Keepers' Diaries, June 2015

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

In the Keepers daily entries you can read details about all the individuals in our care. Here are some stand out details from this month summarised.

In the Keepers daily entries you can read details about all the individuals in our care. Here are some stand out details from this month summarised.

Alamaya came to us with her rear end chewed up by hyenas and her wounds have healed well, but scar tissue has deformed her genital area inhibiting urinating slightly so she is unable to do so freely without it building up in a pocket. We will operate on her when she is a little stronger as it would not take much to correct. Wounded Mwashoti is healing beautifully too, better than our wildest expectations. His leg was extremely compromised by a cable snare wound, but four months on it has healed wonderfully and he is able to use it almost normally. Mwashoti is very much a part of the baby group as he is not yet heading down for public viewing. Sometimes his manners leave a bit to be desired when he does fraternize with the older orphans and they are quick to discipline him which requires the input from the Keepers to keep order!

We have had the lions around this month and our keepers have to keep a close eye on the babies and Pea and Pod our resident orphaned ostriches. On the 20th there was a scare when a lioness tried to grab the ostriches Pea and Pod, thankfully the Keepers were vigilant and averted disaster and she was chased away before they came to harm. More details about this can be viewed in the daily entry.

Little Ndotto and Lasayen, along with Ngilai, have been full of beans this month charging around being very playful, and Pea and Pod are quick to join in the games. This group of tiny elephants with the ostriches towering over them is so endearing to watch, and they seem so totally at ease and comfortable in each others company. Mbegu and Kamok are the baby group baby sitters and love to spend time with them, very often lying on the ground so the babies can play on them, and Kamok allows Ngilai to suck her ears as a special treat. She is so hooked on Ngilai that she sometimes spirits him away from the rest of the group and together they frolic in the bushes having dust baths and hanging out together, with her feeling like Mum. Ngilai is an extremely pampered and happy little baby.

Ura, a tragic orphan who came into our care towards the end of last month with a terrible broken leg that had overridden to such an extent that any hope of setting and plating the wound was ruled out despite consulting with veterinary experts both locally and abroad. The extremely difficult decision was made to euthanize him to put him out of any further suffering on the 5th of June once we were satisfied we had exhausted all options. He was clearly suffering and the pain was causing him to remain extremely restless which of course was counterproductive too.

Every Friday the Nursery orphans are rubbed down all over their bodies with coconut oil which we store in large drums. This is done by their Keepers as it is both helpful for their skin texture and condition, and some is absorbed with coconut fat similar to the fat in elephant’s milk.

A couple of times this month we have received a visit from Solio who came close to her favourite Keeper Kingori, and is looking in wonderful condition. She stood around watching the private viewing taking place at 3.00pm and stayed for approximately twenty minutes before disappearing back into the undergrowth. Her transition back into the wild is extremely successful which is no easy task with rhinos who are fiercely territorial. Sometimes she is seen in the company of other black rhinos, residents of Nairobi National Park. Another day she came early in the morning and then headed up to visit Maxwell in his boma. He receives regular visits from wild rhinos and Solio’s visits and whether day or night are very important to him and vital for his wellbeing. Maxwell is a real creature of habit and remains totally attached to the older section of his Boma with only fleeting visits into the recently extended section. He keeps time, and positions himself strategically for foster parent visiting at 5.00pm so that he can meet with the guests and get some much appreciated scratching and attention.

Elkerama who came to us towards the end of last month is doing well, and throughout the month has tamed down gradually. By months end he was at the midday visiting and the private viewing at 3.00pm and happy to have a Keeper in his stockade with him for company. He developed a swelling under his chin, we think as a result of the parasites he had, but that too disappeared towards the end of the month. His condition improves daily and he really has become content in his new home amidst new friends. Ngilai has grown extremely attached to him, and likewise he affords tiny Ngilai masses of attention too so between Mbegu, Kamok, Elkerama and play mate Mwashoti Ngilai wants for little.

On the 23rd we had our first rescue in June when we received a call from Simba Farm in Rumuruti with reports of an injured one year old elephant calf. Simotua was rescued with horrendous wounds; a rope snare biting into his leg coupled with a spear wound in his head, which made our work this end challenging. These horrendous injuries, as well as his poor body condition have made his road to recovery fraught. We have been amazed by his strength of will to live and while he cuts a sad little figure, a graphic illustration of how cruel and indiscriminate snaring can be, we are extremely hopeful he will make a full recovery but it will take time.

On the 26th another little orphan came into our care, this time from the Masai Mara. The reason for his abandonment remains a mystery, a tiny isolated figure was found all alone in an ocean of grass lands with absolutely no elephants in the area. We suspect this roaming lost little soul was without Mum for a long time given his bloated stomach due to parasites and his terribly thin face. It is the face that is an accurate indicator of an elephant calf’s condition.

What was remarkable about this baby is despite having a dramatic first night, he arrived here tame. He was rescued too late in the evening to send a rescue plane and that night he was kept in a tractor trailer which was sheltered from the driving rain and reversed into a shed so that he did not get wet. To everyone's amazement the next morning the little calf was gone and he had to be relocated by the DSWT that very morning. Somehow he had managed to clamber the sides and escape the trailer jumping to freedom. Luckily he was found quickly, taken to the nursery and in no time he was feeding from a bottle, sucking the keepers fingers and in a couple of days he was able to join the others out the in the forest. He was ready to be rescued, craved company and for him finding a life again at the Nursery amidst love and attention, milk and elephant friends was a welcomed relief. We have given him a beautiful Maa name Tusuja – which mean ‘to follow’.

June 2015 day to day

01 Jun

It was 6:30 am when the older orphans made their way out to the park this morning, leaving a little later than normal due to some bad weather. It was chilly and misty as they headed out and for this reason Ngilai, Ndotto, Lasayen and Murit were kept back longer before joining their friends in the field. Alamaya is a polite and quiet elephant and gets on well with all the orphans. Her wound has been troublesome with the scar tissue causing a blockage for her when urinating. Mwashoti on the other hand seems to have a few problems with the older orphans and we think that this is because he was used to being with the keepers in the company of Ndotto, Ngilai and Lasayen. This afternoon Dupotto and Roi were busy playing together when Embu came out of the bushes, where she had been browsing, and decided to check on Dupotto. Mwashoti came forward with his ears spread wanting to charge at her and she was quick to retaliate, ready to push him if need be. The keepers intervened and prevented her from pushing Mwashoti who is still recovering from his snare wound .

Alamaya out in the forest

Dupotto, Enkikwe and Roi