The month of May at The Nairobi Nursery was emotional, with both highs and lows. New orphans were welcomed, graduates bid farewell and the passing of an orphan was mourned.
The little ones Kauro, Kamok and Ashaka are doing very well indeed. They are growing and continue to love their keepers whole heartedly and with complete trust. Their confidence is increasing and they prove to be firm favourites of our daily public visitors. Hearts melt during this visiting hour when the tiniest orphans venture up to the mud bath. They are starting to mimic the older orphans now too, by rolling and trying to dust themselves with their small but ever developing trunks. Sokotei has impressed the keepers as he has settled down and adapted to his new environment, making new friends every day.
A great deal of ‘truck training’ went on this month as we prepared some of our older orphans for translocation to Ithumba. Bomani, Teleki and Orwa were the first to practice entering and exiting the truck. Bomani and Orwa showed no fear at all and were extremely comfortable on the truck. Teleki however, was less convinced and needed a great deal of persuasion to load up! Finally on the 28th the three orphans journeyed down to Ithumba where they have settled incredibly well and the Ithumba keepers say that it seems like they have been at Ithumba for years! A further three orphans, Vuria, Garzi and Ziwa also had a number of training sessions as they too will graduate to the Ithumba Stockade in June this year. So far all three have shown promise and confidence whilst loading in and out of the truck.
Some of the more rambunctious orphans are becoming challenging as they are not only growing in size but also confidence! Zongoloni, Lima Lima, Ngasha, Balguda, Vuria and Faraja can be rather bothersome at feeding time, attempting to filch other orphan’s milk, pushing and shoving in an effort to satisfy their greed! Suswa, Barsilinga, Sonje and Murera continue to be wonderful role models for the younger orphans, mothering and befriending, guiding and offering comfort where needed. Even Arruba has begun to show signs of being a good auntie when on the 16th of the month we welcomed a darling wee orphan calf aptly named Mbegu (‘seed’ in Kiswahili). She was rescued wounded by spears. Her little pierced body was a sorry sight indeed, but it was wonderful that Arruba has taken Mbegu under her wing, comforting her during her grieving process. Amazingly, Mbegu has settled quickly and easily into the Nairobi Nursery routines and from day one she took to the milk formula, giving her the strength needed to heal from her terrible wounds. Other friendships in the Nursery continue to develop; Kithaka checks on Lemoyian while Barsilinga picks up his new friend Sokotei. Together they are joined by Oltaiyoni at Maxwell’s upper gate for a bit of Lucerne before they go into the park. Quanza, Teleki, Zongoloni and Nelion have formed a special friendship team as have Faraja and Jasiri who usually browse together. Tundani, Mashariki, Rorogoi and Lentili are often seen together and it is lovely to see all the orphans getting along so nicely.
Other marked events at the Nursery included another calf rescue and a variety of ‘other wildlife’ experiences! A team was assembled on the 27th to go down to Tsavo to rescue a wounded, orphaned, male elephant calf. He was in a bad way and sadly even the experience and valiant efforts of DSWT could not save this orphan. He eventually succumbed to his injuries after spending only a few days in the Nursery. On a brighter note, an extremely young suni antelope was found and is subsequently living the life of luxury at Angela’s house. This little orphan has been aptly named ‘Piwi’ and is going from strength to strength on a daily basis. There have been some interesting encounters out in the field this month, with impalas, bushbuck, baboons and lions making appearances. Luckily, the keepers are very aware and alert, moving the orphans a safe distance away. The lion encounters did excite the orphans a great deal and much trumpeting, ear waggling and mock charges were seen!
Yet another eventful month in the Nursery, with both warm and cold days, fun and frolicking down at the mud bath, bush bashing and browsing out in the field, an abundance of visitors supporting the trust and all the orphans making positive progress in their own little ways.
The Rhinos: May, also saw ex-orphan Solio popping back to the stockades to visit her friend Maxwell. She is a frequent visitor to the Nursery these days, making a nuisance of herself in Daphne and Angela's gardens at night, squeezing into tight places making sure she gets to all the forbidden places in the cover of darkness. She has even broken the water standpipes at night during her escapades. Always the reconnecting with Maxwell is extremely important, and she is often sighted with a female friend and calf, who visits Maxwell at night too.