Keepers' Diaries, January 2018

Nairobi Nursery Unit

The Nursery is almost split equally between boys and girls 13 to 17. With many of these females being over two years old, there is plenty of love doled out to all the babies in the Nursery, particularly by Mbegu, Godoma, Tagwa and Malima. All the females are affectionate towards the babies but these older females especially dote on the youngsters. They watch over them answering their every call.

01 January 2018

The orphans began the first day of the New Year with happy faces and in good spirit as they came out of their stockades in the morning. The only one who wasn’t so happy to venture into the forest was Kiko, who only got as far as the end of Maxwell’s stockade before stopping to stare out into the forest. The reason for his hesitation was the pride of lions that had been chasing warthogs yesterday in the area, so he was cautious not to venture any further. He spent the day wandering around the compound grazing on the acacia trees within.

02 January 2018

Whilst the majority of orphans this morning were enjoying the leaves and grass in the forest this morning, the little ones like Maktao, Sattao, Musiara and Kiasa were seen scampering around the bushes. They were charging at and hiding from each other, the picture of happiness. Their happy game eventually attracted the attention of Jotto, Ambo, Malima, Maisha and Enkesha who joined in with full force. The game did not last too much longer as Jotto and Ambo bumped hard into Sattao and Musiara who fell down yelling, which drew the attention herd who then came running over to find out what was wrong! Mbegu, Godoma and Shukuru led the party who came over to find out if everyone was okay. As the big girls milled around Musiara and Sattao, Maktao, Jotto and Ambo were spotted playfully enjoying their own game in the corner, avoiding being warned off by the keepers and the matriarchal figures!

03 January 2018

During the public visit today, most of the orphans showed no interest in mud bathing as they had already had so much fun in puddles and small mud holes they had found out in the forest that morning. Big boys like Ndotto, Murit and Lasayen and some of the big girls like Mbegu, Godoma, Sana Sana, Tagwa, Mteto, Sagala and Ndiwa had all rolled around in the mud that morning, a joyful event which also saw youngsters like Malima, Emoli, Tamiyoi, Jotto, Ambo, Musiara, Sattao, Kiasa, Mapia and Enkesha all join in too and take their time getting nice and muddy before it was time for their 9 o’clock bottle feeding. By the time it was the public visit, none of the orphans bothered mud bathing and some like Maktao and Sattao were enjoying pushing games. Maktao was chasing Sattao along the rope cordon trying to climb on him, a game he is always fond of just like our big boy Ndotto! Sattao was trying to resist him by turning to head butt him, but Maktao persisted! Jotto and Ambo decided to start a similar game with Malima and chased her next to the rope cordon trying to climb on her, but Malima was wise to their ways and went and sought refuge by standing next to Godoma. The two boys were left with no option other than to turn to each other and start a wrestling game of their own!

04 January 2018

After they had finished their milk bottles today it was all pushing games amongst the orphans during the public visit! It was a game mostly dominated by the young bulls like Jotto, Ambo, Murit and Luggard who were busy chasing the young girls like Esampu, Kiasa, Malima, Tamiyoi and Kuishi. Just like with humans the boy elephants are always the most rough and playful! It was so lovely to watch Luggard play with the other boys despite his broken leg and the keepers watched on as he tried to climb on Kiasa! He struggled because of his compromised back leg, but it was so lovely to see how determined and active he was. Kiasa also presented a bit of a challenge as she kept turning to face him to tell him to go away! For three days now Kiasa has been challenging her keepers in the afternoon by not wanting to go into her stockade. Once she gets close to the compound she starts shouting and starts a game of hide and seek with her keepers around the stables. Today she started shouting when the keepers approached her to coax her into her stockade and she ran towards where a group of foster parents were standing for the visit. The keepers decided to leave her until the visitors had gone and then try again. We are not sure why she has started being afraid of her stable but perhaps she had a nightmare or saw a big spider! Once she is inside her stable she is fine; she has her milk and enjoys being with her keeper before going to sleep – but the entering has become the problem! We will see what happens over the next few days.

05 January 2018

The very small babies walked out of their stockades a bit later in the morning today to join the other orphans out in the forest. It was so sweet as when they picked up the scent of the other orphans and the path they had taken, they started yelling with delight. Their calls were heard by Tagwa, the adopted mother of the babies, Godoma, Mbegu, Malima, Sana Sana, Esampu and Tamiyoi who all walked towards where the babies were to escort them back to where all the orphans were busy browsing. The babies were most concerned and captivated by Tagwa, who they love very much. Before it was time to go to the public visit today, Shukuru, Sagala, Ndiwa, Ndotto and Lasayen sneaked away from the group to browse deep in the forest. Sagala, Ndiwa and Lasayen turned back before the public visit began and returned to the group so they could go down for their milk, leaving Shukuru and Ndotto in the forest. Ndotto was clever enough to find his own way to the mud bath before the visiting time ended however. Shukuru never made it to the public visit in time as she took her time browsing, but she appeared at the mud wallow a bit later when all of the orphans had already gone back into the forest. She is wise enough to be able to follow the path they took, and soon joined up with them again in the bush.

06 January 2018

The orphans were not interested in either mud bathing or soil dusting like they had been during the last few days of hot, dry weather. Today it was only Musiara who showed any interest in getting into the mud wallow and even then it was only on the edge of the mud pool. He started his own game of wrestling there which caught the attention of his play mate Maktao. He came over and leaned on the edge of the mud pool, stepping on Musiara’s head in the process which meant that he slid deep into the mud! When Musiara came up all muddy, he attempted to climb out of the pool but he kept slipping back in. Just as he was about to get out and had his knees up on the edge, Maktao would come over and push him back in! It was so funny to watch these two boys playing this funny game and Maktao picking on his good friend. Due to the presence of the pride of lions in the area over the last few days, Kiko has been spending his time within the stockade compound. He spends his entire day in the stable area, as if he knows that there is danger lurking outside where he cannot be protected as easily; the lions would never come into the compound in broad daylight with all the humans around! He does not want to walk out into the forest and keeps himself near the stables and browsing on all the trees within.

07 January 2018

As all the orphans were settling out in the forest and beginning their day of browsing, Murit and Ngilai were engaged in a wrestling game, happily assessing each other’s strength and gauging who was strongest. Playful Ngilai was challenging Murit, though he never succeeded in defeating him because Murit didn’t give up. Murit took up his challenge with Ngilai in a serious way and used his tusks to poke Ngilai in the face! This prompted the tough boy Ngilai to actually retreat and cry out for assistance. He went to take up refuge next to Mbegu where Murit could not pursue him. In order to get Kiasa into her stable in the afternoon, the keepers have resorted to bringing her back just before 5pm when the foster parent visit starts. She comes back in the company of Luggard, Maktao, Enkesha, Emoli and Maisha and is tricked inside by following Maktao in for their milk bottles. When she is inside she is given her milk bottle and Maktao or whoever is brought out again, and the door closed before she can even realize what is happening! Once she is inside and has her milk she is absolutely fine, and no she does not have to go through the traumatic process of going into her stockade like the last few days! We hope this will work again tomorrow until she has got over the problem of going into her room. She has been sleeping well during the night.

08 January 2018

As the first group or orphans left the mud bath area during the public visit, they followed Kuishi and Godoma who began chasing after the warthogs that were along the path on their way out to the forest. The warthogs were on their knees grazing and didn’t seem too bothered by the young orphans that were trying to scare them away by raising their ears and mock charging. Tamiyoi then tried her best to scare them but one male orphan raised his head at her and grunted in retaliation, which set her off running away towards the forest and the rest quickly followed suit! Kuishi and Godoma were the last to follow and made one last ditch attempt at chasing the warthogs away and finally they succeeded; the warthogs ran off into the bushes and Kuishi and Godoma ran after their friends, bashing bushes down and trumpeting in delight. Luggard did not look very well yesterday and was very dull and quiet. He went off his greens and even at one feeding him milk too as he had very loose stools. Today he woke up still looking a bit down and not feeding on greens so we will see how he does today and if he does not progress, run another blood test.

09 January 2018

It seems to be a routine now for Enkesha, Maktao and Maisha to sneak into the bushes between the car parking area and the stockades. As soon as they come out of their rooms in the morning and as the rest are slowly making their way into the forest, these three orphans disappear past Kiko’s stockade into the bushes abutting the stockades. Enkesha always seems to be the group leader and why these three join up in their own little group to go into this little area of bushes is quite funny, as no other orphan seems to follow them! Once all the orphans have arrived in the forest and have settled to browse, the keepers notice these three orphans are not with them and they are always found in this same bushy area. Sometimes they are notified of their absence because Maktao starts to yell out; he loves to be around the keepers and when he has not seen them for some time he yells out for them to come and find him! Today Luggard looked a lot happier and in much better condition than the last few days. He was more active and browsing well so whatever had caused his tummy upset seems to have passed for now.

10 January 2018

Recently, once they have finished their bottle feeds, Mundusi, Malkia and Tagwa have been little trouble makers during feeding times. They keep running from one keeper to the next or to where their friends are having their bottles to demand another, when really they know that two bottles is their maximum! They seem to love it at the moment and can’t get enough. During the public visit today Mundusi was almost uncontrollable! He quickly finished his milk and then jumped on Sagala who was peacefully enjoying her milk bottles. He head butted her because he wanted her milk and because she was quietly enjoying her milk with her eyes closed she didn’t expect it and she stumbled backwards yelling. The keepers got cross with him and warned him away, keeping him away from the rest of the group for the rest of the session.

11 January 2018

Kiasa’s desire to have extra milk by all means possible is growing day by day! The ‘sassy’ girl as the keepers refer to her will try and use any manoeuvre possible to get closer to the milk wheel-barrow which is very funny to watch. She seems to have learnt these tactics from the playful girl Malima. She was being naughty at the 9am milk feed this morning, dodging the keepers as they tried to feed her friends and trying to get as close as possible to the wheelbarrow to steal another bottle. Her antics continued up to the public visiting time and the 11am feeding but this time she kept pushing trying to get another bottle from her friends. At one stage she made off with an empty bottle and carried it away, walking round and around as the keepers tried to take it back. Eventually she dropped it into the muddy water hole which the visiting public thought was very funny. Her behaviour however was annoying the mini matriarch Godoma who slowly approached the errant girl and gave her a hard corrective push that left poor Kiasa half submerged in the mud hole. Meanwhile there was small push and pull game going on between arch-foes Musiara and Maktao as the boys boys determinedly fought over who would win the attention of Kuishi; they kept their game well away from Godoma as they could tell she was in a disciplinary mood!

12 January 2018

The babies woke up happy today as the morning sun shone on them. The smaller babies woke up early this morning as well, as the weather was nice and favourable for them to join the other orphans. As usual Mbegu played her role of ‘mother’ to the tiny infants and the young babies and they chose to stand next to her and under her belly for the whole morning. Sometimes the young babies would lift their trunk up to Mbegu’s teats to see if she had any milk there, just as they would to sisters and aunties in the wild. Mbegu in return just touched the babies all over their little bodies and gently patted them reassuringly with her trunk. The little babies flapped their ears with joy. The happy mood of the orphans continued up until the mud bath and public visit at 11am. They took advantage of the hot weather and chose to play in the mud bath in turns. Maktao and Enkesha were the most playful babies and they pulled on each others trunks and rolled several times around in the mud. Kuishi decided to run along the rope cordon to both the delight an disappointment of some of the visitors as she was very muddy as well! Some chose to touch her as she playfully walked along the cordon and others decided to back away from the very muddy baby. Malima was also playing some funny games as she rolled on the soil, spreading her legs in a very funny pose and throwing dust all over herself.

13 January 2018

We witnessed a small pushing fight during the 9am bottle feeding this morning as two young bulls squared up against each other as they drank their bottles. Sattao tried to get some of Emoli’s milk which understandably annoyed Emoli who moved around the keeper feeding him, attempting several back kicks towards Sattao to try and protect his milk bottle. Sprays of milk came from his mouth as he rumbled in protest at Sattao trying to take some of his precious bottle feed. After finishing his milk the irritated Emoli turned on Sattao who was trying to suck some milk from an empty milk bottle in the wheelbarrow. The unsuspecting Sattao was pushed against the wheelbarrow, knocking it down and spreading the empty bottles all over the ground. The now quite determined Emoli pursued Sattao and pushed him further as poor Sattao shouted until the keepers intervened and saved him. The commotion also drew Mbegu’s attention who moved in quickly to separate the warring boys. She then led her adopted baby Sattao into the thicket, accompanied by some of the other youngsters like Musiara, also eager for her attention.

14 January 2018

When one of the elephants is naughty, and we have had a few who are just inherently mischievous over the years, like Wendi, Kithaka and Kamok, they are not necessarily naughty for only one reason or at any one time. For example we have the naughty resident Esampu at the moment. Today the naughty girl gave way to Ambo as they both returned home to the stockades at 5pm. At least this is what we thought! She stopped to let him pass but then all of a sudden she pushed him and he stumbled to the side. Some of the visiting foster parents had to stand back to avoid Ambo who was staggering to stay upright! Her antics did not end there. The cheeky girl went into her stockade for her milk and after her gate was closed she reached through the bars to try and steal some of Sana Sana’s milk which was still hanging in the bucket as well! She managed to spill some of it whilst the keepers were busy feeding the other orphans and could not reach her to prevent her from taking Sana Sana’s milk. Would you believe her bad behaviour did not even end there though. She successfully managed to steal some of Sana Sana’s browse, the green branches in the orphans rooms, by pulling it through the bars separating their stockades. A mini-fight ensued as each girl sought to defend her own branches and stop the other from being able to steal them!

15 January 2018

As the sun rose slowly over the horizon at the Nursery, the orphans were so enjoying the warmth of its rays. Some were engaged in some pushing games, some were stamping around the bushes in happiness and some continued browsing as if nothing was going on around them. Maktao’s playmate Musiara decided to take on Sattao instead as Malima enjoyed a pushing game with Tamiyoi. Ndotto and Lasayen were browsing deep in the bushes as the playful bulls Ngilai and Murit rolled on the ground enjoying the morning warmth. Kiasa decided to hang around the keepers as they drank their morning tea. One of the tiny babies was suckling on Tagwa’s ear as Mbegu and Ambo browsed just to the side of them. Mteto ran after two warthogs who were browsing close by and Godoma joined her, so the two pigs ran off into the bushes to get away from the playful elephant babies. Shukuru, whose health seems to be improving more and more, was pulling leaves from the top of some of the nearby trees, as sweet Luggard waited below to collect some of the leaves that fell to the ground in the process.

16 January 2018

Despite Mbegu’s love and care for all the elephants, her relationship with Ambo is still strong. The ‘bigger’ baby boy is always close to his adopted mother these days, browsing by her side and sometimes even touching her teats with his trunk. Mbegu has a great task in caring of all the little babies as well, and letting them suckle on her ears whenever they need to be comforted. During the public visiting time today, Jotto was the first one to get into the water hole to enjoy his mud bath and cool down in the heat of the day. Jotto carefully got into the water and gently lowered his whole body in without causing any splashes. Malima and Maisha followed suit but Mapia and Tamiyoi decided to spray themselves by standing on the edge and collecting muddy water with their trunks to throw on their bodies. The ended up not only spraying themselves but the keepers and the visitors in the process as well! Luggard also got into the water and submerged his whole body, lifting his trunk out and swinging it around with joy. Kiasa and Murit opted to hang out with their keepers along the rope cordon and avoid any interaction with their mud covered friends!

17 January 2018

Sattao decided not to attend the public visit today in the first group. He was left behind after he had accompanied Mbegu and Lasayen, Ndotto, Mundusi, Ndiwa and Mteto who decided to walk deep into the forest in the morning. Ndotto and Lasayen are growing up now and showing more signs of independence all the time. They often choose to browse separately from the others and walk deep into the forest. When it was time for the second group to come down for their milk, as usual Esampu was looking for an extra milk bottle. She attempted several times to get one but all in vain. She decided to take her frustration out on poor Sattao, pushing him hard onto the ground before Mbegu and the keepers came to his rescue. The matriarch disciplined the naughty girl so hard she fell on the ground, yelling out before she got up and moved far away from Mbegu. The playful bull Ngilai emerged from the water hole thick with mud and walked along the rope cordon giving the visitors the option of touching him as he passed, or to choose not to because he was so covered in mud!

18 January 2018

Tagwa is showing strong signs of becoming a matriarch in the future. She loves taking care of little ones and today spent a lot of time with the tiny babies. She offered her ears to be suckled and even gently patted the baby and helped to dust her tiny body with her trunk. After awhile the baby moved to join Mbegu who was busy browsing close to Tagwa. Luggard and Murit were having a small play fight but Malima interrupted them. This annoyed the usually forgiving Luggard and he pressed his short tusks into her side to move her away. This didn’t stop the determined Malima however and she managed to grab Murit’s tail and Murit couldn’t run away from the disruptive girl. Due to the hot weather at the moment, all the orphans enjoyed the mud bath today with Sattao, Musiara, Maisha, Ambo, Emoli, Jotto and Godoma enjoying it the most. Tamiyoi managed to spray the visitors with mud as they enjoyed watching the orphans mud bathing!

19 January 2018

The babies woke up early as usual to begin their walk out to the forest for the day. As all the orphans walked out deep into the forest, the keeper’s didn’t realise that Malkia had sneaked into Luggard’s room to look for leftover pellets. When she was done she came running out of his room trumpeting and shouting as she tried to trace which way her friends had gone. Her shouting drew Mbegu’s attention and she responded so the little girl knew which way the herd had gone, and Malkia finally joined up with the rest of the herd. During the 3pm milk feed today, as usual Esampu was a naughty little girl, and decided that she really did want some extra milk after she had finished hers. She went up to Ndotto and tried to get some of his bottle whilst he was drinking. The mellow boy made several turns to block the naughty girl from having some of his bottle, as he wanted every last drop. As this scramble for milk was going on, Mundusi pushed the unsuspecting Mteto whilst trying to get some of her share of milk, and Kiasa and Luggard were busy sucking up milk from the empty milk bottles as Sana Sana drank the spilt milk from the wheelbarrow. Lasayen was walking off whilst sucking and chewing on a rubber teat he had removed from one of the bottles; all in all it was mayhem and the keepers had their work cut out for them today.

20 January 2018

Shukuru is so well adjusted to the Nursery routine it is like she never left, and we have seen her health improve so much over the last few days she is now having mud baths as well. Sometimes we spot one of the tiny babies trying to suckle on her ear lobes which is quite funny, as Shukuru is so much taller the baby will never be able to reach. Ambo missed going down with the first group this morning as he was browsing deep in the forest with his adopted mother Mbegu. Although the matriarch has a lot of babies to look after these days, her relationship with Ambo will always be special. Mundusi and Ngilai have joined Ndotto and Lasayen’s group of boys who tend to me more independent these days. The four boys had gone deep into the forest which made it difficult for the keepers to round them up to bring them down for the public visit. Eventually the gallant boys came running out of the forest as soon as the keepers loudly called their names. They came running over stamping and trumpeting and Malkia and Ndiwa yelled in excitement at seeing them.

21 January 2018

When the door to her stockade was opened in the morning, Sana Sana came running out and headed straight to Maxwell’s gate to see if there was any leftover lucerne. She managed to get quite a lot by pulling some through the bars of Maxwell’s gate. Mapia and Sattao joined her to have some of the tasty grass which they don’t get much of as they get the pellets. Enkesha, Emoli and Maktao tried their luck and as they all scrambled for some grass, Esampu came running over to get her share as well. A small fight ensued between Sana Sana and the naughty girl and as their push and pull fight gained momentum, Kiasa also joined to have some of the leftovers. Unfortunately she ended up being pinned against the posts of Maxwell’s stockade as Sana Sana tried to outwit her opponent and she shouted out loudly for help. Godoma came swiftly to her rescue, as well as Maxwell who came over to his gate to see what all the commotion was about! Maxwell knocked on his gate with his horn to separate all the orphans and they ran off trumpeting, following their keepers out into the forest.

22 January 2018

Maktao is still so attached to his human family and is never happy if they are not around. It is because of this that sometimes his friends will ignore him now if he starts to complain, because they know it is just something small. This morning he was in the company of Luggard, Shukuru, Maisha and Jotto in the woods when suddenly, just because he couldn’t see a keeper, he started screaming very loudly. None of the other babies paid any attention to him though! When he became too loud Jotto stepped in to make him quiet, as there were other ones present even younger than him and he was making such a fuss. Receiving no help from his friends Maktao started running back towards the stockades crying out, and the keepers came over to stop him. When he heard them call his name he ran towards them and everything was fine again. We know the others are just bored of his cries because if any of the other little ones cry, others like Mbegu, Tagwa, Malima and Godoma will go charging over to see what is wrong. It was the same case for Musiara during the public visit today. He was playing in the mud bath and Godoma joined him there too. He moved slightly to make way for Godoma and played in the muddy area behind. He submerged himself in the mud and took a light nap, and when he awoke he found he was now stuck in the thick mud! He couldn’t get up and started shouting for help, and immediately Godoma was there with Malima, Tamiyoi and Jotto standing on the side to offer help. In the end it was the keepers and Godoma who helped him out – but nonetheless it was a very different scenario to when Maktao calls for help, as he always cries wolf!

23 January 2018

Enkesha is another little girl with a big character. Recently she has developed a habit which we saw in Kamok as well! She likes to hide behind the stockades in an area where the warthogs also like to graze. She has a character that likes to hide from the keepers as well so she can keep doing whatever naughty thing it is she is up to. If she senses any movement or the keepers calling her she will stand very still and watch where they go. We came to learn of her whereabouts today when she decided to chase some of the warthogs that were trying to browse with her. After realizing that her trumpeting and scampering around given away her position and the keepers had spotted her, she went running out to the forest yelling and shouting to look for the rest of the herd. She raised her trunk high in the air but could not find them as they had moved far into the forest, so she came back to the keepers so they would tell her which way to go, and they thought she had a very sorry expression on her face! Jotto is a very good playmate of Enkesha’s recently, but they can concoct some very funny schemes. Today Jotto arrived before Enkesha for his milk bottle. When he finished he saw Enkesha running in for her own bottles, and he decided to go and block her path by standing across the place where the water flows. The keepers had to intervene and move him to allow Enkesha in for her milk bottles!

24 January 2018

Kiko has been in the stockade area for some time now due to the regular presence of lions, but today he was escorted out to the forest when it seemed he was beginning to grow restless at being kept inside. We are not sure it is because he was happy to be in the forest or just because he was being naughty, but he caused havoc all morning for the keepers and elephant orphans. He came over to the elephant babies when they were having their 9am milk bottle and started chasing everyone around – both elephants and keepers. Some of the orphans were scared of him and ran away on fear, not even wanting to come to the feeding point. Mundusi, Jotto, Kuishi, Sagala, Maisha, Ndiwa and Lasayen were just watching from a distance as Kiko ran around and kicked his legs out. It was not until Ndoto, Mbegu and Shukuru arrived at the scene that things started to calm down. Ndotto confronted Kiko whilst coming for a bottle but Kiko did not give way to him; this was apparently a test between height and strength! Mbegu and Shukuru stepped in to help Ndotto drive Kiko away from the area and they won in the end, chasing him all the way back to the stockade area before returning to have their milk. It was a relief for both the orphans who had not had their milk yet, and the keepers as well as Kiko is getting so big now.

25 January 2018

Malima is a clever little girl. Today she saw one of the babies coming out to the forest to join the rest of the group. From a distance she watched as one picked up a piece of rubbish and put it in his mouth. She swiftly ran over to meet him and snatched out the piece before escorting him to join the herd. Tamiyoi and Jotto then stepped up and led the little one away from the group. One of the other little babies loves Tagwa and Mbegu the most and whenever she joins the orphans in the forest she will raise her trunk in the air trying to find one or both of these females. Sattao has come to accept the presence of the babies around Mbegu as well. Before it was difficult to share her attention, just after he had won her affection from Ambo, but now he does not mind as much. Mbegu still dedicates lots of special time to Ambo too, even though he is older than these babies and Sattao now. Musiara and Luggard are still special friends but when they are browsing they do tend to separate these days, as Musiara likes to walk deep into the forest now with Ndotto, Mundusi, Sagala and Ngilai. Luggard prefers to stay close to the keepers. But when it comes time to milk feeding times they will always want to accompany each other. They both walk slowly because of Luggard’s bad leg, but they also like to dawdle and often get distracted. Today when a keeper walked back to check on them as they had not arrived for their milk bottle during the public visit, they were found enjoying a dust bath half way down the path! Maisha has her special place to stand during the public visit. When everyone else in enjoying a mud bath, she is far in the corner standing in the shade cooling herself and dosing whilst the others play.

26 January 2018

Since arriving in the forest this morning, Musiara has been hooked on Mbegu, so Sattao had to look for alternative company and settled on Tagwa. Musiara didn’t want to share Mbegu and kept charging at Sattao to chase him away. With all her years and experience of leadership, Mbegu opted to walk away to break up the rivalry between them. Later when the little babies joined the herd, Musiara was just fine with them joining him and Mbegu! Ndotto and Ngilai have been spending a lot of time with Shukuru out in the forest and this is what Shukuru needs most, some friends who can lift and boost her energy and confidence all the time. The three have been browsing away from the others and only rejoining the group when it comes to milk feeding times. Shukuru is still showing signs of improvement and is demanding more milk at feeding times now, which is a good sign. She is also having lots of fun in the mud pool. Just before the private visit today it started pouring with rain, which meant Luggard and the babies were taken back to their stockades. Esampu was a naughty girl during the visit today. Kiasa had been standing by the milk wheelbarrow for some time, not doing anything bad but just standing there. Esampu came over and put Kiasa’s trunk in her mouth. She struggled to get her trunk free but didn’t manage and just as a keeper came over to assist her it was Ambo who came to rescue Kiasa by head-butting the naughty girl, sending her running off and setting Kiasa free!

27 January 2018

Maxwell has been in an excited mood since last night and this might be because of all the rain we had yesterday. It has been some kind of celebration for him the whole night and through the morning, running up and down from his bedroom to the far end of his upper stockade. All he wanted was to play this morning. He started with the warthogs who came into his stockade to have some of his lucerne pellets for their breakfast. The warthogs didn’t seem interested in playing with him and they would dodge him, wait for him to run to the other end of his stockade, and then resume eating from his pellet trough. When Ambo and Malima came up to his gate he heard them and came over, pushing and head butting the gate to invite them to a game. This worked for the two playful elephant orphans and they enjoyed a pushing game between the bars of his gate. Then the two orphans started running and trumpeting on one side as Maxwell ran on the inside of his pen. The game came to and end when the orphans decided to run out to the forest to join their friends. Kiko was on his way to join the elephants in the forest with his keepers when just after passing Maxwell’s stockade he saw a lioness who seemed to have spotted him before Kiko or his keepers. He stopped and watched her and the keeper shouted at the lion who disappeared into the thicket, but Kiko didn’t want to move an inch, either forwards or backwards! It wasn’t until some other keepers came that they managed to convince Kiko to go back to the stockades. He didn’t leave for the rest of the day! Esampu does have two sides to her. On the one hand she can be the naughty, feisty elephants the other orphans and keepers have to put up with, but sometimes she can be caring and calm as well. Today she has been especially concerned with one of the babies, taking care of him and accompanying him whilst he walked around with Ndiwa as well.

28 January 2018

Godoma has been branded the milk time keeper recently as she is always the first ready to race down for her bottles. She is also the one who will alert the rest of the herd when she knows the milk has arrived in the feeding area. Sagala and Mteto were naughty at the feeding and causing trouble for their friends and the keepers. They were being very greedy and fighting for more milk. Malkia can also be like this sometimes and can be a little trouble maker at feeding times. But today after seeing these two orphans causing problems whilst she was having her milk, when she finished she drove them away and stood guard over the others trying to have their milk as well. Ndiwa never shows that much interest towards the little babies, but today she was being very helpful towards the keepers. Most of the orphans had moved into the bushes while the keepers had their lunch, and one of the small babies was left all alone beside them. Ndiwa came over and escorted the little one away to a few meters away from where the keepers were seated, until they were done with their lunch.

29 January 2018

At the public visit today, Luggard decided to enjoy a lengthy mud bath. At the end, nothing could entice him out and away from the lovely time he was having. With his condition, his leg being broken, the keepers often give in to him and let him do what he wants when he really wants something! When the older herd came down and finished their milk, they also moved towards the mud bath as it was a hot day. When Luggard saw Mteto and Mundusi walking towards the mud pool he immediately got out and went to stand in the shade of an acacia tree. All the other orphans crowded inside the mud bath and were having a great time. Ndotto then decided he wanted the mud bath for himself and began chasing all of his other friends out of the pool; only Mbegu and Shukuru were spared as Shukuru was standing on the edge spraying herself and Mbegu was lying on the edge. Ndotto was at it again in the afternoon when it was time for bed, although this time he had a partner in crime in the form of Mundusi. Having been released from the company of the keepers in the forest in a group of 6, on their way down to the stockades these two decided to divert into the bushes. The keepers in the forest knew they had left, but the keepers in the stockade knew they had not come home yet. When all the other orphans had come in and the keepers knew the two boys were missing for certain, they went back out to look for them, and found the two boys happily busy browsing. When Mundusi saw the keepers coming towards them he started yelling and running back to the stockades as he knew he was being naughty by not returning home, but Ndotto walked back slowly in no hurry at all, and without any care!

30 January 2018

Musiara and Ndotto are two boys that never really rush in for their milk. In Godoma’s little group, Musiara will never fight to get to the bottle first and will normally even come in last. Ndotto, in Mbegu’s older group, has a similar habit which we witness yesterday afternoon as well. Unless they are within the group that are released to feed first or are given priority for some reason, they will usually be last. The small difference between the two is that Musiara definitely knows how to defend his share of milk! He doesn’t tolerate anyone around him whilst he is having his bottle. Kiasa came over today and started trying to fight him for his bottle, but he stopped his feed just to chase her away, before resuming with his milk. Ndotto on the other hand will usually remain calm whilst having his bottle, even if he is being disturbed by some of the youngsters. Ngilai isn’t one to initiate a mud bath but once he is given a bath by the keepers using a shovel, then he will decide to jump in the mud pool. It is almost as if he needs a warm up before the main event, like showering before you get in a pool! Once he is muddy he really loves it.

31 January 2018

Kiko was out in the forest with the elephants today, but not for long thanks to a big male baboon who was watching over his family. He was sitting in a tree and started alarming and gathering his family together. Mbegu read the situation and did the same for her elephant herd. She made sure all the little ones were safe whilst Godoma, Sana Sana, Malkia and Ndotto assisted her. They raised their ears high and stood on guard, turning in circles to look for danger. The keepers were alert as well as with such an alarm call from the baboons they thought they must have seen something like a lion in the area. Kiko was prepared and stood next to the keepers, and sure enough a few minutes later we spotted a lioness in the thicket watching some warthogs. The warthogs were lucky as they were also warned by the baboons and they swiftly ran off in the opposite direction. Kiko was immediately taken back to the stockade compound for his safety. Maxwell must have felt the heat of the day today. Normally he naps in his bedroom when he feels hot but today he opted for a lengthy mud bath. After his mud bath he fell asleep right there is his mud pool up until sun set, which is when he woke up. Musiara seems to love sharing his green branches in the afternoon with his neigbours Luggard and Maisha. Even if the branches are placed in the middle of his stockade, he will always pull them over to the wall he shares with one of these two. Unfortunately his neighbours will always pull a substantial amount through the gaps in the partition, leaving him with hardly any. This evening Maisha took most of his browse, leaving him with just a few small branches.