Keepers' Diaries, December 2020

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Due to the short rains experienced recently we have had some very clear days where temperatures have reached soaring heights. On such days our black rhino Maxwell couldn’t be persuaded to leave his mud pool even when tempted with his most favourite greens tantalizingly displayed before him. He would spend most of the day submerged in his mud pool punctuated only by short walks before he’d flop once more back into the cool mud. On those mornings when it did rain, it’s always interesting to watch the different reactions between the elephant orphans; those who don’t mind the rain and are quick to embrace the day, and those others who take much convincing to leave their covered bedrooms! It seems to be Larro and Naboishu who take the most coaxing out of their bedrooms on those days. 

01 December 2020

Naleku has always enjoyed leading the orphans with Mukkoka. Whilst in the forest she will often lead the orphans in the direction she thinks there are the best greens. Mukkoka, who now knows the forest as well as Maisha and the others, will also direct the young girl making sure she does pick the best locations. Naleku more recently has also been seen copying Ziwadi and walking off to browse on her own or even following Ziwadi on her adventures. 

Maisha, who is a fantastic matriarch, still seems to dote on little Roho the most. When all the orphans are out browsing in the forest, she will often be found near Roho and Naleku. Unlike Roho, Naleku will know always stay right by the older girls and Maisha and she will move between the other orphans, and browse near Mukkoka and Olorien as well as the rest of the Nursery orphans. 

Although each orphan has their own personality, they all enjoy each other’s company and most of the time will all browse together in between each of their milk feeds. Sometimes they will form their own groups and will wander off together, but they are also just as happy being altogether.  

02 December 2020

The orphans all seemed to be rather excited today as they left stockade compound in such a hurry to get to forest. When they were in the forest, some of the orphans settled to browse, whereas some of the others continued to run around before settling down. When it was time for the orphans to have their milk, they all went down in their small groups so that they each had enough time to finish their bottles. 

All the orphans are quick to gulp down their milk apart from little Bondeni, who really takes his time enjoying every last drop. Even Ziwadi is a faster drinker than Bondeni, and Olorien, Kindani and Kinyei are much faster than the both of them. Ziwadi and Bondeni are often fed in the first groups so that they are not bothered by the faster drinkers, especially naughty and greedy Kiasa. When they finish their bottles most of the orphans move off into the forest to continue browsing, but some will always stick around the feeding area to try and see if they can get some more, including Naboishu, Larro and Olorien. 

The orphans had a great day browsing in the forest and were excited for every milk feed, racing against each other in their own groups. 

03 December 2020

Kiombo also seems to be interested in taking on the role of ‘uncle’ towards the younger orphans. Much like his neighbour Maktao, he too is enjoying spending more and more time with the smaller members of the Nursery herd. Kiombo and Nabulu seem to be very protective of the younger orphans and always very cautious of them. Kiasa is also very caring but when it comes to milk, even she can sometimes try to steal milk from the younger orphans! This is why she will always be fed in the last group as that gives the smaller orphans enough time to finish and move away. 

Naboishu continues to be the loudest in the Nursery and will almost always yell at his Keeper as he arrives for his bottle of milk. As soon as he realises it is almost his turn to head down for his milk bottle he starts to trumpet and rumble, and the Keepers always know he is coming down next. The other orphans are so used to him now that they just seem to ignore him as he running down. Mukkoka does, however, sometimes race him, which is always exciting to watch as they are both so fast. 

The orphans had a very peaceful day browsing in the forest and around the Nairobi National Park. 

04 December 2020

Maxwell was full of energy this morning and started off his day nice and early. As soon as he came out his bedroom, he stopped and seemed to smell around as if he had picked up on an unusual scent. A black rhino has an amazing sense of smell and today was an exact demonstration of this as Maxwell had picked up on the warthogs that were already munching away at his Lucerne pellets. 

Max quickly started making his way up to his top stockade and as he went through the gate he started to kick his feet as if he was warning the warthogs of his arrival. The warthogs are often weary of Max as they know that sometimes he is not so open to sharing his pellets and territory. Today, he didn’t seem too excited about sharing and the warthogs were quick to run off and get out his stockade through one of the holes they had dug. 

Once the warthogs had left, Max enjoyed his pellets before taking quite a long nap in the sun, lying on top of his pellets. 

05 December 2020

Larro can sometimes be just as greedy as Kiasa and as of late, she seems to have figured out a way of sneaking around and pretending as though she hasn’t had her milk yet and is still waiting. What she will do is walk away and then once the Keepers are distracted feeding the next orphans, she will try to sneak back in. 

As the orphans were enjoying their midday bottles of milk, Larro decided to try her luck and pretended to walk away before quickly turning back towards the Keepers. Unfortunately for her, the Keeper who had given her her milk was standing nearby and picked up that she was back looking for more milk. The Keeper quickly told the others that she had been fed and then she was chased away by the Keepers with a swift wave of the finger. 

Having been sent away, Larro walked off to the forest and began browsing with the others who had also finished their milk. 

06 December 2020

Bondeni, Kindani and Olorien have all become quite close friends. Kinyei continues to enjoy time on her own but will also join them sometimes. Olorien and Naleku seem to really enjoy spending time with the new arrivals and will often join them in the forest to browse together. 

Ziwadi, who is always gentle, will also often browse near the younger orphans and with Kinyei as they both enjoy their own adventures. The Keepers will have to keep a watchful eye on them both as they can both sneak off looking for new areas to browse. 

The orphans had a wonderful and relaxed day browsing in the forest.

07 December 2020

This morning as the orphans were being let out of their stables and stockades, Larro appeared to be waiting for Olorien to walk out to the forest. As soon as Olorien came around the corner, Larro went rushing over and let out a deep rumble as if to greet the young girl. Ziwadi more often than not walks out with Olorien and was not far behind when she too heard Larros’s rumble. As Larro and Olorien greeted each other, Ziwadi continued with her normal morning routine of heading to a water trough to have a drink as she likes drinking with her mouth.

As Ziwadi was finishing up with her drink of water Larro and Olorien walked past her, slowly making their way to the forest. Ziwadi realised that this was also her cue to follow them out to the forest. The three girls joined the rest of the Nursery orphans who were always browsing out in the forest. Once all the orphans were together, the Keepers led them further out to browse. 

08 December 2020

It was another beautiful sunny morning as the orphans were being let out of their rooms. Ziwadi, as she does most mornings, stopped at Maisha’s water trough to splash around and have a drink of water. Whilst she was drinking, Olorien stood nearby and she was soon joined by Kinyei, Kindani, and Bondeni who also seemed eager to wait for Ziwadi to finish with her drink of water. 

Once all the orphans were out in the forest they all began to split into smaller little groups; Naleku was browsing with Maisha, and Olorien, Kinyei, and Bondeni were all browsing near each other. Kindani, however, was moving around quite a bit and this seemed to grab Kinyei’s attention and she began to watch her. Having grown up together, these girls are very close and do enjoy spending a lot of time together. Eventually Kindani settled near Maisha and Naleku, and this allowed for Kinyei to resume her browsing activities. Kiasa and Nabulu weren’t too far from the younger orphans either. 

Today, Ziwadi was being a little stubborn as she wanted to head off in her own direction in an effort to find her favourite greens. The Keepers had to keep an even closer eye on her throughout the day, making sure she wasn’t wandering off too far and was always with the orphans as they moved around. Eventually, as she couldn’t get past the Keepers, she settled to browse near Bondeni and Olorien. 

09 December 2020

The rains seemed to have stopped and Nairobi has been lovely and warm as of late, with some very hot days. As the days warm up some of the muddy pools in the forest have started to dry up. This morning, as the orphans were browsing near a little stream, Roho decided to walk to the edge of the water and start splashing his body with mud to cool off. Mukkoka and Bondeni were the first to join Roho and they were soon followed by Maktao and Kindani. They were all having such a wonderful time cooling themselves off in the muddy waters.

They wallowed for so long that even Maisha eventually decided to join them and once she was in the muddy waters all the orphans began to join. The orphans rolled around in the water and then in the dust for a good hour before Maisha appeared to call them to head off back into the forest to continue their day of browsing. 

The orphans had a wonderful day browsing in the shady parts of the forest, keeping cool throughout the day.

10 December 2020

Naleku and Roho, who are like two naughty siblings, were this morning the centre of attention as they started to wrestle each other right in the middle of the other orphans. Naleku is such an independent girl and was really standing her ground and not allowing Roho to show any superiority in strength or agility. The Keepers wonder if maybe she has gotten some of her wrestling tactics from her older friend Mukkoka. Olorien was the only eager spectator as she seemed to be standing on the sideline watching them.

Eventually, Maisha stepped in and came over to separate the two babies so that they could get back to their browsing activities for the day. Roho quickly snuggled up to Maisha and followed her whereas Naleku went off in her own direction, joining Olorien and the others. 

11 December 2020

This morning as the Keepers were letting all the orphans out of their stables and stockades, most of the orphans decided to settle and browse on the greens around the stockade compound. Kiasa and Nabulu, however, had no interest in waiting for all the orphans and they started to head out towards the forest where they stopped to feed on the leftover Lucerne pellets from Maxwell. It wasn’t long before they were joined by Naboishu, Kiombo, and Larro who also seemed to be in a rush to start their day. 

Even once all the orphans were out in the forest, Kiasa and Nabulu kept trying to do their own thing and browse in their own little quiet corner. They browsed quietly for quite some time before being joined by Naboishu who had discovered their little hiding spot. Once they were discovered, they quickly came back to join Larro and the rest of the Nursery orphans who weren’t browsing too far away. Naboishu was not far behind them either. 

12 December 2020

Bondeni didn’t seem to be feeling too well this morning as he wasn’t his usual jovial self and was also uninterested in playing with any of his friends and Keepers. The Keepers gave him lots of attention and kept an eye on him throughout the day. Towards the afternoon milk feed the little one had started to pick a bit and it wasn’t long before he was running around again. 

At the mud bath, after the orphans finished their 3pm bottles of milk, Maktao and Nabulu decided to start their own wrestling match. They were having so much fun pushing each other around that they eventually ended up pushing each other straight into the mud bath, which then led to them having a long mud bath before exiting the water. 

Ziwadi is always cautious to get involved in any of the games as she seems to know that she can’t overdo it, as it could possibly bring on a seizure. Whilst the orphans are busy rolling around in the mud, Ziwadi is happy browsing on greens around the mud bath and often seems completely oblivious to the other orphans. On the odd occasion this young girl will partake in the muddy games, but she certainly enjoys feeding the most! 

13 December 2020

Unlike yesterday, Bondeni was once again full of energy today and was charging around the mud bath at the 3pm milk feed. This young bull seems to have quite the obsession with the water troughs that are placed around the mud bath. This afternoon, like many others, once he is done mud bathing he walks over to the water trough and starts to push against it as if he’s practicing for a wrestling match. He even tries to pour the water out if he can. 

This afternoon he managed to tip over the water trough, causing the water to spill everywhere and now that the water trough was empty he began to kick it around the mud bath. All his Keepers were so amused by his game that they began to run around with him. Naleku took an interest in his game too and she tried targeting her own water trough. Their games continued for a couple of minutes before Maisha and the Keepers called all the Nursery orphans to head back to the forest. 

14 December 2020

Just like the Keepers the orphans seem to know and sense when one of their friends is not feeling too well. Ziwadi is an orphan who loves her routine and if she is feeling unwell or tired she will often break this routine, making it clear to all her friends that something is amiss. 

Her normal routine is to wake up and walk over to one of the water troughs in the stockade compound. After splashing around for a bit and having a drink of water she then will continue on her way to the forest. Once in the forest, she immediately starts to look for her favourite greens and will quickly start to move off away from the other orphans as she continues her quest. All the orphans have now gotten used to her and are always keeping an eye on her. 

Kindani, Naleku and Larro have a very different routine to Ziwadi’s. When they are let out of their stockades, they will immediately have a look around to see which other orphans are about and who to say hello to. 

This morning, they all seemed to choose to greet Bondeni as he was once again a little quiet. As soon as the little bull came out his stable all the girls rushed over to nuzzle him with their trunks and rumble at him with warm hellos. They all started to walk towards the forest and once they realised nothing was wrong with Bondeni as he was just tired, all the girls left him in peace. 

The orphans had a wonderful day browsing in the forest. 

15 December 2020

Bondeni is such a social little character and he’s always eager to have fun. During the day, in between his browsing, he will often go and spend time with all his Keepers, especially when they are standing or sitting watching the orphans. The Keepers love when the orphans come and join them as they are moving around the forest, although some orphans are more sociable than others. Bondeni will even sometimes try and wrestle his Keepers who are all happy to accept the challenge. 

Maktao and Kiombo continue to be the best of friends and are always challenging each other to a strength testing match, even whilst walking out to the forest. They are also often joined by Mukkoka and on occasion by Naboishu. Bondeni is always eager to watch the big bulls wrestle but he hasn’t yet really shown any eagerness in joining in. When the big bulls really start to push each other around, Bondeni quickly moves away to join the others such as Kindani, Kinyei, Olorien and Ziwadi who are all too often busy browsing. 

The orphans had a lovely afternoon browsing in the forest before heading back to the stockade compound for the evening. 

16 December 2020

Kiasa continues to move between being a nice girl and then a naughty girl and her moods tend to change quite drastically. Although she can be very naughty when it comes to milk feeding time, she continues to be an excellent caretaker of the younger orphans. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine her to be so caring when she can be so naughty! 

She often picks on Naboishu as he will often have his milk with her during their milk feeds. Naboishu, however, has gotten so used to her that he will immediately start shouting and trumpeting when he suspects her of trying to steal his milk and this means the Keepers are quick to respond. 

Throughout the day today, Kiasa spent a lot of time with Naleku and Roho, keeping them company as they browsed and happily sharing the freshest greens with them. They were only separated when it was time for their milk as Kiasa always comes in the last group. 

The orphans had a very peaceful day out and enjoyed all their milk fields out in the forest before coming back to the stockade compound for their evening bottles and their bedtime. 

17 December 2020

Maxwell was full of energy this morning as he came bouncing out his bedroom and walked straight over to his greens. Once at his greens he began to sort them out using his horn, looking for the freshest bits first. Once he was done with his greens, he drank some water from his water trough before making his way up to his Lucerne pellets. 

Whilst he was enjoying his pellets, he could hear noises at the back of his stockade as if someone or something was breaking branches and pulling at the bushes surrounding his stockade. He quickly stood to attention and began to pace up and down the wall trying to listen and smell who it was. Low and behold, it was Mukkoka, Nabulu, Maisha, and Roho all busy browsing on the other side of his stockade. As soon as he realised who it was, Maxwell relaxed and walked back to his pellets. 

He spent a good chunk of his morning eating his Lucerne pellets all up before spending the rest of his day browsing and resting in his neighbouring stockade. 

18 December 2020

Today before the 9am milk feed Kiasa and Mukkoka joined Nabulu, Kiombo and Naboishu where they were feeding on some tasty bushes a little further away from the rest of the herd. The Keepers saw them walking off to join the others but knew that they didn’t need to remind them that it was nearly their milk feeding time. Sure enough, just before 9am, they saw that all the orphans had grouped together ready to run for their milk bottles. Naboishu always likes to be one of the first to his milk bottle and runs very fast towards the feeding area. He is well known for his habit of yelling out just before he reaches his bottle as well!

At the 9am feed today there were several Keepers present so the orphans came in five at a time for the milk feed and in just three groups, the feeding was done. The babies love their milk formula so much they guzzle it down as fast as possible.

19 December 2020

It was a sunny morning today as the orphans came out of their stockades and headed to the nearby bushes in the forest in the company of their Keepers. Bondeni is always so active when he comes out of his room in the morning, and today was no exception. He came out fast and walked his short little legs straight over to where Maisha and Larro were feeding. He joined them and started trying to feed straight from Maisha’s mouth, trying to pull at the leaves she was eating so he could have a taste himself. Maisha didn’t mind at all as she knows it is important that the young bull learns what is good to eat.

Soon it was time for the orphans to prepare to go for their 9am milk bottles and they all grouped together ready to run in small groups to where the Keepers were waiting beside the milk wheelbarrow. 

20 December 2020

It was a bright sunny day this morning and we watched as Maxwell came out of his bedroom looking like he had enjoyed a good sleep. He seemed full of energy and walked straight up to the area where the Keepers provide him with all sorts of different green branches. After awhile he seemed content and went to lie down on the ground to enjoy the sun since it was a sunny day. He continued to enjoy his nap for the rest of the morning and seemed perfectly content. 

Today it was funny to watch Maisha wrestling with Kiombo – a rare sight since Maisha prefers to play her pushing games with Maktao most of the time. Today she broke that trend and was spotted enjoying a lengthy wrestling game with Kiombo instead. Maisha is so friendly to the older bulls in the Nursery like Maktao and Kiombo, unlike Nabulu who sometimes gives them a hard time and pushes them around a bit, especially when they are misbehaving with the youngsters though, so it might be called on then! But she does like to remind them who is in charge. 

21 December 2020

The orphans approached the forest this morning in a jovial mood with the big orphans like Maisha, Nabulu, Kiasa, Kiombo, Maktao and Mukkoka charging about expressing their happiness about the start of a new day! It was so wonderful to see them so playful and happy. Kiasa and Nabulu were the main ring leaders, trumpeting and charging around, stamping their feet and crashing into the small bushes. This then made the others all excited. This playful happy moment reached its climax when the little ones like Bondeni, Roho, Naleku, Larro, Olorien and Kindani all joined in as well, trying to trumpet like the older ones but they are not quite able to yet! Bondeni and Olorien are still too small to crash around in the bushes and produce the same loud trumpets as the older orphans, but they enjoyed running around after the others and generally being involved in all the frivolity nonetheless. 

While all this was going on, Ziwadi and Kinyei simply carried on browsing totally unperturbed by what was going on around them. These two babies aren’t fond of playing and messing around like the others and would never get involved with charging around and trumpeting all over the place – we never really see them playing that way and they much prefer to carry on browsing to their hearts content!

22 December 2020

Naleku still loves to keep up with Mukkoka, even over some of the older females sometimes who you would expect her to want to be around more. Nevertheless, she prefers the company of Mukkoka who was her very first neighbour when she arrived here in the Nursery. The very first thing she does in the morning as soon as she runs out of her stable is go to find Mukkoka.

Today when Naleku came out of her stable she didn’t even think to greet her current neighbour Roho. Even though Roho was already outside she didn’t start a pushing game or entwine trunks with him or anything. She barely acknowledged him, and just ran out and walked straight over to wait patiently outside Mukkoka’s gate as the Keepers went around opening the doors for the orphans to come out for the day. When Mukkoka came out Naleku rumbled loudly to welcome him out for the new day, and they walked off happily shoulder to shoulder out into the forest.

These two orphans don’t mind at all if they walk off deeper into the forest together and don’t need the company of any other orphans really. They both have enough confidence to wander off together. 

Around noon the orphans settled down after having their midday milk feed, however Bondeni and Kindani decided to have a playful time chasing and charging after some warthogs who were eating close by. Little Bondeni loves to tease and chase after warthogs every time he happens to come across them!

23 December 2020

Out in the forest Kiasa was spotted keeping busy and watching over little Bondeni, Kinyei, Kindani, Ziwadi and Olorien. It seems that Kiasa is trying to fight for the love and affection, and the right to look after, little Bondeni, after a long time of trying to gain Roho’s affection despite him being completely attached to Maisha. It seems that after such a long time of trying, she has decided to move on, and instead will focus her attention and efforts on looking after Bondeni instead. 

Kiasa is a little troublemaker during milk feeds, but otherwise she is a very caring and protective girl in the Nursery herd. She responds so well to the younger babies should any of them cry out for any reason at all. She stays alert and runs so quickly to their side should anything happen to them and they call out for help, sometimes even responding faster than Maisha or Nabulu, or even the Keepers too! 

24 December 2020

We know that elephants have a strong sense of empathy, and today poor Ziwadi woke up looking a little short of energy. She didn’t seem happy as usual or interested in keeping up with the rest of the herd. When Olorien realised that her friend Ziwadi was not her normal self or in a happy mood, she walked up to her and spent awhile comforting her, touching her with her trunk and resting her trunk on Ziwadi’s back which is a sign of love and comfort. As the rest of the herd carried on with their activities and proceeded to walk further into the forest, lovely Olorien stayed back with her friend and never left her side. 

Olorien stayed with Ziwadi until the 9am milk feed when she ran for her milk bottle, but when she was done she remained very unsettled until she was reunited with her friend again. She sneaked away from the others orphans and went to keep company with her friend Ziwadi who was hanging out in the forest with the new little orphan Shaka, who is still gaining his strength and putting on condition as he arrived so thin and full of intestinal worms. We are always so in awe at how elephants can show love and such empathy even at this tender young age. 

25 December 2020

Naboishu has not yet stopped his habit of yelling just before he has his milk bottle, and today he exhibited some more funny behaviour before his milk feed. Sometimes when he is given the chance to run for his milk bottle, he stops to wait for Nabulu and won’t go until she is following too. Today he was allowed to run down for his milk bottle, but he only took a few steps and then stopped and started rumbling, checking behind to see if Nabulu was following him. When he doesn’t see her coming he yells loudly and waits for her so that they can go to the milk feeding area together. Even if another orphan joins him to accompany him to the milk feeding place, he won’t go and instead would prefer to wait for Nabulu. As soon as Nabulu joins him he seems content and then runs down happily after Nabulu for his milk bottles, as fast as he can. Perhaps he is so keen on Nabulu’s company because she is his neighbour at night as well and he is fond of her.

When Naboishu approaches the wheelbarrow with the milk he starts his signature yelling to signal to the Keepers he is ready for his milk bottles. Sometimes even during the feed he will yell as well – we have never had an orphan who shouts quite so much and so loudly for their milk bottle!

26 December 2020

Among the group of young babies here in the Nursery at the moment, Roho is certainly the biggest fan of the mud bath. Whenever the orphans visit the mud wallow whether it is cloudy or sunny, Roho is always keen to mud bath, and he does so with such vigour as he is sure Maisha and Kiasa will join him too. 

Today when the orphans went for their 3pm milk feed at the mud wallow area, as soon as Roho finished his milk bottle he ran straight over to the mud bath and jumped in to cool down his hot body.

Roho was enjoying rolling around with such energy that he ended up losing his balance and getting himself a bit stuck. Maisha saw him struggling and being so devoted to Roho, she left her second milk bottle unfinished to go and rescue him, helping him to stand up and get out of the mud. She did this even before Kiasa could get to him, who she is normally so speedy, before going back to finish the rest of her bottle. 

27 December 2020

Although Maxwell is blind it is amazing how he knows the different events and routines of the day. He knows the time the elephant orphans wake up in the morning, as sometimes he too decides to get up at that time and listen to the elephants as they come out of their rooms and make their way out to the forest. 

Some of the elephant orphans like Mukkoka and Kiombo, when they happen to see Maxwell standing and waiting by his stockade gate, decide to engage him in some fun and games by pulling on his ears with their trunks, which Maxwell likes and finds entertaining. His reaction makes the elephant orphans happy too. Today Maxwell was standing by one of his stockade gates and Mukkoka went over and touched his ears, which Maxwell enjoyed and he stayed very calm and still. 

Maxwell also knows what time the orphans come home to bed, probably because they make a lot of noise when they do! It is around this time that he has some more of his greens as he folds his activities too and prepares to head to bed as well. He might stay only a short while there though, as rhinos like to feed during the night too and sometimes Maxwell comes out of his bedroom at night to have some more greens. 

28 December 2020

Early this morning the orphans were walking out past Maxwell’s stockade on their way out to the forest, when they came across a lone male buffalo also making his way out to the forest. Maisha and Nabulu were leading the herd and spotted the buffalo first, so they started stamping their feet and mock charging the buffalo. The buffalo didn’t seem bothered at all, so Maisha and Nabulu started kicking up dust and trumpeting as loud as they could. With the stamping and trumpeting eventually the buffalo took off deeper into the forest.

The orphans were at the mud bath today for their 3pm milk feed and after some of them decided to go and wallow in the mud. Naughty Kiasa wasn’t respecting her elders Maisha and Nabulu and was trying to climb on them while they were rolling. She kept running up to them whenever she saw them rolling on the ground and climbing on their backs. Today she didn’t give much room for Nabulu to enjoy her time in the mud bath as whenever Nabulu lay down to enjoy the mud, Kiasa would run over and sit or her or lie on her, making Nabulu rather uncomfortable and wanting to get up rather than enjoy the mud!

29 December 2020

Out in the forest today little Kinyei teamed up with Naleku, Mukkoka, Larro, Naboishu and Nabulu who are fond of sneaking off from the rest of the herd to walk deeper into the forest to browse. Kinyei left her normal group of Kindani, Bondeni, Olorien and Ziwadi behind, to enjoy the company of some of the older orphans who like to find their own browsing areas in Mukkoka and Naleku’s group. This little group sneaked off just after the milk feed at 11am, as they knew they had some time before the next feed, and walked off with little Kinyei to enjoy browsing.

It’s been very dry and hot recently with soaring temperatures and today it seemed particularly hot. This meant that Maxwell decided to spend quite a bit of his day in and out of his mud bath. He was quite reluctant to leave it today in fact, preferring the cool temperature in his mud wallow. Sometimes he got out and went for a little walk around his stockade, only to go right back to lying in the mud again!

30 December 2020

After the elephant orphans had finished their midday milk feed, they spent a bit of time relaxing under the shade of some trees. Some of them decided to enjoy a pushing game while they were there, like Mukkoka and Kiombo who started their own wrestling match. The matriarch Maisha didn’t approve however, and came over to interrupt their game. This was after she saw Kiombo, who has quite long tusks now, take on Mukkoka a little more seriously and she didn’t want anyone getting hurt. She often has the intention of peacefully putting an end to any game she deems to be a little too rough.

Meanwhile, Roho was also locking trunks with Kinyei, before breaking away to try testing his strength against one of his elders, Nabulu! He played a small pushing game with her but literally only for a matter of seconds, as even Roho knows that he is no match for the much older and bigger Nabulu. Nabulu knows he is just a baby though, and was only entertaining Roho. She would never take him on in a more serious pushing game.

As the orphans started to emerge from under the trees and make their way in different directions to continue browsing again, Naboishu was spotted chasing after Kindani and trying to climb on her in a show of dominance. The Keepers saw him trying to bully her however and warned him away from little Kindani, so he ran off in a different direction to avoid being told off, and to carry on with browsing instead.

31 December 2020

The last day of the year began with a blessing as it began to rain early this morning. This did mean that conditions were a little chilly for the elephant babies however, and the youngest like Olorien, Kindani, Kinyei, Bondeni and Ziwadi, because of her sensitive nature, were kept in their stables for a little longer until it warmed up. They stayed covered in their blankets to keep them warm too. 

Some of the orphans don’t mind the cold however and were in a hurry to head out to the forest. Mukkoka, Kiasa, Nabulu, Maktao, Maisha, Roho and Naleku all wanted to go out to browse and rumbled their good mornings to one another. It was funny however that Naboishu and Larro yelled out loudly when the gates to their rooms were opened, as they protested the rainy weather and having to go out into the forest. When Larro saw Mukkoka happily running past her room even though it was still raining she yelled out again in protest, as she didn’t want to walk on the wet ground while it was still raining. Naboishu did the same when Nabulu went sauntering past his room having come out of hers next door – he couldn’t believe everyone wanted to be out in the rain. Baby elephants are just like human babies too – some like to play in the rain and others would rather not get wet!