Keepers' Diaries, March 2018

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Almost unexpectedly, as the rains were not officially due for another month or so according to the natural rhythm of things, we had a deluge of rain in March which was received with mixed blessings by the orphans. Maxwell, who is blind, loves it when it rains and charges about his stockade, digging his horn into the wet soil and showering himself with cool mud. It wasn’t long before the bottom half of his stockade became a muddy quagmire, just the way he likes it.

01 March 2018

Finally, after waiting some time for some rain, last night we received quite the downpour. Ambo, Jotto, Mapia and Sana Sana were left quite sleepless as they feared the heavy rain and they were all complaining in their rooms; they rumbled and tried to climb the walls. Whilst this was the reaction of some of the elephants, Maxwell the rhino was celebrating in his pen, rolling around in the mud and charging at his gate, running all over his stockade. He did not rest right up until morning when he engaged some warthogs in a playing battle around his pen, until he grew tired and went for a nap. This is the best weather for rhinos, though most of the elephants did not enjoy the same weather and they looked dull and quiet. All the elephants grouped together and fed amongst the bushes to avoid getting wet. Tagwa and Malkia seemed to have a plan to get to the milk feeding area early, before they were due at 11am. Their plan was noticed by the keepers however and it was put a stop to before they managed! Tagwa almost succeeded in her second attempt as she was sent back to their herd by the keepers and they pretended to give up. She managed to slip through the thick bushes though and went ahead of Godoma’s group, but whilst this small group was waiting with the keepers before being sent down for their milk, she was discovered hiding between Godoma, Jotto and Kuishi and was sent back to Mbegu’s group to wait her turn.

02 March 2018

Ndiwa has apparently become the leader of the group that browses deep in the forest looking for nice green vegetation. Today she was directing everyone where to go, including Ndotto, Sana Sana, Lasayen and Ngilai who are usually known to accompany her, but she also had several more followers in Shukuru, Mbegu, Sattao, Ambo and Kiasa who were following behind her all the time. Ambo and Malima were the talk of the public visit today. This was after they engaged each other in a very physical pushing game. At the start of the visit Malima was having fun rolling in the fresh loose soil with Maktao. She then left the spot where she and Maktao had been playing and moved to where Ambo was playing alone, and then they ended up in a very funny pushing game which went on for some time. Murit was a bad boy during the visit today and he went around disturbing the girls that were trying to enjoy their games in the soil. He kept annoying Enkesha, Tamiyoi and Kuishi and climbing on their backs, and he wouldn’t listen to the Keepers when they told him to stop either. It was not until Godoma stepped up and told Murit off for his bad behaviour that he left. Godoma pushed him and used some force to discourage him from disturbing the other girls, and when he left she stayed to make sure no one else bothered them while they enjoyed their dusting game.

03 March 2018

As the orphans enjoyed their morning browse after their 9am milk feed, suddenly a group of about six came running out of the bushes shouting for help. Maktao was leading and behind him followed Malima, Jotto, Enkesha, Maisha and Emoli. They all run looking for their keepers for protection. The keepers assumed it was because of the buffalos browsing not far away. After a few minutes Mbegu then came running through the same gap in the bushes with her ears held high, before turning and charging back and forth at the bushes in front. With this reaction from Mbegu the keepers thought there must be something else and went to investigate but they didn’t find anything. They went back to the group of orphans who were all sticking together, but Mbegu remained unsettled. The rest of her group Ndotto, Shukuru, Ndiwa, Mundusi, Sagala, Sana Sana and Ngilai were not with her. All of a sudden a big male warthog came crashing through the bushes in front with his tail raised high in the air. Shukuru was there and Ndotto was charging at a lioness who must have been hunting the lucky warthog! The lioness ran in the other direction as the keepers called Ndotto to join the rest of the group. After the lioness had disappeared into the thicket calm was restored within the group and they all went back to browsing.

04 March 2018

Maxwell has not settled down since it started raining 3 days ago. He is always busy and full of excitement in his stockade. Last night he declined to come down to the lower half of his stockade where he usually spends the night. In his excitement he pushed down part of the inner wall separating his stockade – the top part for the day time and the lower half where his vegetation is put out for him to graze on and also where his mud bath is; by this morning the whole stockade was a playing field for him! Kiko didn’t go out to the forest today because of the heavy rain which poured the whole day. Jotto enjoys playing with Enkesha whenever the two are close to each other. Today he invited her to play during the public visit as well. As they were walking down to the public visit at 11am, Jotto was walking in front of a small group of orphans including Emoli, Sattao, Malima and Enkesha. As they got closer to the feeding area, the other babies sped up to a run to overtake Jotto and be the first to the bottles. Jotto let the others overtake but he blocked Enkesha from passing him! After they all had their milk bottles he approached Enkesha for a pushing game, but Murit pushed her to the side and started playing with Jotto himself – it was a good game and went on for quite some time – they even wrestled whilst on their knees. They only finished their game when it was time to walk back out to the forest with the keepers and the others.

05 March 2018

Every orphan seems to have his or her own day – today seems to have been Tamiyoi’s day of excitement. Since she went out to the forest today she has been in such a playful mood, engaging almost everyone in a pushing game. Jotto enjoyed lots of time with her and they both had a lot of fun playing hide and seek games in the thicket whilst the other orphans browsed. During the public visit whilst Maisha, Enkesha, Maktao and Musiara were socializing and Murit, Ambo, Godoma and the others were browsing, Tamiyoi was enjoying a soil dust bath and then even went into the mud bath! It was quite a cool day but this didn’t hold her back. Kiasa watched her for several minutes, standing on the end of the mud bath, and eventually she decided to join her as well. Together they enjoyed playing in the thick mud until they went back out to the forest. It was a sad and wet afternoon for most of the babies as the rain had started early. The rain was so heavy that even the tall trees couldn’t shelter the orphans! Mbegu kept moving the little ones from one tree to the next, trying to find shelter that was good enough. After trying a few spots without success, she eventually decided to lead a small group of babies back to the stockades. She led Sattao, Musiara, Maisha, Mapia, Jotto, Ambo and Malima all back home to avoid the heavy rain, and when they got there they decided to go into Shukuru’s room until the rain stopped.

06 March 2018

Ngilai has been a naughty boy recently. He has always naturally been a rough and playful bull, always wanting to engage his human family with pushing games as he would his elephant family, but for the past couple of days his behaviour has been the epitome of naughty! He is not usually naughty at milk feeding time but today he went on fighting everyone including his keepers to get to the milk wheelbarrow. Ndotto had to step in and save the situation by disciplining Ngilai and driving him away by pushing his little tusks into Ngilai’s hind. Ngilai repeated this naughty behaviour at the 11am feeding and any keeper who stood in his way he shoved to the side. He finally pushed over the wheelbarrow and all the milk that was still inside poured out. The keepers had to be quick to pick up the bottles that were for the babies still waiting to be fed! Ambo is such a funny little boy and he will hold a grudge against anyone that crosses the line with him. Earlier in the day Malima had shoved him to the side when she wanted to get to a branch that Shukuru had pulled down from a tree. In return Ambo blocked her and Malima cried out, causing Shukuru to step in and send Ambo away. Later on Ambo kept following Malima around and head-butting her in revenge! At one stage Jotto had to step in and help Malima as Ambo was pushing her into a mud pool. Esampu has been causing problems for the keepers at feeding times, always fighting to steal another milk bottle that is not hers. Today Tagwa had been watching her for awhile and as soon as she started to misbehave, Tagwa stepped in and charged at her, driving her away from the milk feeding place!

07 March 2018

Even though it has been raining for the past few days, it takes awhile for the grass to recover from the dry season and grow enough for the grazing animals to enjoy. There is still not enough grass in the Nairobi National Park for the buffalos and other grazers, so they occasionally come up to the stockade compound. Last night there was a big herd of buffalos and even though it was raining very heavily, they didn’t mind. They were feeding on Maxwell’s lucerne and when the rain got heavier, they just went and stood under the shade in front of Sattao and Emoli’s stockades. All their movements made Sattao, Emoli, Kiasa and Maktao very uncomfortable! They seemed not to get enough food from Maxwell’s leftovers so they went to the hay store, walking along in front of Kiasa and Maktao’s room and making them nervous. Mbegu has developed a very funny new habit of timing when her time in the mud bath area is almost up, and then going to the side of the mud bath and digging lots of fresh new soil with her tusks. From there she will roll about in it and show in different positions – it seems like a trick she is playing on the Keepers, trying to buy more time playing down at the mud bath! Sometimes she and Ndotto always want to make their way out of the area by shoving their way under the rope cordon and pushing past the visitors to make their way back to the forest! It is not easy to stop either of them once they have decided to do that!

08 March 2018

The two boys that never fight for milk as they know their share will always be there are Musiara and Ndotto. Today at 9am they walked calmly together heading for their milk bottles. Ndotto is a survivor who can endure anything, and he never seems to worry about anything. Musiara is a baby attached to his keepers and he moves when they move. So as Musiara and Ndotto were in the first group to go for their milk, Musiara was walking ahead but then he stopped to look behind him and make sure a keeper was coming to accompany them. It was only Ndotto who was walking behind him and when Musiara tried to go back to the keepers Ndotto pushed him forward and then took a hold of his tail to stop him. The tail is a very sensitive part on an elephant and he immediately took off walking in front of Ndotto and whenever he tried to stop on the way, Ndotto just grabbed his tail with his trunk so he would move on until they reached the milk feeding place. When Kiko visited the public visit today Malima, Musiara and Kiasa were on high alert to stop him whenever he tried to approach the elephants that were rolling in the loose soil. Kiko was not paying them much attention as his main aim was to approach the visitors standing behind the rope cordon, but the keepers would not let him succeed in that mission either! Godoma and Malkia do love and care for Musiara very much. He was playing with Mapia who accidentally stood on Musiara’s trunk which caused him to shout out in pain. The two girls heard him and came charging over from different directions to help the baby, but luckily the keepers were also standing there to manage the situation.

09 March 2018

Ambo knows who to accompany in the early morning hours when they are browsing. All elephants like the bark of branches and trees as it is very nutritious for them, but Ambo likes it especially. Shukuru also likes it and prefers it to leaves most of the time, and it is for this reason Ambo knows to follow her in the morning. In the morning it is still cold and easy for her to peel the bark from branches. All the other orphans are very concerned with making their way into the thicket to fill up their tummies but Shukuru and Ambo can be spotted together looking for tall trees and delicious bark. Shukuru is doing the main work, stripping the bark with her tusks, and Ambo is waiting beside the tree for any that might fall down in the process. It is not easy to find Mbegu involved in a pushing or wrestling game with any of the other orphans, apart from Ndotto sometimes. Today however she invited Lasayen to a lengthy pushing game. Perhaps because she is the leader and matriarch, the other orphans avoid these games and never initiate them with her out of respect.

10 March 2018

As we have said before, the orphans always wake up in a different mood every day. Today Sattao was in a very different mood. He is usually always attached to Mbegu and the only time they are apart is perhaps during the public visit and some feeding times. Today Sattao just wanted to be on his own however, even from his adopted mother Mbegu. After the 9am milk bottles the orphans all walked away in a long line, but Sattao walked away by himself through the thicket. When they reached the area they wanted to browse they all assembled together, except for Sattao who stood away from the others and the keepers inside some thicket. Beside the small bushes he was feeding on there was a bushbuck fast asleep. Neither one knew the other was there until Sattao got closer and closer to where it was sleeping when it suddenly jumped up and ran away in fear. Sattao was facing the other way when it jumped up and he got a fright, so he ran towards his keepers and the others shouting for help. He was happy and relieved when he saw the keepers running over to save him. Kiko had been giving his keepers trouble this morning as he kept wanting to walk back to the stockades. On his way he came across a wild male giraffe about his size. When he saw him he turned back running towards the elephants. The wild one was interested now however, and didn’t want to give up, so he followed after Kiko. Before the wild one could catch up to Kiko, Malkia, Sana Sana, Sagala and Kuishi saw him and started to charge at him. They charged and chased him away into the bushes, trumpeting until he had gone. Kiko watched the whole thing from the side as he stood with the other orphans – perhaps he knew if he went to join the elephants they would chase the wild giraffe away for him!

11 March 2018

Just after the midday milk feed we had a heavy downpour which meant Maxwell got very excited and was running around his room, rolling in the mud and water that was running through his stockade! At one point we watched him running and playfully planting his horn into the ground before running and digging a big trench before heaving up a big chuck of soil, leaving a big chunk on his horn as well! He really did have a lot of fun running around and digging up mud. Out in the forest the elephant babies were being very playful as well. Some were rolling in the mud, sliding and bumping into one another while the likes of Esampu, Malima, Tamiyoi, Jotto, Ambo, Enkesha, Emoli, Kiasa, Maisha, Musiara and Maktao were all scampering about, enjoying the running water as they splashed and kicked in the streams. Little ones like Musiara, Maktao, Kiasa, Sattao and Maisha were very happily running into the water and trumpeting when they came across big waves.

12 March 2018

Kiko can still be very naughty and not listen to his keepers, and he can get away with it because he is so tall! This morning he was making his way out to the forest, following behind a keeper holding a milk bottle as usual to entice him out, but he stopped at the end of Maxwell’s stockade and refused to go any further. The keeper turned around to give him the milk bottle to encourage him further but Kiko started kicking in defiance and ran all the way back to the milk mixing area to feed on the acacia trees there. He stayed there for awhile before wandering down to the mud wallow area where he browsed on trees there until it was time for the first group of elephant orphans to come down for the 11am milk feed. He decided to join them in the area but Godoma, Kuishi and Murit gave him a hard time as they kept charging at him and trying to chase him away, which eventually meant he decided to walk back to the stockade area where he stayed for the rest of the day.

13 March 2018

Little Kiasa who once upon a time gave her keepers a real headache about entering her stockade in the afternoon is now completely over that phase. We cannot believe she is the same girl that once totally refused to go into her room. She used to arrive in the compound and walk all the way down, only to see her stable door and turn, running away, yelling like crazy and running around or between the legs of the keepers to avoid going in! Her reaction came out of the blue and only lasted a few days, but we are glad she is over it. She happily wanders into her room for her milk bottle now, due to the love and care from her keepers who assisted her in getting through that funny phase. Also due to the support from Maktao, Enkesha, Maisha, Sattao, Emoli and Musiara who used to escort her back in the evenings and go into her stable with her to help her relax! Now she is a settled lovely little girl.

14 March 2018

It is funny, we think Jotto does not realize how much he has grown or what a big boy he is becoming these days. Despite his growing size, he still chooses to keep himself close to the keepers when all the orphans are browsing in the forest, alongside where baby Maktao, Kiasa and Maisha are also browsing! Sometimes even these babies follow the older orphans further into the forest, but Jotto lags behind and will only walk further when he is sure the keepers are coming as well. He is a young boy who certainly loves his human family and he is also a caring bull, who is always nice to those babies younger than him. When he does wander off further than intended and realizes he can no longer hear the keepers chatting, he calls out as he knows that if he makes a noise, the keepers will respond or come and find him and he will know where they are! This is very similar behaviour as little Maktao who also loves his keepers and prefers to stay close to them.

15 March 2018

Our morning was greeted by a heavy downpour that lasted for quite a few hours. This meant that some of the youngest orphans including Maktao, Sattao, Emoli, Kiasa, Enkesha, Musiara, Maisha and Luggard as well stayed inside. Tamiyoi, Malima and Mapia forced their way back into their stables for shelter whilst the bigger orphans like Mbegu, Ndotto, Ngilai, Ndiwa, Sana Sana, Mundusi, Lasayen, Mteto and Sagala were all busy enjoying rolling in the wet soil and muddy earth, and running through the flowing water everywhere as well. During the public visit there was water everywhere, as the small stream which trickles past the mud bath was now in full flow. This made it difficult for Emoli, Maktao, Musiara, Maisha, Sattao and Kiasa to cross it for their milk bottles on the other side and initially they shied away from it. The keepers has to entice them over by showing them their milk bottles and slowly crossing the stream with them. Kiasa, Maktao and Musiara shouted out loud as they crossed the water! Godoma ran across the water for her milk bottle, trumpeting as she did so.

16 March 2018

Some of the older orphans have become so naughty at feeding times and bullying their younger friends for their bottles as well that the keepers have been forced to feed them last at every feeding time. Ngilai, Mundusi, Malkia, Esampu and even Tagwa have become so troublesome at this time, the keepers feed them last so that they have no one else to bother as everyone has already been fed. This has helped Ngilai, Mundusi and Esampu, who were the core troublemakers, during these feeding times. It has also given the chance for the others to enjoy their milk in peace!

17 March 2018

Lasayen and Murit are seen to be quite happy playmates these days and usually choose to play early in the morning as soon as they arrive in the forest. This morning as all the orphans settled out in the bush, Murit and Lasayen had a lengthy pushing game in which Murit took on Lasayen, and Lasayen readily accepted the challenge. Lasayen’s best friend Ndotto is doing more of his own thing these days and spending a lot of time deeper in the forest, so it seems Lasayen has taken up playing with Murit for company! During their midday milk feed today there was a heavy rainstorm and all the orphans sheltered under one huge tree together. It was funny to watch young warthog babies running under the orphans for shelter as well, though Malima, Tamiyoi, Jotto, Emoli, Enkesha, Godoma and Mteto kept chasing them away and pushing them out. As that was going on, Maktao and Sattao were busy fighting over who would shelter under the Mama Mbegu. At the same time Maktao seemed a little confused as he was trying to hide under the keepers umbrella, as well as Mbegu, and it seemed he could not decide which he preferred.

18 March 2018

When the orphans were walking out into the forest and many were happily walking through the bushes to begin their day of browsing, it was funny to watch Sattao, Maktao and Kiasa scared of getting their bodies all wet by the water that still clung to the bushes and leaves of the small trees. They stood tightly together in the open areas and watched the others move further into the woods. When Sattao saw his adopted mother disappear into the bushes he tried to follow her but he didn’t want to walk through the same wet path. He retreated, yelling in protest and calling for his adopted mother to come back for him. It seemed to work as Mbegu quickly turned back to see what was happening and why the young boy was yelling. She then chose to browse along those nearby bushes where Sattao and his group were holding themselves, as she must have realized what the matter was. It has been four days now that we have seen Shukuru leading Ndotto ‘s group of Ndiwa, Sagala, Mundusi, Ngilai, Mteto and Sana Sana far deep into the bush. She is so much more energetic, happy and browsing to her heart’s content, compared to just a few months ago. Sometimes she is seen disciplining rough boys like Mundusi and Ngilai whenever they happen to be misbehaving in her presence.

19 March 2018

The orphans came out of their rooms this morning and immediately formed a long line – which is unusual as normally they come out and scatter everywhere across the compound. Today Shukuru, Ndotto, Ndiwa, Ngilai, Sagala and Sana Sana directly formed a lined and marched out at a quick pace, suggesting they were in a hurry to move deep into the forest as usual. The others, once they reached the forest, all crowded around the same thicket and enjoyed feeding from it. Musiara, Sattao, Maktao and Kiasa were busy fighting each other over the small bits of tree bark that Mbegu was dropping from above. None of them wanted to surrender! Maktao and Kiasa are tiny figures, but stood their ground against Musiara and Sattao! Mbegu was wise however as she kept both pairs on either side of her, to try and prevent them from fighting. Luggard’s swollen ankle on his bad leg is doing better and the swelling is decreasing day by day, though he is not yet fully better and able to accompany the orphans on their long walks into the forest. He stays with them until their 9am milk feed and then most of them continue into the forest while he stays to relax with his keepers. He is doing okay so far.

20 March 2018

We have noticed that in the mornings recently the orphans are less inclined to set about their pushing games. Even the young bulls who normally greet each other in the morning with pushing games have been less interested; instead everyone comes out of their rooms in the morning very eager to head out to the forest as soon as possible, and begin browsing on the new fresh, green leaves sprouting everywhere. They have even been less playful during the public visiting time in which just a few weeks ago they always sought the mud bath for some swimming games. It was so hot and dry then though and these days it is cloudy and rainy. Today none of the orphans wallowed or played any games, but rather they browsed on the greens that had been provided for them there. The exception was perhaps Maisha and Sattao who enjoyed teasing the school children who were standing along the rope cordon, amazed to see such an animal up close. Naughty little Sattao realized the school children were nervous of him and he posed quietly beside the rope, as soon as any of them worked up the courage to come closer, he turned and raised his ears and scared them all away again!

21 March 2018

Due to the ongoing rains, all the bushes in the National Park are growing and becoming thicker and greener with fresh, green leaves. The orphans are very happy and have a huge variety to feed on now. Big girls like Shukuru and Ndiwa are taking advantage of the thicker bushes to dodge the keepers when they feel like it as well. During the public visiting time today the two big girls and Ndotto decided not to show up. They had moved much deeper into the forest and because of all the vegetation the keepers had a hard time finding them as well! Malima was in a very playful mood and was funning from one side of the mud bath to the other, until she was calmed down by the mini matriarch Godoma. Maktao and Kiasa were enjoying a small pushing game before Tamiyoi came over and interrupted them, much to the dismay of the visitors who were enjoying watching their funny game! Emoli tried his luck at approaching the wheelbarrow bearing the bottles of milk but he was moved away by the keepers.

22 March 2018

Kiko woke up in a happy mood today and joined the elephant orphans in the Park to browse. He didn’t get to browse too close to them however, as Mundusi kept following and even charging at the tall boy sometimes. After awhile Kiko got bored of this, and he moved further away in search of some tasty acacia trees, and also to get away from the cheeky Mundusi! As the sun rose higher and warmed the earth, the orphans took advantage of this and rolled around on the soil. Musiara and Sattao intertwined their little trunks and played a ‘pushing and pulling’ game. Ambo and Mbegu were busy feeding on a huge branch that the matriarch had broken from a nearby tree. As a group of keepers were enjoying their morning tea, Ngilai came over and pretended to browse next to them, but suddenly snatched a cup from an unsuspecting keeper, emptying its contents. The keepers warned him not to be naughty and the playful boy dropped the cup and moved off into the bushes to find Kuishi and Murit.

23 March 2018

The rainy season continues and we received a heavy downpour today. What started as a small shower around 8am soon turned into very heavy rain for about half an hour. Little babies like Kiasa, Maktao, Musiara and Sattao were brought back to the stockades to protect them from the bad weather. In the wild at such an age they would always have the protection of their mother above them, still being able to fit under her belly. Luggard joined them as well. As the keepers sheltered under umbrellas, some of the orphans gathered by the trees as others trumpeted and ran around in delight. Murit decided to brave the downpour in a different way by taking shelter under one of the keepers umbrella’s as well. Malkia, Ndotto, Lasayen, Esampu and Tagwa rolled around on the ground, digging at the soil with their little tusks and mud on their bodies. Kiko did not seem to be interested in the rain and took shelter in his room, peeping through his windows to catch a glimpse of what was going on outside. Maxwell decided to sleep through this rain storm under the roof in his bedroom, snoring loudly.

24 March 2018

Due to the heavy rain yesterday it was very muddy during the visiting hour today, for the keepers, elephants and visitors! The orphans found the paths very slippery and tricky to walk on. Maisha slipped and fell twice before reaching the area to get her milk bottles. As the second group was having their milk, as usual Esampu wanted to get an extra bottle and today she tried with Mteto. Mteto protected her share by going in circles before the keepers managed to help her. The naughty girl did not stop there though as she turned to Sagala whose bottle unfortunately slipped from her grip, spilling all over the floor. Ndotto and Ngilai meanwhile were rolling on the wet soil and spraying some onto their backs, which unfortunately also reached some of the unsuspecting visitors behind!

25 March 2018

Ndotto is still acting very independent these days and although his best friend is still Lasayen, when it comes to browsing he likes to go it alone. He likes to walk deeper into the forest and takes his time feeding. He doesn’t even seem to be bothered when it is milk time! We saw this today for the public visit as he decided to dodge his friends and the keepers and not attend at all. He only decided to appear around lunch time, but looking at his full belly we knew he had found a nice green area to browse in! Shukuru was trying to prove she is the oldest orphan in the Nursery today and commands respect. She used her long tusks to push Kuishi away who was only trying to share a branch that Shukuru had. She yelled and ran away for help. Mbegu tried to protect her but Shukuru ended up pushing her away as well!

26 March 2018

Some warthogs had sneaked into Maxwell’s stockade today and were eating his lucerne pellets. As the warthogs munched away, they were unaware that they had been spotted and were about to be in a lot of trouble! Using his keen sense of smell, Maxwell had discovered there were unwanted visitors in his territory. He charged towards the unsuspecting warthogs and by bad luck, caught one of the warthogs with his horn and pressed it against the posts of his stockade, making the poor pig scream with terror. The yelling from the warthogs brought the staff that were in the compound running to the scene, and they had to encourage the angry black rhino to release his incarcerated thief! Max eventually let the pig go and it ran off with its family to a safer browsing area.

27 March 2018

Ambo’s neighbour Jotto was not very neighbourly this afternoon! Jotto arrived back to the Nursery first and had his two milk bottles. When his gate was closed he noticed that Ambo’s browse had been placed very close to their partition. Despite having his own, he proceeded to pull through his neigbour’s browse one branch at a time. Ambo then returned and whilst having his own milk bottles, grew very angry at the fact that Jotto was stealing his branches. When he finished his bottles Ambo turned his anger on Jotto and a push and pull game ensued between the posts of their rooms as they held each others trunks. They fought for some time until a passing keeper intervened and settled the argument by moving Ambo’s food. Ambo decided to turn to his other neighbor and make up for some of his lost branches by stealing some of Mapia’s! He was unsuccessful however as Mapia strongly and fearlessly defended his branches. Ambo found he had no other option than to just settle down and feed on what he had left!

28 March 2018

The relationship between the matriarch Mbegu and her little adopted baby Sattao is still very strong. The little boy is never far from his adopted mother and they feed so closely to one another. Mbegu and Sattao browsed deep into the forest and because of this the little boy accidentally came to the public visit in the older second group! Their closeness did not impress Ambo who used to be very close to Mbegu as well, and he tried to fight Sattao out of jealousy, but the motherly figure came to the rescue. Luggard was making his way back to the stockades when a herd of impala came running past. This scared the little limping boy and he raised his ears and trunk high and rushed to his keeper for protection. Kiasa retired to bed earlier than usual today, and as the foster parents made their way around the stockades to see their babies, Kiasa was already snoring loudly. Her neighbor and age-mate Maktao tried to wake her up by touching her head with his trunk between their partition, but all in vain.

29 March 2018

Luggard seems to have come to terms with the fact he has to hang back from the rest of the group during the day, when they go off deeper into the forest to browse. At the beginning he used to miss his friend Musiara, but today he seemed very happy when the others started to move off. He hugged his friend Musiara with his trunk as if to say ‘goodbye and see you later’. He seems happy to browse throughout the day on the bushes near the compound, and never strays too far from his keeper. He seems to have a very good appetite for all the vegetation around at the moment which is so encouraging when he has not been feeling that well. He is always happy to see the other orphans in the evening of course, when they all return home for the night. Sometimes he keeps himself busy by engaging some of the warthogs around in some playful running games. Shukuru has so many friends in the Nursery herd now. It used to be her style to browse away from the others but now sometimes they choose to accompany her. Today she left the main group with Maisha, Mapia and Sagala and they browsed for such a long time they missed the midday feed!

30 March 2018

When it’s time for bottle feeding, especially the midday feed, some of the orphans like Sagala, Ndiwa and Mundusi remain restless and give the keepers a hard time controlling them to stay back with the older orphans and wait their turn. When it was the second groups turn to head down to the mud bath, these naughty elephants tried all means possible to sneak away from the group. They tried a very clever trick of walking to the back of the group whilst pretending to browse. Sagala is the cleverest of the bunch and she pretended to be browsing in a bush, before turning in the thicket and sneaking down to the public visiting area without the keepers seeing her!

31 March 2018

Mteto is being a bit of a bully these days. She has been seen bullying Jotto, Ambo, Malima and Tamiyoi on a few occasions and we are not sure why. Normally it is when they are all gathered in a group waiting to go down for their milk feed, or sometimes out in the bush as well. If one of these orphans happens to cross her path she will push her small tusks into their back prompting them to run off yelling! The keepers have tried to tell her off by raising their voices at her and wagging an accusing finger, and even moving her to browse away from the rest of the group, but this does not seem to be changing her naughty behaviour at the moment. Out in the bush before their 9am milk feed, Mteto harshly pricked Jotto in the back with her tusks which caused him to yell but before he could move away she head-butted him as well! This forced the keepers to shout at her and move her away, and she was the last one to have her milk bottle as well! She tried to apologize for her behaviour by slowly walking back to the group but the keepers were having none of it and sent her away. Like any social animal, elephants do not like being on their own and this was a good punishment for Mteto. She yelled to come back and rejoin the group but the Keepers kept her back until she was the last one to have her milk bottle.