Keepers' Diaries, June 2019

Nairobi Nursery Unit

This month we bid farewell to another five orphans from the Nairobi Nursery. Jotto, Ambo, Tagwa, Sagala, and Emoli all underwent the usual training to board the translocation lorry which would take Jotto and Ambo to the Ithumba Reintegration Unit, and Tagwa, Sagala and Emoli to Voi. 

01 June 2019

In the early hours of the morning, whilst the orphans were out browsing, Maktao, Sattao and Emoli were busy charging around and playing with one of another. Their games started the night before but ended abruptly with the surprise arrival of Dupotto. Most of the orphans, especially Tamiyoi, were really happy to greet her and were all there to welcome her as she walked out the translocation lorry. Tamiyoi appears to remember Dupotto as she would not leave her side. Jotto and Kiombo, on the other hand, seemed to be afraid of the new arrival and kept running away, and Kiombo even appeared to mock charge the returning girl as the others were greeting her, but was quickly ushered away by Tamiyoi. Dupotto has been brought back from Ithumba so we can run some tests on why she might be losing some body condition, and monitor her closely.

02 June 2019

There was heavy rain and thunder throughout the evening, which can scare some of the Nursery herd. Maktao and Kiasa are two that seem to be very afraid as they were trumpeting and rumbling throughout the evening, seeking comfort from their Keepers. This morning, as the Keepers opened all the stockade doors, Maktao and Kiasa came charging out to greet the others, evidently very excited to be back with their friends. 

Whilst making their way out to the bush, Dololo and Mukkoka started playing and running up to Maxwell’s gate. Maxwell, who had been busy rolling around in the mud, came running over to the gate to greet the playful duo. Their game did not last very long as Dololo and Mukkoka were soon called by the Keepers to join the rest of the herd that was already making their way out to the field. 

Training to enter the translocation lorry began for another five orphans, Jotto, Ambo, Tagwa, Sagala, and Emoli. Most of them were quite relaxed about entering the truck but Tagwa and Jotto were very reluctant, Jotto would not even come close to where the lorry was parked. Each time Jotto would get close to Nabulu’s stockade it seemed as though he would realize what was happening and then he would run away back to the forest. 

03 June 2019

Dupotto has quickly settled back into life at the Nursery, and Tamiyoi has remained very close to her as she can always be seen by her side. Since Emoli has begun his translocation training, he has been getting along very well with the older orphans. He and Ambo have been enjoying their wrestling games whilst in the field, which has also been a comfort to Ambo whose friend Mapia was recently relocated to the Ithumba Reintegration Unit. 

Since the weather has been cold lately, typical of this time of year, the orphans have not been having their mud baths. Today, however, was slightly warmer and this caused some curiosity amongst some of the younger orphans. Sattao was the first to approach the water, but he appeared very hesitant and kept just feeling the water as if to test the temperature. Musiara, on the other hand, walked straight into the water. He was soon joined by Tamiyoi, who was rolling around near little Larro who didn’t seem interested in getting in the water. Dololo, who was trying to play with Larro, was chased away by Kiasa, so he began to play with Tamiyoi. By the end of their midday feed majority of the Nursery herd were in the mud bath fooling around. 

04 June 2019

Today was a big day for Tagwa, Emoli and Sagala, as it was the day of their translocation to the Voi Reintegration Unit. The Keepers were up bright and early, around 2:30am, preparing their milk bottles and the lorry. At about 3:00am, the orphans were loaded onto the lorry and all of them got on without any trouble. At first the Keepers were worried that Emoli would be reluctant to get on, as he had refused to the day before, but he went on without any fuss whatsoever. By 3:15am, the orphans were all ready to start their journey to Voi. 

As opposed to when Malima, Kuishi and Mapia were moved, the other orphans were very loud this morning. The orphans were trumpeting and rumbling as Tagwa, Emoli and Sagala were being loaded into the lorry. Mukkoka, Larro, Kiasa and Maktao were the loudest of them all and only settled down once the truck had left and they were given their early bottles of milk. 

Once in the field some of the orphans appeared to notice the missing orphans as they kept running back and staying close to their Keepers. Enkesha, Tamiyoi, and Maisha have now taken on the role of looking after the younger orphans. 

05 June 2019

Sattao’s personality seems to be changing and he seems to be gaining more and more confidence amongst the Nursery herd. He would normally stay close to Tagwa and his close friend Musiara, but today after his 9am bottle of milk he was seen starting a wrestling match with Ambo. They played for quite some time, before Ambo had to head off with Jotto to continue their training of getting into the translocation lorry. 

During their 11am milk bottle feeding time and mud bath, Sattao spent the entire time playing with the other orphans. He began a strength testing match with Maktao, and then moved to playing with Enkesha and Kiasa and finally ending with Musiara. He was so busy playing that he didn’t have any time to even think of having a mud bath before heading back into the bush for the afternoon. 

Jotto has been very reluctant to enter the translocation lorry and refuses to take his milk anywhere near the truck. The Keepers have to try their best efforts to get him to even go passed his stable to where the truck is parked. Jotto appears to be getting frustrated with this exercise and has seemed to be a bit grumpier around the other orphans. 

06 June 2019

Mukkoka, Maktao and Larro were awake for most of the evening as there was heavy rain and thunder throughout the night. It was so cold in the morning, that the orphans were all reluctant to come out of their stables, and by 7am some of them still refused to come out, especially Dupotto. 

Jotto and Ambo were the first to make their way out to the field, and they were closely followed by Maktao and Luggard. Ziwadi stayed within the warmth of her stockade, and Dupotto reluctantly followed the others as they all left. 

Whilst in the field, Maktao seemed to miss one of the Keepers, so he went running back to the stockade compound where he found one of the Keepers busy prepping the stables for the evening. The Keeper walked Maktao back to the field where his other Keepers were. Jotto shortly after, came over to join Maktao and the Keepers.

As it continued to drizzle throughout the day, the Keepers decided to take Luggard and Dupotto back to the stables so they could keep warm. Whilst they were making their way back to the stables, Ambo was busy playfully chasing Maisha and trying to climb on her back. He wouldn’t leave poor Maisha alone, and Jotto eventually had to step in and stop Ambo from further chasing her. 

07 June 2019

Ziwadi has slowly been adapting to life at the Nursery, but she seems to be getting closer to some of the Nursery herd. It appears that she really enjoys the company of Maktao, Musiara, Luggard and Dololo, although Dololo can be a little unpredictable at times. 

The Keepers have still been struggling to get Jotto anywhere near the translocation lorry. This morning, however, the Keepers decided to take him to the truck from a different direction with the entire Nursery herd. As the orphans were being brought through the general parking area, Jotto seemed to realize where they were headed and darted off into the thicket, followed by the rest of the Nursery herd. Fortunately, the thicket led straight to the truck, where Jotto surprisingly agreed to take his bottle of milk in the truck, for the very first time. This success was short lived as he again refused to go near the truck when it was time for his midday bottle of milk. 

In the afternoon, the Keepers tried again with some of the older orphans such as Maisha, Enkesha, Tamiyoi, Ambo, and Nabulu escorting Jotto to the lorry. Again, he entered the truck without any trouble, and enjoyed the Lucerne pellets that had been laid down for him and Ambo. The orphans stayed near the truck for some time before heading back to the forest. Ambo was again being naughty and chasing some of the other orphans, especially Nabulu, Maisha, and Enkesha. It appears he knows that the older girls are no longer around to tell him off. 

08 June 2019

With the departure of Sagala and Tagwa, the Keepers were worried that Larro would be very upset and would be missing them a lot. However, she seems to be doing really well and has adapted really well to Nursery life without them. Kiasa, Maisha, and Enkesha seem to have taken over Sagala’s role of protecting little Larro, and keeping her company. 

Mukkoka is still up to his usual antics of rumbling, trumpeting, and running for his milk. Today, while he was running down to get his midday bottle of milk, followed by Enkesha and Dololo, he came across a large bird feeding on some insects. As the bird saw them approaching it took flight and flew straight over Mukkoka’s back giving him a huge fright, and causing him to trumpet loudly and increase his pace down to the Keepers. Enkesha and Dololo were not bothered by the bird. 

During the 3pm feeding time, whilst at the mud bath, Nabulu, Musiara, Tamiyoi, and Maktao had a lengthy mud wallow whilst the rest of the herd watched along the edge. 

09 June 2019

Jotto has excelled in his training and today he entered the translocation lorry without any trouble. In the morning, he was escorted to the lorry by the Keepers and Enkesha and Tamiyoi, and then at midday and the evening he was escorted by Sattao and Dololo. Each time, he majestically walked to the lorry and took his milk. 

During the orphans midday feeding time, it started to drizzle and the younger orphans, reluctant to get wet, all ran and huddled under an acacia tree. The older group, apart from Kiombo, seemed unbothered by the rain and chose to stay out feeding on the branches laid out for them. 

10 June 2019

Ambo was in a very excited and playful mood today, and he just wanted to play with everyone. He has enjoyed charging around with Maktao, Tamiyoi, Sattao, Kiasa, and Maisha, and later on in the day he enjoyed peacefully browsing amongst the Nursery herd. Jotto was in his usual calm mood, and today he did not need any escorts to enter the translocation lorry, and he seemed to now be ready for tomorrow’s departure to the Ithumba Reintegration Unit.  

As the orphans were making their way back to the forest after their 3pm bottles of milk, they came across a herd of impala browsing. Tamiyoi, who seems to be taking her role as protector quite seriously, took it upon herself to clear the impala so that the orphans could peacefully browse. Ambo did the same that evening, when he chased away a troop of baboons that had settled along the pathway home.

11 June 2019

At almost 3 o’clock in the morning, Ambo and Jotto were all set to make their way to the Ithumba Reintegration Unit. Neither of the boys resisted to get into the translocation lorry, which was a great surprise to the Keepers whom were worried that Jotto may be reluctant to enter the truck. 

Sattao appeared to spend his day looking for Jotto and Ambo. He had gotten into the habit of escorting Ambo and Jotto to the translocation lorry that today when he did not have to do it he seemed confused and started to rumble as if he was looking for his two friends. Later on in the day he found Enkesha however and he browsed with her for the rest of the day, swinging his trunk and obviously feeling a little happier.

12 June 2019

Maisha and Enkesha seemed to be enjoying the peace and quiet since Ambo has left, as he would often chase them around the field. Maisha would also be chased by Mapia, who was also recently translocated to the Ithumba Reintegration Unit, when they would make their way out to the field, can now walk peacefully. 

Since the departure of all the big boys (Mapia, Jotto, Ambo and Emoli) Sattao has started to play his strength testing matches with Luggard. The two continued to play until their 9am feeding time, and Luggard seemed to really enjoy the games. 

13 June 2019

After several cloudy and cold days, the sun was finally shining. During their midday milk feeding time, the orphans enjoyed wallowing in the mud bath. Nabulu and Maisha had lots of fun splashing mud all over themselves and all around the general area, muddying all those around them. 

Tamiyoi and Dupotto had a bit of a strength testing match before having their mud baths. Tamiyoi kept teasing Dupotto until she eventually chased Tamiyoi away, and then entered the water to enjoy a long wallow. Tamiyoi, however, stuck to the edges of the pool and splashed some mud all over her back and her belly. 

14 June 2019

During their midday mud bath, Kiasa, who is known to be quite the character, seemed to be in a bit of a mood. When it was time for her to have her bottle of milk, she suddenly decided to drop her bottle and chase Maktao who was drinking his bottle some meters away. After pushing him aside she tried to ask the Keeper for his bottle, the Keepers tried to guide her away from Maktao, but she kept refusing and trumpeting in revolt. Eventually the Keepers tried to give her Maktao’s bottle, but she again refused to drink it, so they decided to get a new bottle from the wheelbarrow which she happily enjoyed. In the meantime, Maktao calmly moved away and enjoyed the rest of his bottle with his Keeper.  

15 June 2019

Dupotto seems to be adjusting well to life back at the Nursery and she seems to be enjoying the fresh greenery around the Nairobi National Park. She also appears to feel as young as the other Nursery orphans as she keeps on asking for more milk, and trumpets loudly when she doesn’t receive it. This is something that many of the Nursery babies do, and that the Keepers are very accustom to. 

16 June 2019

Little Larro is the smallest of the herd, but she is full of life and has quite the personality. Lately, she has been quite happy to lead the orphan herd whilst in the field, in the direction of her choosing. It is amazing to watch the older girls such as Tamiyoi, Maisha, Enkesha, Kiasa and Dupotto follow and respect her. At the moment, however, she keeps trying to take the orphans far out into the field and the Keepers have had to intervene and turn the orphans around. 

Tamiyoi, Maisha and Enkesha are always sure to stay close to Larro, keeping her safe. The little girl appears to know that the older girls will look after her, which is why she sometimes seems quite confident in taking charge of the herd. 

17 June 2019

Since the departure of the older boys, Jotto, Ambo, Mapia, and Emoli, there is no one to keep the younger boys, Dololo, Sattao, Musiara, Kiombo, Maktao, and Mukkoka in check. Two of these boys, especially, seem to be taking advantage of this newfound freedom. Dololo and Sattao have become quite naughty and have been trying to push some of their friends and the Nursery visitors around. When the Keepers aren’t looking, they appear to enjoy running close to visitors trying to bump them and then run away back to their friends. The Keepers must now keep a closer eye on them. 

18 June 2019

It was such a cold morning that some of the orphans like Luggard, Musiara, and Larro, refused to leave their stables to head out to the field. When their doors were opened, they did not move an inch, and when their Keepers tried to encourage them out, they rumbled in protest. The Keepers let them be, giving them space to make their own decision. Whilst the three were busy trying to decide whether to brave the cold or not, Maktao, Dololo, and Mukkoka were all happily chasing after each other as they started their new day. 

Maxwell, who is normally awake before the orphan elephants, was also warmly tucked in his bed, and also refused to get up. 

At the midday feeding and mud bath time, none of the orphans dared enter the water and they all kept busy enjoying their greens. Kiombo and Nabulu enjoyed a tug of war game over one of the branches, and Nabulu was cheekily blocking Kiombo’s way to the rest of the branches. Kiombo trumpeted and rumbled in protest before moving away. 

19 June 2019

Maxwell appeared to be in very good mood this morning as he was running up and down his stockade, chasing after the resident warthogs that are always around to share in his morning Lucerne pellets. Normally he peacefully shares the pellets with the warthogs, but today he wanted to run around and chase them out of his stockade. The warthogs kept trying to come back, but Maxwell kept chasing them off. Eventually, the warthogs moved off and Maxwell was left alone to enjoy his Lucerne pellets. 

20 June 2019

Mukkoka is still as greedy as ever when it comes to his milk feeding. It appears he knows exactly when it is time for his bottle, as he starts to trumpet and rumble loudly waiting to be allowed to go and get his milk. If he is ever amongst the last orphans to receive his bottle, he yells even louder in protest. Today at the 9am feeding time, he came charging down so fast to get his milk that he tripped over some rocks, but quickly recovered and came sprinting towards his Keeper waiting to feed him. 

21 June 2019

It was another chilly morning, and Kiasa was up to her usual antics. This morning, when it was time for their 9am bottles of milk, she kept chasing after Maisha so that she could steal Maisha’s bottle of milk. The Keepers had to intervene as she would not stop, and they ushered her away. Even Larro appeared to be worried about Maisha as she remained by her side, making sure she could finish her bottle in peace. As Kiasa’s plan had failed, she decided to hang around the wheelbarrow hoping that she could get some extra milk. The Keepers decided to let her have some of the spilled milk at the bottom of the wheelbarrow, which seemed to satisfy her quench. Once she was finished, she and the rest of the orphan herd went off into the field to continue with their browsing activities. 

22 June 2019

It was yet another cold day, and some of the orphans decided to browse close to one another in order to stay warm. Ziwadi, Dololo and Luggard all stayed close to each other, keeping warm and enjoying the fresh greens. Ziwadi seems to be doing well and appears to be stronger as she will often happily follow the other orphans around, as opposed to staying close to the Keepers. This has made the Keepers very happy as they enjoy watching her settle into a routine with the Nursery herd. 

23 June 2019

It was a beautiful sunny morning, and all the orphans, including Maxwell seemed to be enjoying the sun. Maxwell appeared very happy to have the sun back as he was seen rolling around in the warmth of the rays and then once he was done, he walked over to enjoy his morning Lucerne pellets. Later that day, he could still be seen charging and jumping around in excitement. 

24 June 2019

Once the orphans were out in the field, most of them went on their way and started to browse. Kiasa and Larro enjoyed some quiet time together, with Kiasa making sure to look after little Larro and protect her against the others. Dololo and Luggard also enjoyed some quiet time, browsing together. 

When it was time for the orphans to head down to the mud bath area for their midday bottles of milk, Kiasa was sure to keep Larro by her side. At the mud bath, Kiasa seemed to be very curious and spent quite a bit of time smelling the visitors and walking straight past them. Eventually the Keepers called Kiasa back so that they could make their way back to the forest. 

25 June 2019

Kiko is a very confident young male, who likes to be a part of all the activities around the Nursery. Late morning, after the midday feeding time, Kiko made his way out to the field to join the orphans who were busy browsing. When it was time for Kiko to go back to his stable, he point blank refused and stood between some of the orphans so that it was difficult for the Keepers to get to him. Eventually Kiko agreed to follow his Keepers and return home for his evening bottle and freshly cut branches. 

As Kiko was walking back, he came across Dupotto and Maisha peacefully browsing near one another. This appeared to really excite him as he started to charge all over the place. This gave Dupotto and Maisha such a fright that they run off trumpeting and rumbling in fear, and only calmed down once they saw the rest of the Nursery herd peacefully browsing. Kiko, having had his fun, calmly continued to walk back to the stockade compound. 

26 June 2019

Luggard seemed to be in a good mood this morning. As the orphans headed out into the field, he quickly settled and enjoyed browsing in the warm sun. 

Enkesha and Kiasa appeared to be enjoying each other’s company today, even at their midday mud bath. During their mud bath they stayed very close to one another and both were being protective over little Larro. 

During the midday mud bath, Dupotto chose not to swim but rather enjoy the fresh greens that had been laid out for the orphans. She was enjoying the company of the Maktao and Maisha who were both calmly standing near her. Meanwhile, Mukkoka was happily splashing around in the mud bath, near some of the other orphans.  

27 June 2019

Sattao is often a calm and humble boy, who often spends time with his closest friends Maisha, Maktao and Musiara. Even when it is time for his milk, he calmly comes down to the bottle-feeding point and lets the others in front of him finish their milk before he asks for his bottle. 

Kiombo has become quite the greedy boy when it comes to wanting more milk. Like Mukkoka he prefers to be amongst the first few to get their bottles and if there is anyone in front of him, he rumbles quite a lot. Being smaller in size, he sometimes manages to outrun some of the other orphans and makes it to the feeding points first. Dupotto and Nabulu also try to be first but often can’t outrun some of the faster orphans at the Nursery. 

28 June 2019

It was a beautiful sunny morning as the orphans were busy browsing in the field. Luggard and Ziwadi were browsing together and seem to enjoy each other’s company as they have their midday bottles together in the field rather than heading down to the mud bath area. 

At the mud bath, Mukkoka was really enjoying his mud bath, splashing and rolling around. He was soon joined by Maktao and Musiara, whom also began to splash mud all over themselves and the surrounding visitors. Dololo and Larro decided to not partake in the mud bath and rather spent their time enjoying the greens that were laid out for them. 

29 June 2019

As it was another sunny morning, Maxwell appeared to be very active. He was moving around his stockade, scratching up and down his posts and enjoying his morning Lucerne pellets. After having some of his pellets he started kicking about, almost in excitement that the sun was out. He even let some of the warthogs share his pellets with him.

It seems that as Kiasa is looking after Larro, some of her characteristics might be rubbing off on her as well, and Larro has become quite a feisty little girl as well! She is such a tiny one, but she has started pushing games as well as is a really confident little baby.

30 June 2019

Kiko was full of energy as he made his way out into the field. When he woke up he thoroughly enjoyed his bottle of milk and then was so excited to browse that he charged into the field and began feeding on all the fresh acacia branches. For most of the day he remained in the company of the orphans and the Keepers.