Keepers' Diaries, May 2015
Nairobi Nursery Unit
We have been underwater this month with so many rain storms throughout that we have reached saturation point. While this has been wonderful for the vegetation and the Nairobi National Park, home to our Nursery, we are becoming waterlogged.
This month Kamok, Mbegu and Murit have bonded, becoming even closer after the death of Ashaka. They have used each other as balm to get over losing their very special friend. We have chosen to move Mbegu into Ashaka's stable so that Kamok and Mbegu are close companions at night. Kauro, despite being young considers himself a big boy and prefers the rough and tumble of the older bulls in the Nursery. Our budding little Matriarchs are hooked on the babies and provide care and comfort, with Mbegu becoming particularly caring despite being pint sized herself.
On the 3rd of May the Secretary of State John Kerry came to visit us at the orphanage with the Trust being his first stop after landing in the country. He drove directly from the airport through Nairobi National Park arriving in the late afternoon along with his delegation to enjoy the orphans and to learn more about the threat to elephants through the ivory trade. Lasayen gave Secretary Kerry wonderful photographic opportunities posing with him for 'selfies' that went viral around the world when shared!
Later after all the orphans were fed and viewed with their individual stories told, Mwashoti was led down with his best little friend Ngalai, along with their feathered entourage Pea and Pod. Mwashoti's tragic story is always a painful reminder of the price paid by elephants for the Ivory trade as his injured foot was caused by a cable snare. His story is one of hope however, having been rescued, saved and healing beautifully despite all odds and able to be nurturing comfort for little Ngalai, who is his constant companion. Pea and Pod were a novel attraction too. These two ostrich chicks have grown up amidst the elephant orphans and have now become so hooked on the baby herd that during stormy days when the tiny orphans are led back to the shelter of their stables the two ostriches follow and even put themselves in their adjoining stable to sit the rain out along with their tiny elephant friends. Pea and Pod believe they are actually elephants!
Embu and Dupotto's love for each other is heart-warming and there have been many nights this month with the torrential rains we have been experiencing here at our Nairobi National Park nursery when Embu has become extremely restless. One night, on the 4th of May, a bruising storm fell and Embu was freaking out. Her calls alerted Dupotto in her stable and she became very concerned for her best friend. They rumbled and comforted each other for most of the night. Embu's fear of the rain, thunder and lightening has now transferred to Dupotto who on stormy nights has also become unsettled, while others in the Nursery seem oblivious.
We have had our fare share of buffalo incidents this month. One day the orphans were charging single file through the bush having just finished their midday mud bath. They were in high spirits, when they happened upon a sleeping buffalo who took off into the under growth with elephants in hot pursuit. He then turned and charged back into the fray with orphans thrashing bushes and running in all directions and elephant Keepers having to take to the trees.
Enkikwe and Kamok are quite a handful these days, requiring the Keepers to keep a special eye on their calculated mischievous behaviour. They are not beyond bumping into unsuspecting visitors and sometimes this rough behaviour is even meted out to the other orphans. Of course this is never tolerated and they are immediately reprimanded.
On the 14th of May we very sadly lost our fight to save little Esilalae, but he passed away peacefully. Again we were overcome by the all too familiar feeling of failure. Some we lose and some we save and it is never easy. As if Esilalae's passing was not bad enough to handle a few days later little Doldol died too. Infant Ngalai who came around about the same time is thankfully doing well.
We never have time to dwell, as immediately there were more orphans to save. An elephant had been observed alone on Elkarama ranch for weeks, losing weight in that time and extremely vulnerable to the pride of 20 resident lions on the ranch. The fate of his herd to this day remains a mystery. His rescue was a challenge as we estimated his age to be 3 years old, too big for an aircraft. Angela arranged, with the permissions of KWS, to rescue the calf with efficient help from the DSWT/KWS Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit. The rangers from the Unit effectively captured the calf, secured him for the long journey and loaded him into the back of the Unit's landcruiser and proceeded to drive him to Nairobi, a long and gruelling drive, but our only option given his size. He was sedated for the journey so as to manage his stress levels and made it safely to Nairobi, despite the rain and flooded roads.
Once at the other end he settled fast, despite collapsing one morning due to weakness. It was not long before Elkerama (named after the ranch he was rescued from with a slight different spelling) was let out to join the others. Despite it being early, with him still wild, it seemed damp and miserable because of all of the rain to have him remain in the stockade throughout the day. Despite still being fairly wild, big in size and not entirely comfortable with the Keepers yet, a decision was made for him to join the other orphans in the forest during then day. He behaved relatively well under the circumstances. The other orphans weaved their comfort and in no time he seemed to settle, although whenever confronted with a white milk bottle he would be rough and aggressive, desperate for the milk. The Keepers developed creative feeding techniques, standing behind trees in the forest when feeding Elkerama so that if he barged or charged they had a buffer! This has worked well as a technique and he has settled and is getting much more manageable towards the months end. We have still had our fare share of drama with Elkerama becoming lost on occasion and one time joining up with a herd of buffalo. Our Nursery orphans have collaborated with their Keepers and have managed his movements for us, ensuring that every time he moves away from the group they effectively herd him back into the fold. Their input has helped enormously.
Then came another heartbreaking rescue on the 28th of this month with a calf of a year old arriving with a broken hind leg. The X-ray has revealed a bad break with the prognosis poor. Angela is however exploring all options before a decision is made.
This month Ndotto and Lasayen both ate something that did not agree with them and we have had a slump from them, with upset stomachs and a loss of body condition. This of course had everyone panicked. Thankfully Lasayen bounced back quickly, Ndotto took a little longer, but by months end they were looking the picture of health once again. These baby orphans give us a roller coaster ride as we lurch from day to day.
The 29th of May was a big day as we said goodbye to the three musketeers, naughty Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian who left for our Ithumba Relocation Unit in the giant Tsavo National Park. This is just a small step towards them becoming wild elephants again and they will remain our responsibility for a good long time still. They have been such a part of Nursery life for three years and are larger than life characters that they will be missed. Sokotei is missing the big boys and his special friend Lemoyian more than most.
01 May 2015
Since we lost Ashaka, Mbegu has been moved to the stable next to Kamok so that the two can keep each other company and overcome the loss of their great friend together. They are settled and have turned the page with the two girls starting to become closer friends, more than they have been in the past, which means that Mbegu will fill the gap in Kamok's life when Ashaka died. Murit is attached to both Mbegu and Kamok while Kauro seems to be most comfortable in the company of the older orphans.
Today Kamok Mbegu and Murit had a lot of fun playing hide and seek games while out in the browsing fields this morning. Chasing Pea and Pod the ostiches is a much enjoyed passtime too! At the mudbath they all had fun rolling around in the loose soil with tiny Ndotto and Lasayen refusing to let any of the other orphans join them.
02 May 2015
This morning after the 11am visiting hour, Barsilinga watched as Mashariki, Arruba and Suswa made their way to Ndotto's baby group. The three older females, followed by Barsilinga, sneaked off without being seen by the keepers who did not realize until later that the four were missing from the older group.
Finally they were located with the babies.The four had a lovely time with the before rejoining their group later in the afternoon. Mashariki was the first to arrive followed by Arruba then Suswa with Barsilinga returning last.
03 May 2015
Today the US Secretary of State John Kerry paid the nursery orphans a visit. The morning was very busy with security personnel coming to inspect the Nursery in preparation for his arrival. At about 5pm as the orphans were about to return to the stockades for the night, John Kerry arrived. He was met by Angela who spoke to him about the Trust and then introduced him to Dame Daphne.
Ndotto’s group was the first to arrive to greet the visitors and by the time the older orphans had joined them Lasayen and Ndotto were already interacting with the guests and had begun to steal their hearts. The orphans received an extra milk bottle and were given some fresh greens while they remained with the visitors. There were a good number of people around but the orphans behaved impeccably.
Mashariki, Arruba and Oltaiyoni seemed very interested in Secretary Kerry and his group and went up to greet them and interact with them before heading off to browse nearby with the rest of the older group. Lasayen was available for selfies and photo opportunities and seemed to enjoy the attention enormously. Mwashoti, with his best little friend Ngilai, came down to meet the group separate from the rest of the crowd along with Pea and Pod.
04 May 2015
Dupotto continues to be very attached to Embu and always wants to be with her. She has come to learn Embu’s sounds and rumbles and can identify her from a distance.
This evening there was a huge storm with lots of thunder and lightning which scared Embu. She cried in fear as she paced up and down her stockade. Dupotto heard her cries and wanted to exit her stockade to go and find Embu to see what was wrong and comfort her. As Dupotto could not leave her stockade as it was night with thunder and lightening all she could do was rumble back to Embu in an effort to reassure her that everything was OK. The two spent the entire night communicating with each other which helped to calm Embu down.
This friendship began from the outset when both came into our care around a similar time, both battered and bruised physically and emotionally and theirs is a friendship of healing, codependent and totally committed to each other.
05 May 2015
A consequence of last night’s heavy rain was the fact that Ndotto’s baby group was not able to exit their stockades until the weather improved and it became warmer. Injured Mwashoti and Alamaya who are normally found with the baby group joined the older orphans as they headed out to the bush for the morning. As the sun began to break through the clouds Ndotto’s group were able to leave their stockades and head out. The babies did not venture too far as there were signs that the rains could begin again and we wanted to be able to get them under cover as soon as possible.
We have found that Ngilai who is a good friend of Mwashoti’s responds to him in the same way that Dupotto does with Embu and can also identify him from a distance. Mwashoti has a habit of screaming and rumbling as he takes his milk and when Ngilai heard him he rushed to find his friend who was with the older group. As much as they tried the keepers were not able to stop him and he quickly joined his friend who let him know that everything was OK.
06 May 2015
Right after the public visiting hour Kithaka, Suswa, Mashariki, Arruba, Rorogoi, Embu, Barsilinga, Lemoyian and Sokotei ran back to the forest in a line trumpeting the entire way as they followed the leaders; Mashariki, Embu and Barsilinga.
On the way they came across a buffalo that was headed to the mudbath and quickly moved into the bushes as he saw the orphans approaching him. The orphans charged after him trumpeting and knocking down small bushes. The buffalo sped away deeper into the bushes to avoid the elephants who were hot on his heels before changing direction and rushing past him. This required the Keepers to take evasive action as buffalo and elephants all seemed overly excited by events!
07 May 2015
Enkikwe has become rather naughty and is always ready to charge and push at the other orphans, his keepers or anyone who comes too close. The keepers have found that due to his pushy nature they always have to be careful when feeding him. Today he knocked down two keepers, one at his 9am feed and one at the public visiting hour. Oltaiyoni who was watching him from a distance was quick to rush in and discipline Enkikwe sending him to a corner and time out as a form of discipline.
Kamok has taken after Kithaka and is very mischievous. At the visiting hour a keeper always stays near her to prevent her from getting up to any antics. Today she decided to run up and down the length of the rope, head butting and knocking people as she played in her own way. No one was hurt during her naughty session.
08 May 2015
Boromoko is always a happy and playful elephant and today was no exception. While in the browsing field he engaged Kauro and Olsekki in pushing and mounting games which lasted most of the morning. Despite the nice weather most of the orphans opted not to have a mudbath at the 11am public visiting hour.
After downing their milk bottles Dupotto went for a dustbath while Boromoko, the exception, threw himself into the mudbath and had a joyous time wallowing in the water before joining Dupotto at the dustbath, climbing onto her back and rolling in the soil. Dupotto retaliated by charging at him, pushing him back into the water before returning to play in the dust. This game continued until the end of the visit.
09 May 2015
Last night we had another heavy downpour which resulted in a chilly morning as the older orphans exited their stockades. The babies were kept in the stockades a little longer than their older counterparts as we wanted to wait until it was warmer before letting them out. Lasayen, Ndotto and Ngilai were eager to head to the bush and kept knocking at their doors until they were let out to join Mwashoti and Alamaya who were in the field. Doldol and Esilalae remained in their stockades a bit longer before joining their friends. Both these elephants are not doing well and are very vulnerable in this chilly wet weather with little reserves.
Today Kamok and Mbegu sneaked away from the older group who were busy feeding in the forest to join the babies and spend some time “mothering” them. Mbegu and Kamok will make good mini matriarchs one day as they are both very loving and caring of the babies.
10 May 2015
Arruba and Oltaiyoni both seemed to distance themselves from the rest of the orphans today. The two girls spent the morning browsing and playing together away from the rest of their group. They were busy enjoying a mudbath in a rain pool when Barsilinga and Lemoyian showed up and attempted to join them at which time the two girls got up and walked away.
In the afternoon Rorogoi and Suswa tried to join Arruba and Oltaiyoni who were browsing together at a distance from the rest. Upon seeing the two coming Arruba and Oltaiyoni moved deeper into the forest making it clear that they just wanted to be left alone to enjoy each other’s company.
11 May 2015
Maxwell was very excited this morning as the older orphans engaged him in a game before they headed out to the park. Max was by the gate of his stockade feeding on Lucerne when Rorogoi, Mashariki, Kithaka and Oltaiyoni engaged him in a game of running up and down the stockade. They ran down one side as he followed them on the other. The orphans trumpeted loudly which encouraged Maxwell to continue the game for as long as he could before they left him to go to the browsing fields.
Kamok and Boromoko today left the older group to spend some time with the babies and played with them. Ngilai was very happy to have them around and stuck close to Kamok sucking on her ears while Ndotto and Lasayen played wrestling games with Boromoko, thrilled to have an older boy to play with. They are developing a hero worship of him.
Esilalae is looking a little dull and frail today and has spent most of the day sleeping in the bush. He was placed on a drip in an effort to give him some energy.
12 May 2015
During today’s public visit Kauro was the main entertainer as he played with Roi. The two kept rolling under the rope cordon which was in front of the visiting students who were very excited to touch them and be near them. The two elephants enjoyed the fuss and attention and this only encouraged them to continue their games with more vigour.
Kamok was extremely naughty today as she also got under the rope cordon. However instead of playing she had very mischievous intentions and took to chasing the visitors and ignoring the keepers who were trying to stop her antics and get her back under the rope.
While the keepers were having their lunch Siangiki and Roi spent some time with Alamaya. These three little orphans from the Masai Mara have formed a special bond. Ndotto and the rest of the babies joined in too and when they left to rejoin the older orphans they were accompanied by Alamaya and Ndotto. As it turned out, the four did not join their older counterparts choosing instead to browse together as a small group away from the rest.
Esilalae's condition was no better today and as such he spent the day in the stable on a drip as we do all we can to help him. We feel we are losing the battle.
13 May 2015
Mbegu has become a beautiful and loving girl and has all the qualities of being a great Matriarch one day. In the morning she stops to greet the babies and give them some affection before accompanying the older group out to the park. She is always ready to respond to any cries from them and is quick to come and comfort the babies and do what she can to make them feel better.
This morning Mbegu was in the company of Kamok, Kauro, Sirimon and Murit when Lasayen blocked Ngilai from overtaking him in an effort to get to the keepers. Lasayen pushed Ngilai out of the way making him cry out. Mbegu quickly rushed back to find out what was happening with the babies. She ran past the keepers, touching each baby with her trunk to confirm that everything was OK.
Sokotei had a wonderful time at the mudbath and rolled around in the water until the end of the visiting hour.
Later in the day, while out in the bush Sirimon accidentally pushed Doldol as they played a wrestling game with Kauro. Once again Mbegu was there charging at Sirimon before coming back to make sure that Doldol was not hurt.
14 May 2015
Sadly last night Esilalae fell into a coma and by 9:30 this morning, while the rest of the orphans were out in the bush, Esilalae took his last breath and died surrounded by his loving keepers. It was a very sad day for us all who had done all that we could to save Esilalae and give him a second chance at life.
Today Mbegu and Dupotto teamed up to play strength testing games with Kauro who earlier on had been trying to mount Dupotto and the two were successful in beating Kauro. Following their win the two had a lovely time playing in the mudbath chasing each other around and kicking the football.
15 May 2015
Boromoko, Mbegu, Dupotto and Roi all had a great time showing off at the mudbath during today’s private visit. They ran and rolled and slipped in the water spraying the guests with mud as they played. Kithaka is being extremely naughty and was trying to knock over a school child today and refused to listen to the keepers who were trying to stop him.
There was an elephant rescue today from Elkarama ranch in Laikipia. Over the last three weeks an elephant calf, approximately 3 years old, has been seen on his own wandering around trying to join any herd that came by. He has been monitored the entire time and upon seeing that the calf was losing condition the DSWT Meru Vet Unit working in conjunction with KWS were called in to capture the calf and have him brought to the Nairobi Nursery where he can get the care he deserves.
The calf was captured in the early morning and by 8am was on the way to Nairobi in a vehicle, as he was too big to be put into a plane, arriving at the Nursery at about 2:15pm. The young male was exhausted on arrival but was eager to feed and immediately started eating the greens that had been placed in the stockade for him.
Kamok, Boromoko, Kauro, Mbegu and Murit were brought to the stockades at about 3:30 to meet the calf and comfort and reassure him so that he would know he was not alone. Following very little interest and interaction from the newcomer the group returned to the park. In the evening the new calf showed some interest in Alamaya who is in the stockade next to his. We have called our new baby ElKerama after the ranch, just with a different spelling.
16 May 2015
Elkerama had a good night and fed on vegetation the entire time. There was good interaction between him and Alamaya and the two communicated with each other through the stockade bars reaching their trunks out in greeting as they smelled one another.
In the morning Arruba, Mashariki, Lemoyian, Barsilinga and Suswa all ran to his gate to greet the new orphan and spend some time with him communicating, comforting and reassuring him he had arrived in a good place and that all will be well. Barsilinga tried to reach out and touch him with his trunk but sadly Elkerama was a bit wary and kept backing away.
As the orphans left for the bush Elkerama rushed to the stockade door pushing at it in an effort to join him. He is still very wild and has to remain in the stockades until such time as he is feeding well and stronger. He remains very weak, thin and without much strength.
Lasayen had a bit of a sleepless night last night and was rather restless, rumbling and crying out. We do not really know what the cause of this was but we think that it could be due to Esilalae’s death as the two used to be in next door stockades and would always communicate with one another in the night.
17 May 2015
Today was another sad day for the orphans and the keepers as Doldol died early this morning. All day yesterday he was very weak and frail and did not want to take any of his milk. He was placed on a drip from noon and remained on the drip till the end.
This morning Mbegu met up with Ndotto, Lasayen and Ngilai as they were heading out to the bush and after greeting each one of them she noticed that Doldol was absent from the group and knew that something was wrong. She ran back to the stockades to see if Doldol was again left behind but upon not finding him realized that he had died. She headed back to rejoin her group and was subdued for the rest of the day and for a while separated herself from the rest of the older orphans choosing to remain with the babies.
18 May 2015
Elkerama has begun to take his milk from the bottle, a sign that he is more comfortable with the keepers and is getting to trust them. Today the bigger boys, Barsilinga, Kithaka, Lemoyian and Sokotei stopped by his stockade to spend some time with him when they came for their 9am milk feed at the moving truck. Sokotei can be a bit of a bully at times and kept trying to charge Elkerama but Barsilinga was having none of this and chased Sokotei away.
Pea and Pod had a wonderful time playing with Kithaka, Arruba, Oltaiyoni, Mashariki and Siangiki out in the bush today. The elephants engaged the ostriches in a chasing game that lasted for quite a while. The orphans would trumpet to get the ostriches to run away after which they would run back towards the orphans with their wings spread wide making the orphans run in different directions before repeating the game from the beginning.
19 May 2015
Last evening a heavy downpour with lots of thunder and lightning left Enkikwe and Embu very unsettled, running around their stockades and trying to get out as they were confused as to what was happening.
At around 2am Elkerama started shivering and was unable to take his 3am feed as he was quite weak and at 4am he collapsed. We rallied and did what we could to resurrect him. By 7am he was back on his feet and was taking his milk as well as occasionally charging at the keepers.
There was a South Korean film crew here today filming the orphans for a show to bring awareness on poaching and the need to conserve wildlife.
During the public visit Roi, Kamok, Murit, Dupotto, Mbegu and Boromoko all entertained the visitors as they engaged each other in games in the mudbath. They wallowed and rolled and sat on their buttocks sliding into the pool.
20 May 2015
The South Korean film crew arrived very early this morning and filmed the orphans as they exited the stockade.
Sirimon has been rather naughty today charging all of his younger peers. It was as if he did not want to see Kauro, Olsekki and Roi and whenever he came across them he would charge and chase them away.
At 3pm there was a special private visit and the US ambassador came to see the orphans together with other dignitaries from the US.
Today Ngilai came down to the public visiting hour for the first time while Ndotto and Lasayen, who are feeling a little under the weather after we think eating a poisonous plant, stayed with their keepers. Kithaka, Lemoyian and Kamok were well behaved today and none of them tried to push the visitors.
21 May 2015
Pea and Pod are so used to being with Ndotto’s group that they accompany them wherever they go. At the public visit today it looked like rain and as such Ndotto and Lasayen were returned to the stockades to ensure that they stay warm and dry. The two ostriches on seeing them leave ran after them with their wings raised. Kamok, who also likes to follow Ndotto and Lasayen, was quick to run under the rope to catch up but the keepers were able to get her to come back to the rest of the orphan group. Roi, Dupotto, Mbegu and Boromoko once again had a lovely time at the mudbath entertaining our visiting public.
22 May 2015
Today Suswa was having a lot of fun out in the bush with Kauro, Sirimon, Enkikwe and Murit. She had bent down and with her tusks dug up some loose soil for the babies to play and dust themselves with. She then began rolling her trunk in the soil. Kauro on seeing her lying down was quick to jump on her back and his actions were copied by the other three youngsters. This game continued for a while.
We have found that Arruba is not always happy to have strangers near the baby orphans and she makes this apparent at the private visit when she will sometimes try and push the visitors or swing her trunk at them in an effort to get them away from the babies who she loves and is very protective of.
23 May 2015
Today at about 10am all the orphans were brought to the stockades so that they could be present when Elkerama was let out of his stockade to join them in the bush. Angela felt it was time as having him in his stockade in this wet weather was not helpful. Despite him remaining a little wild we felt the time was right.
When his stockade door was opened Barsilinga and Suswa led the rest of the orphans in. Suswa was a bit of a bully and was pushing him which made him not want to leave and it took about 10 minutes before he left following a gentle push by Barsilinga.
Out in the field Arruba kept a close eye on Elkerama, wanting to make sure he was comfortable and feeling loved. Kauro also tried to bully him while Enkikwe and Oltaiyoni wanted to greet him and get to know him. Later in the afternoon Elkerama became a little wild and kept charging the keepers, chasing them away. At 4pm he was returned to the stockades in the company of Arruba, Mashariki and Alamaya as we anticipated problems at the foster parent visit if we left it too late.
Once in his stockade the other orphans returned to the bush for the last part of the day.
24 May 2015
The training of the older orphans who will soon be leaving the Nursery is still taking place. This morning Kithaka was a bit of a handful and did not want to do as he was told. Arruba was having her milk while watching what was going on. When she was done she went after Kithaka and led him out to the forest.
Elkerama did not go out with the orphans today as the keepers feel he is still a little wild, not as trusting of the keepers and can be aggressive towards them which means he still needs more time before he can be out with the other orphans.
25 May 2015
It rained heavily last night and continued up until the morning. When it rains Dupotto seems to be unable to sleep and spends the whole night moving around her stockade. It seems she is afraid of the rain and the thunder and lightning that accompanies it. She has probably developed this fear from Embu who suffers badly with this dramatic weather. The other orphans strangely seem completely oblivious.
This morning Ndotto appeared dull and weak as the orphans headed out to the bush and he was not brought down for the public visiting hour. His absence appeared to worry Lasayen who was restless and constantly looking around to see if Ndotto would appear. His stomach has been very upset and grumbling so it is clear something he has eaten has not agreed with him. Both he and Lasayen are experimenting with greens and in this wet season, with abundant vegetation, there are noxious plants which the orphans have to be careful of. Normally instinct will see to it that they feed on the correct vegetation.
After the public visiting hour Barsilinga, Kithaka, Lemoyian, Mashariki, Suswa, Arruba, Rorogoi, Embu and Suswa went by the stockades to collect Elkerama and take him out to the bush for the afternoon. He was very excited but is still quite wild and continues to charge and chase the keepers. He was returned to the stockades earlier than most of the other orphans to ensure he was already in his enclosure before the foster parents arrived for the 5pm visit. Alamaya, Olsekki, Arruba, Enkikwe, Embu and Roi accompanied him to make things easier on Elkerama and the keepers.
Due to the wet and cold weather Maxwell again did not want to leave his “bedroom” and nothing the keepers did was able to coax him to do so. His new extended enclosure is on higher ground and is beautifully dry despite the rain, but blind Maxwell is not overly fond of this extension yet.
26 May 2015
The keepers have noticed that Maxwell does not seem to like the weather that we have been having this month. The older part of his stockade, where his bed is located, is in need of some repair but due to the rains he has been spending most of his time under cover making it difficult for us to do the work.
Fortunately today we were able to tempt Maxwell away from his bed and into the new section of his stockade and the work was able to be done. Unfortunately he was not very happy about this development and kept pushing at the stockade door in an effort to come back to the older part of his stockade and to his bed.
Today Elkerama was again taken out with the rest of the orphans. He kept the keepers busy and on their toes as he kept disappearing from the rest of the group. He finally settled in the early afternoon when Barsilinga, Mashariki and Oltaiyoni kept him in line and prevented him from leaving by herding him back every time he tried to sneak away. It is amazing how clever these orphans are as they assist the Keepers. Managing Elkerama has become a job that we do together with our orphan friends, and they are more effective with herding Elkerama.
27 May 2015
Kamok pays frequent visits to Ndotto’s baby group and it seems that she has started to draw Ngilai away from his friend Mwashoti. Kamok is very gentle, calm and caring with Ngilai and lets him suckle her ears which is something that Mwashoti will not allow him to do and pushes him away whenever he tries. Ngilai came to us as an infant, is just going through the teething process, but so far seems to be managing well.
Enkikwe seems to not like Kauro who can be very playful with the other orphans and Enkikwe tries to bully Kauro, as he seems to get irritated with Kauro's boistrous character.
28 May 2015
At about one 1:30am an orphan arrived that had been driven to Nairobi from Meru by the Meru vet team. The team had been called to the Mugwongoh plains to treat a baby elephant that had a snare wound. On arrival they found another calf with a broken hind leg and was lagging behind the rest of the group as he could not keep up. The vet team made the decision to rescue the calf and bring him back to Nairobi, something that was not an easy thing to do.
The calf is about a year old and apart from his broken leg he is in good condition. What caused his leg to break is unknown but he may have fallen very badly or been hit or kicked by an older elephant.
An X-ray was carried out this afternoon confirming that the leg is broken with both the Tibia and Fibula having a compound fracture with significant crossover. His prognosis is very poor but Angela did not want to rush any decisions before exploring all options.
Today Embu was a bit of a bully towards Elkerama following him around, charging at him and keeping him away from the rest of the orphan herd. This went on for the better part of the day and the keepers do not know what has caused this reaction in Embu who is usually a gentle, caring elephant
29 May 2015
Today was moving day for Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian. Preparations for their move began around 3am at which time the three orphans were led out of their stockades to be loaded into the moving truck.
The keepers used the milk bottles to coax the orphans into the truck. Barsilinga and Lemoyian were easily loaded but Kithaka was a different matter as he kept half his body outside making it impossible to close the door and after his milk he made his way back to his stockade. The keepers were able to turn him around and lead him back to the truck but once again he would not go into his “room” which meant that he had to be pushed in by the keepers which was not an easy task. Finally they were able to load him and the door was closed and locked with the long journey to Ithumba, the orphan’s new home, beginning at about 3:45am.
The orphans who were left behind were a bit confused when they exited their stockades in the morning and did not see Kithaka, Barsilinga and Lemoyian in their midst. They all spent the day in close proximity of one another. Sokotei seems to be most affected by the leaving of the three boys as he used to love being with Lemoyian and the two would often be seen browsing together away from the rest of the group.
30 May 2015
The new orphan that came in from Meru has been called Ura. Due to his injuries and the fact that he is still aggressive and does not take milk from the keepers he continues to be kept in the stockade. Whenever he sees the orphans leaving for the day he pushes at his stockade gate wanting to join the group.
Elkerama has noticed that Barsilinga, Lemoyian and Kithaka are no longer in the nursery and feels a bit out of sorts. Today he was accompanied out to the bush by Arruba and Suswa but he was restless and ran off and joined a herd of buffaloes taking off into the thicket. A search for him was mounted and about four hours later he was found and led back to the orphans. He did not want to stay with the older group and as such remained with Ndotto’s group made up of Mbegu, Kauro, Roi, and Kamok. This little herd of six orphans spent the day together and Elkerama seems to be very comfortable and enjoying the company of the smaller orphans.
31 May 2015
This morning, while the orphans were all out in the bush together, Mwashoti tried to challenge Boromoko, Olsekki, Kamok and Kauro in pushing games. It all started when Boromoko tried to bully Mwashoti who pushed back. Kauro then came to try and mount Mwashoti who was with Ngilai and was busy preventing him from sucking his ears. Kamok then came close so as to allow Ngilai to suck her ears. Mwashoti pushed Kamok away and the two had a short strength testing game. Kamok was able to overpower Mwashoti and walked off with Ngilai.