Keepers' Diaries, January 2007

Nairobi Nursery Unit

The 25th January heralded the arrival of yet another tiny elephant into our Nairobi Nursery, this time a 3 week old baby bull, who was taken by the current of the river Mogor in Trans Mara some 200 meters downstream before being washed up on a bank. Apparently, he then simply walked into the cattle enclosure of a Masai farmer, something viewed in Masai folklore as good omen, which prompted the owner to protect him from the Warriors who would rather have killed him. Instead, he gave the little elephant some cows’ milk before walking with the elephant 15 kms. to Kilgoris Police Station to alert KWS to his presence. A day later they called us and a rescue was mounted, flying little “Kilgoris” to the Nairobi Nursery.

01 January 2007

The New Year began on a high note with the 4 tiny babies running around, and playing with one another. Galdessa and Shimba like pretending to browse, but Lesanju and Lempaute spend most of their time playing, rolling around on the ground, and chasing one another round bushes!

02 January 2007

After wonderful rains, the bush is very lush and thick, so the older orphans had a wonderful time, playing hide and seek, breaking down small shrubs and trumpeting. Kamboyo tried his luck mounting Kamboyo, who yelled, bringing Sian to the rescue who chased Kamboyo off. He then embarked on another game with Zurura, whilst Chyulu and Loijuk were having fun chasing warthog piglets.

03 January 2007

Shimba loves sucking on the tiny teats of the other elephants, and today he went down on his knees to try and suckle those of little Galdessa, putting his trunk on Galdessa’s tummy and making sucking noises. Out in the forest, Kenze found himself separated from the others. Immediately Sian went in search of him, trumpeting to inform the Keepers that something was wrong. The Keepers also went in search, and soon found Kenze just feeding on his own.

04 January 2007

Lenana and Makena began a pushing game together which deteriorated into a fight today. Zurura came to the assistance of Makena, which made Lenana give up and take herself off.

05 January 2007

Zurura found a nice root today, which all the other orphans wanted. Kamboyo decided to fight Zurura for the root, so Zurura dropped it and took up the challenge, and eventually the Keepers had to intervene. Kamboyo then ran to get the root.

06 January 2007

Sian and Loijuk had a lovely time running around trumpeting and breaking down small shrubs today. Their game was interfering with the feeding of the others, so the Keepers had to move in and calm the two down.

07 January 2007

Kamboyo and Zurura had a play-fight this morning, which Sian tried to interrupt. However, the two combatants just moved to another venue, and started all over again!

08 January 2007

Lesanju was very playful today, which prompted Shimba to join in and try and mount onto her. Lesanju objected to this, so a mini punch-up ensued.

09 January 2007

Lesanju and little Lempaute are interested in chasing the warthog piglets. To begin with the mother warthog was not deterred, but eventually she decided to move off as well, which made the two tiny babies feel very proud of themselves.

10 January 2007

Loijuk had fun during the public visiting hour. She took water into her trunk, and sprayed it over the visitors! Then she moved to a different part of the cordon and repeated the trick, after which she lifted the cordon and joined the visitors for a while until the Keepers brought her back to her side of the line.

11 January 2007

Makena was scared by a group of baboons that came close to where she was feeding. Sian immediately began to trumpet and demonstrate against the baboons by breaking bushes, until they moved off.

12 January 2007

Makena and Zurura were interested in 3 giraffes that came to drink during the open visiting hour. They began to chase the giraffes, who ran off down the hill, much to the amusement of all the visitors.

13 January 2007

For the first time, Kenze played in the mud with the other babies during the Open Hour. Lenana has become very friendly and during the Visiting Hour greets all the visitors by going along the rope and touching them with her trunk.

14 January 2007

Shida is showing signs of improvement today, playing in the mudwallow we made in his Stockade and feeding. That is a step forward towards his full recovery.

15 January 2007

As Lesanju was leading her little group of four out today, she came across a large male warthog, who did not want to give way to her. She bellowed, wanting the Keepers to chase the warthog away, which we did.

16 January 2007

Makena, Chyulu and Lenana enjoyed a wonderful game today, all rolling around on the ground in a patch of loose soil. Usually Lenana does not want to play like this, so we were pleased to find her doing so today.

17 January 2007

Kamboyo just wanted to play today, lying on a little mound out in the forest, rather than spending time feeding. Zurura came to join in, and it ended up in a play-fight, which Kamboyo won.

18 January 2007

Shimba and Galdessa like to show their independence by feeding apart from the two tiny girls, Lesanju and Lempaute. Today, when Lesanju decided to join the two boys, Shimba chased her off, not wanting to share Galdessa with her!

19 January 2007

A pile of loose red earth was dumped down at the mudbath, and the tiny babies loved playing in it. Only Galdessa decided to give it a miss.

20 January 2007

Since Shida has been having supplementary rations, he has taken to coming back to his Stockade at noon for his midday rations, after which he takes a nap in the Stockade. At night he feeds on the greens provided.

21 January 2007

Today Lempaute entertained all the visitors at the mudbath by going up and down the rope so that they could touch her, whilst the others concentrated on the soil pile.

22 January 2007

Galdessa, who has not been well, is showing improvement now, because he is beginning to play with the others. Shimba is his best friend.

23 January 2007

At about 2 p.m., an animal that the Keepers did not see, but suspect could have been a lion, scared all the big elephants, who ran in different directions screaming. It took the Keepers about 2 hours to round them all up. They were trumpeting and breaking down bushes. Kenze was the most difficult to find. All were very frightened and passing a lot of dung, which makes us suspect that the animal was a lion.

24 January 2007

Because of what happened yesterday, every elephant wanted to be in the middle of the line as the orphans left their Stables in the morning. Only Sian was courageous enough not to push into the middle.

25 January 2007

Today saw the arrival of a new baby into the Nursery. He has been named “Kilgoris”. The four tiny babies were brought in to meet him, but they appeared more interested in wondering if it was time for their milk, than inspecting the new arrival. Only Shimba showed some interest.

26 January 2007

The new baby was taken out with the other four tiny babies today. He wants to stay close to the Keepers, and sucks their fingers all day long. He is only about 3 weeks old without any teeth, and the hind side of the ears still pink.

27 January 2007

Lesanju is beginning to show interest in little Kilgoris, following him and touching him with her trunk, which he seemed to enjoy.

28 January 2007

Kenze is a loner, and usually likes to feed apart from all the other orphans. Sometimes the Keepers have a hard time to find him, and often he doesn’t want to follow the other orphans.

29 January 2007

Ever since Makena joined Sian, the relationship between these two has grown much stronger, even though it was strong before Makena was moved. During the day Makena likes to remain very close to Sian, and spends a lot of time sucking on her ears.

30 January 2007

The little group of 5 babies is very interesting. Today they enjoyed playing in a pile of soft soil, and only Galdessa did not take part in the games. Shimba is proving a very bossy little fellow who enjoys throwing his weight around the others, when little Lesanju tries to discipline him, especially if he tries to bully little Lempaute. She is a very active baby, and the newcomer, tiny Kilgoris, is also now playing, which is a very encouraging sign. Only Galdessa remains very subdued.

31 January 2007

Today Shida did not want to be attended by the Keepers. He kept moving away from them, and headed down into the main Park by himself. Later in the evening he returned to his Stockade on his own.