Keepers' Diaries, May 2017
Nairobi Nursery Unit
Following good rains received at Ithumba over the past few weeks it was a positive time to move some of the older members of our Nursery herd to the reintegration unit there, so that they could begin the process of returning to the wild. The first three to graduate to Ithumba would be Karisa, Dupotto and Kelelari and so began their acclimatization to the elephant-mover lorry and practicing boarding the vehicle, which went well, with Karisa being the most nervous of the lorry and it took him a few weeks to get comfortable with the vehicle, and even on the morning of the move on 14th May it took some coaxing to get him aboard. The move itself went smoothly and the orphans arrived at Ithumba to meet old Nursery friends like Oltaiyoni, Kauro, Sirimon and Enkikwe, and make new friends with some of the older Ithumba orphans. The trio settled in well and Kelelari in particular seemed thrilled by his new surroundings. It seems so much so that just a week later we believe Kelelari, or one of our now independent orphan groups, whisked the babies away after the elephants were startled by something in the stockade compound one morning. The aerial and ground search continues for them, though we have every reason to believe they are okay in older Kelelari’s company, as well as hopefully that of their older contempories. Added to which there is ample water and vegetation around now at this time and many wild elephant herds in the region. More about this is explained in the Ithumba Summary.
01 May 2017
Sadly we lost one of the little tiny babies today and somehow, Tamiyoi seemed to sense that. Even though the main herd was so far away from the baby group, she left the older herd and walked all the way over to be with the babies and pat them with her trunk. Despite her young age it is amazing to see how elephants know when others are in need and are so caring. Tamiyoi herself went through a very ill phase so she might only know too well how nice it is to have another elephant to comfort and console the other. When she arrived the keepers thought of taking her back to where the main herd were, but with the way in which she arrived the keepers decided to allow her to stay awhile. In the end she had a really wonderful time with the babies and her company seemed to lift the spirits of the little ones. She eventually left in her own time, back to the rest of the herd.
Ndiwa is very fond of the milk formula but she has not quite got the right timing of the feeding hour and is often too early! She decided that the keepers were late in letting her go to the mud bath and went down to join Godoma’s group before it was her time. When she reached the mud bath area she went directly to the wheelbarrow and started to demand her milk bottle. After she finished her bottle she played with Godoma’s group and when their time was up there, she led them back to the forest. Later on just before 3pm, Ndiwa again but this time accompanied by Enkesha, snuck away but clever Ndotto must have spotted them from a distance and he went ahead of Ndiwa to blocked her path to the mud bath. Enkesha somehow managed to dodge Ndotto and went to the stockades calling for milk! She was heard by some keepers in the milk mixing area and was taken back to the forest to wait until the proper feeding time at 3pm.
02 May 2017
Ambo was unlucky with his interaction with Maxwell this morning. It is usual for the orphans to spend a bit of time playing with Maxwell through the bars of his stockade before they head out to the forest for the day. This morning there were many of the crowded around his gate and sharing his lucerne. This spot has almost become the orphans’ meeting point when they come out of their stockades. Ambo was very close to the gate and stretching his trunk inside to reach the lucerne. Esampu, Malima, Tagwa, Kuishi and Maramoja were all feeding on the lucerne behind Ambo. By then Maxwell was happy and running around his stockade and pushing on his gate to scare the orphans away, as he could hear them eating his beloved food. At this point Ambo’s trunk accidentally got stuck between Max’s gate and the frame as Max was pushing it. Ambo started screaming and trying to free his trunk and Max got scared and ran away to his bedroom! The other babies present got a fright as well and started running away leaving only Maramoja who was behind Ambo and unsure what to do. Mbegu had gone ahead leading some of the orphans into the forest but when she heard the little boy shouting she came charging back to find out what was wrong with him. Before she got there the keepers were already at the scene to help him and by the time she reached him he was free. Together with Maramoja they hugged him and as Mbegu confirmed that all was well with him they walked out to the forest together.
Today Mundusi remembered the days he was brought back to the stockades before the 5pm visit and decided to return back early to have his milk! Ukame and Wanjala were also moved back to the other side of the stockades where the other orphans spent the night which they were very happy with too.
03 May 2017
As Ukame and Wanjala were moved back to stockades on the other side last night, Ambo and Malima also moved stables as well. Ambo is always an easy going boy and does not mind any change to his sleeping quarters so long as a keeper is around. Malima however was very upset with the change and she had rather a sleepless night, hitting at the wall that separated her and Ambo. She didn’t close her eyes all night and seemed very relieved in the morning when her door was opened. As a result she spent the rest of the day looking very tired and hardly playing with the others at all. Tamiyoi is very fond of the babies and is still very happy to have a young baby as her neighbour and she spent last night sleeping next to the wall to be close to the little one. She hung her trunk over the bar of her stockade into his when she went to sleep.
Jotto and Tamiyoi has a good time this morning out in the forest and engaged each other in a pushing game that lasted until 9 o’clock in the morning! Enkesha seems to enjoy dipping her wounded trunk into the mud and it must be soothing for her. No matter how cold it is this girl will always get into the mud bath. Today she went into the water with her fellow mud-loving friend Malima and they submerged themselves deep under, swimming right up until the end of their visiting time.
04 May 2017
It was a chilly morning today when the orphans made their way out to the forest and there were not many activities among the herd. In fact it was only Ndotto and Wanjala who were engaged in a rather lackluster pushing game. It was the kind of weather that meant the babies would only come out of their stockades a bit later in the morning as well.
The lorry training for those graduating to the Rehabilitation stockade in Tsavo begun at the 9am feed today. Kelelari, Dupotto, Karisa, Ukame, Galla and Wanjala will all be leaving within the next few months. These orphans expected their milk in the forest or at the mud bath area as usual, but this was not the case and they got confused and all went in the wrong direction! Some went to the milk feeding point in the forest whilst others went to the mud bath… when they realised they had to go back to the stockades, some went straight into their pens! Kelelari, Dupotto, Karisa and Wanjala went to the lorry though. When at the lorry, Dupotto had no problem in entering as she followed a keeper holding a bottle. Kelelari only went in half way while Wanjala followed suit by only going half way and then feeding on the hay! Karisa only watched as the others got extra bottles of milk in the effort to entice them into the lorry further and further. The first trial was good for three and not as good for the others. This continued for the whole day with each training session; if one doesn’t go onto the lorry then they don’t get the extra bottle of milk at the end!
05 May 2017
It was a very wet beginning of the day for the orphans when going out to the forest today. It was already drizzling by the time they came out of their pens and the babies separated into two groups. Some decided to go deeper into the forest to find shelter under the trees as they browsed and another group, led by Mbegu and Ndotto, decided to keep themselves warm another way by climbing and rolling on top of the piles of soil and on each other. After awhile watching them, Tamiyoi and Kuishi decided to join them on the soil pile. They were very happy sliding down the backs of Mbegu and Ndotto who were the two biggest there. The rest of the smaller group were happy playing in their own pairs. Tagwa and Ambo were enjoying a pushing game whilst Esampu and Godoma were engaged in a game of ‘chase’. Godoma was chasing Esampu and trying to catch her hind legs and tail. Ngilai took on Luggard in a wrestling game but was very gentle with the boy with a bad leg and did not play too rough like he usually does. After a long time of playing, Mbegu led her small team under a big tree. On the ground beneath there were many wild fruits that had fallen and all the elephants were very busy trying to eat as many of them as they could.
At the mud bath milk feeding today it was still chilly and none of the orphans wanted to go into the mud bath; that was of course except for Enkesha who can’t leave the mud bathing area without going in at least once! Kelelari was the only one that went in from the second group though and all the others just watched him from the edges.
The lorry-training is still going on for those that are moving to Ithumba but only Wanjala, Dupotto and Kelelari are showing good signs and Galla, Ukame and Karisa need a bit more convincing, and still do not get very close to the lorry!
06 May 2017
When the whole herd of orphans are together Ambo often does not give room for any other baby to come close to Mbegu. Anyone else that approaches her he will be pushed away by him. Today Malima and Tamiyoi wanted Mbegu’s company but every time they approached her they were wrestled away by Ambo. Rapa has always not been very nice to the new arrivals and today he was picking on Mundusi whenever he came close to him! The keepers always reprimand him for his bad behaviour however.
The orphans really love the lucerne pellets and it has become their number two favourite food after the milk formula. During a visit today we wanted to keep all the orphans together and as calm as possible and they were given some of the lucerne pellets in small heaps on the ground. The greedy ones like Ukame, Rapa, Mteto and Esampu went on fighting and pushing each other, wanting a whole pile to themselves. Surprisingly even Ndotto did not want to share with his best friend Lasayen! When he approached to share from the same pile as Ndotto, Ndotto chased him away – the lucerne pellets really are a favourite food amongst all the babies!
07 May 2017
It was a very dull and cold day today which put all the orphans in a gloomy mood. Since his moving lorry training has begun, Karisa gets very nervous when the herd begins to separate so that he and his older friends can go and have their milk in the lorry, so they get used to it. He starts running all over the place and sometimes hides in the bushes before rejoining all the orphans when the others have returned. Today he vanished even before the others went to the lorry, along with Enkesha and Ndiwa. We knew this was because he knew the lorry training was coming and when the keepers went to look for him when that was done, they found the three happily browsing in the thick bushes.
08 May 2017
Mundusi and Ndiwa are getting on so well with each other, which is very nice to see since Mundusi took a long time to settle down. Often at some stage in the day, they will take a break from the others and go off to browse on their own. Today they did the same thing but the nice thing about these two is that the keepers do not need to go and look for them, they will always find the herd and come back!
Today Mbegu, Esampu, Malkia and Tamiyoi went to find the baby herd and it was a wonderful reunion for them all. The little babies only left them when it was 16.30 and their time to return home to their night pens.
Finally this evening, with the guidance and company of Mbegu, Karisa entered the truck. Even if it was only half of his body it is a very good step for him! It has taken him a long time to get used to the lorry, perhaps because he arrived at the nursery at an older age and just a few months ago, compared to the others in the group who are completely at ease with their surroundings and with their keepers. Kelelari is in the same boat though and accepted the lorry much better than we thought; it just goes to show all of our orphans are very different.
09 May 2017
The weather changed again and it was a bright morning today when the orphans went out to the forest. Most of them appreciated this sunnier weather and engaged each other in some fun games. Pare happily entertained Rapa and Ngilai in some ‘bullish’ games as they sized each other up and chased after one another. Dupotto is not very fond of games but today she decided to have some fun with Ndotto, and they enjoyed a pushing game for quite some time. Ndotto used all his strength to tackle Dupotto as she is much bigger than him, which eventually worked and he ended up climbing on her back!
Mbegu and Malima saw some of the babies coming to see them and they went with a small group to go and meet them. Malima showed particular interest in one of the babies but he was not yet very used to the herd and kept shying away from her friendly advances! After the excitement of the arrival of the babies, the orphans went back to the games they were playing before – Ngilai is a very playful boy and did not want to be left out of the action either. He initiated a pushing game with Murit and had lots of fun. All of a sudden one of the babies started yelling and Mbegu, Godoma, Tamiyoi and Jotto ran over to see what the matter with him was. The fact that even young Tamiyoi and Jotto react and run over to a baby shows how much they care for their younger friends, and also that perhaps one day Tamiyoi will be a good matriarch one day.
10 May 2017
With the recent rain the warthogs have been grazing alongside the orphans all day, delighted with the grass that is beginning to shoot everywhere. They are very confident they will be safe in the company of the orphans throughout the day. Today Esampu didn’t leave them alone or give them even a minute of peace as some of the babies were with the herd and she did not want to tolerate the warthogs near them too. She charged and trumpeted and followed them into the bushes until she was sure they were gone, only to have the return a few minutes later. Malkia would take advantage of Esampu’s absence when she was chasing the warthogs and get as close to the babies as she could, only to be wrestled away from them when Esampu returned.
Ambo gets very jealous when any other babies are around his adopted mother Mbegu. This morning he had gone for a short walk with Ukame, Kelelari, Ndotto, Pare and Lasayen and when he returned he found Mbegu surrounded by the babies. He started trying to push the babies away but Jotto did not like his jealous behaviour. He stood up for the little ones and charged at Ambo, pushing him away from Mbegu. Mbegu intervened and separated the little boys to try and instill some calm to the rest of the afternoon!
11 May 2017
Tagwa is such a polite and quiet girl and is not often involved in very boisterous or active games within the family. Compared to the other babies she is the quietest but this morning she was in a very different mood! She engaged Ngilai, Rapa and Murit in a pushing and climbing game and in fact she was the one trying to climb on Murit’s back!
Jotto and Tamiyoi are very good friends and in fact they are neighbours back in the stockades too. No matter the mood or the situation they will always try and change the mood of the herd to a happy one. They had such a good time this morning as they engaged in other in a game which lasted for such a long time, right up until they were intercepted by Kuishi who wanted to play with Jotto as well.
During the public visit today Esampu was in a very mischievous mood and was fighting and pushing everyone around. Sana Sana, who has always kept an eye on Esampu and her behaviour, was present as well. Esampu was misbehaving near the milk wheelbarrow and was fighting for Malima’s bottle, trying to snatch it from her. Sana Sana saw this and left her own bottle and went to go and sort Esampu out. She grabbed Esampu’s tail from behind and started pushing her in the hind, away from the wheelbarrow and poor Malima. Esampu shouted as she was pushed away but she was put in her place by the older Sana Sana once again!
Today’s transportation lorry training went very well and even Karisa accepted his milk bottle inside the lorry at both feeding times, without any difficulty. He seems to be ready along with Dupotto and Kelelari.
12 May 2017
Poor Enkesha’s healing trunk has been bothering her recently and with lots of puddles formed by the rain, she has been running from one to the other and dipping her trunk into the refreshing water. Other times she is shaking or rubbing it on the ground to itch her healing wound and sadly only with time will this improve.
Maramoja, Ukame and Malkia seem as if to understand her situation and the three girls follow her whenever she is distracted by her itchy trunk just to keep her company.
There was very funny entertainment during the public visit today from Jotto and Tamiyoi again as this duo continue to play their funny games. Right after finishing their milk they decided to have fun in front of the public, running and wrestling with each other as the visitors cheered them on; the others were just busy feeding on the greenery laid out for them!
Today to lift the spirits of the babies Mbegu, Esampu and Jotto went to play with them with a football which is wonderful for their development and coordination. To begin with they ran away from the ball but we know that with time and practice they will catch up.
13 May 2017
Today is the last day for Dupotto, Karisa and Kelelari in the Nursery. We are not sure but it is almost as if Dupotto has sensed this and she knows she is leaving her good friend Mbegu for now, who she has grown up with. She has always been very fond of Ngilai as well and today she stayed very close to the two of them. It will be some time for Ngilai to join her at the rehabilitation stockades in Tsavo as he is much younger, but they will meet again. Ukame might miss Kelelari as he is one that likes to be adventurous with her and they are both the oldest in the herd, but it will not be long before these two are reunited at the Ithumba rehabilitation stockade.
Sana Sana is not always fond of mud bathing in the main mud bath but today whilst in the forest, she decided to have a lengthy mud bath with Malkia after the came across a small shallow puddle full of mud. Mteto was in a bad mood today but we are not sure why. She has not been very nice to Sana Sana, Malkia or Kuishi, pushing and charging at them – but we are sure this is just a passing phase… everyone has bad days!
14 May 2017
It was around 3am when preparation for the move to Ithumba began. Some of the keepers set about making sure there was enough vegetation and milk on board for the three elephants to get to Tsavo. Karsia’s stockade was located a few meters away from Kelelari and Dupotto’s so he was brought out first. With three keepers leading with bottles of milk, the orphans followed closely behind them and took little slurps of milk all the way to the lorry. Dupotto and Kelelari walked behind their keepers straight into the lorry and their doors were closed but when Karisa got close to the lorry he stopped and turned back. The keepers kept trying to coax him into the lorry but he would reach the door and just turn back again. Eventually, after several attempts, the keepers just pushed him gently when he got close to the door again and this worked. By 3.30am everything was ready and the elephants were loaded ready to go, so the trunk left on its journey to Ithumba right on time.
The other orphans did not seem to mind that the three were missing from their stockades in the morning; the likes of Ndotto, Wanjala, Galla and Ukame who used to accompany Kelelari into the forest did not seem to mind at all! Perhaps they knew what was happening as Ndotto has witnessed many of these moves before…
15 May 2017
Today the orphans in the Nursery showed more outward feelings of missing the orphans that left yesterday. Having not shown any sadness or upset yesterday, today their mood was very different. Apart from Mundusi and Ndiwa who stay apart from the group most of the time, the entire herd was crowded together. Ndotto was leading the group that browses a bit further ahead during the day which was normally led by Dupotto and Kelelari, including Ukame, Maramoja, Galla, Wanjala and Rapa. Earlier they had stuck all together and looked as if they wouldn’t walk further today, but the courageous boy Ndotto was full of confidence and marched ahead, with the others following behind him. However, it did not last and it was not long before the herd came running back, shouting and trumpeting. Rapa was running back towards the keepers ahead of the others and they all looked very anxious and scared. They surrounded the keepers and the others in the herd that had not walked out with them and from that moment, did not leave the herd again for the rest of the day.
16 May 2017
Ukame, Maramoja and Wanjala are still quite nervous of walking deeper into the forest since their older friends Kelelari, Karisa and Dupotto left. They used to be led by Kelelari but now in the morning, as they begin to walk off deeper into the wood, they soon realize they are the only three and quickly return to where the rest of the herd are browsing. It is at times like this that they show how much they are missing the older members of their herd like Kelelari, but they will grow accustomed to the change!
Meanwhile, Pare and Galla have been staging some long and challenging pushing games as if trying to figure out who is the more dominant bull since Kelelari left. This morning as soon as they came out of their pens and met in the forest, they began a fierce pushing game in which neither was surrendering to the other! Ndotto, Lasayen and Murit were alongside them as if cheering them on and trumpeting with excitement but still neither one wanted to admit defeat. The game eventually came to an end when Ukame, Wanjala and Maramoja came running out of the bushes trumpeting and stamping their feet which scared the entire herd!
17 May 2017
The young babies are happy spending their time in the company of the older orphans who are all too happy to have the young babies with them. It is nice but also funny to watch the young females like Godoma, Malkia, Esampu, Sana Sana and tiny Tamiyoi all struggling to baby sit the little ones. We watched on as Godoma seemed to show all the females how to mother the babies and where to stand to protect them. One of the babies, Musiara, does not mind being mollycoddled by the older females and the way they pat him all over, but the other baby does not like it as much and sometimes moves away to stand near the keeper. We saw Tamiyoi and Esampu rolling on the ground in the soil near the two little babies as a way of drawing them closer to play and imploring them to love them. Musiara decided to join and enjoyed clambering all over Tamiyoi as the other little baby enjoyed rolling on the ground next to Esampu. These two babies seem to be doing well at the moment!
18 May 2017
Today Maxwell woke up in a playful mood and he was seen scampering around the stockade just as the orphans were starting to come out of their pens. His rapid movements scared some of the young ones and Jotto, Tamiyoi, Malima and Ambo ran into the forest yelling, which drew the attention of the entire herd who started running out to the field as well. As the keepers started to walk them further into the woods, the herd started to settle down.
Kiko still walks out to the field where the baby elephants relax during the day and then changes his mind and runs back to the stockade compound where he prefers to be. He walks from one stockade to another and sometimes hides himself within the blankets that are hanging outside and scratches his neck on the tree there as well. If the keepers attempt to move him away from there sometimes he tries to kick them!
19 May 2017
We have begun the translocation training of the orphans that are going to move to Ithumba next month. Ukame, Galla and Wanjala are earmarked for the next move and they have begun ongoing with their training to board the lorry. Galla and Wanjala are not nervous at all about taking their milk bottles right on the lorry but Ukame does not feel confident enough just yet. While Galla and Wanjala walk straight onto the lorry for their bottles, Ukame stretches her trunk out as far as she can to try and reach her bottle; when she can’t reach the keeper anymore she just stands there nervously and starts to yell. She then runs away from the lorry and goes to stand in her stockade to have her milk there instead! When she realizes that her bottles are not coming to her stockade she comes out to the lorry again and stands there with her trunk on her head, rumbling a low rumble to try and ask for her milk from the keepers.
20 May 2017
Little Mteto is becoming quite a naughty young girl due to the fact she seems to be copying naughty Esampu’s behaviour! She watches her particularly during bottle feeding times out in the forest and during the public visit as well and today when she finished her bottle she started trouble-making, chasing after Sana Sana and Esampu for their share of bottles too. She made a mistake however by going after Esampu’s milk because when she tried to stretch for her bottle the second time, Esampu jumped at her and head butted her giving her no chance to try to get the milk bottle again. She ended up near the rope cordon which saved her from falling into the public and the keepers came to save her from being chased by Esampu any further.
21 May 2017
Soon after the orphans settled out in the forest the young babies came to join them including Musiara. It was fun to watch Malkia, Sana Sana, Esampu and tiny Tamiyoi all come running over at once struggling to be the first ones to welcome the little ones. Tamiyoi wasn’t able to push through Malkia, Sana Sana or Esampu so she lagged behind and watched as the three other girls jostled, pushed and shoved to get closer to the babies. Tamiyoi was upset with their pushy behaviour and started protesting and yelling at not being able to approach the babies at all.
Ngilai was in a playful mood as was rolling around on the ground having a great time in his own game.
22 May 2017
During the public visit today the first group of orphans were all very happily playing in the mud bath and bumping and sliding against one another. This happy time took a turn however when Esampu and Sana Sana were enjoying rolling around and pushing one another, when Esampu rolled over Sana Sana and got stuck in a ditch in the middle of the mud wallow. This caused her to yell out for help which frightened the rest of the group who ran out of the mud bath towards the rope cordon and then towards their keepers. Esampu couldn’t right herself so the keepers ran to her aid. When she got up it was very funny as she ran straight towards the rope cordon and started bumping into the visitors there. When the first group were back in the forest after their milk and mud bath, Ngilai, Tagwa, Mteto, and Godoma busied themselves chasing after warthogs who were hanging around next to them and the keepers. Tagwa and her group wanted to drive the warthogs deeper into the bushes, but they came across a troop of baboons out on their daily patrols! Their sudden encounter caused the baboons to start chattering and run up into the trees, which gave Tagwa and her group a fright and they abandoned their chase after the warthogs and ran back to their keepers.
23 May 2017
It has been noticed recently that Ndiwa, Mundusi and Mteto, who came to the Nursery a bit older and thus still have the memory of the wild fresh in their minds, have been spending a lot of time with each other and seem very attached. Those that have been raised in the Nursery from a young age always browse close to the keepers but this trio doesn’t mind walking far off into the bushes. Today these three challenged the keepers as they sneaked off before the public visit and walked far into the forest, where they were later found very busy browsing with no real interest in turning up for the public visit or their milk! Ndiwa and Mundusi are slightly more nervous than Mteto and when they spotted the keepers coming to find them they scampered into the bushes but Mteto just started yelling and walking towards them, and eventually the other two followed as well and they all waited together before going down to the public visit as usual.
24 May 2017
Today naughty Rapa woke up in a bad mood and was witnessed bullying poor Mundusi and Mteto who walked into his stockade, as the gate stood open and he stood to the side outside. Mundusi and Mteto had obviously wondered in with the hope of finding some left over lucerne pellets in the box attached to the stockade door. When Rapa spotted them he rushed into his stockade with his ears spread in a gesture of warning them out of his pen but neither of them heeded this and kept on picking up the little pellets that were left. Rapa then jumped at Mundusi and head butted him so hard on his hind that he bumped his head against the box of lucerne! As Mteto tried to sneak out Rapa ran past her and blocked her path so they were stuck with the angry boy in his pen. Rapa pointed his trunk at them in anger as the two started yelling. They tried showing him respect by turning their backs, which is a sign in the elephant community that they were not confronting him, but he ignored this and kept head butting them which caused them to yell louder and draw the attention of the keepers. They came running over and told Rapa off, allowing the two elephants to rush past him and be set free of his pen!
25 May 2017
During the public visit today the temperature was soaring and this always prompts the orphans to want to get in the mud bath. They quickly drank their milk bottles and rushed into the mud pool to cool down their hot bodies. It was funny to watch tiny little Musiara down his milk bottle and rush to try and get in the mud too. The keepers tried to prevent him from going in as they thought he would get trampled and shoved around by the other older and bigger orphans, but the little boy forced his way in and he happily enjoyed and rolled around in the mud, watched over by caring and protective Godoma. When the little boy was trying to climb out of the mud pool but struggling due to the slippery sides, Godoma got down on her knees and tried to support Musiara so he could climb out, and it worked as well! This really left the visiting public in awe of how the female elephants really care for the young.
With Godoma preoccupied with baby Musiara in the mud pool, Mteto was in a naughty mood and suddenly jumped at Tamiyoi who was busy feeding on some greens close to the water trough. She head butted her so hard that she fell down, not expecting to be pushed so suddenly. Mteto is being very naughty these days to her age mates in the herd! Perhaps we will move her to the second, older group soon so she will get some discipline from the older orphans.
26 May 2017
Luggard has become so attached to the younger babies that he can now not leave the stockade premises in the morning without them. Today in the early morning, when the orphans were all coming out of their pens and greeting each other before slowly wondering out to the forest. As Luggard walked out with them he got caught up in the herd and sandwiched among them. As they reached the bushes out in the forest and the herd started to dissipate and spread out, Luggard started to lag behind and rumble a low rumble, wondering where his little boys were. When he failed to find them, he shouted an elephant shout and walked back to the stockades where he met up with Musiara and Sattao who were just on their way out as well. When Luggard found them he was obviously happy and rested his trunk on Muisara’s back, a sign of affection, and he joined them and their keepers to walk out to the forest; Luggard is such a gentle and welcoming boy.
27 May 2017
During the public visit today all the orphans rushed into the mud bath again as it was another very hot day. There was quite a struggle to find enough space in the mud pool for all the orphans to wallow nicely. Esampu, Mteto, Ngilai and Sana Sana did not want any others to bath next to them. Because it was so hot Ukame ran down to the mud area before it was even time for the second group to come down! Before she had her milk bottle she apparently first wanted to splash some mud behind her ears to cool down. The rest of the second group then came down in a hurry as well; they drank their milk very fast before running into the mud pool. Mbegu, Maramoja and Galla were reluctant to leave the mud pool when it was time for them to return to the forest again!
28 May 2017
Just shortly after 8am, it was a happy time for Ndotto, Lasayen and Mbegu who welcomed their friend Kauro back from Ithumba. Kauro has been showing a listless and dull character for some time now down in Tsavo so the decision was made to bring him back to the Nursery where he could be closely monitored, and treated if necessary. This is obviously not a light decision and we do not move our orphans unless absolutely necessary. He was happy to see his human family when he arrived, who raised him from a young age, and also happily greeted Ndotto who welcomed him to a pushing game as they both locked trunks. Out in the field he was busy playing with Ndotto, Lasayen, Murit, Galla, Pare and Ukame, whilst introducing himself to the other new orphans who have arrived at the Nursery since he left in January.
29 May 2017
Kauro has only been back one day but he is already fully settled into the daily routine of the Nursery, having been brought up there, his tremendous elephant memory is helping him recollect everything, like where and when all the milk feeds take place! Despite his skin not looking in good condition, he seems lively and active enough. Today during bottle feeding time he was witnessed disciplining Pare and Galla who tried to push him away from his milk bottles, as they usually do to each other and to the other boys like Ndotto, Lasayen and Rapa as they seek out who is the most dominant. They were unlucky as obviously Kauro is older and bigger and he quickly defended himself against the two boys who, since Kelelari left, were enjoying the highest rank.
30 May 2017
When the orphans settled out in the bush this morning to browse, most of the young ones were busy browsing alongside their keepers. Ukame, Maramoja, Galla, Ndotto, Ndiwa and Wanjala who had attached themselves to the main herd since their older friends left for Ithumba, now browsed in the company of Kauro who seemed to have taken over the position of Kelelari as an older bull. Once again and now under the leadership of Kauro and Ukame too, this group browsed further into the forest. Kauro seems to remember all the old routes through the forest and it has been up to the others to show him their new ones.
Today it was very cold during public visiting so none of the orphans wanted to mud bath and instead they settled to dust themselves with soil. Ndotto and Rapa enjoyed clambering on Lasayen as he rolled on the ground and everyone enjoyed watching these two climb all over him. The school children especially enjoyed this spectacle, as for many of them it was the first tim seeing an elephant, and they marveled at their long noses and how they used them.
31 May 2017
When the orphans first went out to the forest this morning, most of them were busy browsing but Lasayen and Pare were seen enjoying a pushing game which went on for some time before attracting the attention of Galla and Kauro. These two boys approached them but when Kauro raised his trunk up in the air Lasayen ran off yelling at the sight of his big tusks! This left Pare to play with Galla and Kauro but the game did not last long as Kauro started to try and climb on the other two and they are no match for him!
Again it was too cold to mud bath at the public visit today however Murit kept busy with a chasing game against Esampu and Mteto. He was running and trying to climb on them, a game which attracted the attention of Ngilai who then chased after Murit. Murit turned against him though and they started a tough pushing game but it came to an end when Murit accidentally pricked the inside of Ngilai’s ear with his tusk, prompting him to walk away and settle by the water trough instead as he has no tusks to compete with! He started a new game of drawing water with his trunk and spraying the visiting school children who were delighted with this unique and wonderful encounter.