Keepers' Diaries, June 2020

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

This month we rescued little Olorien from the Masai Mara and after a few days of becoming accustomed to the Keepers, the milk bottle and her new surroundings, she joined the orphans out in the forest to follow their same daily routines; it is so important for their wellbeing that our new arrivals can join the others as soon as they are able to, and browse and interact with their new family. Sweet inquisitive baby Olorien joined the rest of the orphans out in the forest for the first time on the 9th. Soon after the orphans finished their 9am bottles of milk, they were led back to the stockades to accompany Olorien out to the forest. Larro and Maktao were the first to greet her as she came running out of her stable, but it wasn’t long before Maisha, Kiasa, and Nabulu came over to greet her too. As Olorien was dashing out to the forest she was sandwiched by all the girls, who were all trying to smell their new Nursery friend. 

At first, Kiasa and Maisha seemed to be confused as to how to react to this new arrival as they have become so used to little Roho and Naleku and this was their first new arrival with Maisha as Matriarch. Roho didn’t seem too pleased about sharing their attention either and he kept trying to push Olorien away from Maisha and Kiasa. However, once the orphans all calmed down, they welcomed little Olorien into the herd, with Naleku keeping her company constantly. Naleku continued to fiercely defend the new baby throughout the rest of the month, particularly against jealous Roho, and despite being younger in age than her; this is just another example of how strong and independent Naleku is.  

June was a typically dry month in the Nursery but when we received a little rain around the 10th, the orphans enjoyed playing in all the little water pools that collected throughout the forest. On these colder mornings the orphans were more reluctant to leave their cozy stables, but soon their rumbling tummies would coax them out and encourage them out into the forest to browse, and as the morning started to warm up, the orphans seemed more eager to have a mud bath. Roho is always amongst the first to enter the muddy pools and loves climbing, and will look for any opportunity to climb on the backs of the elder orphans Maisha and Nabulu, who are only too happy to oblige the little baby. 

Naboishu is another orphan who seems to thoroughly enjoy climbing on his friends backs, and he was busy trying to climb on Kiasa. Overall Naboishu is not as boisterous as some of the other babies and is a calm little baby, as is Ziwadi’s of course. Ziwadi remains gentle and quiet, and always keen to find her favourite greens and she is happy to walk off on her own in search of them; oblivious as to whether the rest of the Nursery herd follow her or not.

Alongside climbing on his friends and running in greedily for his milk, a trait he has picked up from Mukkoka, one of Naboishu’s habits which he is less well-liked for is his yelling. He shouts out for his milk bottle and continues to rumble and trumpet even whilst he is having his milk sometimes, which some of the orphans find upsetting, particularly Nabulu, Kiombo, Larro and on occasion Maisha. One day he got a good telling off by Maktao as he yelled so loudly after finishing his morning bottle. This gave Maktao a fright, so he rumbled at Naboishu before chasing him away. 

It is typical for the older bulls in the Nursery to wrestle and establish who among them is the strongest, and these days Maktao seems to think it’s him; when he challenges Kiombo and Mukkoka he does his utmost to be the victor. This, however, is not always the case as Mukkoka and Kiombo although smaller in size are also very strong and they do sometimes outflank him. The games aren’t always fair-fights however, and one day Maktao’s game with Mukkoka ended abruptly when Mukkoka cheekily bit Maktao’s tail. 

Larro is flourishing in her new role as nanny and she seems to be learning how to deal with certain situations by watching Kiasa and Maisha with the younger orphans. One day Olorien appeared to be quite tired after her midday bottle of milk and she decided to have a nap in between Maisha, Larro and some of the other older girls. Kiasa, Maisha and Larro have all taken her under their wing. It wasn’t long ago that Larro was the youngest baby in the Nursery, but these days she is doing an excellent job in helping look after the youngsters which include Roho, Naleku, Naboishu and Olorien. 

Kiasa still acts up around feeding times but the Keepers are confident she will out-grow this naughty and greedy behaviour as she gets older and has to fulfill the role of matriarch even more. The Keepers still keep her back at feeding times though to ensure that she goes down amongst the last group so that she doesn’t bother the other orphans whilst they drink their milk. They also employ clever tactics like maneuvering the feeding orphan in-between Maisha and Nabulu so that Kiasa won’t be able to pick a fight and try to steal their milk bottle!

Maxwell the rhino seemed a little lethargic this month so we called the KWS Vet to come and tend to him and his lab results revealed he was a rather anemic. Slight additions to his diet and some supplements have set him right back on track and after only a few days he looked much perkier and back to his old self. He enjoyed interacting with the orphans some mornings, and even received a pat on his head by Maisha’s trunk one day. He has been spending more time in the extension to his stockade as well, which has lovely overhanging trees and vegetation to browse on too, but he is a creature of habitat so it has taken him a long time to embrace it.

June 2020 day to day

01 Jun

Since Luggard and Enkesha’s translocation to the Umani Reintegration Unit, Ziwadi has been spending a bit more time with the other orphans and new rescue Naboishu. As Naboishu is not as boisterous as some of the other bulls, she seems to prefer his company. Ziwadi is not a fan of wrestling games and she will often move away when the boys start their games, making sure she doesn’t get caught in the middle. As always, she is just as determined as ever to find her favourite greens and continues to happily walk off on her own to find them, oblivious as to whether the rest of the Nursery herd follow her or not. The Keepers have become accustomed to her wandering ways, and are always keeping a watchful eye on her with one of them following her whenever she starts to walk off. 

Naboishu appears to be getting more and more settled into his new life at the Nursery and like many of the other orphans he loves his bottles of milk and is becoming just as greedy as speedy Mukkoka. When it is time for the orphans to have their milk, he has recently been giving his Keepers a hard time as he is reluctant to wait his turn and always wants to be in the first group to go down and get his milk. In recent days, he has been even greedier than Mukkoka, speeding down for his milk and often having a little skid as he comes to a grinding halt in front of his Keeper.

This afternoon, when the orphans were having their 3pm bottles of milk, Kiasa appeared to be in one of her naughty moods. As soon as she finished her bottle of milk, she charged over to the Keeper feeding Naboishu and kept trying to steal Naboishu’s bottle. The Keeper had a smart strategy as he moved Naboishu between Nabulu and Maisha so he could finish his bottle in peace. Nabulu and Maisha immediately took a stand and chased her away. Maisha seemed to have to discipline a number of the orphans this afternoon, as she also had to chase Kiombo away as he kept trying to push Ziwadi and the younger orphans around.

Ziwadi, Naboishu and Maisha in the forest

Naboishu browsing near Mukkoka

Nabulu and Maisha browsing