Keepers' Diaries, February 2017
Nairobi Nursery Unit
Many visitors to our Orphanage are surprised to learn that even as young babies, the orphan elephants are highly intelligent animals, capable of a whole range of emotions and this month, whether it was sympathy or jealously, we watched all our young charges display a whole range of characteristics. For instance, one day Ambo and Jotto fought over some greens that were being hand-fed to Jotto, believing the grass was greener on the other side! Another day, Ambo felt jealous of the attention the new baby boy Musiara was getting from the matriarch Mbegu and pushed him over when she was not looking before running away to avoid being disciplined. Just like when a child might join a new school, sometimes the orphans also occasionally take advantage of a ‘new arrival’ in the nursery and this month, Lasayen has been bullying Ukame before feeding time, despite her being older and bigger! Of course the Keepers intervene and restore order in times like these.
01 February 2017
It was a cool morning as the orphans left their stockades and made their way out to the forest. After the downpour last night the air was fresh and the ground slightly damp which was nice. All the orphans were busy filling themselves up with fresh browse. Dupotto was taking care of Ambo with the absence of Mbegu who was busy taking care of Musiara as he was visiting the older main herd. When Dupotto is with Ambo she doesn’t allow anyone else to interact with him, be it her fellow orphan friends or humans she doesn’t know. She only allows the keepers to interact with him, but this only happens when Mbegu is not around and when she comes back to the main herd things return to normal.
In the afternoon Mbegu took a break from the main herd and went with a small group to visit Musiara. Dupotto stayed with Ambo and made a heap of soil for him to play with. As the young boy went on soil dusting Dupotto stayed by his side and browsed just a short distance from him. Tagwa must have felt jealous of the attention he was getting from Dupotto and she moved in to shove Ambo away from the soil pile. Dupotto was there in a flash and charged to push Tagwa away. She pulled Ambo back to the spot where he was to continue with his game.
Because the weather was still cloudy today none of the orphans decided to go into the mud pool but they opted to soil dust instead. Godoma led her small group to the soil pile where Murit and Ngilai were the most playful ones.
02 February 2017
In the early morning the orphans were lined up in a long line to walk out to the forest. Tamiyoi was lagging behind at the back of the line. She was called by the keepers to catch up to the middle but she declined. Mbegu realised she was falling behind and went to the back to try and push her along. She didn’t listen to Mbegu either though and was left standing behind the line. Everybody carried on and she was left standing there looking like she wasn’t in a very good mood. Maybe she was trying to prove to the keepers that she is no longer a small baby and does not want to be in the baby group. Eventually there was quite a gap between her and the others and a small dik dik antelope came along. It made a noise to call to another dik dik which scared Tamiyoi and she shouted for help. No one came to her though so she shouted louder and this time Esampu came running back to her. This was a big relief to Tamiyoi and she ran to meet Esampu. Before Esampu could reach her though the second dik dik crossed the path following its friend and Esampu ran after it, flushing them all out of their hiding places and stamping around. She must have realised they were the cause of Tamiyoi’s shouting and she decided to do something about it. Tamiyoi was excited now to join the rest of her group, having stood on her own for about 10 minutes and not really moving. Jotto came over to her and invited her to a soil dusting game which they enjoyed for a long time and then Sana Sana came over. She rolled on the ground next to where the two were playing and Galla came over as well, but that was towards the end of the game. Galla started trying to climb on Sana Sana’s back which she wasn’t pleased about so she got up and went into the thicket while Tamiyoi and Jotto went over to Mbegu.
03 February 2017
The orphans had a lovely start to their day out in the forest. They were mostly all engaged with their friends in some kind of game. Godoma and Pare were enjoying a lovely pushing game which Pare was initially surprised about as Godoma is quite a tough girl who doesn’t play with just anyone. They enjoyed a long game though and had fun running after each other in the bushes. Luggard is happy when he plays with the brave, gentle boy Murit who understands about his broken knee which is in the process of healing. They too were playing and rolling in the dust together. Ngilai is normally quite rough but today he was playing with Jotto and was quite cool. The youngsters know that he can be quite rough and are not always willing to engage him in any games. Some who weren’t in the mood for playing were more interested in browsing like Ukame, Dupotto, Kelelari and Ambo.
For one reason or another, Luggard seems to not like Kuishi very much. Whenever he meets her he seems to push her. Today for no reason at all he pushed the gentle girl whilst she was standing with Tamiyoi and Jotto. Later she was quietly dusting beside Sana Sana during public visiting and again from nowhere Luggard came running over to head butt her.
The naughty giraffe Kiko had a rough time with the elephants today. Over the past few days he had been going out with the orphans into the forest because there have been no lions around. The baby Musiara was standing comfortably between Malkia, Tamiyoi and Jotto. A few metres away Mbegu and Ndotto were browsing and Kiko began walking over to the little ones. Musiara ran away and Kiko began to follow him trying to smell him but this scared the baby and he began to scream which drew the attention of Mbegu, Ndotto and Godoma. They came running charging and trumpeting towards Kiko. The baby was handed over to Malkia by Mbegu and Kiko went sent away into the thicket and was not allowed close to the little one again.
04 February 2017
Ambo seems to be feeling jealous of the little boy Musiara recently; he seems to have missed the company of Mbegu for some time. Dupotto takes care of him while Mbegu attends to Musiara during the day but this proves it is Mbegu who he loves most. Mbegu was browsing out in the bush in the company of Musiara and Jotto when Ambo came over and stretched his trunk towards Jotto. When they were standing behind Mbegu he pushed Jotto so he fell over. Mbegu turned to help the baby as he was shouting and falling over and helped pull him to his feet, by which time Ambo had already disappeared into the bushes. Generally Ambo isn’t a bully but this might just have been because Mbegu is spending a lot of time with other babies like Musiara and less time with him.
Today Galla spent most of his time in the company of Kelelari, the big baby! Because of his size and character Kelelari hasn’t made a permanent friend. He interacts with his younger peers okay but he is just not that gentle with them and tends to shove them away whenever he is not in a good mood. Having spent the day with Galla they skipped the 3pm feed as they has browsed some distance away from the others and when they eventually joined them at the mud bath area the milk feeding had already finished, so they had to have theirs later.
05 February 2017
Ngilai is developing into a baby that needs to be watched very carefully, especially during public visiting. His playful and rough character is developing day by day and the problem is that when he is in that mood he doesn’t listen to his keepers either. He was very playful and active today during the public visiting time and he was pushing into the visiting public standing along the rope cordon, becoming very excited when they shouted with excitement at being so close to the youngster. It took three keepers to control him when he got too rough today, but still he managed to trick the keepers and find some ways round them to get to the rope.
Sometimes when the babies are enjoying something particularly nice, just like human babies they can be very unwilling to share. Ambo and Jotto hardly fight but today at the mud bath area Ambo was walking along behind a keeper who was feeding him some greens from his hand. Jotto was with another keeper who was doing the same but Ambo seemed to have thought that what Jotto was getting was much nicer than him. He abandoned the greens his keeper was feeding him and ran over to Jotto. Jotto blocked him but Ambo pushed him out of the way. Jotto turned and charged Ambo driving him all the way back to his keeper!
06 February 2017
We have seen this trait in other similar circumstances before – that when an orphan is rescued at a slightly older age it will decide to become independent sooner than those who arrive at a younger age. This is something we have started seeing in Kelelari, Ukame, Karisa, Maramoja and Wanjala who were all rescued at a slightly older age. Since Kelelari has joined the herd as well we have seen that Maramoja and Wanjala, who previously would not wonder too far from the herd, have changed as well. It’s not just a question of looking for greener pasture, but actually wondering away from the herd and being independent, which has been difficult for the keepers! They need to always keep a close eye on them to save them from getting lost from the others. Today as the first group of eleven elephants was coming down for the public visit it was noticed that these five elephants had disappeared, only to find that they had crossed a stream in the forest. Within this small group of runaways Karisa is slightly different as he will always respond to the keepers when they are searching for them. He will always come out of hiding when the keepers are calling their names but the others will not walk with the keepers until they have been flushed out of the bushes! They still managed to make it for the visiting time and their milk bottles which was good. Later around 2pm Kelelari and Maramoja went missing again only to be found a few hundred meters away.
After the public visit today we had a fresh pile of red soil delivered to the mud bathing area. When the babies arrived there for their 3pm milk feed none of them were left out of the fun fresh soil creates! All of the 25 orphans started rolling around in the soil and then went into the mud bath, even those that don’t really like mud bathing of late like Ukame, Kuishi and Ndotto too. All went into the mud bath and enjoyed splashing in the muddy water!
07 February 2017
Every member of a family or group will have a responsibility that he or she has to perform. Ndotto and Lasayen have become the daily morning time keepers. The duo are best friends and neighbours in their sleeping pens too. Recently they have been responsible for waking everybody up in the morning, which they did this morning as well albeit slightly earlier than usual. They push and pull on their gates which makes a lot of noise and wakes everyone up. Combined with the games they start playing and the shouting they make, it is a terrible noise that nobody could sleep through. By then Mbegu and Galla, who are with Ndotto and Lasayen in the same line of stockades, also join in the noise to call their keepers to come and open their gates so they can go to the forest. Their call was heard bright and early this morning and before long everyone was out in the forest.
Godoma and Dupotto are the milk time keepers! With these two, whenever it comes close to milk feeding time they start walking out of the thicket into the open space. They hear the keepers’ radios start communicating and that is when they start shoving the others and rumbling to let their friends know that it is nearly milk time.
Ngilai is one orphan that will only have a mud bath once in a while, but once is he in he always ends up having a good time. The red soil still smells fresh from yesterday and all the eleven at the mud bath area showed interest in soil dusting but Ngilai declined and went on browsing on the greens whilst the others dusted themselves and went in the mud. Before the end of their time the keepers splashed him with some mud using a shovel from the mud bath and this encouraged him to go into the water. He then had lots of fun playing some pushing games with Murit and running after each other to splash water on each other’s feet.
Ukame seems not to have been feeling that well today. She has stayed close to Mbegu and the little ones, leaving the other four boys to go alone deeper into the bush as the usually do; or maybe she just decided to stay close to Mbegu and the herd today.
08 February 2017
Tagwa has remained such a shy girl within the family, to such an extent that sometimes she is bullied by some of the smaller ones like Malima! Kuishi has also taken advantage of her shyness and bullied her today as well. Tagwa doesn’t really defend herself either and looks to the keepers for help whenever she is being picked on.
It’s good for little Musiara that he has so many friends and new family members willing to protect and take care of him. Malima and Kuishi were babysitting him today, keeping him in the middle so he could copy everything they were doing like pulling grass and feeding themselves. Esampu then came rushing over and pushed them aside so she could have some time with the baby too. Today was Musiara’s first time at the mud bath during the 3pm milk feed and he enjoyed the mud bath so much. After mud bathing he settled on the red soil and spent most of his time dusting himself and rolling around. When the other youngsters noticed his good time in the soil, Jotto, Tamiyoi, Malima and Luggard all went over to him. Mbegu was watching him from a distance though and came over to block the young ones from disturbing him. She kept him under her belly and with the comfort and reassurance of Mbegu Musiara decided to take a little nap until the end of the session when he was woken up by Mbegu.
Ukame has spent her day in the usual company of Karisa, Wanjala, Maramoja and Kelelari and they performed their usual trick of staying away from the rest of the herd.
09 February 2017
Last night around 8.30pm, Solio visited the stockade with her wild male friend. It has been some time since her last visit home! When she arrived, she was unable to access her old sleeping room due to the poles put up to keep Kiko in the compound to protect him from lions. She stood by the fence calling for Lucerne as her friend watched from a distance. With the presence of her wild male friend, Maxwell was very upset and unsettled and he kept charging up and down and knocking on his gate to meet his wild foe. Solio went in on to interact with Maxwell and ended up staying the whole night in the compound area. Her friend waited for her in the bushes that surround the stockades, but when he saw the elephants coming out with their keepers in the morning, he ran away into the forest, leaving Solio behind. Solio was very happy to see the keepers and started calling for her Lucerne again. She was given some Lucerne outside Max's stockade and stayed until 9.30am when she left Max to go back into the forest.
Sometimes Lasayen cannot be very kind to some of the others but it is not often, and you have to catch him in the act. Sometimes he is not very nice towards Ukame, despite the fact she is older and bigger than him. She is new though and it has taken her awhile to settle in, which elephants like Lasayen can take advantage of. At 3pm when the elephants were going down to the mud bath area in small groups for their milk bottles, Ukame was in a group of Lasayen, Kuishi, Pare and Ngilai. When they entered the bushes on their way down to the path to the mud bath area, and out of sight of the keepers in the forest, Lasayen blocked the path for Ukame to walk down any further. The keepers at mud bath radioed to the others that the two had not come down for their milk. Ndotto, who is known for disciplining others for their bad behavior, was released from the group to go and check on what had happened to the others along the path. As soon as Lasayen saw Ndotto coming ahead of the keepers, he allowed Ukame to go, and that was the end of his naughty behavior for now.
10 February 2017
Esampu is giving herself many nicknames due to her character - she is known as the little cheeky one, the greedy one and as of today the trumpeter as well! Every time she comes across the warthogs in the forest she trumpets and chases them away. Today, however, the warthogs seem to not be paying any attention to her threats as they have become used to her advances! When she trumpets, you would think it’s a big elephant - she is amazing with her trumpets and can be very loud! During the public visit today she arrived in the last group with Jotto, Sana Sana and Malima. Godoma seems to have been prepared and was waiting for her arrival. As a keeper stood waiting for her with a milk bottle, Godoma stood patiently next to the keeper. As soon as Esampu finished her milk Godoma took her tail and put it in her mouth! Esampu is known for pushing the keepers when she is done with her bottle to get more milk, and Godoma anticipated this and decided to hold her tail so that she would not push either her keeper or any of her friends for more milk. It seemed to work and Esampu shouted for help and ran in the opposite direction to the wheelbarrow and the keepers. It was a good lesson for the cheeky little one!
Back in the forest it was a hot day and the older ones disappeared into the thicket for food and shade. Tamiyoi and Jotto took on a big job as they stayed behind to look after and guard little Musiara as he decided to take a little nap. They watched over him until he woke up to look for his milk bottle.
11 February 2017
Well what a happy morning it was for the orphans today - it seemed it was all about trumpeting! Some unlucky elands got mixed up in the orphan’s fun and in all the excitement things did not look that fun for the elands! As usual Esampu was leading the trumpeting choir and Mbegu and Ndotto were very much with her. As Esampu was charging around she came across two jackals who were feeding on their small kill. It was quite an interesting show that followed as the jackals were not ready to give up their breakfast and Esampu was not ready to give up in scaring them out of the bushes! They kept running away but dropping their food as they went. After a short while, things returned to normal after the poor elands and jackals had disappeared into the forest. The orphans went back to browsing and some continued playing too.
Just after 1pm we received a report of a young baby elephant in Mara with a share around her trunk that needed rescuing. The poor thing's trunk had almost been severed in two by this wire snare. She arrived at the nursery just after 5.30pm looking a little stressed but she settled down after a short while and with Ambo in the next door stable.
12 February 2017
Due to the arrival of the poor baby with the snare wound yesterday it was quite a long night for Ambo and Esampu in the next door stables. The young girl woke in the night and was sad about the loss of her family and was shouting which made Esampu concerned and start shouting as well, and then Ambo too, trying to comfort her. Ambo and Esampu tried climbing on the wooden bars that separated their rooms. When Esampu came out in the morning she was very excited and went straight to the door of the new arrival. The door was still locked though so she didn't get to meet the new baby. Eventually she decided to go and meet the others out in the forest. By 9am the vets arrived to try and perform surgery on the little ones trunk. The whole operation took about 3 hours.
With Malima's influence, Jotto, Tamiyoi, Godoma and Ngilai enjoyed the mud pool at the public visit today and it was nice to see Ngilai in the mud as well for a change!
13 February 2017
As the orphans were on their way out into the forest this morning, Wanjala, Galla, Ndotto, Lasayen, Rapa, Maramoja, Sana Sana and Ukame were out in the lead when they came across a group of baboons who were going about their busy forage for food. This group in the lead made a joint march towards them with their ears spread wide, a gesture to scare away the baboons. Ndotto tried to corner a young baboon who was picking things up from the ground and when the little one noticed Ndotto it called out a chatting noise to the rest of the troop including its mother. The mother responded as did a few of the other baboons to make sure their infant was okay, which frightened Ndotto and he quickly folded that game and turned to run back to the rest of the herd, trumpeting as he ran. The baboons were all in the trees now and chatting loudly in protest against the actions of the orphans.
14 February 2017
Sometimes we link that Malima leads and others follow. Today when all the others out of the eleven in the first group at public visiting were dipping their trunks into the water to see if the mud bath was too cold, Malima shoved Sana Sana and Jotto to the side and without wasting any time, launched herself into the water. Whilst those two were still thinking about whether to have a bath, the keepers sprayed Sana Sana and Jotto with some mud using a shovel. By then Malima was already wallowing in the pool like a hippo, fully immersing herself. Godoma was on the sidelines still weighing up what to do as well. She ended up just rolling around in the muddy soil on the edge of the pool. Tamiyoi came over and joined her rolling in this mud as well.
Kuishi was such a clever girl today and really tried to give the keepers the slip. She is in the first group known as ‘Godoma’s group’ as she is the mini matriarch, who come down to the mud bath feeding first. Mbegu is the leader of the second group. Today after their bottles and playing the first group was walking back to the forest to make way for the second group, but Kuishi knew where the second group was waiting in the forest. Instead of following her herd she sneaked off to join them. The keepers saw her coming though and tried to drive her back to Godoma’s group but she just hid in the bushes and waited for the keepers to leave. When they had left she just followed the second group from a distance, to avoid being seen by the keepers. When they had reached the open area on the rocks she ran after them shouting to join the older group. By this stage there was nothing that could be done except to accept her into the herd. She arrived at the mud bath area again and went straight to the wheelbarrow demanding for more milk – this time it was orphan Malkia that stopped her and drove her away from the wheelbarrow – she then abandoned trying to get more milk and decided to have a mud bath with Mbegu along the edge of the pool instead.
15 February 2017
This morning Maxwell was watched happily scampering about his stockade after warthogs that had sneaked into his area to eat his leftover lucerne pellets in one of his troughs. The noise the warthogs made trying to get to his delicious pellets drew Maxwell’s attention and although he cannot see his impeccable hearing drew him towards where the warthogs were feasting on his food. Maxwell playfully approached them and they ran off, but challenged him by trying to return to the trough to get the pellets. Max continued to chase them around until they gave up and ran out through the spaces in his gate, leaving him to enjoy his delicious lucerne pellets all to himself.
It was very hot today which meant the first group of orphans downed their milk bottles quickly and ran into the mud pool to enjoy a mud bath. Luggard, Malima, Esampu and Godoma who love mud bathing were the first ones to get in and roll around. Malima and Esampu spun around in the mud as they playfully splashed mud against each other, a game which attracted Sana Sana, Kuishi and Ngilai as well. Ngilai started taking the game a bit too far and tried to chase Malima to climb on her, but his intentions were put on hold by the keepers who started splashing him with mud using a spade, seeing him walk out of the mud bath and settle to soil dust instead.
16 February 2017
Most of the orphans were busy browsing out in the forest this morning, but it was very funny to watch Kelelari play a pushing game with little Ndotto. Ndotto was very happy and confident in himself to challenge huge Kelelari though he was hardly a good match for the big boy.
Kelelari was fair with him though and their game attracted Lasayen who joined Ndotto and they both tried to take on Kelelari together, but when Kelelari showed both boys his bug tusks Lasayen became afraid and gave up playing, leave his friend Ndotto behind to take on the big boy alone. Kelelari soon gave up play pushing with Ndotto though, and went to find Lasayen to carry on the game with him! Kelelari, who some time back was a rough bully pushing everyone and not wanting to socialize, is now a lovely and welcoming elephant. Nowadays he is so gentle with his human family, as well as his younger peers.
At 2pm little Musiara and another new rescued elephant from the Masai Mara with a snared trunk had a happy moment of joining the other orphans out in the forest. They were immediately surrounded by Dupotto, Mbegu, Godoma, Malkia, Kuishi, Esampu, Malima and even little Tamiyoi. The young naughty boys tried to climb on the new arrival but Mbegu, Godoma and the keepers kept them away. Godoma and Mbegu kept the new baby and Musiara completely sandwiched between them, offering them great care and protection.
17 February 2017
Today when all the orphans came out of their stockades and walked out into the forest, most of the orphans settled to browse whilst Ukame, Maramoja, Karisa, Wanjala, Galla and Kelelari were seen taking their own group out deeper into the forest. This independent group likes to browse off far away from the others and the keepers always have to go after them later for their milk bottles, though they always prefer to be browsing! Some of these members were only rescued recently and have the memories of the wild fresh in their mind, so they like to browse and be close together.
During public visiting the orphans were all enjoying the mud bath and it was funny to watch Ukame and Kelelari force the visitors back from the rope cordon as they played in the mud close to the rope and splashed mud everywhere! Those who were busy taking photographs of the orphans were caught unaware and got a mud bath too, forcing them back from the rope cordon laughing.
18 February 2017
As the orphans were all dispersing after their 9am milk bottles Godoma, Malkia, Esampu, Tagwa, Kuishi, Ngilai, Murit and Sana Sana were walking away and encountered a troop of baboons that were busy jumping from one tree to another and picking up fruit from the ground as well. Upon seeing them Godoma, Ngilai and Malkia charged after them with Godoma and Ngilai running after a baby baboon that cried out for help as they trumpeted and charged after it! The crying drew the attention of the entire troop of baboons who came running chattering loudly towards Godoma and Ngilai! Upon seeing the angry baboons come towards them they made a quick retreat running and yelling towards Sana Sana, Tagwa, Kuishi and Murit who were standing far away from the chattering baboons. They all joined together and all ran off to join the rest of the herd who were sensibly busy browsing.
19 February 2017
During public visiting today it was all drama between greedy Esampu and Ambo who was being naughty today. Today it was Ambo who ran up to Esampu and tried to bully her off her bottle. A rough pushing game then ensued with neither one ready to surrender! Both carried on pushing each other until they ended up on the wrong side of the rope cordon so the public had to disperse and give them space to settle their differences. As Esampu tried to turn back to her keeper with her milk bottle, Ambo would follow her and push her so she would have to turn and defend herself again. They pushed each other as Esampu tried to make her way to the keepers, upon which they started pushing the keeper holding the milk bottle, each demanding to be fed although Ambo had already has his share. Their naughty behaviour prompted the keeper to drop an empty milk bottle to distract Ambo so Esampu could have her share whilst Ambo was distracted trying to pick up the empty bottle; what a dramatic morning!
20 February 2017
The orphaned herd looked very calm as they walked out to the forest today, with no show-offs in any of the groups. Kelelari, Ukame and Karisa took the lead of the orphan herd taking big strides to head out deeper into the forest, which is the norm for them these days. Mbegu and Godoma with the younger members like Malkia, Malima, Tagwa and Esampu showed less interest in walking out of the stockades in a hurry and spent more time walking out and about the stockade area, feeding on some of Maxwell’s food that had spilled onto the other side of his gate, but it seemed their hidden mission was trying to wait for Enkesha and Musiara to escort them out to the forest! Mbegu, Godoma and the other little girls love to be with the little ones.
Soon after the first group of orphans had drunk their milk bottles during the public visit this morning, Murit saw Luggard having differences with Ngilai at the water trough, and went over to see what was happening. Murit came up to one side of Ngilai which gave Luggard the confidence to tackle him from the other side, and Ngilai left to find another water trough, afraid at the size of Murit’s tusks! Murit is challenging some of the other young bully boys these days and challenging those like Ngilai; he is pretty strong nowadays!
21 February 2017
Poor Maxwell woke up in a playful charging mood today, after he found some warthogs right inside his stockade busy feeding on his lucerne! He playfully charged at them, causing one of the warthogs to get trapped between the spaces of the metal bars in the gate of his stockade. The warthog squeaked as he tried to fit through the space, which in turn frightened the orphans who were already coming out of their stockades, and sent them running towards the forest, trumpeting and charging as they went. The reaction of the orphans got Maxwell even more excited and he charged around his stockade and knocking his horn hard against the wooden posts of his stockade. He spent a little whilst doing this and then settled down in his mud pool where he spent time enjoying a mud bath!
The orphans enjoyed their mud bath too during public visiting today; Jotto and Ambo playfully ran out of the mud bath and started a pushing game before Jotto ran off to scratch himself along the rope cordon and enjoyed bumping into school pupils who had come to see the orphans that day as well. Jotto finished scratching himself on the rope and ran back to the mud pool and slid on the edges in such a funny pose that drew the attention and admiration of all the visitors! They were happy to see such a playful and content baby under the protection of such a caring human family.
22 February 2017
When the doors to the stockades and stables are opened in the morning, it is always funny to watch little Tamiyoi and Murit run out of their rooms and into those of their neighbours with the intent of stealing their leftover lucerne pellets, which these two love the most. They always create a challenge for their keepers when they are brought out of one stable, and they quickly run into another to try and do the same thing there. The keepers then have to walk behind them and force them to walk out to the forest as well! Tamiyoi yells and protests loudly, trying to buy more time in which to steal some more yummy lucerne pellets. Sometimes even when both Murit and Tamiyoi are finally out in the forest, they are spotted trying to sneak back for more.
Just before 2pm in the afternoon we received a report of an elephant calf that was trapped in a septic tank in Tsavo West, Taita sanctuary. The herd had apparently struggled to retrieve the young baby but had to make the difficult decision of leaving the calf behind. The calf was successfully rescued and with the team of keepers that had gone down to rescue it, was brought safely back to the nursery in the early hours of the evening. The baby looked strong and didn’t have any external injuries, and was very happy to drink the delicious milk formula in the company of his new human family. The little boy is less than a month old and will have a long road ahead of him!
23 February 2017
The tiny new little boy spent a peaceful first night in the nursery under the care and protection of his human family, happily enjoying suckling on their fingers and standing so close to his keeper, already showing a close bond to them.
Out the bush the new baby was warmly welcomed by the other orphans especially the females; matriarch Mbegu accompanied by Dupotto, Godoma, Maramoja, Sana Sana, Malkia, Esampu, Malima and Tagwa and even tiny Tamiyoi were all busy struggling with each other for the chance to get close to him and touch, smell and embrace him. The little one reached to try and suckle on Mbegu’s ears but all the other girls wanted his attention too, especially Godoma who was trying to push the baby away from Mbegu. Godoma even lay down on the ground together with Malkia, Malima and Tamiyoi trying to entice the baby to come and play with them, but he seemed firmly attached to Mbegu already.
24 February 2017
Soon after the orphans had settled out in the forest, with most of them enjoying their browsing activity, a few individuals like Malkia, Sana Sana, Kuishi, Malima and Esampu were seen playfully rolling on the ground in happiness at the start to a new day. Malima then Kuishi were then seen busy enjoying clambering on Sana Sana who happily let them as she lay on the ground. The two young girls enjoyed bumping and sliding on her, which caught the attention of Ndotto, Lasayen and Ngilai who wanted to join in since these three young boys are always fond of bumping and sliding on those lying on the ground, regardless of their age or size! However when the three boys joined in the girls decided to end their game, knowing that they wouldn’t get a peaceful moment from then on as the boys always like to play rough. When the girls left the boys were left with no other option than to continue to game on their own, as Ndotto enjoyed climbing on Lasayen and Ngilai tried to push him off to have his turn as well. Their game ended quickly though when they got a fright from two male warthogs that started fighting in the bushes next to them, but then Ndotto and Lasayen turned around and charged after the warthogs as Ngilai stayed behind and stamped and bashed around in the bushes in defiance of their game being interrupted!
25 February 2017
During public visiting today it was so funny to watch Tamiyoi leading the first group down for their milk and running as fast as she could, determined that no other baby would overtake her to get to the milk first! When little Malima and Jotto tried to overtake her, it was hilarious to watch her speeding up so that they wouldn’t be able to. The visitors were delighted to see three such young ones make a strong and confident entrance to the visiting area! These days despite that fact that Tamiyoi is so tiny, she is strong in character and older than most of the others, she is the first to lead the young group to the mud bath area for their milk feeding. She is a sweet little thing, very gentle and always welcoming to new babies.
26 February 2017
It is very dry all across the country at the moment, even here at the Nairobi nursery so the orphans walk deep into the forest to get the best browse in the early morning. The big orphans especially like to walk deep into the forest; Ukame, Kelelari, Karisa, Maramoja, Galla and Wanjala like to walk even further off. Even though Luggard would like to keep up with his age mates, he is not as able due to his one broken leg and he has become accustomed recently to spending the day with the young babies who spend their day less than a kilometer from the orphans stockade, but at least he has the benefit of elephant company! He is very happy in their company and enjoys browsing peacefully and quietly near the keepers. Poor Enkesha, the elephant with the snared trunk, is doing well and using the ‘fingers’ of her trunk at the end to pick things up and put them in her mouth, and also dusts her back using her trunk as well! Only time will tell how the trunk heals or if the decision is made to amputate it after all, but with the use of her vital ‘fingers’ still it is a difficult decision to make.
27 February 2017
This morning when all the orphans were out in the forest, it was usual to see them all browsing closely together as one unit, unlike other days when some individuals break away from the herd and enjoy browsing in their own desired direction, especially Ukame, Karisa, Kelelari, Maramoja, Galla and Wanjala, but today these elephants were all browsing with the others in the herd as well.
Today as the second group of orphans was running down for their milk at mud bath today, we watched naughty boy Rapa teasing Karisa and blocking him from getting past him to enjoy his bottle. Funnily enough he let Ndotto, Lasayen, Tagwa and Malkia past but he spread his ears wide and would not let Karisa past! Karisa reacted by yelling loudly and forcing the keepers to tell Rapa off from the feeding area around the mud bath, as Rapa was keeping Karisa hostage right up on the rocky area. The keepers stern voices made Rapa retreat and allow Karisa to run past to get his delicious milk. Rapa was left walking slowly towards the mud wallow; he can be a naughty boy sometimes but not so greedy over milk bottles.
28 February 2017
Early in the morning out in the bush Malkia, Ngilai, Kuishi, Esampu and Sana Sana were spotted charging and chasing around after some warthogs and their little ones. Their fun time came to an end however when Malkia and Kuishi cornered one of the warthog babies that tried to make its way out through the legs of Kuishi fiercely squeaking which in turn made Kuishi yell out in fright and run towards the keepers for protection! Her shouting saw Malkia, Sana Sana, Esampu, and Ngilai follow suit and start shouting and trumpeting running towards the keepers as well. Once they reached the keepers they all stood in dead silence though Ngilai and Sana Sana broke the peace and started bashing bushes and stamping around trying to flush out the warthogs – though they could not find them as they had already run off into the forest from all the commotion! As this carried out Kuishi stayed close to the keepers who she loves to stay close to and look for a finger to suckle on. She is quite an old elephant for that but she still loves to do it! She is a gentle, nice girl though sometimes during bottle feeding times this characteristic can fade as she loves her milk bottles, and can become a bit pushy!