Keepers' Diaries, January 2021

Nairobi Nursery Unit

The baby elephants in our care continue to demonstrate their capacity for love on a daily basis, even at this formative young age. Despite coming from different places and elephant families from across the country, they form tight bonds and lavish love on one another. After all, elephants are incredibly social mammals that live in tight-knit groups with strong social bonds and family values, and our orphans are no different.

01 January 2021

It’s the new year and all the orphans seem to have woken up in a very excitable mood. They all charged out of their stables and walked straight out to the forest where they quickly settled to browse. After a short time the Keepers could see that some of the bulls were starting to get playful and Mukkoka, Maktao and Kiombo were quick to start their own wrestling game. Kiombo, who is the biggest of the three, was quick to demonstrate his strength and take the victory. Maktao and Mukkoka, once defeated, were quick to walk off and start browsing again. 

Roho and Naleku also seemed to be in a jovial mood this morning, and they too decided to have their own wrestling game. Roho seemed to initiate the game, and the Keepers were quite amused watching the young bull continuously trying to challenge the young independent girl and as soon as Naleku would retaliate, he would quickly run and hide behind Maisha. As Naleku knows all too well that Maisha may get angry with them, so she would not chase after him but instead moved off towards some of the other orphans. 

Kiasa started her new year in full swing by taking care of poor Ziwadi who was being pushed by Naboishu. Ziwadi was happily browsing next to Olorien, Kindani, Kinyei, and Bondeni when Naboishu decided to push her away. As soon as he pushed her, Kiasa came charging over to intervene and quickly pushed Naboishu far away from Ziwadi and the other younger orphans. It was almost as though she chased him over into the naughty corner for a time out before returning to the herd. Once Naboishu was moved out of the way, Ziwadi happily returned to her browsing. 

Maxwell also seemed to be in a feisty mood this morning as he was seen chasing after the warthogs who were already munching away at his Lucerne pellets. He was quick to chase them out of his stockade and then walk back to his pellets where he began to enjoy his breakfast. Once he had had his fill he went and relaxed in the morning sun. 

02 January 2021

After having their 9am bottles of milk, the orphans quickly settled back into the forest to start browsing once more. As they were settling down, the Keepers noticed that Kindani seemed to be gathering her friends to move off in her own direction. Since her arrival, Kindani has always seemed a little more independent and seems to always enjoy being a mini-matriarch of her friends. This morning, she began to head off with Olorien, Bondeni, Kinyei, and Ziwadi. However, as Ziwadi is older Kindani, she wasn’t too sure if Ziwadi would try to lead the mini-herd or not and she began to get a little protective of her group and rumble at Ziwadi. 

Ziwadi as always remains oblivious to such interactions and she happily continued browsing, completely ignoring Kindani. Once Kindani realised that Ziwadi had no interest in leading the group, she quickly settled and found the perfect browsing spot for all of them, right by their Keepers. The older orphans were led a little further into the forest by Maisha, Kiasa and Nabulu.  

Naleku continues to have a very close relationship with Mukkoka and she will often spend time with him throughout the day, and run down with him for their milk bottles. After their midday bottles of milk, Naleku was following Mukkoka back out to the forest when she suddenly seemed to lose sight of him. As soon as she lost sight of him she began to trumpet and rumble so loudly that she was heard by all the orphans. Larro was the first to respond by quickly running in her direction and she was soon joined by Kiasa who was also worried about the little girl. The Keepers were third to run to look for her, but by the time they spotted Naleku, she was already being accompanied back by Larro and Kiasa who had already calmed her down. Mukkoka showed up a few minutes later and he seemed to have been browsing not too far from where Naleku was found. 

The orphans had a wonderful afternoon browsing in the forest. 

03 January 2021

Roho continues to be rather boisterous and jealous of some of the other orphans, and he seems to take any opportunity to boss around Naleku, Kinyei, Olorien and Kindani. This morning as the orphans were waiting to run down for their 9am bottles of milk, Roho was stood between Maisha and Kiasa when all the younger girls walked up to them. As the young girls settled down to wait, Roho would run out and push them around before running back to Maisha and Kiasa to hide. As he was stood between Maisha and Kiasa he kept charging out and pushing little Kinyei, who eventually grew tired of his silly game and decided to chase him back. As Kinyei began to run after him, he quickly ran to Maisha and Kiasa, who he thought would quickly protect him against the little girl. Unfortunately for Roho, Maisha was all too aware of his games and instead of protecting him, she seemed to discipline both him and Kinyei by stepping in between them and rumbling at them both. Roho quickly stood still and Kinyei walked back to the girls. 

Larro has always been an excellent nanny but from time to time she can behave very similar to Kiasa and be rather greedy when it comes to her milk. As soon as she finishes her bottle, she will often try to sneak over to the wheelbarrow, or one of the other orphans and either try to steal or ask for more milk from the Keepers. This afternoon, as she finished her 3pm bottle of milk, Naboishu was still finishing up his share so she quickly dashed over to steal from him. Naboishu who is all too used to Kiasa trying to steal his milk, quickly began to yell loudly in protest and all the Keepers were quick to step in, chasing Larro far away from him. 

The orphan had a quiet afternoon before heading back to their stables and stockades for the evening. 

04 January 2021

Elephants are such intelligent and emotional animals and will often show so much love for one another. Today as the orphans were wallowing in the mud bath, Nabulu seemed to lose her footing as she was trying to get out and she quickly fell back in, sinking further into the mud. Maisha, who had already managed to get out, saw Nabulu struggling and quickly came over to help her. As Maisha realised that Nabulu couldn’t stand up, she incredibly walked back into the mud bath and placed her front legs in line with Nabulu’s head and her body up against Nabulu. This gave Nabulu enough to support to hoist herself up in the mud and gain her footing once more. Within seconds, Nabulu was back to her feet and both girls were able to walk out of the mud bath. 

Once Nabulu was successfully out the mud, she stood quietly for a few minutes resting. Maisha never left her side and seemed to constantly check that she was okay by letting low rumbles and waiting for Nabulu to respond. Once Nabulu seemed rested up, she rumbled back at Maisha and the two walked off to the rest of the herd. 

The Keepers were amazed at the care and love they showed one another, and the they were such proud parents to see how far their girl Maisha has come as matriarch and are confident that both these girls will thrive in their own herds. 

05 January 2021

Kiasa seems to have developed another little quirky habit. As the orphans settle to browse deep within the forest, sometimes the younger orphans won’t walk as far and will stop to browse with some of their Keepers wherever they feel most comfortable. Kiasa always notices when the younger orphans haven’t followed and we can see this bothers her as she quickly starts to look for them. However when she starts to look for them she doesn’t do so in a calm manner, but rather just charges off back towards where she last saw them. This will often cause panic amongst the other orphans as they seem to wonder why she has run off and they then instinctively run after her. 

This afternoon, as the orphans settled back into the forest after their 3pm bottles of milk, Bondeni, Kindani, Kinyei, Olorien and Ziwadi all settled closer to the stockade compound to browse with some of their Keepers nearby as the rest of the herd continued further into the forest. This once again appeared to disturb Kiasa as she quickly began to look for them. It wasn’t long before she quickly dashed off to go and find them, causing all the other orphans to also run after her. Once she had found them, she quickly settled, and all the Nursery herd was once again able to settle down and enjoy the last of their browsing activities. 

Maktao continues to be such a gentle bull and he seems to be enjoying spending more and more time with all the younger orphans, Bondeni, Naleku, Roho, Olorien, Kinyei, Kindani and Ziwadi. He seems to thoroughly enjoy browsing amongst them and they all seem to really love his company too. Kiombo, Naboishu and Mukkoka seem to have their days where they prefer to stay further away from the younger orphans, so they aren’t as close to them as Maktao. 

This afternoon around 4pm, Maktao was enjoying a short playful moment with the younger orphans. As he was busy rolling around on the ground, he allowed the younger orphans to join him and they all were thoroughly enjoying climbing on his back and rolling around with him. They were even enjoying wrestling one another to see who would be able to climb on Maktao’s back next. 

At 5pm the orphans were all led back to their stables and stockades. 

06 January 2021

As Maktao and Kiombo are growing, in size and personality, their games have seemed to be a little bit rougher lately as they continue to test one another’s strength. Recently however, Kiombo seems to have unintentionally upset Maktao by quickly defeating him in a wrestling match. Since then, Maktao has not seemed as eager to wrestle with his friend, but today Maktao was back to his old self and ready to challenge Kiombo once more. 

As the orphans were settling down to browse in the forest this morning, Maktao was already challenging Kiombo and the two were just as eager to win with neither of them giving an inch. Their game continued for quite some time, but unfortunately for Maktao, Kiombo was once again triumphant. Although Maktao is a large bull, Kiombo is just that much bigger that he has this added strength and weight behind him that Maktao just can’t defeat. This morning, however, Maktao didn’t walk off in defeat but instead headed off and tried to challenge another opponent, his friend Mukkoka. Mukkoka who is in turn a little smaller than Maktao didn’t challenge him for too long and eventually Maktao finally had his victory. 

Ziwadi continues to drink water with her mouth as opposed to through her trunk. Although she can easily grab leaves, grass and greens with her trunk, she hasn’t quite figured out how to suck up water and then squirt it into her mouth. Larro was also slower with learning how to drink water and the Keepers are hopeful, that much like Larro, Ziwadi will also learn with time how to drink with the use of her trunk. Out of the whole Nursery she is still the one who loves her greens the most, and every morning and evening she is always certain to get her fill of water from the water troughs around the stockade compound. The Keepers are confident that she will always find her own ways of getting enough water for the day and night. 

07 January 2021

As the orphans were lining up to run down for their 9am bottles of milk, Mukkoka, Naleku, Naboishu, Bondeni, Roho and Olorien were all enjoying a playful moment together, chasing after a herd of impala that were grazing nearby. Bondeni and Naleku were having the best time following Mukkoka and Naboishu as they led the charge. Suddenly however, a large impala came dashing towards Naleku and Bondeni giving them a huge fright and they went running back towards the Keepers and the rest of the Nursery herd. As Mukkoka and Naboishu heard them trumpeting and rumbling, they too began to rumble and trumpet and run back to the herd. 

Maisha, Nabulu and Kiasa were quick to react as they dashed through the bushes as if they were looking for what may have frightened Naleku and Bondeni, and in turn Mukkoka and Naboishu. As the older girls were now charging around, this seemed to cause a bit of worry amongst the entire Nursery herd as all the orphans, including Ziwadi, began to run after the older girls. All the orphans seemed rather confused as to what they were running for. Once Maisha and the older girls had realised that the threat had gone they quickly settled, which allowed the rest of the orphans to calm down. 

After the orphans finished their 9am bottles of milk they settled back into the forest to browse and spent most of their day browsing, only breaking for their milk feeding times. 

08 January 2021

As the orphans were making their way out of their stables and stockades and greeting one another, Kiasa noticed that Maxwell was standing near one of his gates and she quickly walked over to greet the large rhino. She could be seen touching and grabbing his ears with her trunk, and every time her trunk would touch his head or ear he would flinch as if in slight surprise, but wasn’t so bothered as to move away from her. Kiasa and Maxwell then enjoyed a short game of Kiasa knocking against his gate and every time she would he would run back and forth. Their game continued until it was time for Kiasa to head off with the rest of the Nursery herd to the forest. 

As the Keepers were calling all the orphans to head out to the forest, Kiasa seemed to get a sudden burst of excitement and began running through the forest, bush bashing and trumpeting. As she was so excited, Nabulu and Maisha decided to join her and they all enjoyed themselves for a couple of minutes before settling down to browse. 

Olorien came across the perfect tuft of grass that Kinyei appeared to have her eye on. As soon as Olorien cut the piece of grass with her foot, Kinyei came running over and tried to grab it off her. Unfortunately for Kinyei, Olorien was not going to give up her fresh grass that easily and she pushed back at Kinyei, moving her away. A couple of minutes later, Olorien was down on her knees trying to cut some blades of grass with her mouth and Kinyei once again took this opportunity to push Olorien away. This time however, Kinyei managed to push Olorien over as she was still kneeling over. As Olorien rolled over, Kinyei quickly grabbed the blades of grass and ran off. Once back to her feet, Olorien moved far away from Kinyei to browse in peace. 

09 January 2021

It was a cold and wet morning as the orphans were starting their day. Orphans such as Mukkoka, Kiasa, Larro, Maisha, Naleku, Roho and Maktao still dislike the rain and aren’t always as eager to leave their stables or stockades. This morning, as the orphans were walking out to the forest, Mukkoka and the others were not excited at all about walking through the wet bushes and they were all trying their hardest to stick to the wider and dryer pathways through the forest. Every time the Keepers tried to direct them into the thick of the forest, Maktao, Mukkoka and Kiasa would rumble in protest and refuse to move; even Naleku and Roho joined them in protest. 

Nabulu, Kiombo and Naboishu are not bothered whatsoever by the rain or the wet branches in the forest and they were happy to just continue further into the forest. 

Unlike this morning, it was a lovely warm afternoon, and as such all the orphans seemed eager to have a mud bath including Mukkoka, Kiasa, Larro, Maisha, Naleku, Roho and Maktao, who were among the first to charge into the muddy waters. Roho as always was having the best time climbing onto Maisha and Kiasa’s backs as they were having a great time wallowing in the water. Nabulu, Kiombo and Naboishu were also happy to join them in the water, and all the others enjoyed a lovely moment of rolling around near each other and covering themselves in mud. 

10 January 2021

There were once again heavy showers through the night and it was another wet morning as all the orphans started to leave their stockades and stables. Maxwell seemed so excited about the recent rains and as soon as he came out of his bedroom he went and enjoyed a long mud bath in the muddy waters in his stockade. It is always fun to watch as he rolls around in pool, covering his entire body in mud and scratching his horn against the banks of the mud bath. Once his whole body was covered, he took a short break and ran around his stockade, scratching his tummy along the wall of his stockade and charging through his gates before returning to the muddy waters. The Keepers are always amazed by how well Maxwell has learnt to manoeuvre himself around his stockade despite being blind. 

Unlike Maxwell, the elephant orphans were not in a very playful mood and were all rather relaxed whilst browsing. Even the older bulls such Maktao and Kiombo were browsing peacefully and did not seem interested in partaking in any wrestling matches. Even the orphans who usually try and sneak off such as Naleku, Mukkoka, Kiasa, Larro, Nabulu and Naboishu, were happy to remain amongst the herd browsing and all they all enjoyed having a quiet day.  

11 January 2021

The elephant babies, like humans, all have their own personalities and some of them can be a little more irritable and shy than others. This morning as the orphans were browsing Naboishu manage to break off what seemed to be one of the yummiest and greenest branches, which attracted the attention of Larro, Roho, Naleku, and Olorien who all decided to chase after him. Naboishu, who is used to protecting his milk from naughty Kiasa, was quick to run off protecting his branch, but Larro and the others were not about to give up. Larro, especially, would not give up and kept trying to grab his branch and eventually manage to break a bit off.

This appeared to really upset Naboishu as he quickly turned towards Larro and shoved her hard away from him. As he did this Larro dropped the small piece she managed to break and ran off leaving Naboishu alone. As she ran off Naboishu grabbed both the piece of branch and the bigger piece of branch and then walked off deeper into the forest where none of the other orphans would disturb him. 

Once he had finished his delicious branch and greens, he joined up with the rest of the Nursery herd once more who were all still busy browsing. 

12 January 2021

It was another cloudy and cool day and this meant the orphans were all very quiet and none of them seemed eager to play but instead just focused on their browsing activities. After the orphans’ midday bottles of milk, Maisha decided to lead the older group of orphans, Nabulu, Kiasa, Naboishu, Larro, Kiombo, Maktao, and Mukkoka, deeper into the forest to browse. As Roho and Naleku are far more independent than some of the younger orphans, they also followed Maisha deeper into the forest. Whereas Ziwadi, Olorien, Kindani, Kinyei and Bondeni all remained with their Keepers closer to the milk feeding point. 

Once Maisha had found a suitable area to browse, her group dispersed into smaller groups and they all began to munch away at the fresh greens. Kiasa, Nabulu and Naboishu were all peacefully browsing amongst each other when suddenly a flock of guinea fowl came flying out the bushes giving them all the biggest fright. As the guinea fowl fluttered around their heads, they all scampered off, rumbling and trumpeting in fear. Every single one of them ran straight back towards the Keepers. 

The Keepers quickly began to talk to them all, trying to calm them down but Kiasa, Nabulu and Naboishu got such a fright that they completely ignored the Keepers and continued running back towards the stockade compound! The Keepers quickly called out to them and this saw Kiasa stop dead in her tracks, which in turn caused Nabulu and Naboishu to stop. Once they realised that there was no danger, they all calmed down and walked back to their Keepers.  

13 January 2021

Kinyei and Roho are becoming close friends and have recently been enjoying some playful moments together. Although younger than Kindani, Kinyei seems to be a little more curious of the other orphans and keen to form new friendships. This morning, as the orphans were settling out in the forest, Kinyei and Roho were busy enjoying a wrestling match, and they were both eager to demonstrate their strength to one another with neither of them backing down. Kinyei appears to have learnt a thing or two from young Naleku and will now also stand her ground against the spoilt young Roho. They enjoyed their game for a good fifteen minutes before settling to browse.

After the orphans finished their 9am milk feed, Kinyei and Roho enjoyed another game. This time however they were playing a game of cat and mouse, where Roho would run after little Kinyei and she would try to lose him in the thick bushes within the forest. Their game was eventually interrupted by Larro who seemed worried when she saw Roho chasing the young girl and decided to step in, abruptly ending their game. Roho and Kinyei then went their separate ways. 

Kiasa has now developed a new naughty habit with her Keepers in the evenings. After finishing her 5pm bottles of milk, as her Keeper is putting the empty milk bottles down before locking, she will quickly dash out of her stockade and go and stand near Nabulu’s gate, rumbling at her friend who is already within her room. When she first started doing this the Keepers used to have to really convince her to go back into her stockade, but they have now learnt that if they pretend to walk away and keep everything quiet, she will follow them and happily go back inside where they can close her in for the evening. This game seems to really amuse Kiasa and she has been trying most evenings, but the Keepers have once again outsmarted her and are now always ready for her antics. 

14 January 2021

As the orphans were coming out of their stables and stockades this morning they were all happily greeting each other. Olorien and Kinyei were waving and touching each other’s trunks as a hello, whereas Maktao and Kiombo engaged in a full trunk hug and short pushing games. As the orphans were all greeting each other, Maisha walked over to greet Maxwell who was already standing near his gate. Maisha delicately started tapping Maxwell on his back with her trunk, as if she was giving him a light back massage. Maxwell appeared to be enjoying this short interaction with her as he continued to rest against his gate. 

Their warm moment came to an abrupt end when Maisha suddenly pushed at Maxwell’s gate, something he didn’t seem too pleased about as he retaliated by pushing on his wooden fence posts. As he pushed back at Maisha, she then seemed to get annoyed and went down on her front knees and then aggressively pushed at Maxwell’s wall. This then saw Maxwell adopt a typical dominance strategy of a black rhino which is to spray their area and kick their back feet up, unfortunately for Maisha she did not get out of his way fast enough and was sprayed slightly. She quickly ran off trumpeting in displeasure. Maxwell then moved off to his eat his Lucerne pellets. 

Naleku, despite being the youngest orphan in the Nursery herd, loves to lead the orphans out to the bush and often Maisha, Nabulu and Kiasa will allow her to as she too also needs to learn this skill. As she led the orphans far into the forest, Olorien, Kindani, Kinyei, Bondeni and Ziwadi stayed back as they don’t always enjoy walking such long distances. The orphans had a wonderful afternoon browsing. 

15 January 2021

Just after one o’clock as the orphans were out browsing in the forest, they suddenly got frightened by something. Unfortunately, the Keepers didn’t have time to see what it was before the orphans started charging off and running frantically around the forest. Some of the older females, especially Kiasa, seemed so frightened that they didn’t take much notice of some of the younger orphans. Kiasa particularly was not being very nice to Ziwadi, Naleku, Kindani, Kinyei, and Olorien as she kept trying to kick them with her back legs as the orphans were rushing around. Roho and Bondeni were lucky enough to not be some of her targets. The Keepers were quick to step in and they all told her off, and as they did, she was quick to run off and hide in the bushes. Once the Keepers managed to step in, all the orphans quickly calmed down. 

After their evening bottles of milk, Roho and Naleku seem to have a nightly routine of having a little sibling spat, so to speak; they always try to fight each other and steal each other’s greens through the dividing wall. Their quarrels often start because Roho steals Naleku’s greens and when she sees him, she quite rightly gets annoyed and tries to grab the branch back, which ends up in a game of tug of war or with one of them pushing at the wall. After a few minutes of disturbing each other, they will eventually settle down and eat their own greens. 

16 January 2021

It was a lovely warm morning and all the orphans seemed to be in a playful mood as they came out of their stables and stockades. As Roho and Naleku came running out of their stables, they immediately started pushing each other and then engaged in a quick wrestling match before heading over to Maisha. As Maisha started to round up all the orphans, Naleku and Roho didn’t seem keen to leave the stockade compound just yet and were slow to follow their matriarch. 

Maktao and Kiombo spent most of their evening wrestling across the partition between their stockades, with neither of them sleeping very much. As a result, when they both came out of their stockades this morning, neither of them showed much interest in the other but instead Maktao walked off with Maisha, and Kiombo spent time with Kiasa. Out in the forest, both bulls enjoyed a short browsing moment before once again engaging in a wrestling match. 

This morning the Keepers witnessed a first. After Ziwadi finished drinking from all the water troughs, she, for one of the very few times, was able to lead the orphans out to the forest. All the orphans were happily following her and little Olorien kept her company at the front. Once the orphans were out in the forest, they all broke off in smaller groups to browse. 

17 January 2021

Maisha was in such an excitable mood this morning as she was let out of her stockade. As soon as her gate was open, she ran straight off towards the forest trumpeting in excitement. As soon as the other orphans saw her, they all followed suit, especially Kiasa, Mukkoka, Nabulu, Kiombo, Maktao, Larro and Mukkoka, who also began to run after her. As the older orphans are much faster than the younger, smaller orphans, they all made it to the forest in no time leaving the others behind with the Keepers. Little Naleku, took it upon herself to calmly lead all the younger orphan out where they re-joined the older group. 

The orphans remained excited for most of the day and when Maisha came across a troop of baboons she once again decided to charge off chasing them away from her little herd. This once again got the rest of the orphans all excited and they quickly followed her, chasing the baboons that they would come across. 

Once all the baboons were out of sight, the orphans’ games continued. Kiasa and Maisha were enjoying a wrestling match with Nabulu occasionally trying to join in. Kiombo and Mukkoka were also wrestling and Maktao kept trying to join them by trying to climb on Mukkoka and then Kiombo’s back. The last wrestling duo were Kinyei and Roho who were also thoroughly enjoying themselves. The rest of the Nursery herd were browsing with some of them enjoying small games of hide and seek, especially little Bondeni who kept playing with his Keepers and then running off to hide. 

The orphans had such a lovely playful day in the forest. 

18 January 2021

Larro seems to be shaping up to be the next matriarch of the Nursery herd and this is a role the Keepers believe she will excel at as she is such a caring nanny. She continues to take a great interest in the younger orphans and sometimes will even compete with Maisha, Nabulu and Kiasa to look after them all. Most of the time, however, Maisha, Nabulu and Kiasa are happy for Larro to help with the responsibilities. 

This afternoon Kiombo was in a naughty boisterous mood and wasn’t being very friendly with some of the younger orphans. Whilst the orphans were browsing, Olorien and Bondeni were enjoying a short peaceful moment together when Kiombo suddenly walked over and unnecessarily pushed little Bondeni and he lost his footing. As he stumbled, Bondeni yelled loudly and Maisha, Kiasa, and Maktao all came running over to help the poor little bull. Olorien, seemingly scared of Kiombo, went running off in fear and Larro quickly ran after her to calm her down. Maisha, Maktao and Kiasa were all keeping a close eye on Bondeni, who seemed to be okay but just a little shaken. Maisha was sure to discipline Kiombo and chase him far away from the younger orphans. 

Once calm, Larro walked Olorien back to the Nursery herd and later in the afternoon she was browsing with Bondeni, Kindani, Kinyei, Olorien, and Ziwadi, keeping a watchful eye over them.

19 January 2021

The Keepers are always amazed to see how the orphans know when one of them is in a bad mood or not their normal self. As there were heavy showers throughout the evening some of the orphans, especially Olorien, Bondeni, Kindani, Maktao, Larro and Roho, had a very restless night. Naleku, despite having sibling-like quarrels with Roho, was comforting him throughout the night and every time she would hear him complain she would move closer to his side of the stable and reach her trunk through to touch him. As she would stay close to him, he would calm down for a bit before panicking again. 

Even though Ziwadi still likes to browse on her own and isn’t too fazed about always being around the other orphans, she has been spending a lot of time with the younger orphans and can be rather protective of them. This afternoon as they were all browsing, some resident warthogs came over to graze near Ziwadi and the younger orphans but Ziwadi was having none of it. Every time the warthogs would come close, she would chase them away and make sure they wouldn’t come back. Eventually the warthogs gave up and ran off. 

20 January 2021

The orphans had another fun filled day from when they awoke. As the Keepers were letting the orphans out of their stables and stockades, Roho, Mukkoka, Larro, Maktao and Kiasa all ran over to Maxwell’s gate to greet him. They all enjoyed a fun little game of pushing at his gate and then waiting for him to push back at the gate and then they would suddenly pat his back with their trunks to watch his reaction. Maxwell seems to thoroughly enjoy these playful moments with the orphans and when the orphans head off Maxwell will happily head back to this bedroom or up to his Lucerne pellets. 

It was such a beautiful sunny morning as the orphans settled in the forest to browse, that some of the orphans were already eager to start some games. Mukkoka challenged Naboishu to a wrestling match and their game continued for quite some time before they returned to their browsing activities. Maisha, Nabulu, Maktao, Kiombo and some of the younger orphans were all enjoying a soil dust-bath on one of the red soil mounds in the forest. 

Later in the afternoon, as the orphans were all busy browsing, Nabulu was making her way to a new bush when she suddenly disturbed a hyena that was fast asleep under the bush. The hyena leapt up and in turn woke up the other hyenas that were sleeping next to it, who barked at Nabulu. Nabulu got such a fright that she immediately turned and ran back towards the rest of the Nursery herd. As soon as Maisha and Kiasa spotted the hyenas too, they immediately came to Nabulu’s rescue and aggressively charged at the hyenas, flaring their ears and rumbling at them. The hyenas were quick to run off and as they did Maisha and Kiasa returned to the herd. These are important lessons for the orphans to live in the wild but with the Keepers by their side they would not have come to any harm here at the Nursery either.

21 January 2021

The orphans all seem to form their own friendships within the herd, and most of them will have an orphan that they seem to consider their closer friend than others. When Olorien first arrived at the Nursery she used to spend a lot of time with Kiasa, Maisha, Maktao, Kiombo and the others but as she has become more settled in Nursery herd she has started spending more time with Ziwadi, Bondeni, Kinyei and Kindani. 

As the orphans were busy browsing, Ziwadi, Bondeni, Kinyei, and Kindani all followed the older orphans deeper into the forest, whereas Olorien followed Mukkoka and Naleku who do sometimes wander off in their own direction. As she followed Mukkoka and Naleku, she didn’t realise that her friends had walked off in another direction. As soon as she realised that they weren’t there anymore, she immediately began to look for them. At first Mukkoka took no notice of little Olorien looking around but he eventually seemed to decide to help her look, and he happily escorted Olorien and Naleku back to the rest of the herd. Olorien appeared so happy to see her friends as she quickly ran up to them. 

Larro and Mukkoka continue to be the best timekeepers in the Nursery herd and they always know exactly when it is time for the orphans to have their milk bottles. As soon as it’s for the orphans to have their milk, Larro and Mukkoka will always alert the rest of the herd that it is now time for them to head to the milk feeding area.

22 January 2021

Larro and Bondeni seemed to be forming as close a bond as Roho and Maisha. Larro adores all the younger orphans but she seems to have a big soft spot for little Bondeni. Whenever she sees Bondeni around, she will always walk over to check on him and greet him and then will carry on with her activity. If Bondeni is upset or bothered by any of the other orphans, Larro is quick to check in on him and make sure he is okay. 

This afternoon, Naboishu seemed to be picking on little Bondeni and as a result Bondeni yelled out in protest. Larro quickly ran over to his rescue and immediately disciplined Naboishu before attending to the young bull. She went and checked on little Bondeni who seemed alright other than being a little shaken up. For the rest of the afternoon she stuck by Bondeni making sure he was alright. She even managed to re-group all the younger orphans including Ziwadi. 

After the orphans finished their 3pm bottles of milk, Roho and Naleku enjoyed a long soil dust-bath where they enjoyed climbing on each other and rolling around in the soil, covering their bodies. They were being watched over by most of the older orphans before they all returned to the forest to browse. 

23 January 2021

Maisha, although an excellent matriarch, can be quite particular about who she spends her days with or plays with. Kiombo, today, was fortunate enough to enjoy a quick wrestling match with the matriarch who doesn’t often choose to play with the older boys. Often, she may choose to wrestle Maktao as opposed to the others, but from time to time she will challenge Kiombo. 

This morning, Kiasa was the first to initiate the games when she challenged Kiombo and they were soon joined by Maisha. Kiombo seemed to be really enjoying his games with the girls and he even began climbing on Kiasa’s back as she rolled around, which she normally would not allow. Kiombo and Kiasa were happily rolling around, and then Maisha walked in to join them and challenged Kiombo to a strength testing match. 

As the orphans were walking around the forest browsing, little Naleku has always been one to lead the group or lead some of her friends further into the forest. She will often walk off with Mukkoka, but today she decided to wander off on her own. As she walked towards a nice round bush, she didn’t realise that there was a huge tortoise right under the bush. As she started browsing on the bush, the tortoise let out a little hiss to ward off the large animal standing above it. As soon as Naleku heard this she let out a loud trumpet in fear and came running back to the herd. Maisha quickly ran over to the little girl and comforted her with her trunk and a deep rumble but she couldn’t see what had frightened the young girl. Eventually the Keepers went to investigate and they found the tortoise eating away under the bush. 

24 January 2021

Roho continues to be the mud bath champion and if the sun is shining, he is always eager to jump straight in and roll around. This afternoon was no different. Roho was among the first group of orphans to charge down to the mud bath for their afternoon bottles of milk, and he was accompanied by Bondeni, Naboishu, Kinyei, and Ziwadi. As soon as Roho finished his afternoon bottle of milk he walked straight over to the mud bath and started splashing himself with mud. Whilst he was enjoying himself, the others walked over to the water troughs where they enjoyed a long drink of water. 

As the older girls began arriving at the mud bath, Roho was still busy enjoying himself in the muddy waters. As Maisha finished her milk bottles, she walked around the mud bath to check on all the orphans, most of whom were browsing on the greens, and then walked straight into the mud bath to join Roho. As Maisha joined him this seemed to excite some of the other orphans who then also decided to join in. 

Nabulu seemed to be having the best time in the mud bath today as she was rolling around, kicking her legs back and forth and spraying mud everywhere. This made it rather difficult for the other orphans to bathe near her and Maisha became rather protective of Roho, standing over him making sure he didn’t get kicked by the big girl. Maisha eventually seemed to grow tired of her antics and chased her out the mud bath. All the orphans then followed suit and got out the mud bath to go and roll on the dust mounds covering themselves in dust.

As the orphans were rolling around on the dust mound, Roho was fast asleep in the middle of the mud bath, completely relaxed. He didn’t even react when Maisha trumpeted at all the orphans to head back to the forest and she had to get into the mud bath and wake him up to follow the herd. The orphans enjoyed a short browse in the forest before heading home for the evening. 

25 January 2021

This morning, the Keepers decided to take the orphans down to the mud bath for their 11am bottles of milk so that they could perhaps enjoy a mud or dust bath. Most days, the orphans have been having their 9am and 11am bottles of milk in the forest so this was a nice change for the orphans. Mukkoka was leading the first group down with with Larro, Naleku, and Olorien. He was running down so fast and trumpeting loudly in excitement. They were soon joined by the rest of the Nursery orphans. 

As it was a little cloudy, all the orphans finished their bottles of milk and then walked over to the dust mound where they began to cover themselves in dust. Kindani, Kinyei and Naleku were having the best time together on the dust mound and they were soon joined by Bondeni who also loves the dust pile. 

Once Bondeni had covered himself in dust he ran over to one of the water troughs and began charging it. He eventually managed to tip over the water trough and spilled the water everywhere before kicking it around the mud bath. Bondeni was having such a great time chasing the water trough around the mud bath that all the older orphans seemed to enjoy watching the young bull and even themselves began to run around the mud bath as well before heading back to the forest. 

As the orphans were browsing in the forest this afternoon, there was a troop of baboons making such a noise nearby and this appeared to annoy some of the orphans. Naleku was the first to get annoyed and she ran after the baboons, trumpeting, rumbling and flaring her ears as she held her trunk up high chasing them away. She was soon joined by Maisha, Kiasa, Roho, Olorien, Maktao, Kiombo, Naboishu, Larro, Mukkoka and Nabulu who all helped her chase the troop far away. Kinyei, Ziwadi, Shaka, Bondeni and Kindani took no notice and carried on browsing. 

Once the baboons had disappeared the orphans enjoyed a quiet afternoon browsing. 

26 January 2021

Naboishu continues to be quite a shy orphan and he can sometimes even be shy around his Keepers. Due to his shyness he can be a little rough with some of the younger orphans and he is often in trouble with the older girls Maisha, Kiasa, Larro and Nabulu. This morning was such a case when he decided to push Ziwadi. Ziwadi is such a quiet orphan and doesn’t fuss with most of the orphans which is why it was a shock when the bull picked on her. As soon as he knocked her over, Maisha came dashing over to tell him off. 

Naboishu, noticing Maisha coming after him, tried to quickly run away but Maktao was also coming over to discipline him. Naboishu unwillingly got sandwiched between Maisha and Maktao who gave him a strong telling off and sent him away. The orphans know exactly when they are trouble. 

In the afternoon, Naboishu was being well behaved and even enjoyed a strength testing match with his friend Mukkoka. They always enjoy their wrestling matched together and they can sometime continue for quite some time. As they were busy playing, Roho and Kinyei started their own wrestling match which continued for a couple of minutes before they were interrupted by Kindani who chased Roho away. The orphans then settled to browse again. 

27 January 2021

Roho loves to feed next to the older girls especially Maisha, Kiasa and Larro, sometimes even taking food from their mouths; he will even do this with Maktao sometimes. All of them are so used to little Roho now that they don’t mind him doing this at all and they don’t mind sharing their greens with him. Maisha doesn’t even mind him having some of her spilled milk as she gulps down her milk bottles. 

The younger orphans, however, don’t enjoy sharing their milk or greens with the young bull and Olorien will even sometimes try to compete with him. As the older orphans were enjoying their bottles of milk in the forest, Roho, Olorien, Kindani, Kinyei, Bondeni and Naleku had all finished their bottles. Roho and Olorien were standing near each other when Maisha arrived for her bottles. As she began to drink her first bottle Roho and Olorien came walking over to Maisha, before Roho could even get his trunk up to Maisha, Olorien aggressively pushed him out the way and knocked him over. As Roho was protesting loudly, Maisha just let out a deep rumble which seemed to sort them both out. Olorien quickly walked off and Roho got back to his feet and continued to steal milk. 

Through the evening Nabulu stole all Naboishu’s greens through their shared partition, which didn’t seem to bother him very much as he just relaxed in his stockade. The Keepers eventually moved some of them back so he would have something to munch on should he wish. 

28 January 2021

Bondeni continues to be an extremely playful young bull who loves to charge at everything he finds and loves to play with his Keepers and all his Nursery friends. Last night the young boy didn’t get much sleep as he was up playing for most of the evening. The Keeper who was with him for the night was so entertained watching him roll up his mattress into a ball and then kick it around his stable and head butt it along the ground. He played for so long that he didn’t sleep very much and was among the first to want to be let out this morning. 

As Bondeni was let out of his stable he went running over to Maisha’s stockade, as she hadn’t been let out yet. He seemed to get bored and then running over to Maxwell’s stockade to greet the rhino who was already standing at his gate waiting to greet the elephant orphans. He enjoyed a short game with Max before some of his friends joined him. He was joined by Kindani, Kinyei, Maisha, Mukkoka, Kiasa and Larro. 

It wasn’t long before he turned his attention to Kindani and the two enjoyed short strength testing match within the compound. The orphans all hung around the stockade compound for a little bit longer this morning before heading out to the forest for their fun filled day of browsing. Whilst in the forest, Bondeni, Larro and Naleku enjoyed a long dust bath with gentle Maktao watching over them and Kiombo standing nearby. Once finished all the orphans went back to browsing and had a quiet afternoon. 

29 January 2021

Ziwadi has been enjoying leading the orphans out to the forest a bit more lately and this afternoon she had just such an opportunity. As the orphans finished their 3pm bottles of milk, most of them enjoyed a long mud wallow, especially little Roho who was once again right in the middle and being protected by Maisha. Ziwadi, Kindani, and Kinyei, however, did not get into the mud bath but rather stood on the side of the mud bath splashing themselves with mud. Ziwadi grew tired of the mud bath and she eventually decided to head off back to the forest, and she was soon followed by Kindani, Kinyei, Olorien and Bondeni. 

As the younger orphans began to follow her, the rest of the herd seem to decide that it was now time to follow suit and head off after them. All the orphans happily followed quiet Ziwadi until they got to the thickest part of the forest. Once in the forest they all began to browse together and enjoyed a quiet afternoon. 

As the orphans were rushing back to the stockade compound for the evening, Maisha came rushing in first with Olorien, Roho, and Naleku. As they got close to the compound Roho decided to be a bit of spoilsport with Naleku as he started blocking her path and not letting her into her stable. He happily allowed Olorien past but Naleku was not allowed to move. Eventually Naleku retaliated and began to push him hard. The Keepers had to quickly step in and separate them ushering each of them into their respective stockades for the evening. 

30 January 2021

Yesterday afternoon Maxwell was given some fresh long green grass which he thoroughly enjoyed but couldn’t finish as he was given so much. As the orphans came out of their stables and stockades they noticed Max’s fresh grass near his gate and Larro was the first to head over to have a taste. She was soon joined by Mukkoka, Naleku, Roho and Bondeni whom were also eager to have a taste. As they were enjoying some of Max’s grass, the big rhino suddenly appeared out his bedroom and he walked over to join them in finishing off what remained of his treat. 

It wasn’t long before Roho and Naleku started having one of their usual spats. Roho tried to grab bits of grass from Naleku and this upset the young girl who became very annoyed with Roho. She was so annoyed with him that she pushed him up against Maxwell’s gate so Roho began to trumpet and rumble. Surprisingly it was not one of the older elephants who split them up but was in fact Maxwell, who hit his horn against the gate causing Naleku to release Roho. As Naleku jumped back, Roho quickly ran away and stayed far away from her. 

As the orphans were heading off to the forest, Bondeni spotted some of the resident warthogs trying to sneak into Max’s stockades for his pellets and Bondeni decided to take it upon himself to defend Max’s breakfast. He kept chasing them up and down Maxwell’s stockade wall and eventually chased them all the way to the forest. 

Maktao shared a playful moment with Kiombo this evening when they were back in their stockades as they both wrestled each other across their stockade partition. 

31 January 2021

For the past few days Kiasa has been more relaxed and not as naughty when it comes to her milk feeding times, and bothering the other orphans and Keepers for milk. She has also been taking her ‘nanny’ responsibilities very seriously lately, and has been watching over little Kinyei, Kindani, Bondeni, Olorien and peaceful Ziwadi. This morning she even waited for all the young orphans including Ziwadi who was busy with her normal routine of walking to all the water troughs to have a drink of water before heading out to the forest for the day. Maktao was the first to head off to the forest and the other orphans were happy to follow him out. 

This afternoon, the orphans were enjoying a lovely dust bath that was started by Maisha and Maktao who were on the top of the soil mound and Maktao kept trying to climb on Maisha’s back as well as Kiombo’s and Mukkoka’s. Kiombo engaged Maktao in a wrestling match as all the orphans continued to roll around on the soil mound having the best time. 

The orphans had a lovely day browsing in the forest with only the short dust bath and milk feeds as breaks.