Keepers' Diaries, July 2021

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

July began on a sunny note. On the first day of the month, everyone woke up in a wonderful mood, charging out of their bedrooms and eager to start the day. Even Shukuru enjoyed an enthusiastic dust bath in the sun. We are happy to share that she has been steadily improving this month. She finds herself a very popular figure at the Nursery and all the youngsters constantly clamber around her. No doubt they are attracted to her gentle, comforting presence, but they may also have more mercenary motives: As the largest member of the Nursery herd, Shukuru gives off a lot of body heat, so the orphans huddle around her on colder days. 

Larro continues to be an exceptional mini matriarch. She is incredibly nurturing and loves when the whole herd is together as a unit. The Keepers were reminded of this one morning, when they let the older orphans out first. While Shukuru, Rama, Naboishu, and Mukkoka headed into the forest without a backwards glance, Larro refused to leave the stockade compound until the youngsters had been let out of their stables. While she is very nurturing, Larro can also be a disciplinarian when needed. We saw this when Olorien kept back-kicking Naleku unprovoked, which created lots of friction between the pair. Larro initially wanted the hot-headed girls to sort it out amongst themselves, but when the situation continued to escalate, she stepped in and sent Olorien away to consider her actions. For the rest of the month, Larro kept a close eye on the pair. 

Kindani, Bondeni, and Kinyei remain best friends and the fun trio of the Nursery. Kinyei is the quiet, calm one; Kindani is the confident one and can sometimes be a bit of a bully; and our little boy Bondeni is the cheeky one. In fact, everyone is enchanted by Bondeni — even the wild baboons of Nairobi National Park! He was determinedly trying to chase them away one morning, but because of his diminutive stature, the baboons seemed more interested in playing with him. Bondeni became very frustrated when he realized they were not intimidated by his presence and even put his tiny feet up on the tree trunk, as if in an attempt to climb after them.

Little Esoit, our newest rescue, has settled in incredibly well. He is such a self-assured, cheerful young bull. While he has made lots of friends within the herd, Roho, his nighttime neighbour, remains his favourite companion. Their games often begin the moment they exit their stables in the morning and continue for the rest of the day. Fueled by his confidence, Esoit is always eager to play with Mukkoka and Naboishu. These older bulls pay him special attention, even naughty Naboishu, who remains a menace during milk feeding times. 

Ziwadi only likes to socialize with the other orphans if the mood strikes her, but she always has time for Rama. These gentle souls are two of a kind, happiest when quietly browsing side by side. Rama remains very shy, but he has been settling in more with each passing month. He has always been a bit apprehensive of Kindani and Olorien, as they sometimes bully him. Recently, however, he has been standing up to them with great success. At the end of July, Rama even challenged Mukkoka to a short strength testing match. It was the first time he had ever done such a thing, and the Keepers thoroughly enjoyed watching them play together. 

Maxwell also enjoyed a wonderful month. Early July was punctuated by some heavy rainstorms, much to his delight. While the youngest orphans prefer shelter inside their stables, Maxwell relishes these conditions. He can be seen frolicking around his stockade, rolling in the mud and savouring each raindrop. Most mornings, Max likes to interact with the orphaned elephants as they head out into the forest. Sometimes, however, he gets very caught up in sorting his greens and can't be bothered to go greet them! 

July 2021 day to day

01 Jul

It was a wonderful sunny morning as the orphans were being let out of their stables and stockades. As all the orphans were making their way to the forest, they seemed to be a in a great mood charging around and eager to start their day. Even Shukuru could be seen enjoying a dust bath in the sun. Mukkoka, Naboishu, and Roho were all busy wrestling, and Ziwadi and Kindani were just off standing in one of the open plains enjoying the morning sun. Maxwell also seemed to be enjoying the morning sun as he could be seen lounging in the direct sunlight in one of the corners of his stockade. 

As the orphans ran down to the mud bath for their midday bottles of milk, the sun was still shining, and the day had warmed up nicely. Larro, Mukkoka, Roho, Naleku, Olorien and Rama all quickly downed their milk bottles and ran straight over to the mud bath. Rama, as always, carried out his own routine of standing on the edge and covering every inch of his body with my mud by splashing himself with his trunk. He covers himself in mud so well, that you would think he was fully submerged in the muddy waters. 

Some of the younger orphans have seemed to learn that if they stand close enough to Rama that they too will get splashed with mud and therefore can also enjoy a mud bath without any effort. Kindani, Kinyei, Bondeni, and Olorien who are all still a bit shy when it comes to mud bathing, especially like standing near him to get splashed. They will either stand to his left, right or behind him waiting for him to start splashing. 

After a long mud wallow, the orphans headed back to the forest with their Keepers, where they enjoyed a quiet afternoon of browsing. 

Shukuru enjoying a morning dust bath

Mukkoka and Naboishu wrestling

Rama, Roho, Mukkoka and Larro mud bathing