Keepers' Diaries, December 2019

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

We can tell all our orphans apart not just by their appearance but their quirky little characteristics as well. Maktao is a playful little chap always keeping the other orphans entertained with wrestling games. He isn’t fussy who he plays with and will choose anyone on any particular day to start a pushing game with. He does like playing with Dololo however, who takes his wrestling games very seriously, and Musiara and Maktao too, and sometimes he will try to get Enkesha to play as well. Enkesha is a very gentle-natured elephant who doesn’t usually partake in these kind of games be they wrestling or hide and seek.

Enkesha prefers to spend most of her time browsing because she loves her food, and although she might entertain Maktao with his pushing games for a minute or two, she will always inevitably end up getting bored and peeling off to browse somewhere. Enkesha really doesn’t mind being on her own and is quite a solitary little girl, but despite this tendency she is always a very polite and kind to the other youngsters too.

Dololo can be a bit of a bully and has to be separated from Ziwadi and Roho who he likes to push around sometimes, but he is actually quite a softy deep down. We marvel at the new look Dololo remembering all too well the emaciated calf who was tough to look at he was just skin and bone. To see him fat and strong and happy is a great joy for all of us who have been a part of this remarkable resurrection of Dololo. One day when escorting Roho, Luggard and Ziwadi home to bed he came across a big male baboon sitting in their path. He tried to chase it away and failed, so ran back to his Keepers for help, but in the meantime tiny Roho managed to chase the baboon away, so took over the lead of taking his older friends home to bed that day.

With all the rain about this month Roho and Ziwadi had to stay indoors some mornings, and when the sun finally started to shine they were so happy to join their friends out in the forest, especially Roho. This little one continues to enjoy the love, care and protection from the older females and at first it seemed like Larro was slightly envious. Kiasa does such a good job of trying to care for both Larro and Roho however that Larro soon felt much happier and even started to help to look after Roho as well. It is amazing the character change we have seen in Kiasa since the arrival of these new little orphans; once a trouble-maker she is now such a loving and motherly member of the herd. She is always amongst the first to run to the aid of any of the youngsters in need and has really taken on the responsibilities as one of the older girls in the Nursery herd.

Little Ziwadi seems fully attached to Luggard while browsing out in the forest, who in turn is very welcoming and loving towards her, and does not bully her like the other bulls including Dololo, Mukkoka and Sattao who take advantage of chasing Ziwadi whenever she tries to browse close to them. As he gets older Luggard is developing a more bullish adolescent personality and can be in a bad mood sometimes, but never with Ziwadi. The Keepers do need to watch the little girl as she has a tendency to wander off on her own. Sometimes she just needs some quiet time and the Keepers have noticed that when she needs her rest, she will walk away from the herd and once she is far enough she will lie down and take a nap in some thicket. The Keepers must keep a watchful eye on her to make sure she doesn’t wonder off on her own too far!

Kiombo has not yet attached himself to the other bulls like Dololo, Maktao, Musiara or Sattao, or even Luggard, but is quite happy in the company of Nabulu still and likes to be close to her. They are often spotted sneaking away from the others and walking far off deep into the forest. Kiombo only chooses to join the other bulls when they are enjoying some wrestling or pushing games, and when they are done, he parts ways and goes to find Nabulu who is always welcoming of him these days.

We all know how much Maxwell loves the rain and is very happy to run and roll around in the mud for hours, but it seems even he has had enough of the relentless rain now! One morning he was at the top of his stockade when he felt the first drops on his back and instead of playing he decided to run straight down to his bedroom and his warm pile of hay, and went directly to bed. He only woke up at around noon and went to feed on his fresh greens. Maxwell also had a lot of fun interactions with the elephant orphans this month, playing through the bars of his stockade in the early morning with the likes of Maisha, Tamiyoi, Kiasa and Musiara.

Kiko’s move to his new home in Laikipia is imminent as all the preparations for his transport are thoroughly checked. In the meantime he is very happy doing what he likes as usual, giving his Keepers a hard time all throughout the day. He tried to join the elephant orphans a number of times this month out in the forest, but he didn’t always receive a warm welcome particularly from Musiara, Maktao and Mukkoka who always seem to take exception to him and charge around after him driving him away from the herd. Normally Kiko prefers to browse around the stockade compound area so the elephants found it great fun to charge around and play with him out in the forest. 

December 2019 day to day

01 Dec

Maxwell was full of energy this morning and was having a full on mud bath – rolling around in the muddiest patch and walking up and down his stockade. Tagwa went to Roho’s stable to look for him and to see if he was going to join them out in the forest but the bad weather wouldn’t allow it. Instead she went to look for Larro who was out with the others and starting to make her way out to the forest. When she found Larro they walked together along with Sattao, Kiasa, Enkesha and Tamiyoi. After two hours of feeding together they proceeded to the milk feeding area to have their next milk bottle, before going back to the delicious bushes and leaves that have sprung up all over the place.

Maxwell enjoying a nap after a busy morning

Kiasa, Tagwa, Roho, and Maisha browsing together

Sattao suckling his trunk