Keepers' Diaries, March 2019

Nairobi Nursery Unit

This month was an extremely painful time for us all when we lost our little ray of sunshine, our orphaned baby white rhino calf Maarifa.  There has been a sombre mood ever since, understandably so when we received another little elephant orphan from the Masai Mara after his mother died due to human-wildlife conflict. 

01 March 2019

Tamiyoi, Ambo, Malima and Maisha are always very eager to have their Lucerne pellets in the early hours of the morning. Unlike many of the other orphans, they do not stop to greet each other but quickly head over to the store where the Lucerne pellets are kept and then squeeze their trunks through the wooden bars to grab as many of the fallen pellets as they can. It is always entertaining watching them push each other around so that one can get more pellets than the other. Maisha, however, doesn’t enjoy the pushing games and often misses out on the first few pellets so she ends up trumpeting very loudly in protest giving Tamiyoi, Ambo, and Malima a big fright causing them to jump away from the store. It is then that Maisha takes advantage and grabs as many pellets before the others come back. 

02 March 2019

Sattao seemed to be in a very jovial mood this morning as he came out his stable and ran straight to Maxwell who was standing at his gate closest to Sattao’s stockade. As Maxwell was stood there Sattao kept grabbing his ear, causing him to jump and charge off. Maktao decided to join in on the game and grabbed hold of Maxwell’s ear as he returned to his stockade gate, Sattao seemed pleased by this game and began to trumpet. This really upset Maxwell as he ran off and charged the pillars of his stockade chasing the naughty orphans away.

03 March 2019

The weather has been very hot at the moment, which has meant that the orphans have taken even more advantage of their mud bath during their midday feeding time. Sagala and Mapia thoroughly enjoy standing on the edge of the mud bath and spraying mud all over their bodies and all over any on lookers that don’t get out of the way fast enough. This has become quite amusing for the pair as they seem to be doing it more and more often. 

04 March 2019

Today, Tagwa really played her role as the matriarch of the orphaned herd. As the older group of orphans was leaving the mud bath area, after their midday feed, Ambo didn’t seem to be in any rush to follow the group and stayed back wallowing in the mud. Tagwa appeared to know that Ambo was enjoying himself, so she remained behind and continued to drink water straight from the hose pipe that was filling the mud bath. As Ambo didn’t seem to want to leave any time soon, Tagwa eventually nudged him out the muddy water and Ambo, now realizing the others had already left, charged off towards the bushes. Tagwa, having successfully got him to leave the mud bath area, seemed to trumpet in celebration before she too ran off to join the Keepers and the other orphans in the forest.  

05 March 2019

Lately little Maarifa seems to be clever enough to outsmart her Keepers, especially when she wants to charge around the mud bath area during her midday feeding time. Today, as she made her way down to the mud bath area, little Maarifa decided to charge around before settling down and enjoying a thorough mud bath with the aid of her Keepers. Before the Keepers knew it Maarifa was already back on her feet, charging off towards the field. As they tried to get her to stop, she quickly changed directions and came charging back toward the mud bath area, running faster each time her Keepers got closer.  

06 March 2019

Lately, Malima has become quite the caretaker and seems to have adopted young Larro as her adopted baby. In the morning, when the orphans come out of their stables Malima can be seen looking out for Larro, waiting to escort her out into the field. Today, when the first group of orphans was getting ready to head down for their midday bottle of milk, the Keepers struggled to keep Malima back as she continuously tried to follow Larro down. 

Mapia and Mukkoka seem to have similar characters in that they are both very vocal when it comes to getting their bottles of milk. If either of them struggle to overtake their peers they begin to trumpet loudly, and if their bottles aren’t ready when they get to the milk feeding area they trumpet even louder. Due to this, they have now developed a habit of trumpeting loudly as they are running for their milk bottles, alerting the Keepers and their peers that they are on their way.

07 March 2019

Dololo, like many of his peers, had a traumatic start to life when he became stuck in the mud of a drying up water hole, and in consequence became separated from his mother and herd. He was fortunate enough to be rescued and brought to the Nairobi Nursery where he has begun to flourish with his new orphan and human family. The young bull has been gaining weight and confidence in the herd, and loves to greet the Keepers with a deep rumble whether at the mud bath area, the stockade compound or in the forest. He has become so confident in fact that today he stole a branch from Sattao and managed to keep it away from him in a playful game of strength testing. 

08 March 2019

Kiko seems to be recovering well since his brush with the lions, and has gotten into a happy routine of waiting for his Keepers before heading into the stockade next door to Maxwell’s. He is always sure to greet Maxwell before making his way into the stockade. Kiko enjoys wondering around eating his greens that have been hung up or from the tasty acacia trees around the area. In the mornings, he often seems to be watching the warthogs that enter Maxwell’s stockade to eat some of the Lucerne pellets that have been laid down.  

09 March 2019

Little Maarifa has become very protective of her Keepers. Today, just after she finished her morning bottle of milk in the forest, she lay down under some shade near her Keepers. As she began to relax, a group of warthogs came out the bushes and seemed to want to rest near Maarifa and her Keepers. Maarifa seemed most upset by this as she immediately got up and began to mock charge the warthogs protecting her Keepers. As the warthogs didn’t have a chance to relax they decided to head off back into the bush, leaving Maarifa to relax near her Keepers once again. 

10 March 2019

It was a very windy day today and all the orphans were reluctant to wallow in the mud bath and instead enjoyed eating their greens that were laid out for them. Jotto, Ambo, Mapia, Kuishi and Sagala all seemed to be busy snatching the greens from one another, always grabbing the tastiest ones. Jotto was quite tactful in protecting his greens as he turned his back towards Ambo and Mapia and kicked his hind legs back to warn the young bulls away. Ambo managed to outwit Jotto by kneeling down and sneakily grabbing some branches with his trunk without Jotto realizing. Mapia unfortunately was not so lucky and ended up having to wait for Jotto to finish. 

Maxwell was bothered by some noisy baboons today who decided to saunter through his stockade and try and help themselves to some of his lucerne pellets on the way. Max was having none of that and every time he heard one of them move he would charge off in that direction, as the baboons would chatter and run off in an excited frenzy. Later our loving Shabby the Sacred Ibis came and perched on Maxwell's water trough while Max ate lucerne pellets close by.

11 March 2019

During her midday feed, Enkesha seems to always enjoy drinking water straight out the hose pipe. Today, Emoli tried to share this water with her but Enkesha protested by charging the young bull and pushing him away. Whilst Emoli and Enkesha were busy disagreeing, Maisha managed to grab the hose but only for a brief second as Enkesha quickly came charging back. 

Malima, who can often be quite naughty and playful, is still very protective and motherly over Larro. This afternoon, whilst in the forest, Larro began to trumpet loudly, as she often would without just cause. Malima immediately came rushing over to see what had happened and to protect her adopted baby by pushing and kicking any of the orphans that were around her before taking her away.  

12 March 2019

Sattao appears to be a brave and gentle young bull who often seeks the comfort of some of the older females in the Nursery herd. He used to always be by Tagwa’s side, but more recently as Tagwa has seemed to keep her distance from him, Sattao has sought the company of Tamiyoi. He has become so protective of his female companions that today when Mukkoka approached Tamiyoi, Sattao pushed him away and made sure nobody came close to Tamiyoi. 

Malima is known to enjoy drinking her milk without assistance from the Keepers; she holds onto her milk bottle by wrapping her trunk tightly around it and tilts her head up. Kuishi on the other hand is known to be naughty and greedy as she constantly guzzles her milk down and then tries to steal extra milk from the other orphans. Today, during their midday milk feed, Kuishi downed her milk and then began to chase Malima, who was gripping onto her bottle, around the mud bath area. The Keepers tried to stop Kuishi as the two could be seen running around the muddy pool, but they were unsuccessful. By the time Kuishi got close enough to Malima, she had already finished her milk. 

13 March 2019

Malima really loves little Larro and continues to remain protective of her, which Larro seems to be very aware of. However, being the youngest orphan in the herd Larro will orphan trumpet or get a fright for no reason at all and today was such a case. Whilst the orphans were out in the bush Larro burst into a loud trumpet whilst Malima was some meters away from her. Poor Emoli, who was standing next to Larro at the time, got charged away by Malima who came to her rescue, fearing that someone was bullying her. During their 9am milk feeding time, Kiasa was up to her usual mischievous ways and seemed to really disturb Kuishi who began to push Kiasa away. 

During their 11am feeding, Tamiyoi, Emoli, Maisha and Enkesha enjoyed a long wallow in the mud bath. Kiasa and Musiara ended up joining them towards the end of their feeding time. When it was time for the younger group of orphans to head back into the bush, Musiara did not want to get out of the mud and had to be pushed out by the Keepers. 

14 March 2019

Mukkoka and Dololo have become close friends and are often found browsing together. They have even been known to wonder off together away from the other orphans. The Keepers believe that they are close because they arrived around the same time, from different locations, and would spend most of their days together as they became accustomed to the Nursery herd. 

Today Mukkoka and Maktao decided to browse further away from the Nursery herd. As Maktao seem to lose sight of the other orphans he began to trumpet loudly, almost as if he was calling out to the other orphans and Keepers. Tagwa and Malima ran straight to the young bulls almost as thought they were coming to his rescue. 

When the younger group of orphans were making their way down to the mud bath area, for their midday bottle of milk, Musiara appeared to block Maktao, Mukkoka, Kiasa and Sattao from overtaking him. He seemed to want everyone to walk down at his pace. Kiasa seemingly annoyed by Musiara’s actions, began to push him once down at the mud bath area and would not stop pushing the young bull who was enjoying his branches. Emoli witnessing the commotion took it upon himself to protect Musiara and push Kiasa away from him. Musiara appeared to be unbothered by as he continued to enjoy himself at the mud bath area. 

15 March 2019

Nabulu seems to be settling in well with the Nursery herd. Tagwa, Sagala, Emoli, Tamiyoi and Kuishi have been interacting more regularly with the young female. In the mornings, they all walk over to her stable and greet one another before making their way out to the bush. Tagwa, who has assumed the role of matriarch of the Nursery herd, can often be seen leading the orphans out into the bush, whilst Tamiyoi enjoys getting to know her new friend Nabulu by continuously smelling her as they walk out side by side. 

Whist in the bush, Emoli joined the boys and began a game of strength testing by pushing his close friend Ambo. Mapia eventually joined in and separated the young bulls, putting an end to their game and resulting in all the young bulls walking off into the bush.  

16 March 2019

Maarifa was in a very playful mood this cloudy morning, as she was jumping up and down and running around her Keepers. When it came time for her midday bottle of milk, she charged off down to the mud bath area impressing all her Keepers and onlookers. 

Luggard and Maarifa seem to be enjoying each other’s company as of late. Whilst out in the bush this afternoon, Luggard decided to leaver the Nursery herd and went to browse near Maarifa and refused to return to the other orphan elephants.

Today we rescued a little two year old baby from the Masai Mara.

17 March 2019

Kiko seems to be in good spirits lately. Today as he was coming out for his walk, he noticed that Maxwell had left some Lucerne pellets, so he stopped dead in his tracks and began to enjoy the pellets. Whilst in the large stockade next door to Maxwell, Kiko spent his day enjoying the greener branches from the trees that surround the compound rather than eating the branches the Keepers had hung up for him.  

18 March 2019

Larro seems to know that she is the youngest of the herd and will often begin to trumpet loudly when she has finished her milk, almost as if to get the attention of the other older orphans. Today, as soon as she had finished her morning bottle, she trumpeted so loudly that Kuishi, Tagwa, Tamiyoi, Malima and Maisha all came running to her side to protect her. If one of the other orphans accidentally bumps little Larro, Kuishi will chase them away. Unfortunately, Nabulu had to learn this the hard way. The other day, whilst Nabulu was greedily looking for more milk, she accidentally bumped Larro which caused her to trumpet loudly. Kuishi, in response, came running over and pushed Nabulu away and seemed to tell her off by smacking her with her trunk. Even Sattao has become quite protective of Larro. If the larger girls are away, Sattao will often be seen standing near Larro and breaking branches off for her, especially if the branches are so high that she cannot reach them. 

19 March 2019

Mapia, Ambo and Jotto are close neighbours and great friends. The three bulls are often seen charging after each other and enjoying long games of strength testing. Mapia, who is larger in size, often thinks that he can push Ambo around, but Ambo is too smart for that and is often the one who manages to steal greens from Mapia, especially when they are within their stables. Ambo seems to place the branches so far away that Mapia cannot reach them through the bars of their stables and this appears to annoy him very much. Mapia begins to push on the bars to try and get to the branches. Jotto, who is the oldest between the three, seems to enjoy watching the young bulls fight over their greens and wrestle, but when needed, he will often be the one to end their games if they begin to get too rough with each other. 

20 March 2019

Mukkoka and Dololo appear to have a very close friendship. This evening, when the orphans came back at 5pm, Dololo was seen pushing his branches from the centre of this stable towards Mukkoka’s stable boundary. The two began to share the branches, and what amazed the Keepers is that when they were finished eating Dololo’s branches, Mukkoka went and pushed his branches to the boundary and they began to share those too.

Sattao has always been a humble bull and is rarely seen charging the other orphans. Recently Sattao has changed stables and he is now next door to Larro. Since his move he has become quite protective of her and can often be seen watching over her as they return to their stables in the evening and whilst in the bush. 

21 March 2019

Sagala and some of the other females in the herd like Tagwa, Tamiyoi, Maisha, Malima, and even Kiasa have all been so welcoming to the new orphan from the Masai Mara. They all went to his stable in the morning and accompanied him out to the bush, raising their trunks and sniffing the young bull almost as if to show that he was now part of the herd. The orphan has adapted well to Nursery life, as he is not charging the Keepers as much and as begun to thoroughly enjoy his milk feeding times. He has also been spending more and more time with Dololo, as they can be seen enjoying branches together. 

22 March 2019

Emoli is often seen playing pushing games, strength testing or just simply annoying his younger friends. He also seems to enjoy not listening to his Keepers and sometimes even pushes them around. 

During their afternoon feeding time, as the orphans were enjoying wallowing in the mud, Emoli decided to climb on Sagala’s back. This caused Sagala to trumpet loudly and push the young bull off her back. Emoli who had now realised he had upset her ran away, unfortunately he was not fast enough and Sagala managed to push him over. After the commotion, both the orphans decided to move off in separate directions and continue on with their own dust baths. 

23 March 2019

Kiko has been enjoying roaming around the stockade compound and parking. He is often found pulling the leaves off the taller trees that are around the office cars, and when his Keepers try and get him to move away he will take his time and walk very slowly back to the bush. In the later afternoon when Kiko was out in the bush, he decided to walk off in his own direction which worried his Keepers as they did not want him to go off into the thicker parts of the forest where visibility is minimal. When Kiko realised that it was time to come home for his evening bottle of milk he came running back to his Keepers. 

24 March 2019

Maxwell was in a very energetic mood this morning, doing circles and running up and down his stockade. As soon as he finished his morning pellets he came running down to his mud bath and started rolling around the muddy water. For the rest of the day Maxwell enjoyed basking in the sun, and when it was time for his sugar cane he excitedly came running to his Keepers who were waiting for him at his first paddock gate. 

25 March 2019

The Nursery was in shock this morning with the devastating loss of Maarifa. It is difficult for us to comprehend the events which happened so quickly and so unexpectedly, as she was thriving in our care, doted on by her ever attentive Keepers and very much the boss of the Nursery compound enchanting all who met her. As hard as the loss is we have to pick ourselves up in order to look after all the other little charges that remain in our care. 

Kuishi and Sagala seem to be competing for the new bull’s attention. The whole of yesterday afternoon and this morning the two girls have been seen by his side. The young bull is settling into the Nursery herd very well and appears to be getting along very well with the other bulls, such as Sattao, Mapia and Jotto. 

This afternoon, Luggard, Ambo, Enkesha and Dololo were too busy browsing that they didn’t have their milk. Eventually Luggard walked over the mud bath and began to throw mud all over his body. The Keepers who noticed him enjoying himself, went over and began to shovel some mud over his back and the spots that were a little harder for him to reach. 

Lately, Tagwa and Sagala appear to be sharing the responsibility of looking after the herd, and when Tagwa is too busy enjoying her greens Sagala is often the one to watch over the younger orphans. 

26 March 2019

Elephants are known to be very caring and they will always work together at protecting the herd. Even though you may have some naughty characters like Kiasa, Mapia, Sagala and Emoli they still all know the importance of caring for the herd. An example of this would be Tamiyoi, although she often seems reluctant to have a mud bath, if any of the other orphans become stuck or struggle in the muddy waters she always rushes to their aid. Today she was wallowing with Enkesha, Musiara and Maktao. When it was time for them all to get out Maktao seemed to be stuck and Enkesha was struggling to help him get out. Tamiyoi came to his rescue and managed to push the young bull out of the mud. 

At the 3pm feeding time Sagala was very protective of little Larro, keeping her away from anyone that tried to get close to her, and taking her away from the group. 

27 March 2019

Kiko seems to be regaining his confidence with going back out into the forest. This morning, he refused to go into stockade next door to Maxwell, which is where he stays until noon. It took the Keepers a lot of manoeuvring and convincing to get Kiko into the stockade, but once he was inside he and Maxwell enjoyed sharing the greens that were hung up along the wall dividing the two stockades. At noon, Kiko was let out and he chose to browse on the trees that are around the employee parking area. 

We have noticed that when orphans arrive at the Nursery around the same time they tend to become close quite quickly. This is such a case with Nabulu and the new arrival as they have become really close, and are always trying to remain near one another whilst browsing. Later in the afternoon whilst the orphans were browsing, Mapia decided to push the new bull but much to his dismay as he was quickly told off by Malima and Tamiyoi. 

28 March 2019

The orphans were in a very jovial mood this morning as they headed out to the forest. Enkesha kicked off all the excitement when she got a fright from a large hare that jumped out at her from his burrow. In response she kept charging backwards and forwards flapping her ears and trumpeting unsure of where the hare had gone. Ambo and Emoli quickly ran over to see what was happening and also began to charge around looking for the hare. Tagwa, Malima, Kuishi and some of the other orphans eventually joined in with all the fun and trumpeting could be heard all over the forest. 

Later in the afternoon, Sattao and his good friend Musiara began to play a game of strength testing. Luggard who was busy watching the duo eventually decided to join in and began to play a pushing game with Musiara as Sattao moved off. 

29 March 2019

Kiasa is known for her naughty ways and even her fellow orphans are aware of this. In the evenings, she can often be seen bothering her neighbour Maktao, which often results with them getting annoyed with one another and moving away from one another in their stables. 

As of late Mukkoka has been a bit distant from Dololo, and has been spending most of his time with Tamiyoi and Sattao. This doesn’t seem to have bothered Dololo as he has been browsing in the company Nabulu and is often seen walking off with her away from the other orphans. 

Although small Larro knows to remain close to the larger girls as they offer her company and protection. This was the case this afternoon, when Emoli was told off by Malima and Tagwa as he decided to push her whilst she was busy browsing and minding her own business.

30 March 2019

During the public visit today, Maisha and Enkesha decided to play with one of the footballs that was in the mud bath area. Enkesha was just posing with the ball, with her front foot raised and standing on the ball as she picked up the hose pipe and drank water directly from the end of it. Maisha then approached her with the intention of stealing the ball away, but Enkesha didn’t want to let it go. She finished drinking and as Maisha tried to take the ball she kept her trunk and foot on top of it. They went around running after one another for the ball until Tamiyoi intervened, kicking the ball into the mud bath and bringing an end to the game. 

None of the elephants felt like welcoming Kiko when he paid them a visit in the forest this afternoon. He had gone all the way to try and locate the elephants out in the forest, but before he could even get very close, Malima, Musiara and Jotto started warning him not to join them, by raising their ears high. The closer he got, the more they mock-charged, making him turn and make his way back to the stockade compound, in the company of his Keeper, to browse.

31 March 2019

Enkesha has a very big heart and is very mindful of all the other orphans. When the orphans leave their night stockades in the morning, they usually form their own small groups, and today was no different. Enkesha led her own group including Dololo, Mukkoka, Larro and Ambo. This group browsed separately from the others for a few hours this morning, always under the leadership of Enkesha. Only at the 9am milk feed did Enkesha and her group emerge from where they were browsing and join the others.

Maisha is not getting on with Musiara these days. Today Musiara was enjoying the mud bath together with Enkesha and Emoli and they were having a peaceful and fun time, but then Maisha got into the mud bath and started trying to climb on Musiara and poke him in the back with her tusks. It took Enkesha to intervene and chase Maisha out of the mud bath for peace to return. 

Tamiyoi is quite well known to return home first in the evening at 5pm, but today she has to compete with Kiasa who sneaked in front of her. The two had a running race and in the end Tamiyoi ended up pipping Kiasa to the post being the first into her stockade for her milk.