Keepers' Diaries, June 2017

Nairobi Nursery Unit

The main event in June was saying farewell to Ukame, Wanjala and Galla from our Nursery as they set off for the next phase of their journey in Tsavo destined to our Ithumba Reintegration Unit stockades early in the month. Ukame got gradually better at getting closer to and finally boarding the relocation lorry during the preparation for the move alongside her friends. Nevertheless on the day all the orphans suspected something was up and became increasingly suspicious and needed to be coerced onto the lorry but there were no delays and by 3.30am they were on their way.

01 June 2017

The translocation process for Ukame, Galla and Wanjala continues and so far Galla and Wanjala seem pretty happy and ready for the day to come, unlike Ukame who was putting up some resistance to bottle feeding within the translocation lorry. For the past two days however she has shown some improvement and some interest in entering the lorry and having her bottle there. Her confidence has grown since she has watched Galla and Wanjala repeatedly enjoy their bottles in there with no problem at all. She is much more confident to even approach it, when before she would turn around and run yelling towards her stockade, and will now even board it. We hope that come the day of her move that she will be happy to board the lorry and begin the first step of her amazing return to the wild.

02 June 2017

Soon after the orphans had settled out in the forest this morning, playful Malima, Jotto, Tamiyoi, Enkesha and Malkia were very happy and chasing after warthogs and their young ones who were also trying to graze next to the orphans. It was apparently great fun for Malkia and her young group to charge around after the warthogs amongst the bushes as they stamped around and trumpeted in delight. Their fun game took a turn though when Malkia chased one warthog which ran right between Malima and Jotto which gave them a fright and they ran away yelling loudly, to find their other friends. Their shouting drew the attention of caring and protective girls Godoma and Mbegu who ran after them to make sure they were okay. They touched and embraced the young elephants and reassured them that everything was okay. After some time they all walked together to rejoin the rest of the herd.

03 June 2017

This morning the big girls were busy greeting and checking over the young ones Musiara and Sattao whilst almost all the boys, including Jotto and Ambo, were seen to be in a playful mood engaged in pushing games as they walked out and approached the forest. Jotto was playing with Ambo, Galla was taking on Wanjala, Pare was with Rapa, Lasayen with Ngilai and Murit was playing with his best play-mate, Luggard. Ndotto as usual had picked the biggest boy to play with and was messing around with, Kauro. Whilst the others settled in the forest the browse, all the bulls in the nursery were scampering about the bushes and trumpeting in excitement. Ambo and Jotto’s game was being watched by Tamiyoi and Malima and after a short while they wanted to join in. Tamiyoi took on Jotto and Malima Ambo, but when Esampu came over to join is as well it proved too many and the game came to an end.

04 June 2017

Although Esampu is naughty and sometimes a bully she still has an inner caring heart; she loves to care and protect for the little babies like Musiara and Sattao. Today as soon as the baby orphans had settled out in the forest with the other orphans, Esampu was seen shoulder to shoulder with Musiara, sandwiching him between herself and the matriarch Mbegu - neither of them wanted him to walk away from them! Esampu tried to pull him away and all he wanted to do was stick close to Mbegu. Eventually Musiara shouted out in protest against Esampu and Mbegu warned her away with a pointed trunk, and Esampu then shouted out in protest too! The yelling of Esampu and Musiara saw another caring baby in the form of Malkia approach, who came to check what the cause of the yelling was. When she found Mbegu right there she knew she needn’t enquire any further; she only checked on Musiara and went to settle next to Tagwa and Sattao who were enjoying a soil dust bath. Little quiet Tagwa is another figure who is starting to like hanging out with the babies. Early in the morning today Ukame, Wanjala and Galla successfully left for the Ithumba Stockades where they will be slowly reintroduced to the wild over a number of years; we are so happy that they are beginning this next step towards returning to a wild life.

05 June 2017

Out in the bush this morning the orphan herd, under the care and leadership of Mbegu, looked calm and composed. The likes of Mbegu, Maramoja, Pare, Lasayen, Rapa, Ndiwa and Mundusi looked bored and sad as they seemed to miss the company of the older orphans Ukame, Wanjala and Galla who left yesterday for the reintroduction unit in Tsavo East National Park. They all browsed close to their keepers and none wanted to walk off very far from the group, as they used to do in the company of the older orphans. During the public visit today, soon after the first group had settled down after their milk bottle, some settled to soil dust and roll around on the dusty ground whilst Esampu and Kuishi were busy chasing after a football. Esampu would run after the ball and try to kick it but more often than not would miss and fall on it. Kuishi would then take advantage of her having fallen on the ball to clamber on top of her. This annoyed Esampu and she got up and head butted her hard to dissuade her from doing it again, but Kuishi didn’t pay attention and every time Esampu fell over the ball she tried to climb on top of her again! This was all very funny for the visiting public and keepers to watch.

06 June 2017

This morning during the public visiting time after the first group had finished their milk bottles, Esampu was being a naughty girl and bulling little Kuishi who was trying to drink water from the water trough. Kuishi showed Esampu some respect by turning her back on her, but Esampu just started to head butt her from behind. She then pushed Kuishi so hard she fell into the mud pool, which really surprised the visiting public as they could not believe Esampu would be so naughty.

07 June 2017

Our new arrival, who arrived yesterday in the evening from the Masai Mara, spent a comfortable night in his stockade after drinking some mil at about 9pm. He started trusting the keepers a little more and seemed at ease with his neighbours in the stockades next to him. All the orphans surrounded his pen the next morning to say hello and welcome him into their family. In the evening he was bullied a little bit by Mteto but this is common for new arrivals as the orphans feel like they need to show them their place. She kept charging at him whenever he reached out to her through the bars that separated their pens. This reception was different from the rest of the orphan family however, and Godoma and Malkia led the welcoming committee to his stockade in the morning. Everyone crowded round trying to reach out to him and touch and communicate with him. Most surprising was Rapa, who is known to be a bit of a bully to all newcomers in the Nursery, but as all the other orphans were walking out to the forest Rapa hid in one of the nearby stockades and waited until it was quiet to walk back to the new arrivals gate. It was hard for the keepers left there to establish was his motive was because he is normally a bit of a bully, but he just stood at the gate and exchanged ‘trunk-greetings’ with him. When he saw a keeper approaching him he sped off towards the forest to join the others. During the morning hours today we spotted Ndotto playing with Kauro again; the two used to always play before Kauro went down to Tsavo and it seems they have resumed their old games. This morning they enjoyed a lengthy pushing game and did not allow anyone else to join them!

08 June 2017

Mteto is becoming more of a bully towards her friends these days and it seems she hasn’t understood that it is important to care for one another in a family herd yet. She is naughty even with the little ones Musiara and Sattao and Luggard as well. She seems to especially not like Luggard for some reason and seems to push him every time she comes across him. The keepers therefore keep a close eye on him as he cannot afford to be pushed around with his bad leg. Jotto is a very friendly boy on the other hand, to his friends and to the keepers as well. He has a similar character to Ndotto and wants to be friends with everyone. He enjoys making others happy as well, even when they are not in the mood. After having his milk at the public visiting time today, he went to get some water from one of the water troughs. Esampu was at the same water trough and when she saw him approaching she changed her position to block her from getting to the water. She knew he was coming to drink as they usually do after having finished their milk, and it took Godoma’s intervention to assist Jotto in accessing the water. She stepped in and pushed Esampu aside so that Jotto could have some as well. Rapa was also behaving in the same way, by blocking Pare from accessing the water trough during the second groups milk feeding. Musiara loves the mud bath at the moment and gets in it all the time. Yesterday Mbegu ran into the mud pool when Musiara went under the surface to completely submerge himself and today it was Godoma’s turn to get into the mud bath with him during the private visiting time, to protect and care for the little one and make sure no bullies came to bother him. He had decided to jump into the mud pool by himself again but when Godoma saw Rapa getting in she also decided to enter to assist him.

09 June 2017

It was a bright morning today as the orphans went out to the forest and many of them were in a very happy, playful mood. They engaged each other in different games, running after each other, wrestling and playing pushing games. Murit was full of energy and sized up all the other boys for pushing games. He began with Ndotto and they had a fun time playing together, only for Ndotto to surrender awhile later and settle to browse instead. Ngilai replaced Ndotto and had fun playing with Murit and Jotto as well, although Jotto did not last in the game very long with the two older boys. Ngilai always plays with the same strength and vigor with everyone he plays with regardless of their age or size! Murit and Ngilai gave up their game briefly when all herd were on the move to a different part of the forest, but later Murit came across Ngilai playing with Kuishi and he approached to try and interrupt their game. He did not succeed in taking Ngilai away from Kuishi so instead he tried pushing Kuishi away. She didn’t have much choice but to abandon her game with Ngilai and move instead to be with the two young babies Musiara and Sattao who were with the keepers nearby. Kuishi wasn’t having much luck today as when Musiara saw her coming he raised his ears and charged at her. She just ignored the little one and moved closer but Musiara head butted her to try and drive her away. She didn’t respond to his challenges and Mbegu herd Musiara shouting because Kuishi would not move away. She ran over and found that everything was okay but stayed in case any trouble arose. This actually caused further problems though as Ambo followed Mbegu because they had been browsing together. Musiara pushed Ambo and wouldn’t leave him alone, forcing Mbegu to take him away so that Musiara wouldn’t push him anymore.

10 June 2017

Sopat is the name of the orphan who arrived on the evening of the 6th and he was moved into a stable since he is very weak and needs to be watched all the time, plus it is warmer in the stables. Tamiyoi was very happy when she came back from the forest that evening and had a new neighbour. She was very welcoming compared to Mteto and throughout the night they communicated through the space between their rooms. Sopat was not happy when Tamiyoi left her stockade this morning to head out to the forest and rolled around on the ground and pushed his head into the hay with low rumbling tones. Nothing could be done however as he is still too weak to join the others out in the forest. The orphans were very happy out in the forest this morning and were running around in excitement. Esampu led Malkia, Godoma, Sana Sana, Tagwa and Malima all around, but their happy time came to an end when the milk arrived. This morning Kiko had an unexpected visitor in the stockade compound when a wild female giraffe came over. After watching her for a long time he decided to go and hide in another stockade on the other side of the compound!

11 June 2017

As all of the orphans settled out in the forest today and were busy browsing, we watched as both Tagwa and Maramoja, who had previously shown less interest in taking care of the young babies unlike Godoma, Mbegu, Esampu, Kuishi, Tamiyoi and Malima, very much attach themselves to the little ones. They even tried to fight off Esampu, Tamiyoi and Kuishi when they tried to approach the two little boys. Later in the day all the caring girls including Malkia, Tagwa and Maramoja were all spotted with the little boys – we have never seen so many protective females around the babies at once!

12 June 2017

Solio visited in the early morning this morning which was nice for our orphan rhino Maxwell. He enjoyed a warm greeting from Solio through the bars of his stockade as they smelt each other and after they tried to play and lock horns. This went on for almost 20 minutes! Maxwell was seen to be so happy and excited that Solio had joined them that morning as they grew up together in the nursery, although Maxwell was always kept in his stockade unlike Solio who was allowed to walk out into the forest and come back in the evening like the elephants; Maxwell’s blindness made this a bit more difficult as he got older. When Maxwell got tired of their games and went to rest in his mud pool, Solio got bored and went to enjoy some lucerne grass that was provided for her by the keepers. As the compound got busier in the morning Solio didn’t seem to like all the activity and left to go back into the National Park. Enkesha is doing so well at the moment and is so friendly with everyone. She often browses with Tagwa and Esampu too when she is in a friendly mood!

13 June 2017

Out in the forest this morning the orphans were being separated into their groups for the public visit as usual. Tagwa, Malkia and Maramoja were causing trouble by wanting to join the first group to accompany the babies Musiara and Sattao, who they had attached themselves to. When the keepers denied them the chance to join the first group since they always attend the visit with the older group, Tagwa kept on yelling out in protest. Malkia then joined in and eventually they both tried to run after the first group! When they thought the keepers were relaxed and not paying attention they slowly began to sneak away as they pretended to browse and walk away, and then they started to run to join the first group down at the mud hole. As soon as they had the milk bottle the keepers gave them since they had come down anyway, they began looking for Musiara and Sattao. When Tagwa found Sattao she rumbled and embraced him by putting her trunk around his shoulders. It’s amazing how Tagwa has turned from a relatively uninterested elephant towards the little babies into one that wants to care and protect them. She used to not be that nice to them and push them around a bit, which is why she was moved into the older group, but now she does all she can to stay with the babies!

14 June 2017

Jotto and Malima are good play mates these days. In the morning when most of the orphans come out of their stockades and greet each other, Jotto and Malima start pushing games and playing with each other. Jotto starts by pushing Malima and trying to climb on her, which annoys her and she retaliates by pushing him back and so their game continues. This morning when the orphans came out the keepers watched in awe as Malima came out of her stockade and ran to push Jotto who was just standing by his stable door figuring out how to start his day. Before he got to make up his mind however he was head butted by Malima! A pushing game ensued that was so vigorous a dust cloud formed above where their game was taking place. Tamiyoi came over and thought she would join in by taking hold of one of Jotto’s hind legs to give Malima a chance to beat him. When he turned to confront Tamiyoi she let go and ran away, but when he turned back she ran back to grab his leg again! Their game eventually came to an end when they all started to walk out to the forest to browse.

15 June 2017

Murit is such a happy and playful boy these days and can be seen initiating and enjoying lots of different pushing games with all the other boys in the nursery. Today when the orphans were settling out in the forest we watched as Murit initiated playing games with Rapa and Ngilai, who we often see him playing with these days. He spent some time wrestling with Rapa and Rapa tried to use all his might against Murit, but although he is quite small for his age he has long tusks and Murit didn’t give up easily! In the end Rapa retreated and went off perhaps to think about how next time he might win against Murit. Murit then started playing with Ngilai and Rapa used a tactical technique by pushing Ngilai from behind prompting Ngilai to fall into Murit quite hard. This annoyed Murit as he had been enjoying a fair fight with Ngilai, but he didn’t know that it had been Rapa pushing him from behind that caused him to fall into him! Murit got up angry with Ngilai but Ngilai walked away once he realised that Murit was going to push him. Rapa came in his place and they both engaged in a full scale pushing fight that was put to an end by the Matriarch Mbegu who had been watching them and thought they had begun to take the game too seriously. Rapa has been disciplined by Mbegu several times over the years and as soon as he saw her approaching he quickly walked away!

16 June 2017

This morning all the orphans were seen to be busy enjoying their browsing with seemingly no show-offs amongst the group this morning; over the past few days especially the boys have been engaged in games and pushing contests as soon as they greet each other in the morning, but today it was quiet. Maramoja, Ndiwa, Mundusi and Mteto are regrouping and browsing further afield than the other orphans, just like the used to do in the company of Ukame, Galla and Wanjala, but now Maramoja and Ndiwa are their little leaders. After they had finished their share of milk, the first group of orphans down at the public visiting time were all milling around, some drinking water from the water troughs and others eating the greens that had been provided. Kuishi drew everyone’s attention however when she went to lie down on top of the soil heap with her front legs forward and her hind legs spread out behind, and there she napped for almost half of the visiting time in her own unique style.

17 June 2017

When the orphans went out to the forest this morning we saw Pare, for the first time, enjoying a pushing game with the matriarch Mbegu! As their game went on, Ambo was seen to be very restless and scampering alongside them and protesting that his adopted mother was having a pushing game with Pare which was indeed a rare sight. Ambo had only ever seen Ndotto playing games with Mbegu. When Mbegu and Pare’s game became a serious pushing game poor Ambo started yelling as he did not want Mbegu to continue her game! Ambo is still the most attached to Mbegu, out of all the other babies in the Nursery at the moment.

18 June 2017

At dawn today lovely Ex Orphan rhino Solio visited the stockades again which sent Maxwell into his usual frenzy of excitement. He was wild with excitement and running around his stockade, knocking his horn on the wooden fence and on the metal gate too, wanting to get out and join his friend Solio. He was knocking so vigorously on one of his stockade gates near Jotto’s stable that eventually it gave way and he made his way out before the keepers could do anything! They were shocked to begin with and then set about trying to safely get him back inside his stockade. He was disorientated and circling around outside the baby elephants stables trying to trace his way back into his stockade using his scent, but he kept losing the trail. The keepers called for Angela’s husband Robert to come and assist and together they decided to use sugar cane to lure Maxwell back into his stockade because he loves it so much. Sure enough the sugar cane method worked and Maxwell was back inside by just after 6am. Throughout the struggle to get Maxwell back inside, Solio just continued enjoying her lucerne feed! Once she was done she made her way back out to the forest, leaving Maxwell feeling rather exhausted after his ordeal!

19 June 2017

During the public visit after the second group of orphans had finished their milk, the majority of them were seen busy enjoying soil dusting. All the boys were busy trying to climb on the girls who were rolling on the ground. Kauro, Ndotto, Pare, Lasayen and Rapa were seen rolling on the soil and jumped up before they could be clambered on by the others. The whole point of them being there however was to try and climb on the others and Ndotto, Lasayen and Pare were the main leaders in this. They were spotted climbing on Mteto, Malkia and Maramoja, although most of their attempts were thwarted by Kauro who was pushing them off the girls.

20 June 2017

The orphans appeared to be in a very happy mood when they came out of their pens this morning and they were engaged in all different games. Jotto normally plays with Tamiyoi but today instead he chose to play with Malima who also enjoys his type of pushing game. They enjoyed their game for some time and we were surprised to see Murit and Rapa also playing. They have very different personalities and more often than not Murit will try to avoid Rapa when it comes to playing. Today Murit seemed to have found a way of tackling the naughty boy and they were engaged in a lengthy wrestling game. Brave boy Murit had the advantage of tackling Rapa due to his long tusks although Rapa is stronger than him, as these are to be respected amongst elephants. The wild giraffes that can be found all over the Nairobi National Park seem to be wondering what happened to Kiko after they saw him the other day. He had not been out into the forest for a couple of days, so two wild female giraffes paid him a visit in the stockade compound. They walked in swiftly without Kiko even noticing their presence until they were close to him. When they were but 5m from him he noticed them on the other side of the pole barrier that keeps him in the compound area and he watched them for some time, before deciding to run off and hide in one of the stockades. They waited there hoping for Kiko to return but they left when he did not return. Esampu is becoming quite the handful during public visiting. She has a new habit of always going into the mud pool and then coming out to run along the rope cordon kicking and putting mud on the visitors there. She gets even more excited when there are school children there too; she was very hard to control during today’s visiting!

21 June 2017

In the morning as the orphans were enjoying their browse and the others were having fun, Mbegu decided to hang out with the baby including Musiara. Luggard also joined the two although it wasn’t easy for him. Musiara is a bit of a spoilt boy and thinks that he should be the only one to receive the love and protection that the older orphans and keepers have to give. As he saw Luggard walking over to them he ran out to push him away. Mbegu was forced to pull him back but even whilst Luggard browsed on the other side of Mbegu, Musiara kept trying to cross to push him away. Mbegu is a great mother to all and would intervene to try and block his attempts. Slowly but surely little Sattao is starting to accompany the rest of the group into the bushes and further from his keepers. This is taking place through the efforts of Malkia and Tagwa as these two try to lure him to spend time amongst them and less time next to the keepers. This is good as it also teaches him to feed on a variety of vegetation. Mteto, our latest greedy girl, has a unique way of demanding her food. Once she is allowed by the keepers in the forest down to the feeding area she runs down shouting and yelling, and once she gets to the feeding point she drinks her milk whilst rumbling in a funny way creating a strange sound. Today she waited around after her milk bottle to see if she could try and fight for any more when Malkia came over. Malkia has developed the ability to hold the bottle and feed herself and Mteto kept fighting to try and snatch the bottle from her. Malkia was going in circles to avoid her but she never gave up, even when the keepers tried to intervene. It took Malkia to drop her empty milk bottle and physically push her away so she could enjoy her second milk bottle in peace.

22 June 2017

It was a very dull and cold morning when the orphans went out into the forest this morning as a result from the rain last night. Most of the orphans were slowly browsing and it was only Lasayen and Murit who seems to be in a playing mood. The two engaged each other in a strength wrestling game, even though Lasayen didn’t show much interest in continuing the game. Tagwa is still showing interest in taking care of the little babies and perhaps this has been partly due to Malkia’s influence. Tagwa is almost the same age as her and they are together most of the time. Because of her influence the others like Kuishi, Esampu and even little Malima want to care and protect the little ones too. Today Tagwa chose to be with Malkia whenever she went to find little Musiara and Sattao. During the public visit today the polite boy Ambo was dusting himself on a heap of loose soil in the middle of the group and the cheeky girl Esampu came over and pushed him! Ambo didn’t take this lightly and started pushing her back and then they started fighting. His friend Jotto was meanwhile sizing up with Malima but Esampu went over and pushed Jotto. When Ambo saw that he came running over with his ears raised high ready to engage her but Esampu stood ready to challenge him and by the time they reached each other Jotto and Malima were also there to help put Esampu in her place. The trio jointly disciplined Esampu properly and drove her away from the group.

23 June 2017

When it comes to milk feeding time some of the orphans can misbehave and some will fight for what they believe is there’s. Ambo is considered to be one of the polite boys in the orphan family but today he caused drama during one of the feeding times. He arrived earlier ahead of Tagwa to the milk feeding point and when she arrived she ran straight to the keeper who was feeding Ambo. When he saw her coming out of the corner of his eye he started pushing his keeper to walk away and avoid Tagwa, but Tagwa managed to catch up to them. The drama unfolded as the keeper walked in circles trying to avoid Tagwa and Ambo pushed him to fight for his milk! The keeper dropped the bottle to end the pushing and for his own safety as well but the two elephants carried on fighting until a keeper came over with another bottle for Tagwa and Ambo’s was collected to help settle the situation. The same two babies were seen browsing together later on in the day, showing there was no hard feelings after their wrestling match in the morning! Sometimes for no reason, one of the babies can feel jealous towards another and the outcome usually ends in a fight or some kind of disciplining from the older orphans. Today Tamiyoi finished her milk and went to drink from one of the water troughs when Kuishi came over and pushed her, spilling water all over those members of the public who were standing nearby. This annoyed Godoma and she came over to drive Kuishi away from the scene before going back to console Tamiyoi. Ndiwa has settled in so well and knows where her stockade is like the front of her trunk. Today as the orphans were coming back to their stockades, they were scared by a troop of baboons. They came in running and shouting and some of them lost their way and which direction their pen was in, requiring the keepers assistance, but Ndiwa came running in and went straight into her stockade to wait for her bottle feed.

24 June 2017

Musiara is so comfortable in the presence of Mbegu, the herd’s matriarch, and the other young girls in the herd. Most of his time today, especially during the early morning hours, was spent staying in the bushes surrounded by his older friends. Today was also a day of fun for the babies at the mud bath area. During the public visit as well the orphans had great fun in the fresh, loose soil which had been delivered in the morning. Most of the orphans in the first group tested the temperature of the water and found it too cold and they walked away without taking a bath. Esampu was one of the first to test the water, followed by Tamiyoi who tested it and walked away for a soil dusting instead. Murit dipped his trunk in whilst standing on the edge but after feeling the temperature he walked away too. However water-loving Malima doesn’t even believe in testing the water and she jumped into the mud pool straight away and started having a bath. Murit came over and spent a few minutes deciding on whether to get in or not and eventually followed suit and started having fun. Esampu, Ambo and Tamiyoi decided not to be left out and were busy playing with the football in the mud. Only Ndotto, Tagwa and Kauro from the second group decided not to go into the mud but all the others had a lot of fun until the end of the visiting time when it was time to return to the forest.

25 June 2017

It was another beautiful sunny morning today as the orphans made their way out to the forest for the day. The very playful ones like Jotto ran ahead of the group and rolled in the long grass as a way of inviting their friends to play too. Luggard was also in a playful mood and was running with his limp to catch up with Jotto. He enjoyed rolling on Jotto’s back when he found him lying on the grass. Today there was a bit of a mix up in the grouping of the babies for the public visit. Usually after a few days of reshuffling all the orphans know which group they are in, either the first or second, to go to the public visit. Sana Sana knows very well that she normally goes down in the second group for her milk but today she sneaked into the first group as she didn’t want to wait to have her milk!

26 June 2017

To shake the cloudy and cold weather this morning the orphans decided to engage in some games to warm up. Ndotto was trying to get everyone involved in a pushing game but he eventually settled on Mbegu. Murit was also trying to start games today and he was obviously in a jovial and happy mood. It is hard to believe how just a few years ago how dull and slow he was and he didn’t want to interact with anybody. Now here he is with little short tusks and growing stronger every day. He engaged Lasayen in a ‘sizing up’ game but Lasayen did not want to play for long as Kauro came over and he was afraid of his size. Murit faced Kauro head-on and wrestled with him at length. The nice thing about Murit is that he understands everyone’s strength, young or old. Today, those that normally like to wander away from the herd like Ndiwa and Mundusi, decided not to and stayed close to the group. Malkia spent her time guarding the little babies from grumpy Mteto and didn’t allow her to get close to Musiara, Sattao and Luggard who were playing together.

27 June 2017

As that saying goes ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ and some elephants like Tamiyoi seem to think this is the case. She is always running home in the evening ahead of the group to enjoy her neighbours food as well. As soon as she has finished her milk she stretches her trunk through the partition to share the delicious lucerne pellets belonging to her neighbours. She will be sad today though as very sadly little Sopat passed away this morning due to his very weak condition. She was fond of the new one and will miss him. During the public visit today Jotto was standing on the edge of the mud pool feeding on the green branches there. Tamiyoi came slowly up behind him and pushed him gently into the mud pool and he rolled down into the muddy water for a bath he had not planned for! Tamiyoi turned and faced the opposite direction and looked very innocent, pretending not to know anything about Jotto falling into the mud. He struggled to get out of the bath on his knees and settled on the loose soil to dry himself. Ambo seems to be copying Mbegu and Ndotto’s habit of drinking water straight from the hose pipe. Since he arrived at the mud bath area and finished his milk, the hose pipe never left his mouth and at some point he even had an altercation with Malima over it!

28 June 2017

It seems to be the start of our ‘winter’ judging from today’s weather! It was a cold, foggy and drizzly morning today and very misty when the orphans came out of their stockades. The weather has been getting colder every day and today it seems to be the coldest! Because of the cold weather the babies Musiara and Sattao and even Luggard have been staying in their stockades for longer in the morning. Because of this Mbegu, Tagwa, Malkia have been making several trips back to the stockades. By the third time and this time with Pare in tow, the keepers finally realised it was because the babies were still in the compound. This time Mbegu went straight up to Musiara’s stockade and gave a low rumble to which Musiara responded by yelling, attracting Tagwa and Malkia to run to his door as well. They tried to push it open but in vain. There was no other option that to give the babies an extra blanket each and allow them out into the forest with the other orphans and they came out full of joy, walking alongside the older ones to the forest. Esampu was a naughty girl at the public visit today. After drinking her milk bottles she went on head butting everyone starting with Ambo who pushed her back. She proceeded on to knock Tamiyoi, Malima, Jotto, Kuishi and finally Enkesha who she pushed through the rope cordon and into the crowd. It was hard for the keepers to control her as she was clearly in a very bad mood. As they consoled one orphan she moved on to the next one! The keepers had to take her to the edge of the group and keep her there while she calmed down.

29 June 2017

It was a lot warmer today than yesterday and the young Jotto was in a very happy and playful mood again. Today he decided to have some fun with Kuishi and she turned ready for a fight, perhaps thinking that Jotto wanted to bully her. He had to approach her in many different playing styles to lure her – he went down on his knees and raised his head and trunk high up in the air and eventually Kuishi complied and she too went down on her knees. They ended up having lots of fun and running around and rolling on each other too. Malima came over as the two were playing their pushing game, looking for Jotto who she is good play mates with. Kuishi didn’t want her to join in though and pushed her away. When Luggard came over though the situation was very different and Jotto was much more gentle in his pushing tactics, considerate of his bad leg. Kuishi wasn’t selfish with the game this time and gave Luggard the chance of playing with Jotto. She stood to the side as Jotto rolled on the ground and Luggard slid down his back. They also enjoyed a wrestling game before winding up their time together. Elsewhere Murit was playing with the naughty boy Rapa; they were breaking down dried and rotten branches and charging and pushing each other. Ambo does not normally take much time playing and doesn’t last too long in games but today he was engaged in a game with Ngilai, charging at warthogs and wrestling with each other. Today it seems to have been Maramoja’s duty to care for the little boys Musiara and Sattao. Since morning she has been walking around with Musiara and before she took over all the older females had surrounded both boys. When they dispersed Maramoja was left with the little ones and Sattao moved to walk next to the keepers, so Maramoja moved into the thicket together with Musiara.

30 June 2017

Malima is quite a strange little girl with her love for mud! It’s natural for elephants to use mud to cool their bodies and sometimes for fun too. At 9am this morning the elephants drank their milk in the mud bath area. As it was morning and still a bit chilly, none of the orphans were expected the mud bathe but this young girl surprised everyone by jumping into the mud pool as soon as she had finished her milk bottles. She started wallowing and kicking the football up and down in the mud throughout the entire time the orphans were there, about half an hour! By 11am she was still in the same happy and playful mood. She engaged Ambo in a lengthy pushing and dusting game which was so funny to watch as they raised their ears up wide whilst playing and kicked up a lot of dust! Today Esampu was in a better mood and with the presence of so many school children she behaved well. Most of the orphans still tried to avoid her whenever she approached them. It seems to be the norm though that whenever she is about to cause problems, she will engage Ambo first. Apart from Luggard who tried to push her back when she went to him, Ambo and the others walked away from her. She stayed calm throughout the entire visit today, walking along the rope cordon paying no attention to the crowd. At one point she even assisted Tamiyoi in babysitting the little ones Musiara and Sattao.