Keepers' Diaries, March 2015

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

Hamsini, a young calf that came to us a couple of months ago remains extremely thin, and still very vulnerable. He has struggled with a terrible injury on his back, which has caused him great discomfort, and he was teething as well, which is never a good time for baby elephants in our care. He does love his food, which is very helpful and he always feeds well. Hamsini forms part of the baby herd, with Ndotto and Lasayen part of his group. Because the Keepers lavish Hamsini with lots of attention due to his fragile state this can at times upset the other two who are not beyond becoming extremely jealous and behaving badly as a result. Murit and Mbegu are good friends and have had some wonderful games at mudbath time, entertaining the guests with their antics. Sometimes the games have needed Oltaiyoni’s intervention, for example the time when robust Roi prevented Mbegu from exiting from the mudbath, constantly pushing her back in. It is wonderful to see Murit playing now as we remember the many months when his life hung in the balance, rather like Hamsini’s is now.

Hamsini, a young calf that came to us a couple of months ago remains extremely thin, and still very vulnerable. He has struggled with a terrible injury on his back, which has caused him great discomfort, and he was teething as well, which is never a good time for baby elephants in our care. He does love his food, which is very helpful and he always feeds well. Hamsini forms part of the baby herd, with Ndotto and Lasayen part of his group. Because the Keepers lavish Hamsini with lots of attention due to his fragile state this can at times upset the other two who are not beyond becoming extremely jealous and behaving badly as a result. Murit and Mbegu are good friends and have had some wonderful games at mudbath time, entertaining the guests with their antics. Sometimes the games have needed Oltaiyoni’s intervention, for example the time when robust Roi prevented Mbegu from exiting from the mudbath, constantly pushing her back in. It is wonderful to see Murit playing now as we remember the many months when his life hung in the balance, rather like Hamsini’s is now.

This month we had an unfortunate incident when Ashaka clambered up the partion between her stable and Kamok’s, and her foot pushed through and became trapped, which caused a sprain. The Keepers had to remove the wooden slat in order to rescue the situation. This sprain rendered Ashaka lame for a good long time necessitating her to remain with the little orphans and not head down to the public viewing at midday along with the rest, giving her time to heal. Heal she did just to have another incident towards the end of the month when she was pushed and fell again. This time not serious but it has caused her to limp so she remains with the baby group while she gets better.

Siangiki is beginning to play and has found a good friend in little Boromoko whose gentle ways are calming and comforting for her. Pea and Pod our ostrich chicks have grown significantly and are very much part of the herd providing novel entertainment for the orphans. Ndotto loves to charge them, and they oblige by running away with feathers flapping, all of which makes diminutive Ndotto feel very pleased with himself.

Maxwell is having his boma extended, and the building of this extension has been going on throughout March. He appears aware that something interesting is happening and we look forward to opening this up to him in the near future. The resident warthogs and their comings and goings provide Maxwell with good entertainment too. One day he was enjoying fresh Lucerne and was in no mood to share his meal with the ‘everhopeful’ warthogs who had squeezed through the bars of one gate. He began to charge them and the charge became more serious as the warthogs ran around his compound, then Maxwell picked up the pace. The visitors were able to enjoy this scene as it continued for a good long time. The warthogs could not find a gate wide enough for them to exit and were trapped with rampant Maxwell. When they finally escaped through the bars they flopped down exhausted having run for their lives. Most days, however, Max is extremely tolerant of his pig friends.

This month some buffalo encounters have left the orphans terrified. Disturbing a sleeping bull buffalo is not advisable and certainly creates quite a stir, with the orphans charging back to the safety of their Keepers.

On the 9th of March we had a very busy day with two rescues coming into our care in just one day. The first was a tiny baby well victim from north Kenya who we have named Ngilai and the second an approximately nine month old calf, a vicitim of a terrible cable snare wound, who arrived late that same evening. His wound is ghastly, severing his joint. It does seem that he has a good chance of healing, although his leg will forever be deformed, but we hope will be functional in the fullness of time thanks to the ligiments and the back of his foot remaining intact so he is still getting a good blood supply.

Our older orphans are now big indeed and the time for a move is imminent. Tundani and Nelion are nearly ready to head off down to Tsavo to face their next chapter, along with Kithaka, Lemoiyan, Barsilinga, Balguda and Ziwa. This chapter takes many years so they will still be very much part of our fold, just not the Nursery fold any longer. We are waiting for good rains in Tsavo and then we will send some of older girls to Tsavo too including Rorogoi, Arruba, Mashariki, Embu and Suswa.

On the 15th of March we received another tiny calf Chumvi who appeared newborn with her umbilical cord still very much intact. Then on the 17th of March yet another arrival came into our care whom we named Alamaya. She had been chewed up by hyenas and suffered some horrible wounds. Her easy nature ensured she was out with the others in no time and is doing extremely well we are happy to report. On the 18th our fifth arrival in the month of March came into our care, a tiny newborn calf without eye sight. The experts came to access the situation and was hoped that his eyes will heal and so it proved with his sight slowly coming towards the end of the month. We called this tiny baby Doldol.

Alamaya was the first to join the others in the forest towards the end of the month, with Mwashoti following close behind. Both are doing well, with Mwashoti remaining with the baby herd so that he is able to take things at a slow and leisurely pace. He manages his leg well, lying down often close to his Keepers while he rests his leg. Mbegu and Dupotto were wonderful baby sitters to Mwashoti, with Lasayen also taking a great interest in him.

Towards the end of the month the rains were threatening with some rainy mornings necessitating the babies to remain indoors while the older orphans have been extremely playful in the mud. All their individual stories can be enjoyed with details chronicled in the Keepers Daily entries accompanied by some wonderful photographs.

March 2015 day to day

01 Mar

The keepers have to watch closely to ensure that Lentili and Embu do not bully poor Siangiki. This is strange as Embu is so lovely to Dupotto and Enkikwe, but Siangiki has been on the sharp end, but of course we are there as Keepers to ensure they do not get away with such behaviour. Just before public visiting time at 11 am, Siangiki was having fun with Kamok whilst they were waiting to go to the mudbath venue. Then Embu and Lentili pushed her away and she ran off into the thicket. It took the keepers a long time to persuade her to join the other elephants at the mudbath.

Siangiki fled into the thicket

Kamok after playing with Siangiki

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