Keepers' Diaries, July 2015

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

The beginning of the month began with another orphan coming into our care. A well victim was rescued and taken to Sera airstrip where he was retrieved by plane with our Keepers on hand. We have called him Rapa, and thankfully he has done well and gained strength throughout the month. He was an extremely restless baby, and it took days for him to settle before he could be let out of his stockade. Tusuja who was rescued from the Mara towards the end of June joined the orphans for the first time on the 1st of the month. This took place without too much drama with this mellow little elephant joining the fold attracting the attention of the young mummies Oltaiyoni, Roi, Kamok, Mbegu, but with Embu our new matriarch not being very nice to him surprisingly. Arruba came to his rescue thankfully.

The beginning of the month began with another orphan coming into our care. A well victim was rescued and taken to Sera airstrip where he was retrieved by plane with our Keepers on hand. We have called him Rapa, and thankfully he has done well and gained strength throughout the month. He was an extremely restless baby, and it took days for him to settle before he could be let out of his stockade. Tusuja who was rescued from the Mara towards the end of June joined the orphans for the first time on the 1st of the month. This took place without too much drama with this mellow little elephant joining the fold attracting the attention of the young mummies Oltaiyoni, Roi, Kamok, Mbegu, but with Embu our new matriarch not being very nice to him surprisingly. Arruba came to his rescue thankfully.

The very next day, the 2nd of July, we were called for another rescue, this time a young calf with multiple spear wounds in southern Tsavo West. The fate of his mother remains unknown. Tragically the calf succumbed to his horrendous wounds while in the back of the rescue land cruiser before the rescue plane landed, despite being in the capable hands of Dr. Poghon at the time. Vital organs had obviously been damaged.

The one year old calf called Simotua who came to us towards the end of last month with a terrible snare wound around his one leg and a deep penetrating spear wound to the head has not only settled in but has healed extremely well thanks to the continuous medical attention he has been afforded. Early on in the month, before he joined the others in the forest, he was visited in his stockade religiously each day by Arruba, Suswa, Oltaiyoni, Roi and Kamok and Mbegu who came to check on him. It was obvious he was miserable remaining behind so the decision was made to let him out tojoin the others, despite his severe wounds. He settled in instantly and this lifted his mood considerably and aided healing, as we have found some many times before - healthy mind, healthy body. By months end Simotua’s wounds were healing beautifully and it is clear that he will recover completely in the fullness of time.

Tusuja who was rescued in June just before Simotua has sadly not thrived as well. While he was able to join the others within a few short days of arrival because he was such a mellow elephant, he has struggled with poor health from excessive amounts of parasites we think. He came riddled in worms but hopefully after multiple treatments we will get on top of his problems and he can turn the corner and regain condition. His problems are not obvious, but his body condition remains poor and from time to time his stomach blows up, and he suffers from low blood sugar levels that we have to watch and boost accordingly.

Alamaya required an operation this month as she was struggling to urinate due to excessive scar tissue that with time had restricted the urethra, so severe were the injuries from the hyenas. The operation took three hours with four Vets working on this little elephant, and what was discovered during the operation was that Alamaya was not a girl, but a boy. The operation was successful and now a month on he has healed beautifully and is able to urinate with no problems at all. He is happy and without pain or discomfort now.

Our littlest boy called Ngilai has become hooked on Elkerama, our oldest male and a fairly new arrival. This friendship is heartwarming to watch, how tolerant Elkerama is on his little friend, (mostly) allowing him to suck on his ears for endless hours. Elkerama even takes his little friend for mud baths out in the forest, spraying him with mud to make sure he is dowsed all over!

Pea and Pod continue to be very much part of the orphans herd, although they can be long-suffering when they become the brunt of elephant games or mischief. Murit has lead extraordinary games with the ostriches this month with Pea and Pod being lively, enthusiastic participants, jumping over the baby elephants as they lay on the ground, then ready to run for their lives when the babies were back on their feet and charging them! Tusuja has not quite grasped why they are around all the time and likes to smack them with his trunk!
This month Mwashoti and Ngilai accompanied the others to the midday mud bath. Up until now this has not been the case due to the severity of their injuries, and as they are both extremely close we never wanted to separate them. With Mwashoti’s wound that almost severed his leg, we wondered whether he would ever heal, let alone lead a viable normal life. Today he can run and play and do everything the others can do, his recovery has been extraordinary. Ngilai, a well victim, was plagued by terrible bruises and injuries on his back from his two day struggle to free himself which have taken months to heal. Another well victim, Kauro, has not forgotten his ordeal and avoids the mud bath and water. Boromoko is a good friend to Mwashoti and the two enjoy endless sparring games, as both are evenly matched in size.

The little boys Lasayen and Ndotto are firm friends, they are both miniatures despite being a year old, and this endears them to everybody! Ngilai who is much younger is actually bigger than them both! These two rascals love a good rough and tumble at mud bath time which the visitors enjoy enormously.

On the 18th of July we brought Balguda back in the elephant moving truck from Umani Springs. He has been off colour this month and the reasons for this have not been obvious. We felt more comfortable having him back at the Nursery where we could take regular blood readings and lab tests to try and get on top of his problem. Mashariki, Arruba, Suswa, Oltaiyoni and Sokotei remembered him instantly and were there to meet him on arrival and Balguda too remembers all the Nursery orphans he spent time with. He slotted back into the routine like he had never left. We are not entirely sure what his problems are, but are fairly confident they are related to blood parasites. By months end he was showing signs of improving after extensive and ongoing treatment. Balguda has settled in as if he never left and has a team of boys who he spends most of his time with Elkerama, Sokotei, Olsekki, Kauro, Sirimon and Simotua and Boromoko. We will have to consider moving Arruba, Mashariki, Rorogoi and Suswa next month although their mini matriarchal guidance and comforting touch has been helpful with the many new babies coming into our care. The Keepers daily diary entries are filled with more details from this month.

July 2015 day to day

01 Jul

The orphans left their stockades in a joyful mood and paired off to play some games before heading to the bush. Murit played with Kamok, Dupotto with Mbegu, and Boromoko with Mwashoti. The older girls were busy charging around and trumpeting excitedly. After the stockade games the orphans headed out to the bush for the day. A little before the public visit we received a call from Lewa Downs about an orphan in need of rescue. The calf had fallen down a well at the Sera Conservancy. A rescue team was arranged, arriving at the Sera airstrip a little before 3pm. They found the calf already restrained in the back of a land cruiser and administered some first aid to the wounds it received when it fell down the well. The baby was then loaded into the plane before being flown to Nairobi, arriving at the Trust a little before 5pm. The young calf was very tired and confused and following his ordeal was very subdued and we allowed it to rest. Today Tusuja was taken out in the afternoon to be with the rest of the orphans in the bush. Mbegu and Kauro escorted him out of his stockade and took him to join the rest of the group. While out in the forest Arruba, Mashariki, Oltaiyoni, Mbegu and Roi showered him with affection, never leaving his side as they all tried to get to know him better. Embu and Rorogoi were not as welcoming and tried to bully him and Rorogoi was able to push him to the ground. She was reprimanded by Arruba who chased both him and Embu away.

Tusuja with keeper

Tusuja and Mwashoti

Kauro playing with Dupotto who is sitting

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