Like all of Kenya, the rains have just continued through the new year and as a result the Nairobi National Park is flourishing and bursting with life; the bushes have grown thick and the grasses have grown high. This can make it difficult for the Keepers to spot naughty orphans like Ziwadi and Enkesha who like to sneak off on their own adventures. Sometimes Kiasa likes to spirit away her own little herd too, and she will whisk the likes of Tagwa, Tamiyoi, Nabulu, Enkesha, Sattao, Dololo, Mukkoka and Naleku off to their own browsing spot. The Keepers can spend quite some time looking for these wandering babies and often find them not even browsing that far away, but conditions are now so dense that they can disappear before their eyes.
Roho has started mimicking Maktao and some of his naughty habits. Much like Maktao, Roho now appears to enjoy climbing on his friends backs. Whenever he sees one of the orphans lying down he quickly runs over and starts to climb on their backs or bellies. Today at the midday mud bath, Kiasa was having lots of fun rolling around in the muddy water, covering her whole body in mud. Roho seemed so excited that she was rolling around that he immediately ran over and began to climb on her belly and enjoyed rolling around with her. Kiasa appeared happy to have the young bull join her and was not bothered at all by him climbing on her back.
Little Naleku has become quite a tough little girl and the Keepers have enjoyed watching her grow in confidence. She has recently become very good at defending herself when some of the other orphans are being a little bossy. This afternoon whilst in the forest, Larro was trying to push Naleku away but little Naleku stood her ground and pushed back against Larro, refusing to go anywhere. Kiasa, who appeared to notice the two, quickly ran over to intervene and warn Larro away from the little girl.
Today, at the midday mud bath, Ziwadi seemed to have her own ideas of what she would like to do. When it was time for the younger orphans to make their way back to the forest, and allow for the older orphans to come down, Ziwadi completely refused to leave the mud bath area. The Keepers tried everything, they even tried to give her an extra bottle of milk but it was all in vain and the young girl refused to move. Ziwadi, who hadn’t yet had a much bath, seemed eager to stay down with the older orphans so that she could finally have her bath.
After all the older orphans finished their bottles of milk, Ziwadi led Tagwa, Nabulu, Musiara, and Enkesha into the muddy water for a mud bath. She enjoyed a very long mud bath with her older friends and when it was time for the orphans to make their back to the forest was the first to lead them again.
In the afternoon, when the orphans were back in the forest, Kiasa and Nabulu were looking after the two little babies, Naleku and Roho, who were having an afternoon nap.
Naleku is still very much attached to Mukkoka and when she is ever frightened or worried, she will either run to him or Larro. Mukkoka, who is still an adventurous bull, still doesn’t want to look after the little girl and will look for ways to sneak off. This morning, as the orphans made their way out to the forest, Mukkoka seemed eager to focus on his browsing and took this opportunity to sneak away from the Nursery herd and head off to his own corner to browse. He was closely followed by Kiombo, and the two bulls spent their whole morning browsing together and only joined the rest of the Nursery herd when it was time for their milk.
When the orphans make their way down for their bottles of milk, they are always so eager to race each other and see who gets to their bottles first. As the orphans made their way down to the mud bath for their midday bottles of milk it was very hot; warm enough for the orphans to have a mud bath. After the younger orphans finished their bottles of milk, it was nice for the Keepers to see Ziwadi, Naleku, and Roho leading the other orphans into the muddy water.
This afternoon, out in the forest, Luggard, Musiara, Sattao and Maktao all engaged in a wrestling match. The three younger boys were engaging Luggard in a strength testing match, and one by one they would each take turns wrestling the older bull. This game continued for some time before they turned to challenge one another.
This morning, when Ziwadi woke up she did not appear to be in the best of moods. As she made her way out to the forest with the other orphans she did not seem as eager to browse as other days and just chose to eat slowly and walk peacefully through the forest with the Nursery herd. Ziwadi is very much like Enkesha, in that they both enjoy browsing on their own and away from the chaos of the other orphans.
Kiko had great day today as he spent most of his morning out in the forest with the orphans. From 6am he followed the orphans as they made their way out to the forest and he stayed with them the whole morning. When it was time for the orphans to head down to the mud bath for their midday bottles of milk, the Keepers tried to usher Kiko back to the stockade compound, but he refused. Instead he chose to stay out in the forest with Luggard, browsing on all the fresh greens.
When it was time for the younger orphans to make their way back to the stockades, with Mukkoka and Dololo, Kiko emerged from the bushes and led Naleku, Ziwadi, and Roho back to their stables. As Mukkoka has been accompanying the younger orphans back to their stables, Tamiyoi has now taken the lead in being the orphan that can run home the fastest for her evening bottle of milk. She is always seen charging in way before the others.
When Ziwadi is feeling very anti-social she can always be seen moving around the forest, trying to keep away from the other orphans. This morning, she seemed to be particularly anti-social and every time another orphan would approach her or want to browse near her, she could be seen moving far away from then. The Keepers are always amazed by how fast she moves and when it was for the orphans 9am bottles of milk, Ziwadi had wondered off again. The Keepers must always follow behind her to make sure she does not wonder off too far and comes back to the herd.
With all the rains in Nairobi, the Nairobi National Park is flourishing and bursting with life; the bushes have grown big and the grass has grown high. This can make it difficult for the Keepers to always spot naughty orphans like Ziwadi and some of the others who like to go off on their own adventures. This morning after the orphans had their 9am bottles of milk, Kiasa grabbed Mukkoka and Naleku and the three went wondering off looking for their own browsing spot. The Keepers spent quite some time looking for them and eventually found them not too far away munching away on the fresh greens.
After their midday bottles of milk, Maktao and Musiara spent their afternoon wrestling and chasing each other around the forest. This was very entertaining to rest of the Nursery herd and their Keepers.
Roho is very much protected by all the older girls in the Nursery herd. This morning, whilst the orphans were all waiting for their morning bottles of milk, Dololo pushed little Roho as he was trying to make his way to the front of the herd. As soon as Roho was pushed he cried out for help, and Tagwa, Maisha, Tamiyoi and Kiasa all came rushing over to his side. Tagwa was the first to get to him, and she quickly snuggled the young bull under her neck. Kiasa was the next to arrive and she began to hug Roho with her trunk, making sure that he was okay. Tamiyoi and Maisha arrived together and just had a quick look to see everything was okay.
As the orphans made their way back to the forest after their midday mud baths, Musiara and Kiombo began to charge up and down, chasing each other and barreling over all the small shrubs in their path. When it was time for the Keepers to have their lunch the warthogs, like always, were quick to appear from the bushes to pick up any little bits the Keepers might share with them. Musiara was still full of energy and charging around and began to chase the warthogs away, not letting them anywhere near the Keepers. Musiara could be heard trumpeting and rumbling after the warthogs.
This afternoon, as Kiko was heading out to join the orphans, he appeared uneasy as if he could sense something. The Keepers suddenly noticed three lions in the distance, and they quickly began to make noise and shout at them to chase them away. In the meantime, Kiko was already running back to his stockade where he was joined by his other Keepers making sure he was safe.
With all the heavy rains the orphans have not been able to enjoy any dust baths as everything has been wet and muddy. After several days of sunshine, however, everything has started to dry up. This morning, as the orphans made their way to the forest, the sun was already shining, and the Keepers could already feel that I would be a hot day. When the orphans made their way down to the mud bath area, Tagwa was the first to lead the orphans over to the dust mound. She could be seen lying down on top of the heaped soil and Maisha and Nabulu were quick to join her. Roho, behaving like Mukkoka and some of the other bulls, quickly rushed over and began to climb up on Tagwa’s stomach, sliding off and then climbing back up.
Whilst most of the Nursery herd was busy dust bathing for over half an hour, Enkesha as usual was off on her own little adventure, browsing near the mud bath area, and was not bothered at all by the others. Ziwadi was slowly making her way over to join Enkesha when she came across some guinea fowls. Poor little Ziwadi got such a fright that she immediately turned and ran back to the group. As she reached the orphans having a dust bath, she seemed to change her mind about browsing and chose to join them on the dusty mound instead.
Dololo has taken full responsibility of clearing the way and making sure that Roho, Naleku, Luggard, Ziwadi and Larro are safe when they head back to their stables before the others. This afternoon, as they were headed back, they came across a troop of baboons that refused to move. This aggravated Dololo who began to charge at the baboons, chasing them far away.
Tamiyoi has become the Nursery herd’s timekeeper whilst in the forest. Over the past few days, Tamiyoi has seemed to know exactly when it is time for the orphans to get their milk, or head down to the mud bath. Before the Keepers even have a chance to start calling the orphans, she is already on her way. If the rest of the Nursery herd are not following, she will either go back into the thicket to usher some of them out, or she will rumble, as if to signal them to follow. As soon as one of the orphans follows her, she will continue on her way. Today, she was followed closely by Kiasa.
This afternoon, just before the orphans made their way back to the stockade compound for the evening, Luggard led the Nursery herd to a swampy part of the forest. It appears he wanted to cool himself down before heading back to his stable. As they got to the muddy section, Luggard began to splash some of the dark mud all over his body and he was soon joined by Ziwadi, Naleku, Roho, and the rest of the orphans. When it was time for them to head back to their stables, the orphans were all dark in color as opposed to normal brown they are from the mud bath area.
Enkesha has become quite the master of using her trunk despite her injuries. Although there is a permanent gap from where the snare wound did not close, she knows exactly how to use her trunk to drink water and pick up and cut her greens. In the evenings, she is always one of the first orphans to drink from her water trough and to blow bubbles in her water. It is amazing to watch her contract her muscles to close the hole and then suck up her water to drink. She could also be seen playfully blowing water out her trunk to clean it, and then blowing bubbles whilst her trunk was submerged in her water trough.
Tamiyoi has become very protective over Naleku and is often very reluctant to share her attention with some of the other orphans. Whenever Naleku tried to walk toward the rest of the Nursery herd, Tamiyoi was quick to grab her and bring her back to her side. This continued for quite some time.
Whilst the orphans are out in the forest, they come across many other animals, including giraffe, warthogs, baboons, impala and guinea fowl. Sometimes we spot lions as well. As some lions were spotted today the Keepers made the decision to keep Kiko in his stockade where he spent the afternoon with Maxwell. The two could be seen smelling one another and sharing greens.
After the orphans settled down in the forest in the early morning, Mukkoka and Maktao began a strength testing match and began to wrestle each other over a branch of greens that Mukkoka had picked up. It appears Maktao was trying to steal the branch from Mukkoka, but Mukkoka would not give it up without a fight. Mukkoka began by shaking his head at Maktao and then the two began to push against each other and chase each other around the forest.
At first it was all fun and games but then the boys began to get quite annoyed. Kiasa, who seemed to notice the bulls getting irritated, was quick to rush over and intervene. When Kiasa came over and separated them, Maktao walked off in his own direction, leaving Mukkoka with Kiasa. Mukkoka and Kiasa were quick to start browsing near one another.
It was a beautiful sunny morning as the orphans made their way out of their stables. When it is nice and warm, the orphans quickly head out of their stables and make their way to the forest. Luggard, who also gets excited, does not move as fast the rest of the Nursery herd and will often follow behind them at his own pace. This morning, Kiombo seemed to notice that Luggard was not with them and he turned back to join the older bull as they made their way to the forest.
It is always nice for the Keepers to see the other younger bulls looking after Luggard and keeping him company. This morning, when the orphans were coming down for their 9am bottles of milk, Luggard was the first to get to his Keepers and the rest of the Nursery herd let him take the lead without bothering him. Luggard enjoyed his milk peacefully with Larro and Tamiyoi.
Around 10:00am this morning, Ziwadi and Enkesha got up to their usual antics and decided to head off in their own direction. They snuck off deeper into the forest, and the Keepers had to quickly rush to find them as it was almost time for their midday mud bath and bottles of milk. As the Keepers were looking for them, they noticed that there were two figures just behind where Luggard was browsing, and sure enough it was the two naughty girls. They were browsing behind thick bushes and were very difficult to spot.
The Keepers had to quickly usher the younger group of orphans together to take them down to the mud bath area for their midday bottles of milk. Luggard remained happily browsing in the forest waiting the return of the Nursery herd.
Maxwell was very active this morning as the orphans were making their way out to the forest. When he came out of his bedroom he went charging up to where his Lucerne pellets are put out for him. He immediately began to indulge in his pellets and enjoy the morning sunshine. Kiko was next door happily feeding on his greens.
Once Maxwell had finished enjoying his pellets, he walked over to the gate between his and Kiko’s stable and was sniffing around as if he was looking for the giraffe. Kiko then came over and greeted Maxwell by tapping his back. After a short interaction the two went back to their browsing and feeding and Maxwell went off for a nap in the sun.
It was another sunny morning as all the orphans came out their stables. Kiasa, who is happy to look after the younger orphans, immediately rushed over to Naleku’s stable to see where the young little girl was. As soon as Naleku came out her stable, Kiasa began to nuzzle and greet her. Once they were done greeting each other the two began to walk towards the forest. They were closely followed by Larro.
Kiasa spent her morning with Naleku and when it was time for the orphans to come down for their 9am bottles of milk the two could be seen running in together. After they finished their milk, Larro and Tagwa came down together and were then followed by the rest of the Nursery herd. Once the orphans had all finished their milk, they made their way back to the forest to resume their browsing activities.
This morning, Sattao and Musiara were in a very playful mood. The two could be seen chasing each other around the forest and then wrestling one another, seeing who the stronger bull was. Their game continued for so long that even Dololo wanted to join in on the fun. As soon as Dololo ran towards them to join in, the playful boys seemed to be a bit confused as to why he was running towards them and immediately ended their game. The three bulls then went their separate ways and resumed browsing.
After the orphans finished their 9am bottles of milk, Dololo seemed eager for a wrestling match once again and he began with asking Musiara. At first Musiara seemed hesitant but after a couple of minutes he decided to accept and the two began their wrestling match. They spent a good while pushing each other around the forest before heading off and joining the rest of the orphans in their browsing activities.
It was a beautiful sunny morning as Kiko came out his stable. He was enjoying wondering around the stockade compound, munching on all the greenery around the stables and parking area. The Keepers decided to let Kiko join the elephant orphans for the morning, and they walked him out to the forest where he began to browse near the rest of the Nursery herd. The orphans for once seemed happy to have their tall friend join them.
Just before it was time for the orphans to head down for their midday mud bath and bottles of milk, the Keepers decided to walk Kiko back to his large stockade. Kiko, who seemed to be very relaxed this morning, happily walked back to the stockade compound where he entered the stockade neighboring Maxwell’s. Once he was there, he walked over to the gate between his and Maxwell’s stockade and seemed to be checking to see where his rhino friend was; Maxwell was fast asleep, sunbathing in the morning sun.
Today, Maisha spent most of her time with little Naleku and Roho. The three could be seen happily browsing together whilst in the field and ran in together when it was time for their milk. Maisha even watched over them when it was time for their naps. Even though all the older girls take turns looking after the younger the orphans, Kiasa appeared to be a little jealous that the little babies were not with her today. Throughout the morning, she could be seen following the trio and trying to get their attention, but they were too happy following Maisha around that they didn’t take much notice. Eventually Kiasa gave up and moved away to continued browsing with the rest of the Nursery herd.
Musiara and Luggard are still the best of friends. This afternoon after the orphans settled back in the forest after their midday bottles of milk, Musiara ran over to Luggard and began strength testing match with him. The two could be seen pushing each other around the forest, having the best time. Dololo once again tried to join in but Musiara appeared to want some alone time with his old friend and did not pay much attention to Dololo. This seemed to bore Dololo who then decided to run off and find some fun elsewhere.
This morning, as the orphans were making their way out to the forest, Maxwell seemed to be a little under the weather and was not in his usual bouncy mood. As opposed to most mornings where he would come bouncing out of his room to enjoy his pellets, this morning he chose to stay in his room and sleep for longer. Eventually the Keepers ushered him out with some fresh greens but he still seemed very lethargic. He finally chose to get up around midday to enjoy his greens and pellets that had been laid out for him. Once having eaten his mood did seem to pick up a bit.
Kiko noticed that Maxwell was not his usual energetic self and kept walking up and down his stockade as if to keep an eye on him.
Mukkoka continues to want to be the first to get his milk at any time during the day and he continues to trumpet and rumble at his friends if they try and overtake him. This morning, as the orphans came down for their 9am bottles of milk, it was amusing to watch Mukkoka, Maktao, Kiasa, and Larro all racing each other to get to their milk first. As they came barreling down, Kiasa took the lead and overtook Mukkoka. This seemed to really upset the young bull and he began to trumpet loudly. When he arrived at the milk feeding point and saw Kiasa having her milk, he again began to trumpet even louder. One of the Keepers quickly rushed over and gave him his milk before he could make any more noise.
Amusingly once Mukkoka has finished his milk he is completely silent and does not cause any trouble with any of the other orphans that are arriving for their milk. Unlike Kiasa and Larro he happily moves away from the milk feeding point. Kiasa and Larro on the other hand keep harassing the Keepers and try to get more milk from the wheelbarrow. This keeps the Keepers very busy as they have to chase the girls away so that they can feed the rest of the Nursery herd.
Luggard’s injury can sometimes swell up if he is playing a little too rough with some of the other bulls. Over the last few days his knee has appeared a little swollen and he has been walking a little slower. The Keepers thought maybe he pulled it as when they did a thorough check they could not see any visible problems. This morning the swelling had gone down and he was walking normally again. This seemed to really please Luggard whom could now keep up with the rest of the Nursery herd and he even went down for a mud bath this afternoon.
Whilst in the forest Luggard appeared to be full of energy and he began a strength testing match with his good friend Musiara. The Keepers were happy to see the two bulls playing and to see that Luggard was his normal self again.
Maxwell has still been a bit lethargic over the last few days and sleeping a bit more than usual; because of this the Keepers have been giving him extra pellets and greens which he seems to be enjoying.
This morning, the KWS Veterinary Team came to have a look at Maxwell l and make sure he was okay. They gave him a general antibiotic and did a full checkup. After his checkup Maxwell seemed to be a little groggy, which the Vet said was normal, and he spent most of his day sleeping in the sun or resting up against the posts of his stockade.
In the afternoon Maxwell was much more alert and was enjoying some fresh greens and his Lucerne pellets as well as some additional sugar cane to help with his recovery. Kiko was again worried about his friend and he could be seen pacing up and down his stockade, keeping an eye on him. In the evening, the Keepers ushered Maxwell back to his bedroom where he could sleep comfortably on his hay.
First thing this morning the Keepers went to check on Maxwell and he seemed much better today. As the orphans were making their way out their stables some of them walked over to Maxwell’s stockade as if to check in and say good morning. Maxwell came over and lent on his gate greeting Tagwa, Maisha, Tamiyoi, and Nabulu. Whilst the four girls were saying hello to Maxwell, they were also trying to grab some of his Lucerne pellets that were on the floor.
After a little while, the Keepers ushered the elephant orphans off to the forest. As the orphans left Maxwell went over to eat his greens and then eventually moved over to his Lucerne pellets.
In the afternoon, just after 3pm, the Keepers were overjoyed to see Maxwell rolling around in his mud bath and walking up and down his stockade scratching up and down his fence line. His energy levels seemed to be improving, and he appeared to be far less lethargic.
Little Roho has become quite the playful young bull and he has stated to copy some of the habits of the older bulls such as Musiara, Sattao, Maktao and Dololo. These older boys are always fond of wrestling each other and climbing on each other as well as on the backs of the other orphans in the Nursery herd. Today, little Roho was trying to wrestle Maisha whilst they were out in the forest. He could be seen running towards her and testing his strength each time he would push against her. Maisha being one of the older and caring girls of the Nursery herd, understood all too well that this was an important part of the little bull’s growth and she could be seen gently challenging him in this strength testing match.
As their games continued, Maisha could be seen lying down and gently playing with the bull. Each time she would lie down, Roho would try and climb onto her back. Maisha has become Roho’s playmate, as he is always choosing her when he gets into his playful moods.
The orphans were not very playful this morning as they made their way to the forest. Once they had reached the forest they were all happy to browse and none of them showed any interest in playing any games. At their midday mud bath, however, they all seemed eager to start their games. Naleku and Roho were amongst the first to enter the mud bath and were seen happily rolling around, covering their entire bodies in mud. Naleku even began climbing on Kiasa’s back as Kiasa was busy rolling around.
Ziwadi who was also enjoying her mud bath eventually got out the muddy water and walked over to one of the water troughs where she began to scratch the back of her legs and bum. The Keepers found it amusing to watch all the orphans having fun.
The older group of orphans were just as playful as they quickly finished their bottles of milk and then headed straight over to the muddy waters. Nabulu and Maisha were having fun spraying mud all over their bodies and all over the surrounding area, splashing anyone that got too close. All the orphans were thoroughly enjoying themselves, rolling around in the water and plastering their bodies in mud.
This morning the orphans were led out to the field by Kiasa. When they eventually made it to the forest, Kiasa led Larro, Mukkoka, Naleku, Maktao and Musiara even further into the forest, moving away from the rest of the Nursery herd. Kiasa seems to enjoy being the leader of her own little group and will often want to take some of the orphans away from the older orphans such as Tagwa, Tamiyoi, Nabulu, Enkesha, Sattao, and Dololo.
Luggard and Ziwadi spend most of the morning together, browsing behind the rest of the orphans and taking their time whilst walking out to the forest.
Maxwell seems to be improving day by day and he is eating more and getting a bit more energy. He is thoroughly enjoying his Lucerne pellets and greens again, finishing all his pellets after they are put down for him. He is also enjoying his mud baths and going to relax in his bedroom.
Kiombo seemed to be in a bad mood this morning and did not want any of the other bulls such as Musiara, Maktao, Mukkoka, Dololo, and Sattao to browse near him. Every time they tried to browse near him he would charge at them and chase them away. However, from 10am onwards he seemed to have cheered up a bit and was in a much better mood with his friends. He could be seen happily browsing near the other bulls that were trying to stay near him earlier on.
The last few days Ziwadi has not been sneaking off on her own but has rather been following the Nursery herd out in the forest. Recently she has also been experiencing less seizures, which seems to have helped her in many ways. Ziwadi and Larro are still learning how to use their trunks, especially when it comes to drinking water. They are often seen going down on their knees and drinking water through their mouths. As the orphans grow older, they learn how to use their trunks more and more.
Kiko very much has a mind of his own, and this morning he decided to be stubborn and not listen to his Keeper that were trying to usher him to the stockade neighbouring Maxwell’s. When the Keepers tried to call him in their direction, he just walked off and headed straight to the parking area where he began to eat some greens. He was also having fun following the guards around and seeing what they are up to. He remained in the parking for several minutes before he headed off to the forest.
When he got to the forest, he slightly frightened Nabulu, Kiombo, Sattao, and Dololo who were all busy browsing. As they got a fright, they all began to charge around excitedly and Dololo even tried to chase Kiko back to the stockade compound. Although reluctant, Kiko eventually decided to walk back to his stockade with his Keepers.
Maxwell is still getting better and each day shows little improvements. Most days he has been enjoying a long mud bath in the afternoon.
Musiara woke up with a swollen leg today. The Keepers believed that he might have slightly sprained his legs whilst running around on the uneven terrain in the forest. They applied fastum gel to help with the swelling and any muscle pain there might have been. This, however, did not hinder him in anyway as he was out and about being just as boisterous and energetic as the day before. He was even walking and running without a limp.
During their midday mud bath, Roho was busy climbing onto Kiasa and Larro’s backs as the two girls were enjoying a brief dust bath. As he was climbing on Kiasa’s back, you could see his little head peering over her stomach and then he would slide down once again. He appeared to be having the best time playing with the two girls.