Having received news on the l9th June, 2011 that a lone orphaned elephant calf had been spotted in the Masai Mara by tourists at a place called OleSukut (“Salty Place”), the calf was subsequently captured near the Ololoo escarpment, after which the Nairobi Nursery Rescue Team was mobilized. The orphan, a young bull with tusks between 2 and 3 inches long arrived back at the Nursery at about 5.30 p.m. on the 19th June. He was dehydrated, weak and very thin, obviously having been without his mother for some time, and was passing a lot of worms in his dung. He was unbound in the Taming Stockade, and that evening all the other Nursery elephants were brought back to take their milk in front of him, so that he would understand that he was not alone, and hopefully take his cue from them. This, he did, settling down amazingly rapidly. By the very next morning he was taking milk from a hand-held bottle, sucking the fingers of the Keepers, and very calm, which is not always a good sign in an orphan of that age. We anticipated a collapse, and had all the intravenous life support at hand, but mercifully it did not happen
Originally, the newcomer was given the name “Eru”, meaning “Fellow” in Masai, but later at the request and suggestion of both the Keepers and those who first saw him, his name was changed to Ololoo, since he was rescued at the foot of the Olololoo Escarpment in the Masai Mara, (In Masai Olololoo means “The End of the World). Everyone felt the name Ololoo appropriate, since Olololoo was somewhat of a tongue twister for perspective Foster-parents!
When he had regained some strength, he was de-wormed on the 4th day after arrival, and allowed out to join the other Nursery elephants. Something near miraculous then took place involving Ishanga, who, up until now, has been a disruptive member of the Nursery herd – very pushy and badly behaved. She took an instant shine to Ololoo, showering him with affection, transformed entirely. Since his arrival, she has been at his side every moment of every day, and is a very different character. He now occupies the Night Stockade next door to her, and the two communicate at length between the separating poles before settling down for the night. The transformation of Ishanga has amazed everyone. We can only suspect that perhaps he resembles a brother of whom Ishanga was very attached before being orphaned! By month end Ololoo was very much a Nursery favourite – a very gentle and friendly little bull, trusting of the Keepers, and equally friendly to outsiders. However, having had to undergo the usual prophylactic course of nuroclav injections against possible pneumonia, he is wary of being approached from behind.
Mutara and Kalama now share the role of Mini Matriarch, both exstremely caring of the Nursery baby, Naipoki, who is similarly adored by Sities, Makireti, Shukuru and Turkwel. Shukuru often waits outside Naipoki’s stable door in the morning, escorting her to meet all the others as soon as she emerges. Turkwel and Kainuk are also very close as well as night neighbours, while Makireti has displayed special caring of Ololoo since his arrival in the Nursery. Chemi Chemi, previously the only boy in the Nursery, is still understandably somewhat wary of challenging Ololoo to the Pushing Matches he so loves, since Ololoo is armed with tusks! He and Kalama are very close.
Several unseasonal rainstorms this month, (usually unheard of in June) have kept the Park green, and provided a welcome diversion for the Nursery group, who enjoy playing in the puddles and the mud. Yet again, the lions have been after the resident warthogs, especially those that sleep in the Hay Store at night, bringing the lions boldly right into the compound, even during the hours of daylight, which has caused quite a stir! But, aside from lion thrills, unseasonal storms accompanied by loud claps of thunder which unsettle all the elephants, June has been a peaceful and happy month for the Nursery babies, all of whom are so far thriving and growing apace. Tano has been a slow grower and is still a lot smaller than others who are older but she appears equally as healthy, playful and strong so there is no cause for concern as yet.
The Rhinos:- The relationship between blind Maxwell and Solio has blossomed into mutual adoration. Max lives for interaction with her as she passes by his enclosure on a twice daily basis – when she leaves her Night Stockade, and when she returns. He is waiting to greet her as she passes by, often becoming very excitable and galloping up and down his Enclosure. The two often enjoy a friendly sparring match through the separating poles, Max even standing quietly by as Solio chews on his horn should it protrude into her space. Similarly Max enjoys daily contact from the elephants as they pass his enclosure, all of whom touch him gently with their trunks as he stands waiting for such contact close to where they pass each day on excursions to and from the Trust compound.
Solio is a huge favourite – a very gentle and loving little rhino, who at last is beginning to explore the territory in front of the Trust Headquarters, where previously she would not venture. Like all rhinos, who are extremely sensuous, both she and Max thoroughly enjoy a tummy rub, or any touching for that matter, which invariably triggers a collapsed blissful torpor!