Keepers' Diaries, January 2017

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

Mbegu is truly doing a superb job at filling the shoes of the Nursery Matriarch and taking charge of all the youngsters. We wondered how little Ambo would react when his ‘adopted mother’ Oltaiyoni was moved to the Ithumba Rehabilitation Unit, but Mbegu immediately stepped in and has adopted him, along with her first precious baby, Jotto, who still remains closest to her heart, but prefers to spend most of his time browsing close to his Keepers. Hence it is actually Ambo who ends up the recipient of most of Mbegu’s attention. Godoma, as the oldest girl in the first group, is also very much a care-giver to all the smaller youngsters such as Tamiyoi, Jotto, Malima, Esampu, Kuishi and Ambo. We are sure that when the time comes for Mbegu to graduate for rehabilitation then Godoma will become the next Leader of the herd, since Mbegu sometimes likes to delegate to her some duties, such as disciplining some of the naughty ones or responding to the cry of a youngster for help.

Mbegu is truly doing a superb job at filling the shoes of the Nursery Matriarch and taking charge of all the youngsters. We wondered how little Ambo would react when his ‘adopted mother’ Oltaiyoni was moved to the Ithumba Rehabilitation Unit, but Mbegu immediately stepped in and has adopted him, along with her first precious baby, Jotto, who still remains closest to her heart, but prefers to spend most of his time browsing close to his Keepers. Hence it is actually Ambo who ends up the recipient of most of Mbegu’s attention. Godoma, as the oldest girl in the first group, is also very much a care-giver to all the smaller youngsters such as Tamiyoi, Jotto, Malima, Esampu, Kuishi and Ambo. We are sure that when the time comes for Mbegu to graduate for rehabilitation then Godoma will become the next Leader of the herd, since Mbegu sometimes likes to delegate to her some duties, such as disciplining some of the naughty ones or responding to the cry of a youngster for help.

It was a wonderful month for our oldest boy in the Nursery, Kelelari, rescued at three and a half years old, who came out of his Stockade for the first time this month. Being that much older with the loss of his family fresh in his memory, it took him a long time to settle down and accept his new surroundings and family. However, on the 18th, it was decided that it was time since he trusted the Keepers and was sufficiently familiar with the other orphans to join the herd. It was a slow start to begin with, since he was visibly apprehensive of the other orphans, charging at them and not letting anyone close, even giving naughty little Rapa a good scare, but even on the first day he was comfortable enough to join the others in the mudbath at a private viewing at 3.00pm. The next day he was ready to accompany the herd to the Public Visiting time, returning to the forest with the others much calmer and settled. We are delighted at the progress of this big Bull who came to us having suffered such severe trauma, and despite his size is one of the most gentle in the group. He is so happy to be surrounded by a loving elephant family once more, and it is heart - warming indeed to be able to gift him that.

Murit continues to display his gentle and caring nature every day, particularly close to Luggard, always including him in games and browsing alongside him. He is never too brutal or pushy in their games, often even protecting him from other more boisterous bulls like Ngilai and Rapa when they happen to be playing together. He also plays gently with the other little ones such as Jotto and Ambo as well.

Gentle Karisa joined our Fostering Program this month. At two years old he has formed a unique relationship with Malima and Ukame, the three making an unlikely trio since Malima is only 8 months old and Ukame nearly 3 years! Nevertheless, these three travel everywhere together, and sometimes their group includes Wanjala too. Whenever the Keepers cannot find one of them, then the others are absent as well, because they often like to wander off into the thick bush together and browse separately from the others.

As it has been another hot month in Nairobi, so the orphans have enjoyed their mud baths when they are fed their milk there. Esampu and Ngilai can be particularly mischievous at the mud bath. One day little Esampu rushed out of the mudbath, ran to the water tub, sloshed water over the sides and onto the feet of the visiting public before running back into the mudbath again! If Godoma is not around then Sana Sana is always the one to keep an eye on Esampu for she is also prone to playing mischievous tricks on the visitors! Maramoja loves to run up to one of the water tubs after her milk feed to scratch her buttocks, always selecting the same water tub! One day Ngilai was running in and out of the mud bath to play with the younger ones, but was roughly bumping into them overstepping the boundaries in his enthusiasm, so the Keepers warned him away. However, instead of going back into the mud bath, naughty Ngilai decided to run along the rope cordon instead and bump into the visitors who were standing there, plastering them all nicely in mud before running back to the mud bath!

Kuishi a little one whose story is yet to be told and she is yet to be added to the fostering program, but she doesn’t really enjoy mud baths. She always stands some distance away, and instead rubs herself against the bodies of others who have been in the mud in order to get a small layer of protection that way instead! The Keepers have tried smearing her with mud a few times but she just runs away!

Kiko our orphan giraffe is still spending most of his time within the stockade compound for fear of the Nairobi Park lions who are still frequently spotted in the forest close to the HQ. Towards the end of the month when the lions had not been seen for some days, Kiko was allowed out into the forest as well which he relished. Whenever he is denied the opportunity of going out with the elephant orphans, he protests by sprinting around the stockade area and kicking his legs in the air and chasing any warthogs he comes across! One day when he was doing this, the warthogs ran into Maxwell’s Stockade for safety, but unhappily for the warthogs, Maxwell was in charging mode as well, chasing them back out of the gate! A fresh heap of red soil has been deposited in one corner of Maxwell’s stockade this month and he enjoys lying on this in the cool shade of one of the trees on hot days, preferring this to his mudwallow even.

January 2017 day to day

01 Jan

All the orphans welcomed in the New Year in a jovial mood, very much engaged in various pushing games. Little Jotto, Tamiyoi and Malima happily romped around the stockade compound trying to charge, trumpet and ‘bushbash’ like all the older ones were doing in the bushes abutting the stockades. Luggard, Murit and Malkia were busy locking trunks with each other in some great wrestling games. It was funny and encouraging at the same time to see poor Luggard with his broken bag leg trying to play and climb on Malkia as all others do, despite only really being on three legs. He couldn’t balance very well but he was happy to chase after her instead, and Malkia was willing to give him a fair pushing game as well.

Jotto in a happy mood!

Malima in a charging mood

Sweet Tamiyoi

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