Keepers' Diaries, March 2016
Nairobi Nursery Unit
It has been an incredibly hot month here in Nairobi meaning that orphans who would normally shy away from the mud bath are embracing its full protective and conditioning qualities with vigour. Kauro, Kamok, Balguda and Murit are babies who would normally never enter the mud pool without good reason, but this month have often been seen splashing and rolling around in the cooling mud. Throughout the month there have been a great many hilarious antics focused around the mud bath - the time that the Nursery is open to the public, so visitors have had the opportunity to watch the orphans in full playful mood and have been captivated by their amusing games. Alamaya continues to enjoy splashing unsuspecting visitors with mud while Godoma enjoys fully immersing herself in the mud with only her trunk visible like a snorkel, whilst Ngilai’s favourite pastime is getting his body as muddy as possible before running up and down the rope cordon muddying visiting onlookers. Ndotto and Lasayen entertain school children and visiting public alike by their climbing games enacting unlikely poses to the delight of their audience.
01 March 2016
The sun was out early today and because of this the babies were able to join their older friends in the bush earlier in the morning. They were all playing amongst each other nicely except for Rapa who had a hard time from the older girls who didn’t want him anywhere near the little babies. Whenever he approached any of the little ones he was sent away if not by Roi, then Kamok, Dupotto, Mbegu or Oltaiyoni. Of all of them Oltaiyoni was the harshest to Rapa and very protective of the little ones. She kept driving him away to the group of older boys, Balguda, Sokotei, Enkikwe and Olsekki, who were browsing a distance away from where the females were with the babies. The older girls stayed with the babies until it was time for public visiting and the older ones moved away to go and take their milk in that feeding area.
Murit is such a gentle and polite boy with such a nice character and sometimes the others will bully him, even younger ones like Lasayen and Godoma will sometimes push him around even though he is older! Today during visiting Godoma pushed Murit away from a water trough he was drinking from. Later Lasayen was pushing him away from the visitors he was interacting with at the rope cordon and he almost fell over, but luckily the visitors and a keeper saved him from falling over completely.
02 March 2016
In the early morning around 6.30am Solio visited the stockades. She approached Maxwell’s stockade and tried to alert him by making the small squeaky noises that rhinos make. Maxwell was sleeping and when he heard Solio he got up in a hurry and went to the side she was calling from. They started playing together through his stockade walls; smelling each other and jumping in circles, running up and down. They did this for some time until Solio eventually walked to her old pen. Maxwell walked to his bedroom which is attached to the side of Solio’s so that they could continue to communicate through the bars between their rooms. The interaction did not last long as Solio started calling for some lucerne and once this was brought to her she focused on eating; after she had her fill she left back to the bush leaving Maxwell running up and down calling for her, but she had gone.
Naseku has changed so much recently. Before she was quiet and would often be pushed around by the likes of Lasayen and Rapa, but now she is stronger and more confident being a part of her new orphan family. Today she stood her ground against Rapa and put him in his place when he tried to bully her.
All the babies are different and have their own unique characters. Siangiki has a character of her own and is one who is never prepared to lead the others. Despite her age and gender she is never overly concerned for her younger peers and never leads the group whether it is to milk feeding or into the bush – she just hangs back and sometimes even stays behind the keepers too.
03 March 2016
Most of the older boys seem to be jealous of Kauro for something, but no one seems to know why! Kauro will often try to avoid the older boys because they try to seek him out and bully him. Out in the field today Kauro was playing a nice game with Boromoko when Enkikwe together with Olsekki tried to separate them. They took off in different directions as the two bullies chased after Kauro. The keepers intervened to stop the two naughty boys chasing him. Amongst all the boys it is only Balguda and Boromoko who can play with him nicely and peacefully, sometimes Mwashoti too.
There was a bit of drama this afternoon when Kiko and his team of babies and Pea and Pod visited the older herd. The older orphans were browsing within the bushes surrounding the mud bath area. From a distance Sirimon saw them coming as he was chasing warthogs around. As soon as he saw Kiko walking ahead of Pea and Pod he stood still and spread his ears high to scare Kiko who was walking to straight towards him. He rumbled and then trumpeted but none of that stopped Kiko, which sent Sirimon into the thicket screaming for help. As the keepers were left laughing, Ndotto and Mbegu came out to welcome the little babies. Ndotto led some of them to Mwashoti who had also come to meet them and Mbegu went up to greet Tamiyoi.
04 March 2016
Out of all the orphans Mbegu probably loves and cares for Ndotto the most. She will even allow Ndotto to share food from her mouth, which she does not allow any of the other babies to do. These two had a nice time together out in the forest today. Mbegu’s work was to stretch and collect the high leaves to chew, and Ndotto would take them from her mouth. When Godoma tried to join them, Mbegu moved to a different tree. Later in the day Kauro also had a nice day time with Lasayen and Ndotto. The two good friends were having fun out in the bush, playing hide and seek games in the short bushes, when Kauro went up to join them. Kauro knows how to play with the younger and smaller boys and he invited them into a wrestling game. He would pretend to be defeated by the small boys, teasing them and running away – and the small boys would run after him into the thicket. Ndotto and Lasayen were delighted to receive the wrestling skills that Kauro gave to them today too.
The trust and belief that the orphans have with their keepers is so wonderful. No matters what troubles or worries them, they believe their keepers will help them out. As the older herd was enjoying their time during public visiting, monkeys started playing in the tall trees surrounding the area. There was lots of screaming amongst the monkeys which caused confusion between the orphans and the public – all the babies ran to their keepers for safety. The public were scared of being knocked into by the babies in the confusion but everyone was fine and the keepers managed to calm the orphans down. It was only Kamok and Simotua that stood their ground to defend the herd!
05 March 2016
Not all the orphans understand the radio signal. But some do and will respond accordingly as if they know the time of day as well. This morning around 8am someone was testing the radio and Simotua with his swollen leg led 5 of his friends to go for milk as if it was milk feeding time! He had misunderstood and he took off from the herd followed by greedy Roi of course, Dupotto, Ndotto, Godoma and Mwashoti. When they got to the milk feeding place in the forest and found nobody there, Dupotto and Godoma were the first ones to go to the mud bath area. As they looked around and could find no milk, Dupotto started screaming. Mwashoti then arrived and he too wasn’t happy so he joined Dupotto in shouting for their milk. The keepers tried to calm them down and Dupotto listened but Mwashoti did not even want to go back to the forest and had to be pushed back towards there by the keepers. By this time is wasn’t long before the milk actually arrived and when the correct radio signal came in, the two time-keepers Sokotei and Kauro were ready to lead the others who don’t understand the real timing yet, to the milk feeding area in the forest.
06 March 2016
It is funny to notice that even the young babies such as Tamiyoi are already knowledgeable and can remember things. For example they know where their milk is prepared and fed to them. When Tamiyoi came out of her stockade this morning instead of going to the forest she decided to go to the milk mixing area. Her keeper kept calling her but she did not pay any attention to him as she carried on with her mission. At first we thought she was going to find her companions in the stables at the front, but she carried on walking and went to the milk mixing area. When she got there she stretched her trunk out and started smelling all over. She finally stood still and when she did not move her intentions were clear so some milk was prepared for her, she was fed on the spot and only after that did she follow her keeper to the forest.
At around 2.30 today, Simotua behaved in a similar way to Tamiyoi, returning home earlier and looking for milk in his stockade. When he was directed to go back to the forest he declined and only when the milk was prepared at 3pm did he follow the wheelbarrow back out to the forest.
07 March 2016
There was a bit of chaos during public visiting today when a warthog piglet lost its mother. The sun was high in the sky and the warthogs had been wallowing in the mud before the babies arrived for their milk feed. By the time the orphans came down the piglets were drying themselves with their mother on the rocks, right in the path of the incoming elephants. Naseku and Godoma were the first ones to arrive and seeing the warthogs in front of them they decided to take a different route. Murit came in second and he tried to drive them away but they didn’t pay any attention to him. All the other babies ignored the warthogs until Mwashoti arrived. He wouldn’t go to the bottle feeding area until he had driven away the uninvited guests. He sent them all in different directions and those that tried to resist he smacked with his trunk. He trumpeted and raised his ears and all the warthogs fled for their lives in fright! Some of the visitors were also scared of the warthogs as they came running between their legs. Things then escalated when two of the piglets lost sight of their mother and entered the visiting area. Lasayen, Rapa and Tusuja were all chasing the piglets around and there was no way for the piglets through the people because it was very busy so they retreated to the mud pool. The mother managed to find her way through but was stopped before reaching her babies by Roi and Mbegu – the keeper’s had a hard time controlling the situation! Eventually they managed to save the piglets and get control of the orphans at the same time, and the piglets ran off with their mother.
08 March 2016
Just as with human children boys will behave like boys, and the same with girls too. Alamaya was being moody today and behaving more like some of the other more boisterous boys. He engaged Mwashoti in a wrestling game throughout the whole day. Whenever he came across another baby lying down, he would go and climb on their backs. At one point he was unlucky because it was Mbegu and Oltaiyoni who were playing and rolling around in the loose soil. He went to climb on Oltaiyoni’s back and she wasn’t very happy about that. She immediately got up and started poking him with her strong tusks on his hind to drive him away. This tail-less boy ran away shouting for help and a keeper came over to assist him, although Oltaiyoni did not stop straight away.
There was a strange regrouping of orphans amongst themselves today. Kamok normally doesn’t get on so well in the company of Olsekki and Enkikwe but today around 2pm she was off in the company of these two boys and her Ngilai as well. These four went missing from the rest of the group for almost 3 hours. The keepers searched everywhere they could think of until it was almost time to return home, and then the little group just emerged from the nearby bushes, ready to go home!
During the day Kiko visited home about three times. Every time he goes back he is either looking for milk in the milk mixing area or he is going to feed on the acacia tree beside Edwin’s office. Only once today did he try to get back into his pen he his door was closed before he could enter. All of this and when it came time for him to return home in the afternoon he refused, until his bottle of milk was taken to him and he followed his keeper all the way back – he is a giraffe with his own mind!
09 March 2016
The babies love their hanging blanket and will protect it from anything including warthogs and other babies. Murit still likes the hanging blanket too and came over from his group over to the babies and approached from the other side of it. One of the babies went up to him and head-butted him through the blanket! Murit just walked backwards and left the babies to enjoy it on their own. Ngilai also visited when he heard the warthog babies making a lot of noise. He was the one that finally drove the warthogs away from the baby group and the hanging blanket and they disappeared into the bush. He wouldn’t leave however without first suckling on the corner of the blanket like a little boy too, but the babies wouldn’t allow him to stay and drove him away by trying to charge at him. Ngilai can be naughty and was prepared to push them back, but he was cautioned by the keepers before he could do that. He ran back into the forest to join his friends in browsing, leaving the babies finally in peace with their blanket.
10 March 2016
There was a lot of excitement in the older orphan herd today after public visiting. As they were leaving the mud bath area, Oltaiyoni was left behind the group. She then came running past them to catch up, trumpeting with her ears spread wide. Kauro and Siangiki immediately followed her in the same style. There was excitement everywhere as they all started running and trumpeting after their leader Oltaiyoni, except for Boromoko who never hurries anywhere in these circumstances. Pea and Pod were feeding on some grass next to where they were running and Olsekki smacked one of them with his trunk. Pea and Pod went off running towards the baby group of elephants and Olsekki tried to run after them but he could not catch them because they are obviously much faster runners! As all the older orphans descended on the area where the babies were resting the babies were terrified and ran shouting towards their keepers for help. The babies had to be separated from all the commotion as Olsekki, Enkikwe and Sokotei were a bit too rough with them. Balguda protected some of them though, pulling them to his side so they would not be struck with a trunk by the more boisterous boys. Kiko was not spared either as Enkikwe ran after him trying to send him away from the elephant group. Kiko knows how to defend himself though and can kick out at anyone he finds threatening. Eventually the keepers had to move the babies away from their older friends as they were just too excitable today.
11 March 2016
As the orphans were approaching the forest early in the morning Kauro and Boromoko were busy scampering around the bushes, joining each other in a pushing game and then bashing around the bushes again. Their game attracted the attention of Sokotei and Enkikwe who happily joined them in scampering, charging and trumpeting before turning to each other again for a pushing game. Their game took a turn though when Sokotei and Enkikwe turned their attention to Kauro and Boromoko and tried climbing on them! Kauro and Boromoko tried to fend them off, before running away shouting for the others to come and help them. Their yelling drew the attention of the Big Mama Oltaiyoni who ran out to the boys to see what was happening. She arrived to find Kauro being chased by Sokotei and behind them Boromoko being chased by Enkikwe. Upon seeing Oltaiyoni advance towards them Sokotei and Enkikwe quickly changed direction and ran off into the bushes, knowing they would be disciplined for their bad behaviour. Oltaiyoni warned them off the other boys by pointing her tusks at them with her ears spread wide, together with a trumpeting signal which saw Sokotei and Enkikwe walk even further off into the bushes.
12 March 2016
Today Murit and Simotua spent the day out with the little baby group. Murit is so polite and gentle with the babies when he spends time with them. Today soon after the babies had their 9am bottles, Murit was seen lying on the ground and rolling around, inviting the little ones to play with him. They all joined him and happily climbed and slid down his back, as the keepers threw soil on them to dust their skin. Kerio stood to the side in her own soil dusting mission. Simotua, always careful with his injured leg, was busy browsing next to all of them and mindful of not wandering off too far like some of the older and more bold boys would do.
13 March 2016
Today as the first group of orphans were allowed to run down for their noon milk bottle, Lasayen, Ndotto, Godoma, Murit and Ngilai were in the lead. Lasayen took the lead of the small group and ran out ahead as usual, not ready to be overtaken by any other! As they neared the area where the bottles were waiting Godoma and Ngilai tried to challenge Lasayen for his pole position in the lead, but Lasayen pushed Godoma who fell into Ngilai who in turn fell onto his forehead and yelled out for help. Lasayen continued to block his group from entering the area which in turn drew the attention of the visiting public, in awe at this strong sense of character! Even Ndotto, Lasayen’s best friend, tried to find a way past but Lasayen blocked him too and spread his ears wide in warning – so even Ndotto stayed put. However the keepers came over and warned Lasayen to allow the others past, who then managed to run down for their bottle feeds.
Naseku is becoming a bit of a greedy character these days and a trouble maker when it comes to bottle feeding time, usually when she gets her bottle before others. After she has finished hers she turns back to harass others who are still drinking. The keepers warn her away from the feeding point but she comes back around from the other side and settles down near the wheelbarrow containing the milk bottles. Today she did this and went down on her front knees, as if crouching so the keepers would not be able to see her, and sucked the milk from the bottles with her trunk whilst kneeling on the ground! When she saw the keeper approaching she yelled out loudly to avoid being told off. She is developing such a funny character!
14 March 2016
The day started off with a very clear sky, indicating a hot day ahead. As usual the elephants left their stockades eager to begin the new day. At around 8.30 in the morning poor Kerio, who has been fighting to put on condition despite good feeding since she arrived, collapsed whilst out in the field. Urgent blood tests showed she did not have very high energy levels so she was placed on a drip to help her recover. After a short while she was back on her feet and looking around for her milk bottle which she happily drank. For the rest of the day Kerio looked much stronger and she continued with her day of browsing with her new friends.
Another worrying twist is in poor Simotua’s health – he has been frequently lying down and his stomach is obviously painful. We discovered this around 11am when we found he was no longer with the baby group but was lying under a bush and struggling to get up. The keepers managed to help him up and he got up to walk around and even drink his milk bottle. However around 2pm again his condition worsened and he fell down. The keepers helped him to his feet but he would not hold himself up this time. Since his arrival in the nursery poor Simotua has suffered from his injuries and poor health and recently his leg has been very swollen and his stomach has also been very troubled. Finally around 4pm the pickup was brought to him in order to carry him back to the stockade as the keepers were not strong enough to carry him. All night he was placed on a drip of Hartman’s to keep his fluids stable.
15 March 2016
Poor Simotua is not much better this morning – he has been on a drip all night and his blood work is not showing anything majorly untoward. He is still lying down and unable to get up, and his stomach is obviously still not very good, like a case of elephant colic. He still wants his bottle and green feed whilst he is lying down so we are hopeful that he will make a good recovery. Because we did not want him to lie recumbent for too long as this is very bad for such large mammals, we came up with the idea of a sling to assist him to his feet and hold him upright. We brought the small fork lift and used it to make a sling to help Simotua to his feet. This worked and Simotua got to his feet and put weight on his legs, and after a few minutes he started to walk around! After an hour or so he seemed well enough to come out of his stockade so he came out to the bushes just next to the stockades to browse.
Out during public visiting the other orphans were having a busy time wallowing because of the hot temperature. Mwashoti, Tusuja, Godoma, Mbegu ad Rapa all had fun time in the mud pool where little Godoma lay deep in the mud only showing off her tiny trunk as she playfully span around. Tusuja and Mwashoti had their own happy time with Mwashoti deliberately enjoying a good scratch of his hind legs on Tusuja’s head as he lay down on the banks facing the mud bath! All the visitors and school children were delighted at watching their funny characters and how elephants can have such personalities.
16 March 2016
Lasayen has been looking a little dull and not as playful with his friend Ndotto. He has been spending more time close to his keepers and not feeding so well on greens – however he still likes his bottle of milk. His friend Ndotto has been trying to give him some company and start some games with him, but Lasayen for the time being remains unwilling. As Ndotto realised his friend was not in the usual playing mood, he decided to engage Ngilai in a pushing game and form a new friendship with this little boy. The boys had a busy time playing together and Ndotto played fairly with this new recruit. Blood work was done on Lasayen which showed no infection or anything else alarming; nevertheless some treatment was administered to help him feel better.
During public visiting the orphans had a busy time cooling down their bodies in the mud bath, showing off some funny games. Enkikwe, Sokotei, Boromoko, Sirimon and Kauro all playfully piled against the greedy Olsekki who lay down deep in the mud bath. They showed off a rugby style of game that really caught the attention of the visiting public; but this was cut short by Alamaya who sprayed mud all over them as they were busy capturing on their cameras the funny antics of Olsekki and his company!
17 March 2016
When the orphans came out of their stockades in the early morning Oltaiyoni, Mbegu, Naseku, Sokotei, Roi and Siangiki spent a moment standing around outside poor Simotua’s stockade. Simotua saluted them with low rumbling sounds as he heard them all moving outside. Oltayoni rumbled to him but he was too tired to respond back, having had a very restless night. Oltaiyoni and company left after awhile after realizing that Simotua would not be joining them out this morning.
As the older group was being released by the keepers in the bush to run down and drink their milk during public visiting, Balguda, Boromoko, Siangiki, Kauro and Alamaya were the first to run down. Before reaching the open area where their milk bottles were waiting, Balguda and Bormoko, who do not usually run to get their milk, blocked their group from running past them. Alamaya, Kauro and Siangiki yelled out in protest, prompting the keepers to run up and caution the two older boys for their bad behaviour. Kauro, Alamaya and Siangiki then sped past them at top speed rumbling as they went, with neither one wanting to be the last to reach the milk bottles. This caused the school children to scream out at they saw the big elephants running towards them at a fast pace. The keepers assured the children they were quite safe and not in harm’s way, as the orphans are so social with people. The children calmed down and enjoyed watching how Kauro and Siangiki could feed themselves with their bottles.
It was a sad afternoon for us today as we lost poor ailing Simotua. His conditioned worsened some minutes before 4pm and despite all possible means to save his life they proved unsuccessful, and nature eventually took its course for little Simotua. He will be greatly missed by his human family and the other orphans as well.
18 March 2016
When Kiko, Pea and Pod walked out of their room this morning they followed their keeper out to the bush. Pea and Pod suddenly spread their wings wide and sped past Pea and Pod and the keeper. This saw Kiko follow suit and run after them deep into the bush. Pea and Pod came to a stop and started a funny game of spinning around as Kiko stood tall alongside and watched them. One of the ostriches span too fast though and fell down, which frightened Kiko and made him trot back to join his keeper who had sat to watch them not far away. Once arriving at the keepers though who were there with the little babies, Kiko made a u-turn to rejoin the ostriches again where they were still having their fun. On the way he came across some warthogs who were going to graze alongside the keepers and the babies as they usually do during the day. He happily sped through them, scaring them away with his fore and hind leg kicks!
Little Lasayen has looked down over the past couple of days and not very playful, but today during public visiting hour he was happily witnessed being back to his usual self – playfully staging a game with Dupotto as she lay down to enjoy soil bathing and he enjoyed climbing on her and sliding down her back before his best friend Ndotto joined in too. Ndotto put his forelegs on Lasayen’s head in a game that made the visiting school children and public really laugh. These two little boys have returned to their usual exhibitionist games that really draw the attention and applause of the visitors.
19 March 2016
During public visiting today Godoma and Murit were having a fun day rolling in the mud pool – Godoma was playing around pulling Murit’s hind leg as he tried to walk out of the mud bath, prompting him to slide back into the mud and then have Godoma scratch herself against him! When the keepers tried to warn her away from Murit she playfully charged at them, splashing mud to keep them away!
As this was all going on playful Ngilai was also having fun, running up and down the rope cordon between the orphans and the visiting public, bumping into them and smearing them with mud. Many shied away from getting muddy but others enjoyed the experience of being so close to an elephant. Ngilai is such a playful little one these days.
20 March 2016
Out in the field the orphans were getting ready to enjoy their 9am feed. Enkikwe and Sokotei were having a busy time challenging each other as each one tried to prove they were the highest ranking boy within the orphan herd. This is typical behaviour from young bulls! Their challenge went on for such a long time that their friends were already enjoying their milk bottles, and the keepers had to come and intervene to tell them to stop. Even then when they eventually started running to get their milk bottles, they stopped half way and began their wrestling challenge again! When they finally settled down to have their bottles the challenge seemed to be over and they rejoined the others without starting a play fight again.
21 March 2016
It was a busy day at the nursery today as we received two rescue reports. We received the first report around 9am from Samburu in Namunyak Conservancy where a baby elephant had been identified the previous day by the Conservancy personnel and rescued from a waterhole where it was stuck. They then contacted us the next day to come and rescue the baby to bring it back to the safety of the nursery. The elephant calf arrived safely around 2 o’clock in the afternoon – a young boy. He was named Joto because of the very hot temperatures in the north of Kenya at the time of his rescue. His health seems to be okay and he does not have any external injuries.
At noon we received another rescue report from Tsavo Conservation Area and a team of 3 keepers were sent out for the mission to retrieve the calf identified in the early hours of the morning by KWS rangers. The elephant calf was found without its mother or family members in the Sobo area, the reasons for which are still unknown but we can presume due to some human-wildlife conflict. By 3pm the little bull was being airlifted back to the nursery and by 5pm the slightly older calf had safely arrived. His condition is okay but he is still quite aggressive, normal for this age, and missing his natural family. We named him Galla.
22 March 2016
Both Joto and Galla spent a peaceful first night in the nursery, enjoying the love, care and attention of their human family and new orphan family as well. Galla enjoyed the touching and communication from neighboring orphans like Olsekki and Enkikwe throughout the night. They all gave him the assurance, love and peace of mind needed to see him adjust to his new life. Galla spent today in his stockade as he is not quite ready to join the others, being a bit older he needs more time to settle down and trust his keepers and new surroundings. The older orphans, especially Mbegu and Oltaiyoni, happily received the new baby though, sandwiching him between them. It was amazing to see even the bully Enkikwe greet the new baby, lying down on the ground and allowing the new one to touch him and lay his tiny trunk on Enkikwe’s head – although the keepers kept a cautious eye on the bully boy!
23 March 2016
As soon as the orphans had settled out in the field early this morning, as usual the older boys started their day with their pushing games. Mwashoti had a busy time playing with Tusuja. Rapa is still attached to Tusuja and when he saw him and Mwashoti challenging each other the little boy came charging up, trumpeting and breaking down bushes alongside the two boys, which encouraged Tusuja to challenge Mwashoti even more. Mwashoti was giving a good fight though and did not give up easily. Rapa continued, running up to the boys with his ears spread wide attempting to throw his trunk at Mwashoti and kick dust at him to confuse him in his fight with Tusuja, but both the boys fully concentrated on their game. Their game took a new turn however when two warthogs sped towards them and tore through the boys game as they chased one another. This frightened away Rapa, Mwashoti and Tusuja who ran away into the bushes rumbling and yelling towards their friends who were busy browsing. Their running did not disturb the other group and the three boys turned around again to run back to where the warthogs had run past them, charging and kicking and knocking down bushes. They spent a few minutes doing this before calming down and returning to join the others.
During public viewing the orphans all had a busy time cooling down their body temperate as it was a very hot day, beyond the normal temperature. Even those like Kauro, Kamok, Balguda and Murit who normally do not like to mud bathe are these days some of the first babies into the mud pool! Pea and Pod are also enjoying frequent soil baths unlike before, in order to beat the heat of the day.
24 March 2016
Murit has developed a new trait of late. When the orphans come out of their stockades in the morning he has taken to hiding in either Mbegu or Kamok’s stockade waiting for the baby group to come out, so he can join them and go out to the field with them, before breaking away to spend the day as usual with his older group. Today when he was let out of his stable by his keeper, he quickly walked out as if he were running to join the others as they were leaving for the field, but instead he quickly turned and walked into Kamok’s stockade and settled down there. When the baby group came out later and started walking off to the bush, Murit happily came out of Kamok’s stockade and joined the babies, surprising their keeper who wondered where he had come from! Murit really loves to be with the little babies since they are always calm and not pushy like some of the boys in his group. Rapa, Lasayen and Ndotto sometimes push him around and because he is not as strong as them he cannot stand up for himself as much, and so he prefers the company of the babies.
25 March 2016
Soon after the orphans settled down to browse out in the field this morning, Siangiki, Naseku, Kamok, Alamaya, Roi and Kauro spent a busy moment charging around and chasing after 2 female warthogs and their piglets. The warthogs were trying to browse close to the orphans for safety as they had been attacked the previous night by lions in the area, and they could still smell their presence! Thus they were being very cautious but Siangiki and Co were giving them a very hard time and chasing them away. Siangiki, Kamok, Alamaya and Kauro eventually gave up the chase leaving behind Naseku and Roi to take control of the game, but they too eventually gave up after realizing the warthogs were not going to leave them alone today. They even followed the orphans down to the public viewing area, stayed with them until public visiting and followed them back out to the bush again. For the same reason, Kiko did not go out into the bush today as the lions were still around and he is a likely target for them. Thus he spent his day in the stockade area with his keeper and provided with everything that he needs throughout the day, including his beloved acacia leaves. Pea and Pod spent their day out with the baby group under good supervision too. Thus it was quite an intense day for our resident warthogs, Pea and Pod the ostriches and Kiko too!
26 March 2016
As the first group of orphans were running down to enjoy their first bottle during public visiting today, Naseku, who is a greedy one, entered into the area charging after Pea and Pod as she wanted them to give her right of way, but instead they challenged her with their long legs and quick sprints! She tried to grab hold of their soft tail feathers without success, promoting her to trumpet instead to scare them away. Greedy Naseku, after finishing her bottle, once again turned against Pea and Pod trying to chase them around, which gained the interest of Ngilai who joined the chase though the birds gave them a good challenge – in several of his attempts to head butt the birds Ngilai fell on the ground, because they are so tall! This game attracted the attention of the audience at visiting time who applauded the game, which made Ngilai promptly turn around and run along the rope cordon to enjoy bumping into the visitors, before turning back to run after Pea and Pod again.
27 March 2016
As soon as the orphans had settled down out in the field, the big boys such as Sokotei, Olsekki, Enkikwe, Sirimon, Boromoko and Kauro were all seen scampering around the bushes, charging and bashing down small bushes before coming together to challenge one another before turning back to their play. Kamok did not enjoy their games because as she walked past them she was chased by Sirimon who managed to get hold of her tail and attempt to climb on her – prompting Kamok to yell out loudly to seek help. This drew the attention of Oltaiyoni, Siangiki and Roi who reacted quickly and ran to her rescue. Upon seeing these big girls approaching Sirimon, Sokotei and Olsekki quickly realised their wrong doing and turned away from Kamok and went to play their own pushing games further away.
28 March 2016
As the orphans came out of their stockades today and some were preparing to walk out to the bush, Mwashoti, Kamok and Alamaya ran over and settled next to Maxwell’s gate by the water trough next to where Maxwell was enjoying his fresh lucerne. The trio tried to steal some of the tasty grass through his stockade and poor Maxwell was trying to scare them away from his nice food by knocking on the gate with his horn, but they paid him no attention. As Maxwell tried to locate where they were on the other side of his gate in order to scare them away again, Mwashoti accidentally put his trunk into Max’s ear, giving him a big fright and prompting him to turn and run away from his lucerne. Maxwell came back but turned and faced the other way from the elephants and this time naughty Kamok touched Maxwell’s back with her trunk and all of a sudden Max sprayed urine in Kamok’s face forcing her to run away yelling and trumpeting as Mwashoti and Alamaya quickly followed suit! Their sudden disappearance left Maxwell charging around his stockade in victory for having sent them away from his tasty lucerne. Solio has not returned to the stockades recently but we are certain she is doing well in the National Park with the other wild rhinos.
29 March 2016
This morning all the orphans left their stockades in a calm and peaceful manner. Even the big boys who usually start their day with pushing games showed no interest in these activities this morning and they all walked out into the forest to enjoy their browsing. Settling out in the field they were all busy browsing and the greedy ones like Olsekki, Naseku, Roi, Sokotei and Enkikwe were all seen competing over who could lead the others. Greedy Naseku and Olsekki won the lead and recently both these young babies have been witnessed leading the whole group to far distances; if not the whole group then sometimes they are leading a smaller group. It is obvious one day these elephants will be good leaders.
During public visiting today the temperature was still very high, a condition that saw all the orphans quickly down their bottle feeds and jump into the mud pool. Today all of the orphans were seen rolling around with everyone fighting for some space to completely submerge themselves and be covered in mud. During this busy moment Oltaiyoni did not have the opportunity to fully enjoy the mud as she let the young enjoy the first chance, as she held back being the leader of the group. As many of the orphans began leaving the mud, Oltaiyoni took the opportunity to enter the mud but bully Enkikwe stood up and head butted her. This angered Oltaiyoni and prompted her to push and prod Enkikwe to the edge of the mud pool causing him to yell out which frightened away Olsekki, Sokotei, Boromoko and Siangiki and see them quickly leave the pool to leave Oltaiyoni busy rolling around in the mud pool on her own. Enkikwe went to settle on the far side of the pool on the loose soil to soil dust, and the others who had just left the pool went to join him there.
30 March 2016
It is known that when the orphans leave their stockades in the morning, naughty Kamok sneaks away from the herd and goes to browse on the bushes between the car park and Naseku, Rapa and Sokotei’s stockades. It has been her daily routine for her to run there and feed on these unexploited greens.
Out in the field just after 9am, soon after Kiko had enjoyed his bottle feed and was walking to browse on his favourite acacia leaves, he came across a huge tortoise that was busy making its slow way along the path. Kiko slowly walked up behind it and lowered his long neck to the tortoise’s shell, when the tortoise suddenly realised Kiko’s presence it quickly hid its head away. This frightened Kiko and made him do a quick turn and kick out with his front and hind legs as he made his way back to join the keepers, Pea and Pod. He walked back to the tortoise after a few minutes but the tortoise had gone to hide in the thicket.
As the orphans were leaving the public visiting area at noon, Roi and Siangiki who were leading the group suddenly encountered some warthogs that were on their way to the mud pool to enjoy a mud bath after the orphans. The duo decided to charge at them, trumpeting loudly as they tried to drive the warthogs into the bushes. The commotion made the whole herd join in the charge, trumpeting and bashing bushes down all around which led to the warthogs diving for the bushes to avoid encountering these stampeding orphans! The antics of the orphans left the public all smiling at what appeared to be a very happy group of contented baby elephants.
31 March 2016
Around 9.15pm during the night, lovely Solio bounded back into the orphan stockade area where she happily visited upon Maxwell at one of his stockade gates close to his water trough. They communicated through the stockade fence for awhile with their lips and after a few minutes by locking horns as well in a playful manner. After awhile Solio left him to go into her old stockade where she was welcomed with some lucerne from the keepers. She spent most of the night roaming around the stockade area until 6.15am when she encountered the orphans leaving their stockades for the bush. Olsekki, Sokotei, Sirimon, Oltaiyoni and Siangiki took delight in mock-charging and trumpeted after Solio which saw her leave at high speed back into the forest. Her disappearance left the whole herd fully charged with young boys like Ndotto, Lasayen, Ngilai and Murit all having such fun scampering around and trumpeting before joining up with each other and play pushing, only to return to the bushes again to stamp around. At one point Ndotto, who is always a fan of climbing, tried to climb on his best friend Lasayen; playful Godoma and Ngilai ran after him though and pushed him off Lasayen who turned quickly and chased after his friend Ndotto to do the same to him. Ndotto was quick enough to trick Lasayen though and he lay on the floor to trip Lasayen up and when he fell on the ground Ndotto when to climb on him again! It was all fun and games amongst the young babies who had a lovely start to the day.
Towards the end of the day a rescue mission to Tsavo was launched to retrieve a young calf that had serious wounds in its legs which the vet had been trying to treat over the last few days. The wounds appeared to have been afflicted by bullets and as the calf condition began to get worse, it was decided to rescue him in order to save his life.