Keepers' Diaries, February 2019

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

Little Maarifa is growing bigger every day and we are mindful that she will eventually grown in a huge animal, already evident in the rate of her growth, as she has morphed from being ‘all feet’ to more compact muscle now. She has a delightful fat little tummy and keeps us very much entertained with her funny antics, always galloping from one place to another before collapsing in a tired heap for frequent naps.

She is a very tidy creature, and never defecates in her room, but squeaks to be let out in the morning when she hears the elephants stirring. She is as playful as ever and charges after anything that happens to pass by, and because she is the size of a warthog presently, we wonder if she thinks she is one of them! She spends long hours playing with the friendly warthogs in the area, and she watches them eat, although she does not have teeth yet and cannot graze, she stands there mimicking their eating motions which is very sweet to watch.

Ambo, Kiasa, Sattao, Malima and Tamiyoi were giving the Keepers the usual run-around this month, especially concerning the Lucerne pellets now that the conditions are very hot and dry in Nairobi. One morning all five were spotted running out of their rooms to the Lucerne pellet store, where they lined up and simultaneously stretched their trunks through to scoop up what pellets they could gather. When the Keepers tried to move them away, Kiasa, Ambo and Sattao ran away, pretending they were going out to the forest, but they tactically premeditated a wide circle around to sneak back to the same feeding spot in the hope that the manoeuvre would out-fox their Keepers! They started stealing pellets again through the wooden posts, but this is not the first time they have done such a thing – the Keepers really need to keep an eye on these naughty little characters!

Kiasa is a funny little one, just when the Keepers expect the worst from her, she surprises us all. She has been kept back until last at the milk feeding times simply because of her naughty behaviour trying to steal extra milk bottles. However one day, when she managed to sneak into the first group and the Keepers prepared for the worst, she fooled them all and was exceptionally well behaved, and busied herself by rolling on the loose soil piles together with Mukkoka and even Maktao, one of least favourite elephants! Instead the Keepers found they had to keep an eye on the docile little Musiara, who is normally very quiet at feeding times, as he kept trying to fight the Keepers for more milk next to the wheelbarrow; it just goes to show how unpredictable the elephants can be, and how their moods swing from one day to the next.

Sattao and Musiara are still the best of friends and although their stockades are far apart, they always enjoy greeting each other in the morning. Sattao will often go and look for Musiara as soon as he is let out of his room. Ambo and Jotto used to be the best of friends, always playing pushing and enjoying strength testing games with another and charging around. However, recently, and probably due to their age, the two bulls have been a bit rougher with one another whilst playing.

Ambo seems to have developed more of a friendship with Mapia recently, playing with him a bit more than Jotto and sometimes leaving him out of some of their wrestling matches. Jotto is such a gentle bull however, he has many friends in the herd. He never bullies any of the others, and it is amazing to watch how he protects the younger orphans and new arrivals. A good example of this has been his response to the arrival of Nabulu, and he is constantly making sure that she is not being pushed around by Emoli, Mapia and Sagala, who have been a little bit more apprehensive of her arrival.

Nabulu is settling in well, although she still has to learn how to deal with some of the more rowdy members of the herd. She is still learning to trust the Keepers, but as she was rescued at an older age, this will take time. She is enjoying spending her days out with the other elephants in the forest. Her main issue at the moment seems to be fending off little Mukkoka, who despite his small stature, especially compared to Nabulu, is trying his best to bully her; perhaps he did not like his ‘new arrival’ status being usurped! 

On the 18th we sadly had to rescue a young elephant from Tsavo. The little girl, only 10 months old, was suffering from a terrible leg infection which meant she could put no weight on it. The cause of the injury remains a mystery but the one front leg is hugely swollen and she is unable to use it yet. She has been recuperating in one of the stockades, while receiving treatment on her leg which had to be scoured of all the infection, and she has had to have an extended course of antibiotics too. Thankfully, X-rays revealed there were no broken bones, but it will be a long road to recovery for this little one; one we readily embark on together. Her name is Saya.

Little Larro, rescued in January, has come to like her milk formula very much. Recently she has started walking back to the stockade compound a couple of times a day to look for some additional milk before the milk feeding time. She is a sweet little girl and seems to enjoy Luggard’s company the most. Tagwa continues to demonstrate what a competent matriarch of the herd she is, and keeps everyone in line. Sattao is still very much hooked on her, and doesn’t like to browse away from her too long. Enkesha is still a gentle, quiet girl, who is fond of being at the back of the orphan herd and sometimes browses slightly away from the others too. She is quite happy with her own company it seems!

Kiko is doing very well in his protected stockade compound area having been attacked by lions a few weeks ago. The injury caused to his back leg is healing well and he is stress free and very relaxed now. He is not free to walk out into the forest, but spends his days walking around and browsing in Maxwell’s extended stockade area, amongst the trees where he is watched over all day. This is because the lions remain in the area and remain incredibly interested in him. 

The Keepers hang bunches of his most favourite greens to make sure he has everything he could want, and he seems very happy. He is as cheeky as ever, and loves teasing poor Maxwell next door, by lowering his head and blowing on Maxwell’s head or back; as poor Maxwell cannot see he always gets a fright and turns to knock against the stockade posts against his ‘invisible’ intruder! We have requested permission from the Kenya Wildlife Service for Kiko to be able to be trans located to a beautiful more suitable home given that he is growing fast and now needs to be amongst his own kind. First he must be 100 percent back to full health before we consider his move.  

February 2019 day to day

01 Feb

Maarifa the baby rhino is a clever little girl and she decides not to defecate in her stable at night. She always waits until morning when the elephant babies are waking up and starting to come out of their rooms to begin a new day, then she starts making her sweet little squeaking noise, asking the Keepers to hurry up and open her door so she can go out into the bushes to relieve herself. As soon as she reaches the bushes she relieves herself, and when she is done she playfully starts running out into the forest, with her two Keepers hot on her heels. She is still as playful as ever and at all times chasing and charging anything that happens to pass by. She has grown so much then when she came in in November last year.



Orphans out browsing