Keepers' Diaries, March 2007

Nairobi Nursery Unit

It has been a very tragic in the Nairobi Nursery. An enchanting little Impala fawn that came in from the Masai Mara on the 2nd March, unexpectedly died two days later, we suspect from pneumonia, having been frolicking around happily just the day before.

01 March 2007

The orphans left in a happy mood this morning, Makena swinging her trunk from side to side and running ahead, followed by Kamboyo, who wanted to climb onto her. She sought the protection of Sian, whom Kamboyo respects. In the afternoon, the bigger orphans lay down so that the little babies could climb on them. It was a very happy time

02 March 2007

Lesanju led the four tiny babies out this morning, all in a happy mood, pushing each other. Shimba engaged Lesanju whilst Kilgoris targeted Lempaute, and won his contest. After the mudbath, Sian’s group met with the four babies, and extended a lot of love and attraction towards the small ones. Makena followed the babies for a long distance when it was time to part.

03 March 2007

It was a hot afternoon today, and because Maxwell, the blind baby rhino, seemed to be feeling the heat, the Keepers made a mudbath for him. He wallowed and loved it so much he did not want to get out, but just relaxed lying in the mud for the rest of the day.

04 March 2007

Kilgoris and Lempaute spent the morning challenging each other in prolonged pushing games. The playing ended when it came time to feed, when Lempaute pushed Kilgoris away from the blanket.

05 March 2007

Kenze is now strong, and no longer afraid of Kamboyo. When Kamboyo came to try and molest him, he pushed Kamboyo so hard that he fell to the ground.

06 March 2007

Sian led the older orphans out on a sunny morning. In the feeding area there were some impalas also enjoying the day, but Loijuk and Makena charged them, joined by Kamboyo. During the mudbath Chyulu and Makena entertained the visitors by chasing the warthogs, in between enjoying themselves in the mud.

07 March 2007

It was a hot afternoon. All the small babies were enjoying a dry soil bath when the milk arrived. Shimba ran towards the Keeper bringing the milk while Lempaute and Kilgoris ran to the same blanket. This caused a serious fight between these two miniatures, who are very possessive of the blankets, each insisting on having one to itself. Kilgoris looked like emerging the winner, but then the Keepers separated them.

08 March 2007

It was an anxious day when little Kilgoris, who had been fine the day before, suddenly became dull, weak and refused his 3 p.m. milk feed. He then developed serious stomach pain. The Keepers escorted him back to his stable, but on the way he kept on lying down and rolling from side to side.

09 March 2007

Lesanju noticed the absence of little Kilgoris this morning, who was kept back in his stable, and given medication. Lesanju kept on wanting to return to the stable, and at l0 a.m. she ran back to the stable alone. She met Kilgoris, who was with two Keepers, and who was still weak, so she was not allowed to play with him. She was taken back to the rest of her group.

10 March 2007

Kilgoris still has diarrheoa and looks dull and weak, still refusing his milk. Robert Carr-Hartley decided to put him on a drip to try and restore his strength, hoping that the medication would control the stomach problem. This was done, and he seemed to respond positively, with more strength.

11 March 2007

Kilgoris is still very ill and still refusing all milk. He only wants to take water. The drip was again installed in an ear vein.

12 March 2007

Kilgoris took a bottle of milk today, and a lot of glucose water, so we were all hopeful that he was getting better. His stools also began to show signs of improvement.

13 March 2007

Very early in the morning all the bigger elephants were feeding around the Stockades, waiting for their Keepers, when a vehicle started its engine. Makena became very scared and screamed loudly, making all the others run back to the Stockades for safety. The Keepers calmed them down, and then escorted them out into the forest as usual.

14 March 2007

Kilgoris’ condition has deteriorated again, and he suffered stomach pain, and had serious diarrheoa. A sample was sent to Analabs for testing, since the usual antibiotic had not controlled the infection.

15 March 2007

Lesanju emerged from her stable in the morning, and went to see Kilgoris followed by Lempaute, but the Keepers led them away, fearing that they might become infected with Kilgoris’s ailment. At l0 a.m. Kilgoris was again put on a drip. He is still refusing milk and taking only water and glucose.

16 March 2007

This morning, a lorry bringing Building Materials scared the small babies, who ran to their Keepers, climbing onto them. They were so scared that the Keepers changed location and took the babies further from the road.

17 March 2007

Little Lempaute likes being the centre of attraction during both the morning and evening visiting hours. Today, she enjoyed frightening all the African school children by running towards them. They screamed and ran away, which made her feel very proud. When the children regrouped along the cordon, she did the same, scattering them once more, and then strolling to her sand bath!

18 March 2007

Little Kilgoris awoke very weak, still with diarrheoa which had turned to a black colour with signs of stomach lining, even though the tests have returned from the Lab and he is being given another antibiotic to which the bacteria is sensitive. The Keepers who have been with him 24 hours a day were very sad, because there is no sign of recovery and still he has no appetite.

19 March 2007

Two fighting warthogs drew the attention of Makena, who tried to separate them, but they would not break contact. Kamboyo then came to back up Makena, and together they managed to chase the warring warthogs away.

20 March 2007

Little Kilgoris’ condition has deteriorated further. He had no strength to get up this morning. He was put on the drip again, and at noon he managed to get to his feet, and went to the water drum, using his trunk to play with the water. Now his mouth is full of ulcers, and his stools contain blood and tissue. Having lain down in his stable, he never woke up again, and passed away just after midnight.

21 March 2007

It was a very sad day because we had to bury our little Kilgoris. Everyone was distraught. In the afternoon, Dr. Rottcher and Dr. Schwendermann came to operate on our little rhino’s blind eye and attempt to remove the cataract. Many of the Keepers watched, praying that the operation would prove a success. Max was anaesthetized and woken up when the operation had been completed, and a dressing in place, covering the left eye. Meanwhile, Shida had arrived, and had to be locked in his Stockade so that he did not interrupt things.

22 March 2007

Lesanju, Shimba and Lempaute were very playful at the mudbath today, standing with their head and trunks in the soil bath, and running around playing with one another, which all the visitors greatly enjoyed. Lempaute spotted some school-children, and again ran to scare them, pleased with the ensuing chaos!

23 March 2007

Maxwell woke up happily this morning and took his milk, but did not like the dressing on his operated eye, rubbing it against the timbers of the Stockade to try and remove it. Eventually, Mrs. Sheldrick brought an airline Eye Cover, which worked very well by looping the elastic over his little horn and an ear. He will have to have cortisone ointment in his eye four times a day for the next l0 days, with a Keeper beside him at all times to get him quieter.

24 March 2007

Makena is an excellent soccer player. She and Lempaute are very good at entertaining and scattering the audience. Makena got into the mudbath, and using her front legs, sprayed mud all over the onlookers. Loud laughter followed, and taking the queue from Lempaute, then ran to some school children, causing them to scream and run away!

25 March 2007

Whilst the Keepers were having lunch today, the small babies met up with the bigger group. Every female, including Chyulu, was bent on trying to get a baby for themselves. Sian and Makena were keen on taking Shimba, and Loijuk liked Lempaute and Lesanju. However, Lesanju resisted being “taken” and ran to the Keepers for their protection.

26 March 2007

It was a cold, chilly morning, so the small babies had to be kept in their stables and covered with an additional blanket until the weather warmed up. Lesanju and Lempaute shared a stable, but Shimba insisted on being taken back to his usual one.

27 March 2007

Maxwell was determined to try and remove his eye patch today. He rushed around rubbing against the timbers to get it off, and whenever the Keeper tried to put it back on, he got very angry and charged threatening to knock him down. It took a lot of ingenuity to get it back in place, and eventually, Max decided to accept having it on.

28 March 2007

It was a cool, drizzling morning, so the bigger orphans went out happily into the forest, rolling in the wet earth and playing in puddles. Whilst the Keepers were taking breakfast, the elephants began rumbling to one another and then trumpeting and breaking down bushes, heading back towards the Stockades. Soon Kamboyo and Sian ran to greet Kenze and Lenana, who had been left behind, unaware that the rest of the party had already gone. There was a great reunion, urinating and kissing one another joyfully, all happy to be reunited again. Kamboyo then started running after Makena, hoping to mount her, but Makena was protected by Sian.

29 March 2007

The weather was again cold and drizzly, so the small babies were not let out early. The bigger orphans seemed to enjoy the weather, rolling in the dampened earth. Whilst the Keepers were taking breakfast, the sound of an animal running began to come closer, and thinking that it could be a buffalo or wild rhino, the Keepers took to the trees, while the elephants began running back towards the Stockades. The running animals turned out to just be two impalas chasing one another so the Keepers climbed down, much relieved, and rounded up their charges, who had also been nervous.

30 March 2007

Lempaute is an extravert at every mudbath, or whenever there is an audience. Today, she ran along the line of the rope from one side to the other, stopping to play with one lady visitor, taking her shoe and running away with it. The Keepers managed to retrieve the shoe and take it back to its owner! As the older elephants waited for their milk, Makena became impatient and kept on sucking Sian’s ear. Sian tried to push her away, but Makena persisted, and in the end Sian capitulated.

31 March 2007

Despite being so small, Lesanju displays all the signs of becoming a good mother. During the mudbath, the small babies were wallowing happily when Shimba tried to mount Lempaute, and stepped on her trunk accidentally. Lempaute bellowed and Lesanju immediately halted her wallowing and came to give Shimba a good push!. During the mudbath, Zurura was very sociable, which he is nowadays. He deliberately walked along the line of the cordon, allowing all the visitors to touch him gently, resting his trunk lovingly on the heads of any small children.