

Dololo is improving so much and his relationship with Mukkoka is growing too – these two always seem to be together. Dololo is starting to put on weight and his general interaction with the herd is improving. Mukkoka loves hanging around the older elephants too, and especially keeps tracking down Sagala, who doesn’t seem to have much interest for the younger ones! Sattao is a good friend to Dololo as well, and also happens to be his neighbour in the stockade compound. Today Sattao spent most of his time together with Dololo, Mukkoka and Sagala. 

21 December 2018

The visitors love that Maarifa is attending the public visiting time for the first few minutes now. As the little tiny baby rhino runs down for the visit with her Keepers, all eyes turn to see her enter the mud bath area. The visitors were so happy to see her today and little Maarifa raised her ears up to understand what was happening. As she got closer to the visitors she stopped running and walked slowly behind her Keepers, as she made her way around the mud bath area before running back out into the forest.

Musiara and Sattao are becoming even closer friends and they love to do almost everything together. They don’t mind sharing things with each other either, like browse or water from the water trough too. Today was not quite the same however as Musiara was the first down for his bottle, and then thought that he could share Sattao’s milk bottle too but of course Sattao’s friendship did not extend quite that far! He protested loudly, shouting while trying to drink his milk, and when he was done the two boys had a pushing game as Sattao showed how annoyed he was with Musiara. They were pushing and pulling each other’s’ trunks until Tamiyoi came over and separated them to restore the peace. 

22 December 2018

Today after all the visitors had left, Kiko made his way to the parking area to see if there were any nice trees to browse on there. He fed from the tops of the trees in that area as his Keeper tried to lure him back into the forest. He ignored his Keeper and just started smelling the top of the container roof as if showing off how tall he is. He then walked into the stockade compound looking from side to side, as if wandering where to go to next.

Today Maxwell and his usual uninvited guests, the warthogs, were having a game of hide and seek. The warthogs had gone into his stockade to share his food and Maxwell had decided he didn’t want them around today, or maybe he just wanted to play! He was charging at them and the warthogs were just running away from the blind rhino. One of the warthogs narrowly escaped injury when Maxwell almost caught her with his horn between the poles of his stockade as she tried to squeeze her way out. Fortunately she managed to just squeeze out before Maxwell could catch her!

23 December 2018

The weather was cloudy and windy today as the orphans started to make their way out to the forest this morning. Dololo and Mukkoka wore blankets as usual in the colder weather. Sattao, Musiara, Maktao and the playful boy Emoli made sure they were sandwiched between the bigger orphans for warmth. Emoli was trying to keep close to Jotto but Jotto wasn’t in a good mood and didn’t want the babies around him and he ended up pushing poor Emoli. This irritated Sagala who was standing close by and she fought back for Emoli.

The orphans were all browsing from nearby bushes as the Keepers were having their tea and breakfast. Ambo, Tamiyoi and Mapia browsed a short distance away from the others and the Keepers were unaware of their motive, which was actually to sneak off. The sneaked behind the Keepers’ backs and disappeared into the thicket, only to emerge some time shortly before the 9am milk feed. As the babies were enjoying their milk, Kuishi, who had already finished hers, was spotted looking around for any milk that had spilled into the wheelbarrow or that was left in the empty bottles, and was sucking up any that she found as she finds her milk formula so delicious. 

24 December 2018

Kiasa was in a very naughty mood today. She was demanding food from the others and even engaging some of the older orphans in some fights. As the orphans stopped by Maxwell’s gate to check for left over lucerne pellets on their way out to the forest, the cheeky girl arrived late at the scene and, worried that she would not get any, forced her way through between Ambo and Tamiyoi. She forced her way through so hard that she almost knocked Tamiyoi to the ground! The no-nonsense Sagala then joined in too to try her luck in reaching some lucerne pellets. When none of her friends looked interested in making way for her, she forced her way through like Kiasa did before; using her tusks to make way she cleared a path. She was so rough she too ended up pushing Maktao over. In the end the matriarch of the Nursery, Tagwa, had to step in and quell the fracas. Musiara and his limping friend Luggard were just watching all the activity from the sidelines, knowing they are not strong enough to dare engage in such rough activities! 

25 December 2018

The day began as usual and was just like any other day. The orphans moved through the forest in the company of their Keepers and because it was a sunny day all the orphans were happy and seemed to enjoy the morning. The weather was so nice and the temperature so favourable, that the newest arrivals Dololo and Mukkoka did not even need to wear blankets. Musiara was enjoying the sunshine the most, and stood basking in an open area. He then decided to roll on the ground and lie with his feet in the air, making the most of the warmth. Maktao, who is always close to his beloved Keepers, was busy dusting his body with loose soil. Tagwa, Kuishi, Tamiyoi, Sagala and Jotto were not as interested in warming themselves, and chose instead to browse from the nearby leafy trees. Enkesha joined Maktao to dust as well. Soon, Kiko decided to join the follow the elephants and he was browsing from every tree he came across. Malima, who is always so playful, was mock-charging a group of impalas who were close by, and Emoli and Sattao were busy chasing some warthogs who were passing by – it was a very jovial and happy festive day.

26 December 2018

Ambo and Mapia have been neighbours for some time now. They always seem to get on well, but then Ambo sometimes thinks that ‘the grass may be greener on the other side’, which causes a bit of trouble. Today it was Ambo who returned to his room first at 5pm. After finishing his milk bottle he began his naughty antics and instead of feeding from his browse, he tried to reach through the partition to his neighbours share. Upon arriving at his room, Mapia was torn between defending his vegetation or having his milk bottle the Keeper was holding ready for him. He opted for the latter and after he was done with his milk he rushed over and tried to pull some of his branches back, and thus a game of tug-of-war began. The boys then began to push directly on their partition wall as the war escalated, and eventually a Keeper had to intervene. 

27 December 2018

As the day was drawing to a close and everything was proceeding as normal, the orphans were getting ready to return to their rooms and Kiko was being led back to the stockades. Kiko decided at the last minute to change his mind and run back in the direction of the elephant orphans. We were not sure why he reacted that way. The Keepers reacted quickly as they thought some lions might be about, but Kiko had actually been scared by a group of warthogs that came rushing out of their den! Finally Kiko was led back into his stockade just in time for the 5pm visit to take place for foster parents, and he settled down into his room for the night.

28 December 2018

The day started as usual with the orphans leaving their stockades just after 6am. It was a chilly day so the latest arrivals in the Nursery Mukkoka and Dololo wore their blankets to ensure they were kept warm. As it is her role in the Nursery as matriarch, Tagwa led the orphans out to browse in the nearby bushes. She had Mukkoka on one side of her and Maktao on the other. Kuishi, who is becoming more motherly recently, kept the skinny Dololo by her side too. Luggard and his next door neighbor and friend Musiara were trailing behind, slowly following the others while Luggard took little breaks to give his bad leg a rest. Musiara just used the opportunity of a break to stop and browse from the nearby bushes. Neither the Keepers nor the other orphans seemed to notice that Tamiyoi had dodged the group and had made her way back to the stockades! She went to try her luck finding some of Maxwell’s leftover pellets, she loves these so much! Her joy at stealing these from Maxwell was short lived however as a Keeper bumped into her on his way back out to the forest. She trumpeted loudly in protest at being caught, as she was escorted back out to the forest.

29 December 2018

Maarifa is getting very used to her short visiting time during the public visit these days. She looks very comfortable to come down and be escorted around by her Keepers, before rushing back out to the forest again. As she walks down visitors are just in awe of the tiny baby and some just stand there dumb-founded, unable to make a sound as the sweet thing walks around the mud bath area. It being another sunny December day, the little girl lay half way on top of a heap of soil provided in the area for the orphans to play with and use to dust themselves. Maarifa lay there and enjoyed the warmth from the sun.

30 December 2018

Since we have had a break from the rains over the past few days, the temperature has soared and it has become really hot. All their babies have enjoyed playing in the mud bath recently as a result. At public visiting time today the orphans drank their bottles in a hurry and rushed into the water hole, everyone that is except for Dololo who did not look interested in having a bath, and that is perhaps because he needs to get his strength up. Instead he lightly sprinkled water on his body using his trunk, directly onto his body. Enkesha, Musiara, Emoli and Maisha were the first to get into the muddy pool, submerging their bodies as they enjoyed the bath. Kiasa, as usual, always wants everyone to notice her and she began splashing the muddy water with her trunk and then sucking and spraying over her back, some of which reached the visitors behind, dotting them with muddy splashes!

31 December 2018

It’s the last day of the year and it was another sunny day. The babies were engaged in all different activities. Some, like Sattao, Kiasa, Musiara, Maisha and Maktao were playing push and pull games. Some of the big girls like Kuishi, Sagala and Tagwa were pulling and picking branches from the tops of some small trees. The biggest Nursery boys, Jotto and Ambo, were basking in the sun. Kiko was enjoying as usual from the tops of the trees nearby. The playful girls Malima and Tamiyoi were play-chasing him around as he tried to browse. He was enjoying all the different leaves, and at once stage bent low so he could sample some of the tasty ones from a smaller shrub as well. Tiny Maarifa was warming her little body in the sun as well, as her Keepers stood by her and watched for her safety as she took a little nap. The year of 2018 ended well for all the little orphans in the Nairobi Nursery.