Keepers' Diaries, January 2020

Select your unit:

Nairobi Nursery Unit

On the 2nd of January we rescued a little calf from the Masai Mara. The little female baby of about six months arrived very late in the evening and was transferred into a freshly prepared stable, but after the ordeal of losing her mother followed by the rescue she was very restless, and paced her room all night. We named her Naleku and after another day of restless pacing we decided the best route would be for the other Nursery babies to work their magic on her; having gone through similar traumatic experiences they could be her healing balm.

As her new family we knew they would bestow on her the affection and love and attention that she needed so badly to heal. We knew the older females in the Nursery like Tagwa, Tamiyoi and Maisha would pay particularly attention to the new little arrival, as they can never resist molly-coddling a little baby. Almost all the orphans seemed excited to meet our new arrival, apart from Roho who was rather put out by the new arrival usurping his attention, jealous that Naleku was now getting more than him. He kept pushing Naleku and eventually Maisha stepped in and wouldn’t leave the little girl’s side, even accompanying her back to her stable when it was time to head back for the evening, ensuring she was not vulnerable to any bad behavior from Roho. 

In order for Naleku to have company during the night Mukkoka was moved next door to her room, away from his friend Dololo. Naleku was delighted to have a little buddy next door and decided Mukkoka was going to be her particular friend. Mukkoka’s friendship wasn’t quite reciprocal however and no matter how much Naleku followed him around out in the forest, the young bull wasn’t interested in the new baby. Dololo, unlike Sattao, Musiara and Maktao, can often be quite jealous of the new arrivals or any other orphans, and when he saw Naleku getting close to Mukkoka he also started to push her around. Very soon Larro was moved back into a stable to be next door to Naleku which proved a much better match, as Larro was happy to help look after the little one, and Mukkoka was moved back to his old neighbour Dololo, much to his delight as well. 

Naleku learnt quite quickly that if she were to be friends with any of the young bulls in the Nursery herd, she would need to stand her ground, and this is exactly what she has tried to do. One afternoon when Roho tried to push her she turned and pushed him right back. He was so surprised by her reaction that he ran straight to the older females Tamiyoi, Maisha, Kiasa and Tagwa. Tagwa and the older girls were quick to calm the two down and they were sure to comfort them for the rest of the afternoon. By the end of the month the two youngest in the Nursery were getting on quite well and it even became their norm to have an afternoon siesta in the forest together after their mud bath and noon milk bottle, while the Keepers sit in the shade and have their lunch. As the older orphans continue to browse the two little babies lie in the middle amongst them, fast asleep. 

Musiara has become a bit more boisterous recently and just like Mukkoka we have decided to move him into the older second group for his midday mud bath and milk feed, so that he doesn’t push the little ones around. This means he has rekindled his friendship with Sattao however, also in the older group, and the two bulls can be spotted intertwined in wrestling matches all the time.

Enkesha continues to be a very independent girl, who loves to do her own thing and is quite happy to have some time away from the Nursery herd. Recently she and Musiara, who is also an independent young elephant, have started to recruit some of the others to follow her as well, and they, Sattao, Nabulu, Dololo and Kiombo are fond of sneaking off and finding their own browsing area. Enkesha has even manages to convince Luggard to come with them sometimes too.  

Kiasa, who arrived at the Nursery full of mischief and influencing the younger orphans to be as naughty as she was, has now grown into this responsible and caring role model for the youngest orphans. She is never far and always ready to intervene if Roho, Naleku or her friend Larro need her; her character transformation has been quite something. She can often be found chasing after Musiara and Maktao, who love climbing on the others in the Nursery, keeping them away from Roho and Naleku who they love to climb on as they are so little and make for easy targets. 

Maxwell our very special rhino continues to enjoy Kiko’s company in the morning as the two share a partition between stockades during the morning hours so Kiko can’t hassle visitors during that time. Often they can be seen greeting one another through the partition before continuing with their morning routine, and sometimes they share the greens that hang on the wall between them. Kiko has started his translocation training again, and the Keepers have been so impressed with how easy he is entering his translocation trailer. He is set to go very soon, and it is marvelous for the Keepers to see how calm he is during his training. It is the weather that has been stalling proceedings for his move to Sirikoi on Lewa, but hopefully as soon as the rain calms he will be on his way. 

January 2020 day to day

01 Jan

Enkesha, who loves to eat her greens, can often be seen browsing at a distance from the others in the forest. This morning she was no different and did not even notice as the Keepers and the rest of the Nursery herd made their way to another browsing spot. When she eventually realized that she was on her own, she began to frantically look for them, trumpeting and rumbling in the distance. The Keepers noticed her looking in different directions for the rest of the Nursery herd. Musiara attempted to rumble so that she could locate them, but his rumble wasn’t loud enough. Eventually Tagwa and Tamiyoi realized she was missing and rumbled so loudly that she knew exactly where they were and came running over full of excitement. She was happily greeted by Maisha and Sattao who appeared so excited to see her.

In the afternoon, the orphans were frightened by a herd of giraffes that came running past them. This caused all the orphans to charge off in different directions but Ziwadi especially got the biggest fright and she went running far off before the Keepers could get to her to calm her down. By the time the rest of the herd had calmed down, Ziwadi could not be seen. The Keepers immediately started to look for her, and after quite some time they found her drinking from the stream nearby one of the orphans’ browsing spots. The Keepers were so relieved that they quickly walked her back to the stockades. 

Enkesha loving her greens

Tagwa having a scratch

Ziwadi off on her own, not too far from the others