Keepers' Diaries, July 2005

Select your unit:

Nairobi Nursery Unit

As anticipated, the transfer of Ndomot, Madiba, Galana and Sunyei to Ithumba on the 2nd unsettled the remaining five Nursery elephants, especially Naserian, who went round the empty stables looking for the missing members of the group, and who was reluctant to go out into the bush to feed. All the remaining elephants were somewhat subdued for several days, but now that Naserian is the only Matriarch in the absence of Sunyei and Galana, with whom she shared this duty, she is very attentive and caring, especially of little Lualeni, and Kora and has settled into the role pleasurably.

As anticipated, the transfer of Ndomot, Madiba, Galana and Sunyei to Ithumba on the 2nd unsettled the remaining five Nursery elephants, especially Naserian, who went round the empty stables looking for the missing members of the group, and who was reluctant to go out into the bush to feed. All the remaining elephants were somewhat subdued for several days, but now that Naserian is the only Matriarch in the absence of Sunyei and Galana, with whom she shared this duty, she is very attentive and caring, especially of little Lualeni, and Kora and has settled into the role pleasurably.

Kora’s jaw is now all but healed, with just a very small amount of congealed pus appearing after a pushing match with Buchuma. The fact that he is happy to get embroiled in a tussle with Buchuma, who is highly competitive, especially with Rapsu, means that the pain in his broken jaw must now be painfree. Rapsu is a very gentle member of the group, who would rather spend time feeding than engaging Buchuma, and does everything possible to avoid an altercation, but when push comes to shove he responds, having the advantage of tiny tusks, sending Buchuma off bellowing! Having been a starvation case, Rapsu’s focus is on food, and when the next milk feed is due, listening for the wheelbarrow that takes the milk ration out to the orphans in the bush, and often returning to the Stockades early in the evening hoping for an early milk feed. Galana, another starvation victim, was exactly the same during her Nursery period so this is usual for baby elephants who have almost died of milk deprivation. (No calf orphaned under the age of two can survive without milk, and those orphaned between 2 and 5 years need supplementation of coconut, which contains the right fat).

Little Lualeni is now a very contented and happy member of the group, eager to show off to all the noon mudbath visitors, thrilling them by chasing the warthogs with a squeaky trumpet! She pushes the huge tube around, and romps happily in the mud. Kora is now also playful, a very different calf to the pathetic and wounded little emaciated waif that came to us 4 months ago with a suppurating jaw broken by a bullet wound sustained in his homeland of Kora. His recovery truly is a miracle, for we have never before had to work so hard and for so long on a wound. Having cleaned the wound thoroughly with Hydrogen Peroxide and Bettadine, we concentrated just on saline solution and the magic Calendular mixed with colloidal silver, which has also been mixed in his bottle to be taken orally. Likewise it is also very rewarding for us to see Rapsu now plump, lovingly friendly and happy, gaining weight rapidly and transformed into a very gentle and affectionate member of the group, usually attached to a Keeper suckling a hand in the absence of his bottle! Most of all, he now has two beautiful clear eyes and perfect sight, having almost lost the sight of one completely. It is good also to see Naserian now settled and happy in her Matriarchal role, so, aside from missing Galana, Sunyei, Ndomot and Madiba, it has been a happy, healing and healthy month for our remaining Nursery babies.

The Rhinos:- Shida, who is still Keeper dependent, this month, has been the problem orphan, obviously anxious to be treated as a grown up, and allowed out at night. He has been increasingly reluctant to go back to his sleeping stockade in the evenings, giving the Keepers quite a run around in order to persuade him to come home. Utilizing the same Home Range as Makosa, he would like to be out and about in the big wide world just like him, but being only just 2 years old, he is too young to be put at risk, vulnerable still to attack by lions and, of course, other rhinos, including his hero, Makosa!

Makosa continues to return to his erstwhile Stockade most evenings, and occasionally actually sleeps inside, which thrills Shida next door. He has behaved himself better this month, although is still an unpredictable character, with a very short fuse, and a dislike of certain Staff members, whom he charges on sight! The words “Makosa is here” puts everyone on their guard!.

Magnum, on the other hand, is very gentle and timid, bent on a peaceful life at all costs. He has worked out a routine to avoid bumping into Makosa by returning in the mornings, as opposed in the evenings, and has even given up checking out his Nursery quarters for fear of running into Makosa. He continues to turn up at the front steps almost every morning, begging for a banana before being escorted back down the hill following the wheelbarrow and an entourage of opportunistic warthogs, with whom he shares his food.

July 2005 day to day

01 Jul

All the elephants woke up looking bored, but they cheered up later in the day, although there was a feeling of uncertainty, with the lorries parked at the Loading Ramps, and the older elephants being fed actually in the vehicles. Later, Lualeni came to Sunyei and touched her gently on the forehead with her trunk. Sunyei stopped feeding and responded by touching Lualeni’s head, both standing motionless for a few moments. We wondered whether somehow they sensed that they would soon be parted.

Kora with Galana the day before she left

Select your unit:
View keepers’ diaries for another month?