Keepers' Diaries, January 2017

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.

01 January 2017

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.

02 January 2017

During the orphans’ mud bath at 11am, it was very hot and the babies quickly drank from their milk bottles and ran into the mud bath to cool down. When Luggard, Malima, Tamiyoi, Ambo and Jotto arrived at the mud bath area, it was all they could do to finish their milk as fast as possible before going to suck up mud and spray it behind their ears to cool down. Luggard especially, who loves his mud baths, happily wallowed in the thick mud accompanied by Tamiyoi, Malima and Jotto, though their happy games took a turn when Esampu, Murit, Godoma and Ngilai arrived at the mud bath too. They rolled and bumped and slid against each other, which was a bit too rough for the smaller ones, so they got out to enjoy soil dusting with the help of their keepers instead. Ngilai ran out of the mud bath and started trying to play with the younger ones and bumping into them as well, but the keepers warned him away. Instead of going back into the mud bath though naughty Ngilai decided to run along the rope cordon where the visitors were standing and enjoyed bumping into them, getting them all nice and muddy before running back into the mud bath; a clever move to avoid being told off by the keepers – although they enjoyed it and applauded Ngilai’s naughty behaviour!

03 January 2017

Out in the bush this morning all the orphans were busy browsing and not really playing, though minutes after 7am Lasayen, Rapa, Ndotto, Sana Sana, Malkia and Dupotto started chasing around and chasing after the female warthogs and their young ones that had joined their little group out in the forest for protection. When the others started to tire, Rapa, Ndotto and Lasayen didn’t give up the chase and continued to try and flush the pigs out of the bushes but when they accidentally ran into Malkia and Sana Sana they got a fright and they went running back to join the rest of the group. Upon seeing that, Lasayen, Rapa and Ndotto folded their game and went running back to the herd as well, trumpeting and stamping their feet which caused the rest of the herd to do the same! Mbegu, Ukame, Maramoja and Dupotto all joined in bashing bushes down and trumpeting as they ran about the forest. Little ones like Tamiyoi, Malima, Jotto and Luggard were chose to stand beside the keepers and not get involved in all the noisy activity. Once they had all had enough of their game all the orphans settled down again and went peacefully back to browsing.

04 January 2017

When the orphans were out in the forest in the early morning, Ukame, Karisa and Wanjala frightened the others by trying to lead them deep into the forest where Oltaiyoni, Roi and Naseku used to lead them. Wanjala took the lead of Ukame and Karisa but when he realised that none of the herd were following him he turned and ran back to them trumpeting, seeing Ukame and Karisa do the same; but upon seeing these three arrive in such a state all the herd set about trumpeting and stamping the ground in protest against they did not know what! As the herd’s protest moved closer to where the keepers were standing, Wanjala, Ukame and Karisa made their way through them, yelling and heading back to the stockades. Upon realizing that the others were still in the forest though, Ukame, who was in the lead, made a u-turn and the two boys followed her, running back to the herd in the bush who they were happy to reunite with. It seems they are just a bit unsettled by the move of the older elephants who they used to walk far out into the bush with, but all will come right and the herds new dynamic will soon establish itself.

05 January 2017

When the orphans came out of their stockades this morning they were all very busy greeting each other. Best friends like Ndotto and Lasayen were pushing each other and little Tamiyoi, Jotto and Malima walked straight over to Maxwell’s stockade opposite their stables and enjoyed feeding on his left over lucerne there. As the three little ones struggled against each other to get the best stuff, tiny Tamiyoi turned very jealous and didn’t want either Jotto or Malima to share the tasty lucerne too. She tried approaching Malima with her ears spread wide to scare her away and then did the same to Jotto, but Jotto did not take heed and busied himself by picking up the lucerne. She then tried pushing him and then even head butting him, pushing him into the metal bars of Maxwell’s gate. This made Jotto yell loudly and run off to join Malima who had already left before when Tamiyoi started to get angry. Then both he and Malima ran to join the rest of the herd who were by now browsing in the bushes nearby. Tamiyoi did not want to be left on her own though and she ran after them, though for the rest of the day Jotto did not want Tamiyoi to be next to him!

06 January 2017

Mbegu has been used to leading the young group out into the bush in the morning and down for public visiting and feeding time, but today she officially became the leader of the whole herd when she had to take responsibility of leading the older group down to visiting time. Although she has been used to being close to the young ones, at the public visit today she didn’t show any sign of missing them too much and was happy, continuing with the feeding time as normal. Godoma is now the oldest girl in the first group of young orphans. She is the leader and caretaker of all the little babies like Tamiyoi, Jotto, Malima, Esampu and Ambo. Having learnt all the lessons of caring and protecting youngsters from Mbegu she is beginning to show she has what it takes to lead this little group. Today at public visiting when Esampu tried to bully Malima from her milk bottle and Malima shouted in protest, Godoma ran over to them to see what the problem was, proving that she is a good caretaker. Perhaps she will even be a matriarch herself one day!

07 January 2017

Murit who is such a gentle little fellow was busy teaching little Jotto, Ambo and Luggard pushing lessons out in the forest early this morning. He had a busy time playing with the little boys taking on Jotto and Ambo together, with Luggard sometimes participating from the sidelines. Later Murit settled to fight with his best friend Luggard, but their fun game took a turn when naughty boy Rapa tried to join in and he is much too boisterous so they were not interested in playing with him. This annoyed Rapa and he started bashing small bushes down in protest! Out during the public visit the orphans were only quite active; only Malima and Tamiyoi had a busy time rolling on the loose soil as they enjoyed soil dusting and posing along the rope cordon, allowing the visitors to take lots of nice photos of them.

08 January 2017

During bottle feeding times, whether it is out in the bush or at the mud bath visiting time, it is funny to watch the leader of the group, Mbegu, go from one orphan to the next and putting her trunk in their mouth and sucking any milk up off the floor that they might have spilt as well. She has always done this and even in her stockade in the afternoon, she makes sure to suck up all the milk off the ground if she spilt any from her bottle. She makes sure nothing goes to waste! Close to 2pm today we received a report from one of our vet units of an orphan that needed rescuing from the Amboseli. A rescue team was sent out and they met up with the rangers who had found the orphan down a water hole during their daily patrol. The calf was found within the Kitirua Community Conservancy in Langolo area. It seemed the calf had been there awhile but had no major injuries, just some bruises to the forelegs. The calf was very young and in quite poor condition having been without mother’s milk but she was rescued and taken back to the Nairobi Nursery.

09 January 2017

Due to the high temperature today, the orphans had a lengthy mud bath which saw Luggard and Murit very reluctant to leave the mud pool! Ndotto and Galla were busy climbing and clambering all over Mbegu who was lying deep in the mud. It was quite funny to watch Ndotto, when Galla started trying to climb on Mbegu too, come running over and head butt him away, as he is so fond of Mbegu and likes to have her attention to himself! Galla started to retaliate though and also try and head butt Ndotto away, so neither had an enjoyable time rolling on Mbegu’s back in the mud! The young one rescued yesterday seems to be okay today – she is picking up things with her trunk and drinking some milk. She was welcomed and embraced by the older females like Mbegu, Dupotto, Maramoja, Godoma and Ukame… but she still loves being close to the keepers as well.

10 January 2017

Today Murit was leading his group down to the mud bath area for their milk feed when he encountered a troop of baboons near the area chasing each other and messing around. He changed direction and tried to chase them out of the way but it didn’t really work as they were not that bothered by him! Godoma backed Murit up with her ears spread wide, and they managed to make their way through the baboons to run down trumpeting to their bottle feed. When the second group of babies comprised of Tamiyoi, Malima and Kuishi came running down to the open area, they got a bit confused of where to go with the baboons in the way, and Tamiyoi and Malima started yelling for help. Their yelling drew the immediate reaction of the new mini matriarch Godoma, who responded by running back out to the babies where she confidently charged through the baboons, sending them running off in all directions, so the youngsters could make their way down for their milk. Lovely caring Godoma happily walked Tamiyoi, Malima and Kuishi down to the mud bath area, still on guard with her ears spread wide.

11 January 2017

The orphans were busy all walking out of the stockades and into the forest to begin their normal browsing activities. As they were walking they came across a herd of impala who were also busy browsing there. Upon seeing them Dupotto, Maramoja, Ndotto, Pare, Lasayen, Rapa, Mbegu, Karisa and Ukame quickly turned into the thicket and started charging and trumpeting prompting the other orphans to scamper into the bushes as well, sending the unimposing impala sprinting away in all directions. One of the impalas was unlucky however as it found itself trapped amongst the charging and stamping orphans. It had a moment of confusion within the group but we watched in amazement as it just jumped high clean over Ndotto’s back in a panic to reach the rest of its herd, an action that send Ndotto yell out in fright and the herd went running to the keepers for reassurance, only Mbegu, Dupotto, Godoma and Maramoja remained active as they charged about bush-bashing for several minutes before calm prevailed and they all went back to browsing peacefully and making their way further into the forest. Tamiyoi, Jotto, Malima, Murit and Kuishi all kept themselves very close to the keepers for the rest of the morning though!

12 January 2017

Out in the field this morning all the orphans were busy enjoying their morning browse with no major activities observed. During public visiting and because of the continued high temperatures, the little orphans did not waste any time in getting into the mud pool after having their milk bottles. They all enjoyed a playful wallowing session getting mud all over the place, with playful Esampu and Maramoja being particularly mischievous. Little Esampu was rushing out of the mud hole and running into the water trough tub, sloshing water over the sides and onto the feet of the visiting public, before running back into the mud hole again. Maramoja also came out of the mud hole and went running up to one of the water trough tubs, but she instead used it to scratch her hind which the visitors thought was really funny; she enjoyed a good scratch there for some time.

13 January 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 January 2017

Kiko is still spending most of his time within the stockade compound to protect him from the presence of the lions who are still frequently spotted around in the forest close to the HQ. When Kiko came out of his stable this morning though he was adamant to walk out into the forest with the orphans as well. when he found his way blocked by the poles we constructed to keep him inside he protested by sprinting around the stockade area and kicking the air, chasing some warthogs that were hanging around the area who ran into Maxwell’s stockade for safety and leaving him looking through the bars of the gate where they ran through. The warthogs weren’t very lucky though as Maxwell was in a charging mood and chased them from the other side of the gate! The warthogs managed to make it through the bars and ran off, leaving Maxwell charging around his stockade for a few minutes before settling down to enjoy his mud pool. Today we rescued a new baby from the Masai Mara found in the Musiara area who was very young and following a wild herd of elephants, but with no cow elephant in the herd they were not interested in caring for the little calf. The little one arrived at the nursery in a collapsed state, exhausted from following the wild herd and being without milk for so long. After some treatment and drip infusions he was back on his feet, although still weak, and taking milk formula.

15 January 2017

The little one rescued yesterday is still very weak and spent his first night under the care and protection of the keepers. He is still happily taking the precious milk formula and he enjoys being close to the keepers; he is under 3 months old. During the public visiting time today Mbegu and Dupotto were being very funny in their mud wallow. Mbegu was lying on the edge of the mud wallow with her head hanging down into the mud and Dupotto was sitting on her and both were playfully enjoying sliding into the mud; Mbegu was posing with her hind legs high in the air as Dupotto enjoyed scratching her backside on Mbegu’s! The whole thing was so funny to watch.

16 January 2017

Little Musiara woke up looking slightly dull this morning and not as strong as the previous day. He was slightly off his milk as well but his blood was not showing anything too out of the ordinary. We put him on a drip which boosted his energy levels and kept him inside to recover. During public visit today it was really hot which prompted the orphans to compete who could get into the mud bath first to beat the soaring temperatures. Some of the orphans weren’t interested in going into the mud though, like Ngilai. He doesn’t like the mud that much and will always try and find a way of avoiding it. Instead he was charging about after warthogs in the bushes who were also just trying to get to the mud hole. At one point, he got closer to the mud bath to join Jotto, Tamiyoi, Malima and Murit who were busy having a mud and soil bath aided by the keepers, but when he saw the keepers approaching him with the spade he kept running away from them to avoid being covered in mud. He walked far away from the mud bath and watched where the keepers went with the spade to avoid being covered in mud. Kuishi is another baby who always shies away from the mud bath and she just hangs around the edge of the pool, not sure whether to get into it or not. She normally just likes to scratch against those who have just come out of the mud and that’s normally how she likes to mud bathe!

17 January 2017

Esampu’s greedy character is well known amongst her little friends. Today during the public visit when Malima was having her milk in the open space, she saw Esampu running towards her with her ears raised but before she could reach her, Malima started shouting and sheltered herself behind the keeper. Godoma responded immediately and started charging towards Malima to help, but just a wagging finger from the keepers pointed at Esampu saw her change her intension, and instead she just went to the water troughs to have a drink and Godoma just watched her from nearby to make sure she didn’t do anything else naughty. Day after day Karisa, Ukame and Malima are moulding their relationship – becoming firm friends and going everywhere together, even though Malima is so much younger. If the keepers cannot find one of them in the main herd, soon they will realise none of the three are there and they will always be found browsing separately together. Today after the 3pm private visit it was noticed that Ukame was missing from the herd. As the search for her began, it was Karisa who came out of the thicket first, followed by Wanjala leading Ukame. When Karisa saw the keepers he walked towards them, but when Ukame and Wanjala saw the keepers they ran away at first. Then they decided to follow behind Karisa who was walking with the keepers to re-join the rest of the herd in the forest.

18 January 2017

Mbegu is being such a responsible matriarch and she seems to understand her group so well. Early in the morning as all the orphans were walking out deep into the forest, some of the very young ones were crowded under one of the tall trees. They were busy feeding on the leaves that had fallen to the ground there – Ambo, Jotto, Esampu, Ngilai and Godoma were all there but Ngilai and Esampu were shoving the others to try and get most of the leave for themselves. Godoma and Ambo kept pushing back and when Mbegu saw the group having their differences she stepped in to resolve the problem. She stepped in and pulled down a branch of the tree for the babies so that everyone had something to enjoy, and everyone was happy. Dupotto followed suit and soon almost the whole herd were there enjoying the leaves. Missing from the scene again were Ukame, Karisa and Wanjala again but this time the little girl Malima too. They were browsing separately together to the side and had found their own nice branches to chew on. At around 2pm, big boy Kelelari finally got to leave his stockade and join the others out in the forest. We decided after 2 months he was finally ready and trusted the keepers enough too. His walk out to the forest was very slow and it took him a long time to join the others who had come back to pick up him. He was so much older when he came to the nursery and thus that bit more traumatized after losing his family. Everyone who approached him regardless of their age or size was charged at and pushed away. Mbegu tried to reach out to him too whilst he drank water from a water trough, but she was pushed away too. When he finally reached the forest he was still pushing the others away, even Rapa who is known for not being very friendly to young ones was not spared and he stayed away from Kelelari for the rest of the day. It was the courageous short little boy Ndotto who tried to stop this behaviour. Ndotto walked straight up to him as Kelelari tried to warn him away with his long tusks and big body, but Ndotto just pushed him away. Kelelari tried to charge at him and Ndotto just charged back and pushed him into the bushes! Ndotto’s wrestling practise with Kauro and the other big boys before they left must have successfully taught him some good lessons and from then on, Kelelari started behaving! He even stayed with the herd for the private visit in the afternoon and behaved without causing any problems – he really enjoyed the mud bath! At 4.30pm before the others come back to their stockades at 5pm, he was escorted back with Mbegu, Ndotto, Dupotto and Karisa and he had no problem going back into his pen. What a fun and successful first day out for this big boy we are so thankful we managed to save, and thank goodness for Ndotto too!

19 January 2017

At 6am in the morning it was another new day for Kelelari to accompany his new family to the forest. He looked very happy, calm and content today and was interacting with the others much better, not like yesterday! Rapa still doesn’t seem to be very comfortable with his presence though and keeps running away from him whenever he tries to approach him. Sometimes when he doesn’t realize Kelelari is behind him and then suddenly sees him, he goes running and screaming for help! Today Ndotto doesn’t seem to be in his normal mood and it is as if there is something bothering him. It might be the presence of the heavy strong boy Kelelari, or something else. We are not quite sure but he has been keeping to himself and browsing away from the herd, not interacting with anyone. Kelelari even managed to come down to the public visit today and we were very prepared, with a lot of keepers around him should anything go wrong and we are sure this was one reason he behaved so well. He was so good and behaved as if he had been to the visiting time many times before! After finishing his bottle of milk he walked straight to the mud bath which he enjoyed at length, before getting out and going to enjoy a nice dust bath. When they all lined up and started to make their way back to the forest, by the time he reached the trees he seemed a different elephant, as if he had learnt something. He was very interested in the company of Dupotto, Ukame and Mbegu. He kept following them and never strayed far from Mbegu. He seems to have learnt that she is also the matriarch of this little nursery herd. Mbegu, Karisa, Ndotto and Lasayen escorted him home earlier than the normal time at 4.30pm.

20 January 2017

Ndotto is looking good this morning as the orphans walked out to the forest, he seems to be back to his normal self from the funny mood he was in yesterday. When they were still in their pens he engaged his friend Lasayen in a hide and seek game, hiding with the stockade for the other one to look for the other. They played this game all the way out to the forest, and wound it up with a wrestling game. As well as Ndotto, Murit was also in a fun and happy mood and he had lots of fun with Ngilai and Jotto. He is so clever he wouldn’t allow the pushy boy Ngilai to play with little Jotto. They went on playing and he made sure he was the only one playing with Jotto, not Ngilai and he always blocked him from getting to near him. The game came to an end when their milk arrived in the forest for their 9am feed. Kiko has been staying around the stockade compound for such a long time now due to the presence of lions in the area. Because we had not seen the lions for some time now, in the morning after the orphans had come out of their stockades, Kiko was also allowed out into the forest to join the babies. He was so excited to be able to walk out and about everywhere and feed on all the different trees. He then came across orphan Wanjala who was busy browsing away from the others. Wanjala had not seen him come out in the morning and when he saw a giraffe approaching he seemed to think it was a wild one. He ran away out of the bushes in fear – but when he got to the open area and realised it was just Kiko he decided to turn around and chase him away back into the bushes. Kiko only came back to the keepers when it was time for the orphans to go to public visiting.

21 January 2017

Since yesterday Tamiyoi hasn’t been looking so well and has loose stools so we took some blood for testing. But Mbegu was very upset with the keepers when they tried to get Tamiyoi to take a blood sample from her. The orphans are so clever especially by Tamiyoi’s age and she sensed what was happening and she kept dodging the keepers to avoid having her blood taken. Finally they caught her and she shouted for help. Mbegu heard her crying from a distance and she came running over with her ears raised up. One of the new keepers tried to stop her but she didn’t obey the commands and charged forward, but one of the older keepers stepped forward to talk to her and she was much more reassured. That was all that was needed and she realised they were only trying to help the baby, and she stayed calm for Tamiyoi. After the keepers got the blood they needed Mbegu escorted her away with Dupotto. Mbegu will always be ready to help the little ones. Rapa was given some discipline by Lasayen today after he interrupted his nice play time with Ngilai, but Ukame came to help Rapa when Lasayen continued to teach him some lessons by pushing him

22 January 2017

Today Murit has been such a joker within the herd, since he came out of his stockade this morning. He might even be over taking Ndotto as the play-maker within the orphan family. His pen is next to Ngilai’s and that was his first stop this morning – he kept running up to it and pulling on it because Ngilai was still inside. Malima then came running over too and together they struggled to open it to let Ngilai out to join them. Finally Ngilai was let out by one of the keepers and the games began straight away. Murit went on to try and help others who were still inside, but Godoma was more interested in playing with Murit than being let out. By the time they all arrived in the forest all the orphans settled to browse except Murit who did not want to abandon his games. Ukame keeps playing tricks on the keepers at milk feeding time for her to get to the milk point ahead of everyone else. She manages to get around the bushes without being seen and reaches the milk feeding point by the mud bath before everyone else!

23 January 2017

Ambo has proven his love and trust for his older peers – when Oltaiyoni gradated to the Ithumba unit we were slightly worried as she was his adopted mother, but Mbegu has immediately stepped in and adopted him after her first baby Jotto. Although Jotto remains close with Mbegu he is very much attached to the keepers first and foremost, so Ambo spends a lot of time with his newly adopted mother because of this. Still if Jotto is in trouble Mbegu will run to assist him. We are sure that when the time comes for Mbegu to graduate then Godoma will become the next leader of the herd; Mbegu sometimes likes to delegate some of her duties to her to help train her for this too. For most of the day today these two have spent their time with the young ones. Mbegu left Ambo mainly in Godoma’s care but if he ever missed her presence he would go looking for her until he found her. Maramoja has a very funny habit of scratching her hind in the same place on one specific water trough every mud bath – it is funny that every time she comes down to that area she is itchy in the same place! She made all the visitors laugh at the visit today, after she finished her delicious milk bottles, by doing that again. Everyone thought she was running for water but as soon as she got there she turned and started scratching there for over 5 minutes!

24 January 2017

Kelelari is settling in so well and he has come to understand that the herd is not all about dominance or who is the strongest, but about togetherness – a family of young orphans just like him. He has started becoming more friendly with some of the younger ones too who have started to trust him and his big size more. Tagwa, Sana Sana and Kuishi are some of the young ones that have been accompanying him throughout the day. During the public visit today, Tamiyoi, Luggard and Jotto had a very funny time as all three seemed to be in their best playful mood. Most of the babies in the first group of eleven babies that come down for the first feeding just crowded together after their bottles, but Luggard, Tamiyoi and Jotto decided to have some fun after finishing their milk bottles. It was all about mud bathing and soil dusting for them! Luggard will never miss an opportunity to mud bathe but Tamiyoi hardly ever does, even in this very hot weather, so it was very surprising to see her so enthusiastically take to the mud! Jotto went in because his keepers were there and his friends were so enjoying the mud. Kuishi is one baby that doesn’t really enjoy mud baths and she always stands some distance away from the mud. She prefers just to rub herself on the bodies of those that have been in the mud, just to get some protection, rather than go into the mud herself! So she is always a funny patchy colour; the keepers have tried washing her a few times in mud but she just runs away.

25 January 2017

Esampu still doesn’t really get on with the other babies and continues to be told off by some of the older ones for her naughty behaviour. Whilst having her share of milk at the 11am feeding session, she saw Jotto passing by and without warning she decided to push him into the mud pool, before going back to drink her milk bottle. As a way of disciplining her she was denied the rest of her share and sent away by the keepers. She fought against them pretending she had done nothing wrong, but in the end she opted to run away for a drink at the water trough instead. Ambo and Sana Sana were drinking water from the same trough and she went ahead to push the younger Ambo out of the way for some space to drink. Sana Sana wasn’t happy about that and defended Ambo by putting the cheeky Esampu in her place. Sana Sana forced her into the mud bath to play and she stayed there right until the end of visiting time. Malima, Godoma and Murit on the other hand had a wonderful time during the visit. Malima is one fan of the mud bath and loves to play in it when she is in her best mood. It was because of her that Godoma and Murit also got into the pool as well and there they played a pushing and mounting game. Malima looked almost as if she was swimming in the water! Completely submerged and moving from one end to the other; the three has lots of fun before walking to dry themselves in the dust. On their way out they were met by some warthogs who were also coming to cool themselves but they were not spared by the playful trio. Godoma took them on driving them back into the bushes and chasing them in different directions, before joining the others who were already on their way back to the forest.

26 January 2017

Pare seemed half asleep still this morning out in the forest. As they all walked out and dispersed in different directions, Pare realised after awhile he had been left behind with the young baby group that tend to hang around the keepers. He couldn’t seem to trace where the others had gone and after a short while he managed to trumpet and see if any of the others in the older group would respond. No matter how much he trumpeted and shouted though, no one responded. He started running up and down and he tripped over in the bushes as he frantically ran around. Still there was no response as to which direction the older orphans had walked. He decided to abandon his search and this was when Murit, who was also in the younger orphan herd, decided to challenge him to a pushing game. This game went on for some time and then he started trying to climb on Sana Sana but she wasn’t interested in that game and ran away to continue browsing with the others. Murit ended up wrestling with Jotto who he likes wrestling with so much. Esampu emerged from the group to chase away the warthogs but there was one that was as naughty and persistent as her! All the others disappeared as soon as she charged at them but one kept charging back at Esampu! Esampu was furious and pushed her all the way away from the babies for about 200m. She ran back to the group very happy and pleased with herself and Murit welcomed her back with a trumpet of appreciation.

27 January 2017

There seems to be something bothering Maxwell this morning. When the babies were coming out of their pens and going to the forest, Max was looking agitated and just walking around his stockade with his head and tail raised in the air. When he was called to his gate he started to walk towards it and then turned around and charged off in the other direction. Esampu and Ngilai tried to invite Max in their usual running up and down game but today he wasn’t interested – we think there was another wild rhino nearby and that came close to his stockade this morning and he was nervous about his territory. He stayed alert for some time before settling down later in the morning. Mbegu and Godoma were so excited this morning and this was when they met up with Musiara, the little orphan rescued from the Masai Mara earlier in the month. He is improving day after day and today he came out of his stable a bit earlier than other days today and the other orphans were still in the buses near the stockades. Mbegu and Godoma were hanging around with the group of Ambo, Tamiyoi, Jotto, Murit and Luggard and from a distance Mbegu saw the little one walking behind her keeper. She ran to meet him and as soon as she got there she hugged and pulled the baby close to her under her neck, rumbling affectionately. Godoma was attracted to the sound of the rumbling and ran over to Mbegu as well, and together they walked the baby over to the others. Jotto was very interested in Musiara and tried to entice him to a pushing game. The two bigger girls never left his side until milk feeding time when they had to go and have their breakfast bottles.

28 January 2017

Esampu and Ambo remain estranged neighbours and unlike the other orphans who always form close bonds with the stockade neighbours, these two who sleep next to each other have never got on. We can say that the problem isn’t so much Ambo, although he does sometimes initiate arguments, but it seems to be Esampu that does not like Ambo so much. In the morning Ambo came out and was walking behind his keeper and it was as if she already had a grudge against him. She ran up and pushed him and despite the keeper trying to separate them it some peace. The fight went on all the way back to their stables and there was nothing the keeper could do but to try and leave them to work out their differences. They are of almost the same strength and the fight went on until Ambo surrendered and walked out of the stable. Goodness! The twin-like brothers Wanjala and Galla have been hanging out together today, separately from the rest of the herd. They look alike in so many ways and in their character too.

29 January 2017

Mbegu, Godoma and Malkia are showing a lot of interest n taking care of the little boy Musiara today. We were quite interested to see this in Malkia, who is showing a different trait today other than being a greedy little girl! When Musiara arrived in the forest it was a bit later than the others and they had already moved far off into the forest, but these three girls traced their way back to where Musiara was with his keeper. They joined him to browse together and later Godoma and Malkia went back to the main herd whilst Mbegu stayed with him. Rapa and Wanjala decided to solve their differences through wrestling today. Rapa kept bullying Wanjala and today Wanjala decided to take his revenge when he saw naughty Rapa standing on the edge of the mud pool. First he went over and knocked him in and then when Rapa was standing with his front feet out of the mud pool, Wanjala thought he could still take advantage of him in that situation and defeat him in a wrestling match. He faced him and they began wrestling and he did indeed manage to defeat him, but he knew that when Rapa made it out of the mud he would be in trouble so he ran away to hide amongst the rest of the group. Rapa was furious that Wanjala had beat him at wrestling and indeed went to look for Wanjala and he found him standing beside big boy Kelelari. He went up to Wanjala and tried to push him but Kelelari saw him coming and shoved him away thus saving Wanjala!

30 January 2017

She is such a special one our little Mbegu and we are sure that many will agree. Musiara was with his keeper some distance away from the rest of the herd and we are not sure how she is able to tell when babies arrive in the forest but it must be something to do with their good sense of smell. Accompanied by Luggard, Jotto and Murit she headed over to where the baby Musiara was with his keepers. She will always abandon anything she is doing for the sake of a little one. She decided to give some time for the other three to interact with the baby; Luggard said hello to the baby then made space for Jotto and Murit to play with him for some minutes then Mbegu stepped in. She took Musiara under her neck with her trunk folded around him and he was very content and comfortable within a very short time. He started trying to move around to find Mbegu’s ears to suckle on which Mbegu didn’t mind at all. Just like a mother when she felt he had enough and wanted to do something else she began to dig some soft soil with her front feet for him to play with. She lay down on the ground in the soft soil inviting the baby to play and Jotto joined them too although not for long as Mbegu and the small group had to join the rest of the main herd for their bottle feeding. After the public visit and once they were in the forest again, the group met with the little one once again. It was interesting to watch Tamiyoi, Jotto and Esampu take care of little Musiara too. They were very protective and not allowing the warthogs to come too close. Tamiyoi and Jotto were also a little nervous of the warthogs but fearless Esampu never gave them a chance to come close to the baby and charged at them chasing them into the thicket.

31 January 2017

The two girls who don’t really play too many games with the others are Malkia and Sana Sana. Sana Sana keeps herself busy browsing most of the time whilst the orphans are out but today was different. Today the herd looked quite dull and these two girls took it upon themselves to entertain everyone. They had some fun playing a pushing game at length and making the others in the herd perk up a bit. Generally it was quite a cool day today compared to the other very hot days we have been having, and on such days you will find it quite hard to find many of the orphans in the mud bath. Today none of them decided to enter the mud during any of the sessions when they visited the area. Malima and Esampu who love the mud just kept dipping their trunks into it to feel the temperature and both of them decided not to enter. Esampu seems to have extended her dislike for the warthogs. The warthogs have a long history with the orphans as they know that if they follow them and feed close to them they will have protection from any lions around as well. But since Musiara has started visiting the main herd Esampu has been very protective and have not let them anywhere close to the baby. Today she has made it her mission to drive them back into the thicket where they should be and she got friend to help her on this mission in the form of Pare. Since morning these two have been driving the warthogs into the bushes and not letting them anywhere near the herd. Today after the 3pm visit Wanjala went back into the forest with the others but then decided to go a different way. Because he normally wonders off with Ukame and Karisa and they were in the herd still, the keepers assumed he was there too. The keepers realised though just before it was bed time and found him browsing some distance away from the others. He was walked to join the last ones that were returning home and we hope he does not decide to browse on his own again soon!