Keepers' Diaries, May 2021

Nairobi Nursery Unit

May was a big month at the Nursery, as five elephants took the next step in their reintegration journey. Graduations are always bittersweet affairs, but so important for our orphans: The Nursery is where they find their footing after being rescued; Reintegration Units are where they find their place back in the wild. It is important to note that the journey back into the wild still takes eight to ten years. Just as we are looking forward for these older individuals, we also must think of the herd they leave behind at the Nursery. We knew that Larro would step up as mini matriarch, but it was equally important that the young bulls have role models to look up to. Mukkoka had originally started training for graduation, but as time progressed, we realized that Roho and Naboishu might flounder without the continued presence of an older bull. Because Mukkoka was the youngest of the upcoming graduates, we chose to postpone his move so he could continue to mentor his friends in the Nursery herd.

01 May 2021

Nabulu, Maisha, Kiasa, Maktao and Kiombo’s and translocation training has been going well, but some of the orphans are still hesitant about entering the stockade cubicles of the lorry. Nabulu appears to be the happiest with getting on board the lorry, and Maisha and Kiombo are getting more and more comfortable day by day. Maktao and Kiasa, however, still remain rather wary of the translocation lorry and will often refuse the first couple of times before eventually agreeing to get on. As always, the Keepers try to train the orphans during most of their milk feeds, unless they are going down to the mud bath. Once all the orphans have gotten into the lorry, they are then led back to the forest where they will join the rest of the Nursery herd. 

As all the orphans were settling back in the forest this afternoon, most of them were happily browsing amongst each other and following Maisha deeper into the forest. Naleku, Ziwadi and Rama, however, decided to go off in their own direction, where they could browse peacefully away from the herd. Some of the Keepers remained with their small group, making sure that they didn’t wander off too far. 

Once it was time for the orphans to head back to the stockade compound for the evening, the Keepers ushered Naleku, Ziwadi, and Rama back to the rest of the Nursery herd. As they approached the herd, Maktao and Mukkoka were busy wrestling each other and pushing each other around the forest. Their game didn’t last long as they were eventually ushered home by their Keepers. Once all the orphans were back in their stables and stockades, they enjoyed their evening bottles of milk and then settled for the evening. 

02 May 2021

All the orphans were in a jovial mood as they were let out of their stables and stockades this morning. Kinyei was one of the first to appear from her stable, and as always when she is let out first, she stood outside Bondeni and Kindani’s stables waiting for them. It wasn’t long before Bondeni and Kindani came out too and the three of them were busy dithering about beside their doors. As Bondeni was busy rolling around on the ground just near Maxwell’s stockade, Ziwadi and Olorien appeared from around the corner as they were making their way towards the forest. As soon as Bondeni saw them walk past he immediately began to follow them out. Kinyei and Kindani also chose to follow them. 

Unlike the younger orphans, once Kiasa and Larro were let out of their stockades, they quickly ran off to catch up to Ziwadi and her group. Once all together, the orphans made their way out to the forest where they happily settled to browse. 

Kiasa and Larro seemed to want to be with Bondeni, Kindani, and Kinyei throughout the day. Bondeni, Kindani and Kinyei were amongst the first to finish their midday bottles of milk and as soon as they did they headed straight back to the forest, just near where the rest of the herd was having their milk. As soon as Kiasa and Larro finished their bottles, they went barreling over to the younger orphans where they warmly rumbled at them before settling to browse near them. 

Once all the orphans finished their midday bottles of milk, they settled back in the forest where they had a peaceful afternoon browsing together, only breaking for the 3 o’clock bottles of milk. At 5pm the Keepers and orphans made their way back to the stockade compound for the evening. 

03 May 2021

The orphans all seemed to be in a good mood this morning as the Keepers were letting them out of their stables and stockades, including Maxwell. As the orphans were all busy greeting each other throughout the stockade compound, Maxwell came bounding out of his bedroom and happily walked over to his greens. Once at his greens, he quickly began to sort through the branches, picking out all the acacia branches which are his favourite. As some of the orphans, namely Naleku, walked over to Max’s stockade gate to greet, the large rhino was too busy crunching down on his branches to greet his little friends. Naleku seemed to notice quite quickly that her large friend was not coming over to say hello, and she quickly returned to where Bondeni, Kindani and Kinyei were all standing. 

As the orphans began to make their way out to the forest, Max was still busy crunching away at his greens which gave his Keepers some time and space to get his Lucerne pellets ready for him. As the Keepers were opening his top gate, Maxwell was seen pausing and he appeared to be listening to them as his ears were moving back and forth. He realised that they were putting his fresh pellets out and he immediately began to walk up towards where they were. As they had kept his central gate shut, Max waited patiently for them to let him through so he could continue with his breakfast. Once the Keepers were all finished up, they opened Max’s gate, and the friendly giant majestically walked over to his pellets where he began to munch away. 

Maxwell seemed to be in quite a relaxed mood this morning as he was happy to share his Lucerne pellets with the resident warthogs. Once he had his fill, he left the warthogs in peace and went over to relax in the morning sun. Max spent a good chunk of his day napping in the sun or in the shade and long grass on the other side of his stockade. In the evening he happily came down and began to feast on his fresh greens before heading back to his bedroom. 

04 May 2021

It was a beautiful sunny morning as the Keepers were letting the orphans out of their stables and the orphans seemed excited to start their day. As the orphans were making their way out to the forest, Bondeni, Kindani, Kinyei and Olorien formed their own little group as they were eagerly heading off in their own direction and not following Maisha. Maisha was already being followed by Roho and the rest of the herd and she didn’t seem to mind too much that they were moving off in their own direction. Kinyei was the leader of this little pod, and the Keepers were keeping a close eye on them, making sure they didn’t walk off too far. 

It wasn’t long before some of the older orphans decided to follow this little herd too. Mukkoka and Larro were the first two to follow, as if they were checking up on where they were going. Larro, who is an excellent nanny, and Mukkoka who is a gentle boy, were both warmly welcomed by the younger orphans who appeared quite happy to browse with them. 

As it was such a beautifully warm day, the orphans enjoyed their midday bottles down at the mud bath. As usual, the Keepers let them down in their smaller groups, with the younger orphans heading down first with Ziwadi and Rama, and then the older orphans coming down. Although warm, none of the orphans were particularly interested in mud bathing. Some of the orphans quickly continued browsing, whereas others such as Rama, Bondeni and Naleku enjoyed a short little dust bath. 

The orphans were soon led back to the forest for their afternoon of browsing. They all enjoyed a quiet afternoon in the forest before heading back to the stockade compound for the evening. 

05 May 2021

Ziwadi continues with her morning routine of stopping at every water trough to have a good gulp of water before heading off to the forest for the day. As such, this morning the Keepers let her out of her stable first so she could commence her rounds as the other orphans were being let out. As she was drinking away just outside Maktao’s stockade, the other orphans were now all out of their stockades and stables and they all appeared ready to head off to the forest. 

Unlike the rest of the herd, Rama appeared to be quite happy waiting for his friend to finish with her routine. Since Rama’s arrival, he and Ziwadi have been very close and their friendship seems to be growing. As Ziwadi was taking a little bit too long, the Keepers began to usher her along so that she and Rama wouldn’t be too far behind the rest of the Nursery herd. As the Keepers were ushering Ziwadi along she seemed to suddenly notice that her friend Rama was waiting for her as she picked up the pace and walked straight up to him. They then both made their way out to the forest together. 

The orphans had a very quiet morning browsing, and they were taken down to the mud bath to enjoy their 3 o’clock afternoon bottles of milk. They all gulped down their bottles and then gathered together ready to head back to the forest, once again uninterested in the mud bath or the dust mounds. The Keepers were quick to wrap up and then direct the orphans back to the forest were they happily settled to browse before heading home for the evening. 

We received a new rescue yesterday evening, a young little bull from the Chyulu’s. His rescue was quite turbulent, so the Keepers are letting him settle in his stable, which is next to Roho’s, and giving him the time and space to adjust to his new environment. 

06 May 2021

Maktao and Kiombo, who are the best of friends, were quite playful this morning. As soon as the big boys got to the forest, they began to wrestle each other and push one another around the forest. Their big rumbles to one another could be heard throughout the forest and neither of them wanted to back down, both standing their ground as they pushed. Their game continued for quite some time, and they were both quite exhausted when they eventually separated to go and browse. Such games are such an important part of their growth and social interaction. 

Ziwadi, as always, stays well away from these games as she seems to prefer to be away from hyperactive situations. This, however, has never been a negative to Ziwadi as she loves to browse and as the other orphans challenge each other she can be seen grabbing all her favourite greens and munching away. 

Kiombo’s playful mood continued throughout the day as later in the morning he decided to challenge Kiasa in a wrestling match. Naughty Kiasa does love to play but she is not always as eager as the bulls. Today, however, she appeared ready to challenge her opponent. They were pushing and chasing each other throughout the forest and seemed to be having the best time. They played for awhile before Kiasa seemed to grow tired of their game and eventually moved away leaving Kiombo with his friend Maktao, Naboishu and Mukkoka. 

Once all the games had come to an end the orphans had a quiet afternoon browsing in the forest. 

07 May 2021

Maisha and Mukkoka led the orphans out to the forest this morning. As soon as their stockade doors were open, they made their way to the edge of the forest where they waited for the rest of the Nursery orphans. As the rest of the herd seemed to be taking their time, Maisha and Mukkoka began to browse on some of the shrubs and bushes behind Maxwell’s stockade. Max, who has excellent hearing and sense of smell, quickly picked up on them and walked up to the top of his stockade, where he began to sniff around to see who was there. As soon as he realised it was the orphans, he quickly lost interest and went back to his lucerne pellets. 

Finally, the whole Nursery herd was ready, and they were led out to the forest by Maisha and Mukkoka where they all quickly settled to browse. They had a wonderful peaceful day browsing in the forest, breaking only for their milk feeds and the younger orphans would break for short little naps. Bondeni, Kindani and Kinyei are still big fans of their short little naps in the forest, and whilst the older orphans are munching away, they will often lie amongst each other and fall asleep. The Keepers and older orphans always keeping a watchful eye, and once it is time for the herd to move on, they will quickly get up and follow along. 

As the orphans were coming back to the stockade compound this evening, Maxwell was making such a noise sorting his greens out. He could be heard throwing his branches all around, looking for his favourites: the acacia branches. Some of the branches got hooked on his horn so he had to really fling his head about to get those off. Once all his greens were sorted out, he began to crunch down on the acacia branches. As the orphans were settling down Max’s loud crunches could be heard throughout the stockade compound. 

08 May 2021

The new rescue, named Esoit, is settling in well and seems to have relaxed since his arrival, so the Keepers decided to let him out with the rest of the Nursery herd. All the older girls, Kiasa, Larro, Maisha, and Nabulu were all extremely eager to meet the new little baby, as they were all eagerly waiting outside of his stable. As soon as he came out of his stable, he was showered with trunk nuzzles and rumbles. Roho didn’t seem too upset about sharing the attention of the older girls with this new arrival. Esoit and the herd were then led to the forest by their Keepers, where all the orphans continued to shower him with love and affection. Even the older bulls were curious to greet the young arrival. Esoit seemed to enjoy being with the older girls and spent most of his morning right by their side. 

Kiasa especially seemed quite protective of him and after her midday bottle of milk she could be seen standing by his side waiting for him to finish his bottle, and then accompanying him back to the forest. As she walked back to the forest, Larro also joined them. As Kiasa and Larro settled to browse near Esoit, not too far from them Ziwadi and Olorien were peacefully browsing together. Ziwadi and Olorien have remained close friends since Olorien’s arrival at the Nursery and most days you can see them keeping each other company. 

Nabulu, Maisha, Kiasa, Kiombo and Maktao continue with their training in the translocation lorry and this afternoon they had their 3 o’clock bottles of milk on the truck. Their training is going so well that the Keepers do not have to spend a long time with them at the lorry and they can quickly lead them back to the forest to rejoin the Nursery herd. As soon as they got to the forest, Nabulu and Maktao joined Bondeni and Kinyei and walked a little further into the forest to browse. Kiasa quickly dashed back to Esoit who was with Larro and Maisha settled with Roho, Naleku and the rest of the herd to browse before heading home for the evening. 

09 May 2021

Esoit seems to have stolen the hearts of all the girls, including Maisha. He is such a gentle little bull and also seems to enjoy all the attention he is getting from his new herd. Having lost his mother, forming these new bonds is an important part of his recovery and the comfort the girls offer him is an important part of his healing process. This morning as the orphans were heading out to the forest, Esoit and Ziwadi were walking out together. Just like most of the new arrivals Esoit also seems to enjoy Ziwadi’s company as she is always so peaceful and gentle. As they were walking off, they were quickly joined by Maisha, Roho and Naleku. 

Roho, who is Esoit’s neighbour, doesn’t seem to mind sharing the attention with the little bull. As Roho has now formed a budding friendship with Naboishu and Mukkoka he is not spending his entire day with Maisha and Nabulu anymore but instead can be seen wrestling his new friends and sometimes trying to challenge Naleku and Olorien. Naleku, however, still stands her ground and does not let him push her around and they continue to spat like siblings.  

Naleku and Olorien have also continued their friendship and since Esoit’s arrival they have become neighbours too, which seems to have brought them even closer. They continue to enjoy spending time together out in the forest and browsing near one another and they will often rush down for their milk bottles together, before heading off back to the forest together or with some of their other Nursery friends. 

As the orphans grow up the dynamics of the herd are continuously changing and it is always great to see how their relationships develop and change and they assume their new roles when the older orphans are getting ready to graduate or when a new younger orphan arrives. 

10 May 2021

We had heavy showers throughout the evening, and it was still cold and rainy when the Keepers were getting ready to let the orphans out of their stables and stockades. As it was still raining, the Keepers decided to keep Ziwadi, Bondeni, Kindani, Kinyei and Esoit within the warmth of their stables, where they all seemed quite happy. The rest of the Nursery orphans were let out of their stables and unlike other cold and wet mornings, they all came barreling out of their stables and stockades to start their day. 

The forest was once again full of little mud pools and muddy areas. As soon as the orphans got to the first clearing, they immediately began to splash around in one of the newly formed muddy pools. The orphans were having such a great time rolling around and climbing on each other. Naboishu especially could be seen climbing on Kiasa, Mukkoka, and Nabulu whereas Maktao was climbing and challenging his friend Kiombo. 

As they were rolling around the rain stopped, and the sun began to shine, so the Keepers quickly radioed to the Keepers still at the stockade compound to let Ziwadi and the others out, and bring them to where they were. Upon their arrival all the orphans were excited and began to rumble at one another as if they were saying good morning. Rama, who was busy splashing around on the edge of the muddy pool, even came over to greet his friend Ziwadi. 

After all the excitement, the orphans settled back in the forest where they spent their day browsing and playing around in the mud. Even Bondeni, Kindani and Kinyei enjoyed a mud bath around midday once it was warm enough. 

11 May 2021

It was another chilly morning as we had more rain throughout the evening and unlike the day before, some of the orphans weren’t so eager to come out of the warmth of their stables and stockades. This morning, Larro, Mukkoka, Olorien, Roho, Bondeni, Kindani, Kinyei, Maktao and Naboishu were the only ones who were eager to leave their rooms and they all quickly came barreling out, seemingly oblivious to the cold weather. Maisha reluctantly came out of her stockade but once she was out, she happily led the Nursery herd out to the forest. 

She led the orphans to one of the open plain areas, which happens to be one of the orphans’ favourite mud bathing spot after the rains. As soon as they arrived there, Maisha, Larro, Roho, Kiasa, Nabulu and Rama were straight into the muddy waters splashing and rolling about. It was so slippery that they kept bumping into each other and bouncing off one another. Rama remained closer to the edges splashing mud all over his body. 

They seemed to be having such a great time that they drew the attention of the rest of the herd, except Ziwadi, who was far too happy just grabbing as many greens as possible and munching away. Roho and Naboishu were having such a great time climbing on each other’s backs; these bulls seem to be becoming the best of friends. When they weren’t climbing on each other, they were both attempting to climb on Maisha, Nabulu, Kiasa and Larro. 

Little Bondeni soon decided to join in and he too tried to climb onto to Nabulu, but as she was so big this young little bull had a really hard time and he kept just slipping off her belly. He tried several times before moving over to a smaller friend Kindani and the two enjoyed a playful moment together in the mud. 

After a lengthy morning mud bath, the orphans had a relaxing day browsing in the forest, pausing only for their milk feeds, and Maisha, Maktao, Kiombo, Kiasa, Nabulu and Mukkoka continued with their training. 

12 May 2021

Orphans such as Nabulu, Mukkoka, Naboishu, Kiasa and Larro continue to enjoy their walks deeper into the forest. Today, however, as the forest was so wet from the recent downpours, they all seemed very reluctant to head out further, and chose to remain close to the rest of the Nursery herd who are always happy to settle close by or wherever Maisha and the Keepers may choose. 

All the orphans were happily browsing near one another apart from Ziwadi and Rama, who decided to wander off together looking for their favourite greens. Neither of them seemed bothered by the wet branches as they just went bounding off. The Keepers kept a close on them as they are both in the habit of wandering off and then getting a little lost, but today they didn’t wander too far so they were always within the Keepers sight. Naleku, was happily following them this morning, which isn’t always the case as she also enjoys browsing with her older friend Mukkoka. The little girl could be seen following them wherever they went and when they settled, she would then settle to browse between them, and if Ziwadi would turn, she too would turn as if she was Ziwadi’s little shadow. 

Unlike other days, Mukkoka, Naboishu and Olorien were not in a rush to run down for the afternoon bottles of milk. This was very odd behaviour as they are normally amongst the first to come barreling down and Naboishu is normally trumpeting and rumbling in excitement. This afternoon, however, they didn’t seem very happy about the fact that the forest was all muddy and slippery as this prevented them from running fast. Every time Mukkoka and Naboishu would try to speed up they would start to slip and wobble, so they would immediately slow down and they eventually made it down to the milk feeding point. 

After their afternoon bottles, the orphans settled back in the forest to browse before heading home. 

13 May 2021

The translocation training is continuing well with Maisha, Kiasa, Nabulu, Maktao and Kiombo all stepping into the translocation lorry rooms without any hesitation at all. Maisha was initially the most hesitant about getting onto the lorry, and is now showing no hesitation at all at getting into the specially designed stockades on the truck. Sometimes she is even seen spending a bit of time on there and is in no rush to come off. The Keepers are very happy with how their training is going and their training will continue up until their moving date.  

As the older orphans are busy with their training, the rest of the Nursery herd is led to their milk feeding point by Larro. This is a great opportunity for Larro to take the lead and fit into her new role as matriarch of the Nursery. Naboishu, Mukkoka, Bondeni, Roho, Kindani, Kinyei, Naleku, Rama, Ziwadi, Esoit, and Olorien are all happy to follow her as she leads them through the forest and Naleku and Roho seem to be doing alright without the older orphans around. The Keepers were slightly worried about Roho but with the arrival of Bondeni, Kindani, Kinyei and Esoit he seems to have gotten used to sharing Maisha’s attention now and not spending so much time with her. He has been spending more time with his friend Naboishu, Larro, Naleku and the other younger orphans. 

The Keepers are confident that Larro will have no issues leading the orphans and as she seems to have gotten used to Maisha not being around for the milk feeds, she now appears far more comfortable with leading the Nursery herd. Maisha and Nabulu also seem quite relaxed with Larro leading and they seem ready to pass over their responsibilities to the next generation at the Nursery. 

14 May 2021

It was another wet morning as the orphans were waking up and the Keepers were beginning to let them out of their stables. This morning, all the orphans came hurtling out of their stables and stockades and quickly made their way out to the forest, closely followed by Ziwadi and Rama who were finishing up with their morning routines. 

Once in the forest, the orphans were all peacefully browsing when Roho and Naboishu decided to kick things up a notch and engaged each other in a strength testing match. Whilst most of the herd was quietly enjoying their greens, Roho and Naboishu were chasing each other around the forest and wrestling each other, barreling over the smaller bushes. It is great that Naboishu and Roho have each other to wrestle as this will mean that they will always have an opponent even after the older bulls’ graduation. 

Ziwadi and Rama continue to be close friends and lately they have had a new companion in the form of little Naleku. Naleku seems to enjoy following them around when they are adventuring throughout the forest and today was just the same. 

When the orphans went down to the mud bath for the 3 o’clock, Ziwadi ran down with Naleku and some of the younger orphans. This seemed to really annoy Rama as he could no longer see his friend Ziwadi anymore and he wanted to run down quickly to rejoin her. He kept rumbling at his Keepers and trying to run past them, so much so that the Keepers eventually let him run down ahead of the next group. At the mud bath he quickly downed his bottles and then ran over to Ziwadi who was already busy browsing. They spent the rest of the afternoon together. 

15 May 2021

Naleku continues to be a strong little independent girl, who even gains the respect of the older girls Maisha, Kiasa and Nabulu. This morning, after the orphans finished their 9am bottles of milk and were making their way back to the forest, Naleku seemed to be unhappy with the direction Maisha was heading so she organized her own little cunning plan to lead Bondeni away from the herd and in her own direction. Along the way something seemed to bother Naleku and she quickly did a U-turn back to Bondeni. For some reason this gave Bondeni such a fright that he yelled out to the others and came sprinting back. Larro, Maisha, Kiasa and Nabulu immediately sprung into action and went running towards Bondeni. 

All four girls quickly surveyed the area and couldn’t see any danger in site so Nabulu, Kiasa, and Larro escorted him back to the herd. Maisha was left behind waiting for little Naleku who she then brought back to the herd. 

Later in the afternoon, Naleku seemed to want to wander off yet again but this time she was more organized with who she recruited. She was now accompanied by Larro, Kiasa, Bondeni, Naboishu and Mukkoka. She appeared to be happy leading her little group further afield to a location of her choosing. The Keepers are confident that this young girl has the potential of being a future matriarch and leading her own herd one day. 

16 May 2021

This morning, as the orphans settled in the forest, Maisha engaged Kiombo in a wrestling match. Although Kiombo is wider in size, Maisha is taller than he is, and she does put up quite a challenge. Kiombo enjoys challenging both Maisha and Nabulu; Maisha is always a bit gentler than Nabulu so their games do carry on for longer. Nabulu, since her arrival at the Nursery, has always been known as a tough girl who can hold her own, and she doesn’t take any nonsense from any of the other orphans including the bulls who she often puts in their place. As she is so tough, even her friend Kiombo won’t necessarily throw all his weight against her, seemingly to stay out of trouble. 

Maktao is also a great fan of wrestling matches but lately he has also been taking his uncle duties very seriously and he is sometimes too busy to wrestle these days. Maktao appears to love spending time with Bondeni, Olorien, Kindani, Kinyei, Naleku, Ziwadi, Esoit and Rama. When Maktao is busy playing uncle and looking after his little friends, Kiombo always seems to be looking around for someone to challenge in a strength testing match. We will often wrestle Mukkoka but some days he will challenge Kiasa, Nabulu and Maisha. 

Throughout today, Kiombo kept trying to challenge Maisha, chasing her around the forest, and nudging at her to get her to wrestle. Maisha, however, had lost interest since their first game and kept telling him off. Kiombo then rushed off to try and challenge Kiasa. Kiasa immediately responded and started wrestling him and they were having the best time pushing and chasing each other throughout the forest. 

Nabulu had no interest in wrestling as she was looking after some of the younger orphans, Esoit, Olorien, Rama, Larro, Kindani, Bondeni, Ziwadi, and Kinyei. Maktao was also around and he was keeping Naleku, Roho, and Naboishu company. Funnily enough, once Kiombo was done wrestling Maisha, he kept trying to sneak up on Nabulu to challenge her, but she was too sharp for him and kept chasing him away. He eventually settled to browse before heading home for the evening. 

17 May 2021

Larro and Naboishu continue to be extremely greedy when it comes to their milk feeds, and now they are even being impatient when it comes to waiting for their turn to run down. They have even been naughty whilst waiting for their milk feeds within their stockades, they can be heard knocking against their gates, and grumbling at their Keepers to bring their milk. The Keepers are quite used to their greediness and they fortunately don’t take too much notice of their antics unless they are bothering the other orphans.

This morning, as it was nearing the time for the orphans to have their 9 o’clock bottles of milk, all the orphans were gathering around their Keepers, ready to run down. Larro and Naboishu, however, managed to sneak past their Keepers and dashed down to the Keepers that were waiting by the wheelbarrow. As they were arriving down at milk feeding point, the Keepers weren’t ready for them so they both had to wait a bit before having their bottles, and this seemed to upset them both. Naboishu could be heard yelling and Larro too was protesting and grumbling. They then both began to walk towards the stockade compound, and it was at this point that they noticed the wheelbarrow approaching.

Naboishu was so excited that he almost knocked over the wheelbarrow and the Keepers had to usher him away. The Keepers quickly managed to put their bottles out and feed them and then they chased them to the forest so they wouldn’t bother any of the other orphans as they fed. The orphans then had a quiet day browsing in the forest all together and the Keepers kept a close eye on the naughty duo. 

18 May 2021

Olorien is generally a very quiet little girl but she can be very tough some days on her friends, especially if they bother her whilst she is browsing. This morning as the orphans settled back in the forest after their 9am bottles of milk, Olorien appeared to find the most delicious branch and Kindani, Kinyei and Bondeni all seemed to pick up on this as they all quickly came running over. It was so funny to watch, because as soon as Olorien saw them approaching, she quickly turned to face them and flared up her ears at them as if to warn them to stay back and not come any closer.

Kindani, however, did not respect this warning and she continued to approach Olorien. Before Kindani could even stretch out her trunk and smell the branch, Olorien went on the defensive and head butted Kindani, pushing her back. As soon as she hit back Kindani, she seemed to scare off Bondeni and Kinyei who quickly moved off back to the rest of the herd. Kindani, seemingly unimpressed with Olorien, quickly walked off to join the others. Olorien was then left with her branch.

The orphans had a very quiet day browsing in the forest.

19 May 2021

This morning, after the orphans finished their 9 o’clock bottles of milk, Ziwadi, Olorien and Rama went off to browse in their own little corner. They didn’t seem eager to follow the rest of the Nursery herd deeper into the forest so they stayed in one of Ziwadi’s favourite spots with some of their Keepers. Olorien, Ziwadi and Rama all share one thing in common, that they love to browse and they really enjoy their peace and quiet whilst they browse. They are also close friends and they enjoyed most of their morning together.

Little Esoit has settled in so well within the Nursery herd and he seems to love the attention and affection he gets from all the girls and bulls in his new family. Maisha, Kiasa and Nabulu all appear to love this little bull as they all enjoy doting upon him whilst in the forest. This little newcomer has quickly learnt the different routines of the Nursery and he also seems to know when the milk feeding times are. As the milk feeding times approach, he seems to get excited and starts becoming restless and he even tries to lead the other little orphans such as Bondeni, Kinyei, Kindani, Olorien and Naleku.

Esoit also seems to be forming his own little friendships with some of the younger orphans, and he has been seeing playing with Kinyei, Roho and even Rama. He can be seen following Rama sometimes and being all playful with him whilst walking through the forest. He has even been playing with Nabulu this afternoon, climbing on her back as she lay on the ground. After their fun and games the orphans had a quiet afternoon browsing before heading home for the evening.

20 May 2021

Since Esoit’s arrival at the Nursery, Roho’s relationship with the older girls seems to have changed or rather developed and he seems to have gained some independence. Unlike before, Roho seems quite happy doing his own thins these days and he is not constantly stuck to Maisha’s side, or that of Nabulu and Kiasa’s. Roho is now spending more and more time with some of his other friends such as Mukkoka, Naboishu, Olorien, Kinyei and Naleku.

Esoit on the other hand, is being showered with attention from the older girls and they seem to be spending most of their days watching over the new addition to the herd. Even some of the bulls seem to be doting upon the little guy, such as Maktao, Rama, and even Mukkoka. Esoit has also gotten into the habit of enjoying an afternoon or midday nap and when he does have a nap the girls are sure to crowd around him, watching over him.

Roho continues to enjoy his play mounting games with Naboishu, and when Maisha is watching over Esoit she doesn’t really let him near her so he tends to now keep himself busy. After the orphans finished at the mud bath, they went back to the forest for a short browse session before heading back to the stockade compound for the evening.

21 May 2021

This morning Maxwell came bouncing out of his bedroom, as if excited to start his day and he walked straight up to one of his stockade gates where he began to smell and listen to the orphans coming out of their stables and stockades. As he was standing near his gate, Maktao, Kiombo and Mukkoka all came over to greet him. They enjoyed a brief moment of saying hello to one another but this was rudely interrupted by Mukkoka who started pulling on one of Max’s ears which seemed to annoy him as the rhino shook his head and then walked away. He went straight over to his Lucerne pellets where he began to enjoy his breakfast.

The translocation training continues to take place and Maktao, Mukkoka, Kiombo, Maisha, Nabulu and Kiasa are all doing so well. They have gotten so used to the training these days that they happily follow their Keepers down to the lorry and then all happily get onto the lorry where they finish their milk bottles and then get off to walk back to the forest. As the training is going so well, the Keepers are confident that they will be ready to graduate any day now.

The orphans had a quiet day browsing in the forest.

22 May 2021

Kiasa who always used to be known as the troublemaker has, as of late, been very calm and well behaved even during the milk feeding time. The Keepers can now let her run down with any of the groups, including the first groups as she will quickly finish her two bottles of milk and then happily head off to the forest, allowing the other orphans to run down in peace for their bottles. This is something the keepers were so apprehensive would happen as she would be so naughty so often. As she is about to graduate, the Keepers are so happy with her progress and think she will do so well at her new unit.

Ziwadi continues to be a special little girl in the Nursery herd. The Keepers are so pleased with her progress and that she has not had an epileptic fit in quite some time now. She still continues with her sweet habit of drinking through her mouth and she seems to know when best to get her fill of water as she is always gulping water in the mornings and evenings within the stockade compound. Larro used to also drink water this way but she seems to have outgrown that habit and now drinks with her trunk.

The orphans had a wonderful day browsing throughout the Nairobi National Park.

23 May 2021

During the translocation training, Kiasa, Maktao and Kiombo have more often than not all been getting onto the lorry together, so they seem to now be in the habit of always getting on and off together. Today, however, their training went so well that they got to spend quite a significant amount of time with the rest of the Nursery herd, which was nice as they were going to be departing soon. Maktao has been a fantastic uncle to the Nursery orphans and he seems to always enjoy being amongst the little ones. Kiombo has been a great wrestling partner to so many of the Nursery orphans and it is always so great to watch him having fun amongst the herd.

Kiasa spent a large amount of her day with Bondeni, Kindani, Kinyei, Naleku, Esoit and Roho. Kiombo and Maktao also joined her with the younger orphans; it was as if they somehow knew they needed to say their goodbyes.

Esoit continues to be a little greedy bull and because he is so greedy, the Keepers have decided to let him down a little bit after the first group which is generally comprised of the slower drinkers. This afternoon, as he was running down to the mud bath, he seemed to notice all the other orphans whom had already finished drinking and this appeared to upset as he began to rumble and trumpet in protest. As soon as he rumbled, Maisha, Nabulu, Kiasa and Larro all went running towards him and accompanied him down. Once all the orphans had finished their milk and playing around the mud bath, they made their way back to the forest.

24 May 2021

Today was an exciting day for Maktao, Kiasa and Kiombo who graduated to the Umani Reintegration Unit. Their day began very early, around 2am, and some of the other orphans were up listening to the different movements going on, including Maxwell who was standing by his gate listening to all the commotion. Just before 3am, the three orphans were loaded into the translocation lorry to commence their journey to their new home. Kiombo and Kiasa were exceptional as they both immediately walked straight onto the vehicle. Maktao, however, backed out and the gate didn’t close properly, which then gave him a fright and he refused to walk on again. Kiombo and Kiasa were now shut into their compartments, and the Keepers continued to try and coax Maktao on with his milk bottles. Maisha, Roho and some of the others could be hears rumbling from their stockades and stables.

The Keepers spent a good amount of time trying to persuade Maktao to get on, and after about 10 minutes Maktao finally conceded, and the Keepers were able to safely enclose him in his stockade. By 3:15am they were all safely on board and the lorry started on its journey to the Kibwezi Forest. 

As the remainder of the Nursery orphans were being let out of their stables around 6am, they all seemed to be looking around for Maktao, Kiombo, Kiasa. It is always normal for them to look around when their friends graduate and as they day carried on, they all seemed to settle down. Maisha and Mukkoka took the longest to settle, Mukkoka perhaps because two of his wrestling buddies had left and Maisha perhaps because her friend Kiasa was gone and her herd was now smaller. The Keepers comforted them all and Mukkoka eventually managed to enjoy a wrestling match with Naboishu which seemed to cheer him up. The Nursery herd had a quiet day but by the evening they all seemed to be in better spirits. 

25 May 2021

The translocation lorry arrived back at the Nairobi Nursery around 8:30pm with an old friend, Shukuru. The decision was made to bring Shukuru back from the Nairobi Nursery as she has been grappling with health issues for many years now, and at the Nursery she can receive a closer level of care. As she was off loaded from the vehicle escorted by one of her favourite Keepers, this calm girl happily followed the Keepers through the stockade compound. As she was walking past Rama’s gate, the young bull approached his gate to see what was going on and smell the newcomer. Shukuru appeared to notice him as she too stopped and walked over to his stockade gate to greet the bull. The two could be heard rumbling at one another. Shukuru was then led on by the Keepers, to her new stockade, next door to Larro. She refused to enter at first as she seemed to want to head on out to the forest. The Keepers quickly stopped her which then sparked interest from Naboishu who came over to his gate, and they enjoyed a brief interaction again before she was ushered back to the stockade. Once the Keepers pointed out her fresh greens within the stockade, she happily walked in. 

Larro was such an excellent and compassionate neighbour to Shukuru. Throughout the night, the young girl could be seen interacting her new neighbour and they could even be seen sharing trunk hugs. They continued to interact with one another and share each other’s greens up until the morning when the Keepers were beginning their rounds. 

Nabulu and Maisha both seemed to be eager to meet this new arrival, as they were both waiting at their gates to be let out. As soon as Maisha and Nabulu came out of their stockades they immediately walked over to Shukuru’s gate and as she was let out we heard loud rumbles between all the older girls. Larro stood in between the older girls as if she oversaw the introductions between Maisha, Nabulu and Shukuru. The other orphans carried on with their morning routines as the girls got to know each other. 

Once the greetings were over, the orphans began to make their way to the forest. Maisha did not leave Shukuru’s side, accompanying her wherever she went. As Shukuru had grown up at the Nursery she was very used to the environment, and the only thing that seemed to take her by surprise was all the young little orphans around her, although this is not her first trip back to Nairobi. All the younger orphans began to greet her out in the forest and later in the afternoon Olorien appeared to take over from Maisha and kept her company throughout the afternoon. 

Olorien is known to sometimes push her luck with the new arrivals and push them around. She did try this with Shukuru a couple of time but Shukuru being so much bigger in size and older, chased her away. The orphans then all peacefully walked back to the stockade compound at 5pm.

26 May 2021

It was another very early start for the Keepers who were once again up around 2am getting the translocation lorry ready once more. This time the lorry was being prepared for Maisha and Nabulu who were graduating to the Ithumba Reintegration Unit. As Mukkoka is the youngest amongst those who first started the training, the decision was made to keep him at the Nursery so that he could be a good role model to all the younger bulls, and a wrestling buddy to Roho and Naboishu. 

At around 2:35am, Maisha and Nabulu were brought round to get onto the translocation lorry. They both walked straight onto the lorry but as soon as the Keepers tried to shut the gates, they both seemed to panic a little and came running off. The Keepers let them calm down and then tried again. Nabulu was first on and the Keepers safely locked her in before trying with Maisha again. Maisha didn’t put up too much of a fuss and within a few minutes she was also safely on board. By 2:55am the girls were safely on board and on their way. As the girls were being loaded, Roho and Esoit could be heard rumbling from their stables. This started all the orphans rumbling apart from Shukuru and Rama. The orphans were so loud that it was like a farewell choir for the girls. Once the lorry had driven off, the Nursery orphans all calmed down and settled once more. 

Around 6:30am the Keepers started opening all the stable and stockade doors. As soon as Roho and Esoit came out their stables, they approached Maisha’s stockade and began to sniff around, as if looking for their friend and leader. The Keepers were quick to comfort them and usher them along so they could join Larro and the other orphans. They both seemed confused for quite some time but Larro remained close to them and later in the day they both seemed to relax and settle into their daily routine.

Even Mukkoka and Naboishu tried to comfort Roho by challenging him to a wrestling match. This seemed to lift his spirits even more as he happily challenged his friends; all three of them charging around. 

Shukuru was quite naughty this afternoon as she kept trying to wander further afield. She is perhaps used to always venturing on further walks with the Umani orphans, not realising that the Nursery herd generally stick together. The Keepers kept having to usher her back, which appeared to annoy her a little as she kept rumbling at them in protest. At 5pm all the orphans including Shukuru were led back to the stockade compound for the evening. 

27 May 2021

As the orphans grow up and their roles change within the herd, so too do their personalities. As Shukuru has got older she has become quite a quiet elephant that often enjoys her own company. This may be a result of her health struggles, but it is very different to the young little orphan that arrived at the Nursery so many years ago. She used to love spending time amongst the herd and would constantly bounce between her friends. Lately, however, she is sticking to herself and is not very social with her young peers, but we hope that she will once again find comfort in her little friends once she has settled down. 

The younger orphans are very persistent as they all keep trying to win her over. Esoit, Roho, Kindani, Kinyei and Naleku have all been seen trying to win over Shukuru’s affection. Sometimes she responds positively but at other times she just walks away or chases them off, and it now seems to be a fun little game for the orphans, especially for little Naleku who keeps trying time and time again. Naleku has always been known for being a confident young girl and this is just testament to her personality. 

An amazing change within the Nursery is Naboishu who seems to have taken a liking to the youngest member of the Nursery herd, Esoit. Recently, he has been inviting the little bull to light pushing games and it has been amazing to watch shy Naboishu play so calmly and gently with the little calf. 

Just before it was time for the orphans to head back to the stockade compound, there was a baboon being extremely loud within the forest, constantly barking and shrieking. This appeared to be annoying Ziwadi, who suddenly decided to charge the troop. Unfortunately for her and the other orphans, the noisy baboon was at the top of a tree. As she couldn’t get to it, she decided to just leave it and head back to the stockade compound with the rest of the herd. 

28 May 2021

The animosity towards the baboons carried on this morning when the orphans were out in the forest. As the orphans were settling to browse, the baboons were jumping around in the trees above. At first the orphans paid no attention to them as they were high up in the trees but as the morning carried on, they started getting closer and closer to them. One was so brave, that he swooped right above Larro, scraping her back. This seemed to really infuriate Larro, who trumpeted and rumbled so loudly she alerted the entire Nursery herd. She then proceeded to charge through the forest, bashing all the bushes and rumbling to chase the baboons away. 

She was soon joined by Mukkoka, Naleku and Roho who all helped her chase the baboons. Roho was the funniest as he seemed to keep trying to climb up the trunk of some of the trees to get closer to the naughty baboons. Eventually the whole herd was up in arms rumbling and trumpeting and this seemed to chase the baboons far away. The orphans then settled back to the browse. 

Shukuru once again tried to disappear to her own little corner. This time, however, one of the Keepers remained with her to ensure she didn’t go too far. 

Larro is proving to be a very attentive and compassionate matriarch. She seems to always keep an eye on the younger orphans, and she is always ready to jump into action. This afternoon, Larro was with Bondeni and Olorien and they seemed to be communicating each other when suddenly Bondeni let out a loud trumpet as if in protest. As soon as he trumpeted, Larro came charging over to see what was wrong and immediately began to rumble at them all. She then began sharing some of her greens with Bondeni, which seemed to make Olorien jealous as she came running over and pushed him out of the way. Larro let out a deep rumble as if to discipline Olorien, who immediately stopped pestering Bondeni. 

Roho and Esoit are growing closer together and the Keepers feel as though they may become great playmates as they grow older. Today, they started playing a wrestling match where they were busy pushing each other around the forest before heading back to the stockade compound for the evening. 

29 May 2021

With Maisha’s departure, the Keepers were worried that Roho would miss her a huge amount and would struggle to settle. Almost to their surprise however, Roho has adapted to the new Nursery life and seems to be progressing happily. The Keepers also feel that he may have gained some independence without the older girls constantly hovering over him, and he is now spending time with different groups in the Nursery herd. This morning, he was spending quite a lot of time with Ziwadi and Rama, peacefully browsing near them and moving along with them as they changed their location. 

When he was not with Ziwadi and Rama, he was challenging Mukkoka and Naboishu to strength testing matches. Naleku on the other hand has become even more confident without the older girls. She now has no time at all to put up with Roho’s nonsense. If he starts to annoy her, she immediately puts him in his place and chases him away. Before she seemed to tolerate his antics a little bit more as Maisha was always around. 

Although Naboishu has become gentler with some of the younger orphans he can still be naughty and recently he seems to be enjoying disobeying the Keepers. When he is being insolent with the other orphans and the Keepers tell him off, he simply runs away and then comes dashing back to cause more mischief. The Keepers keep having to be stern with him! 

Kindani, Bondeni, and Kinyei are still the best of friends and some days they do not want to do anything without each other. This evening, as the orphans were headed back to their stables, Bondeni and Kindani were let off ahead of Kinyei. This seemed to really upset Kinyei who protested to her Keepers, and they eventually let her down and she went charging after her friend. Once back with she settled down and they all happily went into their stables. 

30 May 2021

The Nursery herd has returned to normal after a few days of adjusting to their older friends having been translocated. Mukkoka and Naleku have remained close friends and they continue to enjoy leading the Nursery herd and browsing near one another once out in the forest. They even enjoy wandering further afield together, without the rest of the orphans. This morning, after the orphans finished their 9am bottles of milk, Mukkoka could be seen distancing himself from the herd as if he was prepping to walk off and was now waiting for his little friend to join him. Naleku seemed oblivious to this as she was busy hanging around the milk wheelbarrow and some of the other orphans. Mukkoka suddenly let out a low rumble, as if to call her, and then she immediately appeared to respond with her own little rumble and came running over. 

As Roho was nearby Naleku when she went running off to join Mukkoka, so he decided to follow her. The Keepers quickly noticed Naleku and Roho heading off to Mukkoka, so they quickly stopped them as they didn’t want them wandering off too far. They all settled to browse near the herd but not for long, as they seemed to be keeping an eye on the Keepers to see when they could wander off. As soon as the Keepers were preoccupied with some of the other orphans, the three of them quickly snuck off. Fortunately, not too far, so the Keepers were able to quickly locate them.  

Rama shares this naughty habit with them, as he too is constantly looking for his opportunity to sneak away, especially during milk feeding times when all the Keepers are busy. This afternoon, as the orphans were being let down to the mud bath for their midday bottles of milk, Rama seemed to decide to rush off in his own direction as opposed to run down to the waterhole. The Keepers would try to redirect him, but he would just run in the opposite direction. Eventually the Keepers decide to leave him be and one of them followed him and then slowly ushered him back down to the mud bath area where he enjoyed his milk bottle. 

Roho and Esoit seem to have a budding friendship as they continue to enjoy some playful moments with one another throughout the day. This afternoon as they were back in the forest, they could be seen wrestling one another and chasing each through the forest. Their game continued for quite some time, before they were interrupted by Naboishu who seemed to want to take part in their game but Esoit appeared a little apprehensive about challenging such a large bull. Esoit seems to be settling in so well. 

31 May 2021

With the older boys having graduated, Naboishu seems to be getting naughtier and naughtier and Larro and Mukkoka seem to have sensed that the Keepers require assistance in controlling him. Sometimes younger bulls will gain confidence when they move up to the older generation of the herd, which is why it is always important for the matriarch to keep them in check. As Naboishu has his fleeting moments of being nice to the younger orphans, especially to Roho and Esoit whom he enjoys wrestling against, but most days he does try to cause mischief amongst the herd. 

Today, he was being particularly naughty towards Kinyei, Esoit, Bondeni and Ziwadi, as he kept pushing them around and bothering them as they would be browsing peacefully. The Keepers were constantly having to chase him away and they too were growing tired of his mischief. Eventually Mukkoka stepped in, he seemed to notice Naboishu chasing after Ziwadi unnecessarily and so he charged after Naboishu and poked him in the back with his tusks, as though he was really telling him off for bullying. Naboishu then went off to his own corner. 

During the midday milk feed, he was once again being naughty, chasing after Bondeni and accidentally knocking him to the ground. The poor little bull yelled out in protest, and this made Larro furious. She came charging over rumbling and trumpeting at Naboishu, chasing him far away from all the younger orphans. Naboishu seemed so scared of Larro that he didn’t dare come back. 

Esoit, much like many of our orphans, seems to be very greedy for his milk and he is constantly pestering his Keepers for more milk and harassing them to give him more. This afternoon he would not leave the wheelbarrow along and the Keepers had to keep chasing him off. With such naughty behaviour the Keepers now wonder if perhaps Naboishu and Esoit should run down together so they can be naughty away from the rest of the Nursery herd.