Keepers' Diaries, May 2016

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Orphaned ostriches Pea and Pod have developed a dislike of raincoats and umbrellas, and whenever they see their green-jacketed Keepers change their ‘plumage’, it has triggered rage in Pod who repeatedly becomes aggressive at the sight of the Keepers wearing raincoats. This has been unfortunate indeed, since we have been having some of the wettest weather ever recorded in Nairobi! However, early in the month, Pod went missing and to this day no trace has been found, so we are hopeful that he has joined his own kind on the Park plains. He was beginning to wander so the signs were there that he was becoming restless, and in view of his behaviour, we are sure he is male. Rapa remains a naughty little boy where his younger friends are concerned. His love for Tusuja is unconditional but he continues to bully others younger than himself, as well as those slightly older who are of a more timid nature, mainly Galla and Naseku, but also anyone browsing close to Tusuja, since he is prone to jealous outbursts. Whilst Rapa is unfriendly to some of his peers, Kamok is still a naughty girl where her keepers are concerned, enjoying playing tricks on them. On the 13th as she was playing her usual hide and seek game with the Keepers in the car parking area, having terrorized the resident warthogs there, a lorry carrying hardcore stone to help elevate the quagmire after massive rain, approached. Hearing the thunderous noise, Kamok freaked out, screaming and running in search of the Keepers, whom, only moments before she had been hiding from! It took her a long time to settle down, the Keepers hoping that she had learnt a valuable lesson about hiding from them in the future! It was with approval from the Keepers one day that Kamok meted out discipline to Rapa for his bad behaviour towards other little ones, it being important that he knows the parameters of acceptable behaviour!

01 May 2016

There was a bit of drama today at public visiting when the ostriches Pea and Pod charged at one of the keepers – but we know why it was from past experience… Pea and Pod don’t like raincoats or umbrellas! The ostriches were sharing the grass laid out for the orphans for visiting and they saw one of the keepers walking down to the area. Pod, we think it was Pod because she is the naughty one, saw the keeper and raised her head eye and her wings out and ran at the keeper. The keeper ran behind the acacia trees but she was after him! Pea came running behind her sister as the keepers ran to help their colleague. They tried to help but they couldn’t and it wasn’t until Naseku and Tusuja ran over to save their keepers that the ostriches backed down. They smacked them with their trunks so that their beloved keeper could get away from the nuisance birds. It seems Balguda was in his bossy mood this afternoon. He blocked his friends Sokotei, Olsekki, Enkikwe from coming home to bed faster than him and would not let them overtake until they were nearly home.

02 May 2016

Kauro has always remained the one of the keepers’ baby boys. He enjoys their company so much that he even trusts them more than some of his older peers. He isn’t as much of a bully as some of his age mates and he is always mature and caring around the younger ones. When he is with the young babies he will stick close to them and their keepers as well. He came through as a little one as well and he can recall the stages he went through. Today at around 10am he quietly left his group and went to look for the babies. The keepers with the baby group didn’t notice him coming as he was hiding in the bushes; he was only noticed while interacting with one of the little babies! He was allowed to stay for awhile and browse with the little babies and after an hour he left on his own accord to join his group for milk feeding and public visiting. We think it will take some time for Rapa to change into a nice little boy to his friends! He is always pushing the new babies especially of his own age and size. Up to date he is still a bully towards Naseku and Galla. At private visiting today Galla and Naseku were feeding on some greens together and Rapa approached them as though he wanted to share with them, but instead he snatched all the food away! When Naseku attempted to pull some back Rapa charged at her and pushed her away before coming back to push Galla down too. He was sent away by the keepers until the end of the visit for his bad behaviour.

03 May 2016

When two babies closely bond as friends it is rare to see them allow the other to interact with others without them too being invited! Ndotto had invited Ngilai to a game when they got back to the bush after visiting. They were playing a rolling and climbing game and for some time Lasayen watched from a distance. He felt like he should be playing the game too and eventually he came over to join in. he showed off all of his best sitting styles, raising his head high and twisting his trunk around in the air. Dupotto was browsing close by to the three and was enjoying watching the trio play. Eventually she decided to join them as well but when she approached Lasayen got up in a hurry, thinking that she was coming to separate them from Ngilai. Ndotto also kept his distance before Dupotto went down on the ground, a way of inviting them to play. As Ngilai is her particular friend, Ndotto and Lasayen waited for him to go over before they also went over to climb on Dupotto. The three boys enjoyed climbing, rolling and sliding with Dupotto for awhile until Oltaiyoni’s group also arrived from the public visiting show. The game was called off as the entire herd set off to browse deep in the bushes. It has been some months since Solio visited the stockades. As it has been raining almost daily recently Maxwell has been having a lot of fun in his stockade and with the warthogs too. Normally in such weather he is very active and playful. Today the warthogs went into his stockade to share his food and as soon as he heard them he started chasing them around trying to scare them away.

04 May 2016

Luggard, our young orphan with bullet wounds in his legs, enjoyed a great day out with the little baby group in the bush today. He has really enjoyed their company and it is a much better environment for him to be out – he enjoyed browsing on all the different types of vegetation and at his own leisure. He shows more strength every day and a better chance of survival despite his terrible injuries. Today we found the older girls in the family, Oltaiyoni, Kamok and Siangiki, having a wonderful time playing together. It is not that easy to find Kamok interacting with her older peers like today. She is one kind of those babies that prefers her own company or that of the smaller elephants or keepers. It was different today and she clearly enjoyed herself as the three played at length. Godoma still has no permanent friend and can be found in the company of anyone who is willing to protect her. If Roi is around she might hang out with her but anyone is fine as long as they don’t bully her. Today she seemed to be happy in the company of Tusuja as she spent the entire day with him. Though it hasn’t been a smooth day with the presence of the ever naughty Rapa but Tusuja was there to thwart Rapa’s bullying attempts. Only during the public viewing session did Tusuja “sleep on the job” and whilst he was sharing his branch with Godoma he lost concentration; Rapa felt jealous of Godoma sharing food with his best friend and when he found a chance he pounced, knocking Godoma to the ground before quickly running away to avoid being disciplined.

05 May 2016

Ndotto is one of those babies that always tries to impress and win everyone onto his side. He is so clever and loved by the majority of his peers. He understands almost every member of the family and how to mingle, play and interact with all of them, regardless of their age, size and even character. Some of the orphans don’t mingle or interact with the others at all but Ndotto is different. Today Ndotto was even busy playing with the most boisterous and bullish boys Enkikwe and Olsekki! Enkikwe is such a rough and naughty bull that most of the young ones will always try to avoid him, including Boromoko, Kauro and Mwashoti. If Enkikwe even rumbles near Kauro he will go and hide in the bushes. Kauro would rather skip his milk or the special greens that stay near these two boys. Enkikwe, Sirimon, Sokotei and Olsekki will always interact with one another because they are similar size and age, but today Ndotto had a great time playing with Enkikwe and Olsekki in a tackling and pushing game. This all took place in the early morning the game was called off when everyone ran for their favourite part of the day, milk feeding time.

06 May 2016

There was a joyous moment for the babies when they returned from the 11am public visit. Mbegu’s little herd had arrived back in the bush from visiting and most had settled down to browse. Mbegu and Murit walked straight over to the little babies where they were in their own area. After a few minutes Oltaiyoni’s herd arrived in the style of a choir – rumbling and trumpeting filled the air. Everyone was shoving each other as they disappeared into the bushes, except for Boromoko who never rises to this kind of disorderly behaviour. It seemed as if the whole of the older herd was in a happy and joyous mood. Mwashoti, Dupotto and Mbegu where the first to respond to the calls of happiness from their older peers and they too joined in the trumpeting and running around, bashing down the plants. Murit was left behind with the little babies and the rest went on a rampage around the forest. Boromoko followed them as well but not quite with the same vigor; more as though he were joining in but not having very much fun doing it. It was at this point that the keepers noticed Pea and Pod were not around as they would usually join in as well. Pea was with the baby group but all alone and when Pod did not turn up for some time the keepers started looking for her. Pod is the naughtiest one and still when it was time for the babies to return to their stockades, she had still not turned up. We all thought she was just hiding in the thicket somewhere and would come back by herself, but it was strange as she has never disappeared before or left the company of her sister for that long.

07 May 2016

Pod was on our minds throughout the whole night and this morning the orphans came out of their stockades and were led back to where Pod was last seen in the bush. Together with Pea and Kiko everyone searched the bush but all in vain. We were sure that Pea was worried and she has been with Pod since birth; she just walks around the forest with her head held high and not really grazing at all. Kiko did not leave her side, but we are not sure if Kiko really understood that Pod was missing, only that something was amiss with Pea. Alamaya and Sokotei cut short Pea and Kiko’s search by sending them off back to the baby group who they spend most of their time with. Once with the babies Pea just sat on the ground as if in full thought. Dupotto proved her protective nature towards Ngilai again during public visiting today. Ngilai is a very interactive and playful baby when he is in the mood – but as he was interacting with visitors along the rope cordon today Dupotto came over and pushed him away from the line as she smacked the visitors with her trunk! We rescued a new baby female calf today from Nanyuki, who we have called Tagwa.

08 May 2016

The new baby Tagwa had a comfortable night and took to her milk bottle so well. She also settled to browse very well. Next to her stockade is the young baby Ambo who kept putting his trunk through the slats of his stockade to reach her, though she did not show much interest in the little boy who was trying to comfort her! Today it was quite a surprise to see Kamok discipline little Rapa! Rapa had been behaving so badly, charging and pushing both his keepers and his peers. Kamok had been watching him and when she finished her bottle of milk she moved close to the wheelbarrow which carries their bottles. The keepers tried to move her away but she didn’t want to budge. Since she was being stubborn and is usually not very greedy with the milk she was allowed to stay – again and again Rapa approached the wheelbarrow trying to steal more milk and finally Kamok had enough and went after him. Smacking and hitting him with her trunk, even on his tail! The keeper’s shouts did not stop Kamok until she had driven him away from the area. It is so good the younger ones have the older orphans to mete out discipline when required, just as would be the case from older sisters, nannies and their mothers in the wild. Naseku is getting on really well with Godoma these days and we have seen her taking care of her throughout the day today.

09 May 2016

The role model and mini matriarch Mbegu was proving true to her character today. She is such a clever little girl she really surprises the keepers sometimes; often they are left wondering how she knows the things she does. Out of the 4 babies in their little group, one was not feeling well one day. With no indication or invitation Mbegu just arrived at the little baby group today as if she knew. Luggard with his broken leg is always with this group even though he is slightly older, as they never go too far from the stockades. When Mbegu arrived she went from one baby to the next, smelling and touching them all over their bodies as if she was inspecting them. She went from the first baby to the fifth, who was Luggard and he was a bit hidden in the short bushes. After checking over all of them she went back to the one that we knew not to be feeling well and spent more time consoling him before walking away into the bushes with him. She stayed for some time with him, encouraging and giving him hope we are sure; at least she shared greens with him and tried playing, just to support him. As she was about to leave we could already see there was a bit more life in him. Roi and Kauro also stopped by the baby group, although they seemed on a slightly different mission. Perhaps they just wanted to know where Mbegu had gone. They all left the baby group together to join their older herd back in the forest. There is still no sign of Pod today.

10 May 2016

Alamaya is a very curious baby that always wants to know about anything new that comes along. This is also the case if he comes along something strange or a new person too. Alamaya has been watching the keeper talk on the microphone during the public visiting hour. For the last few days now he has been going to the speaker itself, checking all around to find the keeper who is talking but he cannot find him, only his voice. One day he tried to lift the speaker with his trunk. Today after he finished his milk he walked over to the keeper speaking during the show and kept trying to snatch the microphone from his hand. He did it several times as the keeper kept trying to push him away as he was trying to speak but he kept coming back, at one point he even tried to blow into it! Pea decided to accompany the older orphans today as the babies had stayed indoors this morning due to the rain and cold weather. She did not have a very peaceful morning however as Enkikwe and Kamok kept chasing her around. She just had to put up with it though as she did not want to stay in the forest all alone. We’re not sure why but she did not accompany the younger group down to the feeding area; she waited on the rocks for the older group to come down and when they left she followed behind. Because Balguda is the oldest in the nursery the others do respect him simply because of his age. He is also the only boy that even Oltaiyoni listens to as well. It is obvious that within elephants respect owed begins from an early age! Not even the greedy and pushy boys Enkikwe and Olsekki would ever dare snatch a bottle of milk from Balguda, or from Oltaiyoni for that matter. They all respect this older duo very much.

11 May 2016

Sometimes we find it hard to read an orphans intention or what they really want. Oltaiyoni had a small group of Ndotto, Lasayen and Mbegu and she played a game with them that lasted for some time. All of a sudden she got up and started leading them back as if they were going to the stockades. The keepers stopped them and directed them back towards the rest of the group. They kept trying to walk away but were blocked by the keepers. As they were insisting to go it was evident to the keepers they were really after something and so they decided to let them go. Ndotto being the spoilt little boy got off first, followed by Mbegu, Lasayen and Oltaiyoni. The four were on a mission and the keeper following them found it was a mission to join the baby group. Mbegu raised her trunk high in the air to locate them and they weren’t far from where they had originally been playing. It has been awhile since Oltaiyoni wanted to visit the baby group. Whilst they were with them there was a lot of interaction and playing which the babies enjoyed very much. Ndotto made sure he did not leave before showing off his best styles of play, especially his climbing games. There is a very strong baby called Ambo who loved playing with Ndotto. The matriarch and Mbegu only decided their time was up when they saw the other 3 babies having a nap; this was when they decided to return and reunite with the others.

12 May 2016

Balguda isn’t looking as active as usual this morning. As the orphans headed out to the forest this morning the keepers notice a change in his demeanor. Murit is his good friend and they went out to spend the morning browsing together. They stayed away from the others and just browsed quietly and from time to time came together to communicate. Balguda is receiving treatment at the moment and as he was being held to administer it he was protesting and struggling to avoid the medicine. Enkikwe saw the keepers surrounding him, his ‘big brother’ and he came running over, charging, calling to the others to help Balguda as well. Oltaiyoni responded to his call, running to check out what was going on. Enkikwe wouldn’t stop trumpeting and raising the alarm – he held his ears high and kept trying to charge at the keepers. When Oltaiyoni arrived and saw it was only the keepers she calmed down and just watched Enkikwe try to pull at one of the keepers legs with his trunk to move him away from Balguda. It wasn’t until Balguda was set free that Enkikwe escorted him back to the others. Kiko is really growing into a bull giraffe and has extended his naughty character even to the warthogs who he used to play with in the old days. He played a trick on some of them and ended up kicking at them and driving them away from the babies. He also came back home to the stockades right after the public visit. He stayed along the chain that directs the visitors down to the visiting area, after trying to jump it but in vain. He refused to listen to the keeper to go back to the forest and later left of his own accord.

13 May 2016

Kamok is still up to her morning tricks on her keepers. When she comes out of her pen instead of following her peers she goes behind the stockade to find where the compost is disposed of. Once there she either starts to play with the warthogs if they are there or even tries to feed on the food left there! Sometimes she just plays with it. When she got there this morning there were already some warthogs there and her games went into full swing – she chased them away and some of them ran into the car park area where she decided to follow them. Seeing how serious she was in her chase the warthogs ran out of the gate and she decided to guard it just to make sure they did not come back. She settled in the bushes around the gate and whenever she heard a keeper’s voice she went deeper into the thicket to hide from them. Suddenly a lorry drove up the drive and in the gate carrying stone, and this was a noise Kamok had not heard before! She came running out of the thicket shouting for help and confused about where to run! Now she was looking for the keeper she had been hiding from for help. By the time she found the keepers who were calling her name she was very scared. Mbegu, Kauro and Oltaiyoni heard her shouting and they too came running to help their friend. They all consoled her though it took her a long time to settle down properly and begin browsing. We hope she will learn from her mistakes and not be as much of a cheeky girl!

14 May 2016

What a lovely day it has been for the keepers and their babies. They day started so well, bright and warm compared to the rainy days we have been experiencing recently. The older orphans had gone out to the park very early and the babies followed not long after. As a result of all the rain we have been having, the park is very green and thick with vegetation. In the afternoon after the visit we could not find Galla and by the 3pm milk feed we still could not find him. We thought he would remember the 3pm mil feed and turn up himself but that did not happen. All the orphans were grouped together with the keepers and even the keepers assigned to work in the compound were called out to come and look for him. Eventually he was found in the thick bush not far from where he had last been seen! A few minutes later Olsekki, Enkikwe, Boromoko and Siangiki also sneaked away into the thicket. They were found just as it was time to return home and when they saw the keepers they ran up to them in joy, for they knew it was milk feeding time and time to return home.

15 May 2016

Today Ambo was promoted to the middle-age orphan herd although he did not attend the public visit with them. He was clearly comfortable in the company of his older peers. Mbegu, Dupotto and Roi were all happy to have the little boy with them and they all fought amongst themselves to babysit him. None of the young ones within this little herd felt jealous of him and the attention he was getting, and they were all friendly with him – a very good sign that he has been accepted. In the afternoon he was reunited with Luggard and the other 3 babies to return home to the stockades earlier than the others. Once he is used to the routine of returning at 5pm he will gradually do the same as his older peers. There was a slight drama during the 11am visit today. Olsekki confirmed his dislike of Kauro during the visit and it was not very nice of him. He and Enkikwe really do not like Kauro at all. Kauro was drinking water from the far end water trough when Olsekki attacked him poking him in the back with his tusks. Sirimon and the keepers ran over to help Kauro and the visiting public also shouted at Olsekki too! Luckily for Olsekki Oltaiyoni had not arrived yet as she would have really shown him some harsh discipline for his bad behaviour.

16 May 2016

This morning while out in the bush Roi, Siangiki, Naseku, Kauro and Boromoko caused a lot of drama as they started to charge around chasing an Impala herd that was browsing close by. The impalas however did not seem to care and kept coming back to the browsing area not wanting to leave and give in to Roi and Naseuku who were being bullies. Aside from chasing the Impalas Kauro and Boromoko were also intent on trying to mount Roi and Naseku who were getting annoyed with them as they were being distracted from their plans of getting rid of the Impalas. The two were being challenged from both sides, on one side the Impalas kept challenging them and coming at them and on the other Kauro and Boromoko were trying to mount them and it was not long before Roi fell over making it easy for the two boys to mount her. Naseku tried to come to her rescue but was unsuccessful in getting rid of the two naughty boys and as a result the keepers had to intervene to get Kauro and Boromoko off of Roi so that she could get back to her feet.

17 May 2016

As the first group of orphans, Ndotto, Lasayen, Murit and Godoma made their way to the public visiting hour they had to wade through the muddy area around the mudbath. Murit managed to somehow get stuck in the mud and promptly started to cry for help as he watched the rest of the orphans downing their milk bottle fearing that his share would be drank as well. He was thankfully able to free himself the keepers had to come to his aid. At around 3pm Kiko, Pea and Pod, who were busy browsing in the field, were chased by a lioness who had been stalking them. Thankfully the keepers were able to thwart the lionesses attempt by shouting and screaming and waving their coats. Once they lioness had been chased off and the three orphans were safe the keepers quickly escorted them back to the safety of the stockades for the rest of the afternoon. Late in the afternoon the Nursery received a new orphan that had been rescued from Namunyak Conservancy in Samburu. The orphan, a female less than a year old, had been seen on her own around Sabuk camp for about three days prior to her rescue. We have called her Sana Sana.

18 May 2016

The orphans greeted the new day this morning by enjoying a mudbath which they had as it drizzled lightly, something which they love. Alamaya, Ndotto and Lasayen were all busy trying to mount Dupotto and Siangiki, a game which Rapa was trying to disrupt by constantly pushing the young boys off of their older playmates so that he could clamber on them instead. When he saw that he was not getting anywhere with his efforts he headed off to mud bathe in a different area. During the public visit Ngilai chose not to come down to the mudbath and milk feed area together with his usual group. He instead joined the older orphan group which comes to the mudbath about half way through the public visiting hour. The reason for this change is due to the fact that Ngilai has become very attached to Kamok. At the moment, due to his poor health, Balguda does not come down to the public visit and spends his time with the babies of the Nursery who don’t travel as far and as such he can conserve his energy so that it can be used towards bettering his health and well being. The swelling under his tummy is still pronounced though it has improved since he has been given protein supplements and charcoal tablets.

19 May 2016

It was a very cold and wet morning due to the fact that it rained all night and continued to rain for the better part of the day. Due to the bad weather Balguda and Galla did not want to leave their stockades and join the rest of the nursery orphans who were joyfully heading out to the forest and fields for the day. Upon seeing that Galla was not among the group Mbegu headed back to the stockades and marched straight into Galla’s stockade in an effort to get him to join her out in the rain. Galla was having none of it, preferring to stay dry and warm rather than get wet, and so Mbegu left Galla in his stockade until such a time that he felt it was warm enough for him to join the rest of the group. At the public visit the little stream that runs near the orphan’s mudwallow had become more of a river which made some of the orphans wary of crossing it. Ngilai was particularly afraid and made several attempts to cross the river getting as far as half way before turning back and trying at a different point, all the while rumbling his frustration to his keepers and friends. Eventually using his trunk to gauge the depth of the water he was finally able to cross and was rewarded with his milk bottle which he drank with satisfaction. Roi was in a particularly greedy mood today and as the second group of orphans were enjoying their milk bottle at the mudbath Roi kept running to the wheelbarrow, stealing a bottle and running off with it only to drop it once she realized it was empty. Her antics drew the attention of all the visiting public who thoroughly enjoyed watching her attempts to get more than her share of milk as the keepers fought to prevent her from doing so.

20 May 2016

While the orphans were heading to the 9am milk feeding area for their morning bottle of milk the group came to a grinding halt as they saw a lion and lioness emerge from the bushes and settle down to relax close to where the wheelbarrow had been set up with the milk bottles. The keepers and the orphans retreated to a safer distance from where they could keep an eye on the lions and see what they were up to. About 20 minutes later the lions got up and decided to head back to the bush which meant that the orphans could come and have their milk. Olsekki, Boromoko and Roi were extremely impatient and started running towards the wheelbarrow before the lions had completely left the area. As the keepers were still waiting to ensure it was completely safe no one was ready with the milk bottles for the three eager beavers. Olsekki was quick to snatch a milk bottle from the wheelbarrow and feed himself while the keepers fed the rest of the orphans. At the public visiting hour as soon as the older orphans had downed their share of milk Sokotei and Enkikwe enjoyed some pushing and strength testing games which were thoroughly enjoyed by the visitors. Kamok caused a stir today when she tried to grab the camera from a visitor who was busy taking photos of Sokotei and Enkikwe and did not see her coming. The visitors applauded her cheeky and mischievous behaviour which they found extremely entertaining.

21 May 2016

The visiting hour was quiet today and the orphans did not engage in any games or activities, seemingly intent on their milk and enjoying the greens that had been cut for them by the keepers. Once back in the fields some of the orphans enjoyed playful moments. Alamaya and Tusuja were seen engaged in a strength testing game that saw them end up in the bushes as they pushed one another. They emerged trumpeting before continuing their activity, gauging their strength against one another. Their games attracted the attention of Mwashoti, Dupotto and Ndotto who joined them and also ran out of the bushes to join the fun. Dupotto and Ndotto then engaged one another in a pushing game. Despite Ndotto being smaller than Dupotto he was adamant to show her how strong he is. Dupotto was careful not to push Ndotto too hard realizing that he is smaller than her and could get hurt.

22 May 2016

The translocation training process began today with six of the older orphans taking part. Olsekki, Enkikwe, Siangiki, Oltaiyoni, Sokotei and Boromoko are all scheduled to be moved soon with Siangiki, Olsekki and Enkikwe being the first three of the group to leave the Nursery herd to be taken to join the orphans and ex orphans at Ithumba. The three due to be moved in the next day or two were somewhat unsure of the moving truck and were wary not wanting to get into the truck despite the keepers trying to patiently entice them in using their milk bottles. Olsekki and Enkikwe were having none of it and stretched themselves as much as they could so that they could reach their milk bottle without actually moving their feet or entering the truck. The keepers were surprised by their reluctance as both boys are quite greedy and as such the keepers thought that it would be easy to get them to take their milk bottles where they wanted them to. Siangiki was a bit more obliging and accepting of the process. She did not fully enter the truck but went halfway in to have her milk. We are confident that with each milk feed the three will get better and it will not be a problem to get them into the truck on moving day.

23 May 2016

Today was the last day of training for Olsekki, Enkikwe and Siangiki who are to be moved to the relocation unit at Ithumba. The three together with some of the other older Nursery orphans were fed their milk inside the moving truck. To encourage them to feed in the truck Kauro, Kamok, Boromoko and Alamaya were also fed their milk there so that they would not feel singled out as the elephants do not always like change. Siangiki and Kamok were happy to take their milk feed inside the truck while Olsekki and Enkikwe were still a little wary and stood half in and half out while they had their bottles. Oltaiyoni, Sokotei and Boromoko are also undergoing training as we hope to move them soon as well and the keepers did not encounter any problems with the three who were happy to have their milk inside the truck.

24 May 2016

Today was moving day for Olsekki, Enkikwe and Siangiki. At 3am the moving process began and the three were led out of their stockades and to the moving truck one at a time. Siangiki was the first one to be brought to the moving truck as she had been very accepting of the truck during the training process. She was slowly walked out was enticed to the truck using a bottle of milk but one there seemed unsure and did not want to enter the truck. It took a few minutes of coaxing after which she went in and drank her share of milk while the keepers went to get Enkikwe. Enkikwe had been the least cooperative during the training process and once at the loading bay refused to go any further. The keepers tried to get him in using his milk bottle but he was having none of it and started retreating. A different method therefore had to be used with him and the keepers kept a piece of rope behind him pushing him forward until he was finally in. Last to be brought was Olsekki who the keepers thought would also be difficult but he surprised everyone as he walked right in and drank his milk. With all three orphans secured the truck was soon on its way to Ithumba. Soon after the departure of the three orphans Kauro, Tusuja and Sirimon started trumpeting and crying out upset about their friends having left them for new adventures. The keepers were quick to reassure them and they settled down. In the morning when the orphans headed out to the field Oltaiyoni and Sirimon were seen walking around and among the orphans looking for the playmates that had left in the early hours of the morning. Sirimon was busy looking for Enkikwe who he often played with while Oltaiyoni searched for Siangiki. It was not long before they stopped searching, realizing that their friends had left at which point Sirimon engaged Sokotei in a pushing game while Oltaiyoni returned to her matriarchal duties.

25 May 2016

When the orphans where heading out for the day Sirimon and Sokotei passed by Maxwells stockade while Maxwell was enjoying his Lucerne and stole some for themselves. Maxwell sensed what they were doing and tried to scare them away by knocking his horn against the gate and jumping around in an effort to stop them from stealing his food. The two greedy boys were however not deterred and continue to do as they pleased. Upon realizing that his scare tactics were having no effect Maxwell resorted to other means and promptly turned around lifted his tail and sprayed the two with urine which had the desired effect of the two running off to join the rest of the orphan herd trumpeting their disdain and upset about what had happened while Maxwell gleefully pranced around his stockade. When out in the fields Sirimon and Sokotei started running around bush bashing and challenging one another in games which attracted the attention of the others who also began charging around kicking and knocking bushes as they did so. This continued for a few minutes until Boromoko accidentally bumped into little Murit knocking him into the bushes which made him cry out for help. His cries caught the attention of the orphans and keepers alike who ran to his aid and helped him out of the bushes and to his feet.

26 May 2016

When Kiko walked out to the field today he chose to forgo his usual routine of spending his day browsing close to the babies and ostriches and chose to instead head further afield to join the older orphan group which is not something he normally does which surprised the orphans. Sokotei, Sirimon, Boromoko, Roi, Naseku and Kamok all decide to tease Kiko by running towards him, chasing him in an effort to get him to leave. Kiko reacted by running fast into the bushes followed by the orphans who were trumpeting loudly, spreading their ears as they charged towards him. It was not long before the group were successful in chasing him off and saw him running past the babies and back to the stockades coming to the milk mixing area which he refused to leave. He only returned to the browsing fields once his milk was ready and he followed the wheelbarrow and the keepers back to the babies. The translocation training continues as the second group of orphans prepares to leave the Nursery. Alamaya and Mwashoti will be heading to Umani in the next few days and as such will taking their milk feeds at the moving truck to get them accustomed to the process. The first attempt took place at the 9am milk feed. Both orphans were scared of the truck and Alamaya was particularly unsure about taking his milk inside the truck. By the end of the day he had become a pro and walked into the truck for his milk bottle with only a few protestations as he seems to want to take his milk with Mwashoti and the rest of his friends who have their share outside of the truck.

27 May 2016

After the departure of Siangiki to the Ithumba Rehabilitation Unit Oltaiyoni who used to spend most of her time with her has been seen sneaking away from the older group to keep company with the little babies who have Murit and Mbegu joining them as well. After this morning’s 9am feed as the orphans were heading out to the browsing fields Oltaiyoni, Murit and Mbegu once again made their way to the same location that the little babies and their keepers could be found. When the keepers tried to get them to rejoin the older herd Oltaiyoni and Mbegu started to rumble in protest as they wanted to stay with the babies. After the 11am public viewing and mudbath Oltaiyoni was in a rush to leave the mudbathing area and was trying to lead her group towards the babies so that they could spend time with them and Mbegu seemed to have the same idea as she was already there when the group arrived. It is lovely to see the Matriarchal roles that the females in the group want to take on and when Oltaiyoni is eventually moved to Tsavo to begin the reintroduction process it will most probably be Mbegu who will take over being the Matriarch of the Nursery Herd.

28 May 2016

Today is the final day that Alamaya and Mwashoti will be able to train for their move to Umani as early tomorrow morning their journey to their new home will begin. The two boys did very well in their training today and were happy to go into the truck to have their milk feeds without any fuss, which shows how far they have come since they started the training process a few days ago when they did not even want to enter the truck. The keepers think that they did well today as they saw Boromoko, Kauro and Kamok entering the truck for their milk and wanted to show that they were brave enough to take their milk in the same place as their playmates with Alamaya having his bottle right next to Kauro. With the training process having gone so well today we hope that tomorrow will go just as well and there will not be any problems.

29 May 2016

At about 4am the translocation process for Alamaya and Mwashoti began with the two boys being led out of their stockades and into the translocation truck where they had their milk before the journey to Umani began. The keepers were very happy to see that both boys went into the truck without any problems at all and as such the process only took a few minutes and they were soon on their way. When the rest of the Nursery orphans exited their stockades in the morning the only one who seemed to miss seeing Alamaya and Mwashoti was Tusuja who had been keeping company with the two and playing with them over the last few days. He was seen walking around all the orphans looking for his friends and it took the better part of the morning before he settled down in the company of Balguda. Sokotei and Sirimon were engaged in their usual pushing and strength testing games in the ever ongoing battle for dominance in the group which started when Olsekki and Enkikwe went to Ithumba.

30 May 2016

As the orphans exited their stockades in the early morning they headed out to the field where they enjoyed feeding on the new shoots of grass and shrub. Naseku, Sokotei, Sirimon and Roi all headed deeper into the forest where they settled to browse on their own, each picking a spot for themselves. The four of them always like to separate from the rest of the herd and browse further afield so that they are then always in the lead or at least that is the way they see it. Naseku, who is a young greedy girl always likes to be the first at any activity from leaving the stockade to heading to the bush as well as during the milk feed when she always causes trouble as she wants to be the first to be fed. She is also always the first in line to lead the orphan herd out to the bush or back to the stockades. There were no major activities at the 11am mudbath today. The orphans were quiet, concentrating on their milk bottles and feeding on the greens that had been cut for them. Once the older orphans had joined the babies Mbegu, Dupotto, Ndotto and Lasayen all had some fun rolling on the ground in an effort to entice the younger orphans to join them. The game was brought to an end when Ndotto decided to mount Mbegu and Dupotto and was soon joined by Lasayen. Mbegu and Dupotto did all they could to get the two naughty boys off their backs but the boys where having too much fun. The game ended when the keepers signaled that it was time to return to the browsing fields.

31 May 2016

This morning the orphans appeared calm and relaxed as they walked about in the forest browsing as they went. Kamok and Ngilai were sneaked away from the rest of the group and were found browsing in the bushes close to the parking area which has become Kamok’s chosen area to browse in the morning hours. At about 9am the two rejoined the rest of the Nursery herd after Ngilai started making a fuss as he realized that it was time for the morning bottle and Kamok did not seem to have any desire to rejoin the group and drink some milk. Galla seems to be much more settled and content within the orphan herd and is no longer sneaking away from the group to browse on his own. He is now completely used to the orphans daily routine and is turning into a rather greedy boy. As he is more settled and less afraid he no longer allows Rapa to bully him as he pushes Rapa back which has earned him Rapa’s respect. Sana Sana is also enjoying the company of the other orphans and can often be found together with Mbegu, Dupotto and Oltaiyoni. Ndotto and Lasayen sometimes try to mount Sana Sana but their games are quickly brought to a halt by Mbegu who tells them off and sends them on their way. She will make a great matriarch one day.