Keepers' Diaries, November 2005

Nairobi Nursery Unit

We have struggled with blind little Ndololo this month, who has been having cortisone and antibiotic ointment in both eyes at 2 hourly intervals for many weeks now, but sadly with no visible results. Two ophthalmologists are monitoring him, and we all agree that because he is an elephant, he needs time. He has also been teething, and as usual this has been accompanied by the usual diarrheoa, necessitating two courses of Sulphadimidine and has left him in a skeletal condition. However, his spirit remains strong, and the love and trust he has for his Keepers is deeply touching, and also sad, to behold. He enjoys his little walks, following the tapping sound of a stick, and the scent of the Keepers, responds to his name and the sound of voices and loves his exclusive little dustbath. However, this tiny bull has too many problems for us to be able to be optimistic about his chances of survival, quite apart from the fact that a blind bull would find it very difficult to cope in a wild situation.

01 November 2005

Unlike the usual pushy bull behaviour, today Kora was very caring of little Zurura, standing close to him. Up until now, Lualeni has been anxious to take charge of Zurura, but Zurura prefers the company of Kora, so Lualeni has accepted that.

02 November 2005

On the way home in the evening, Makena was leading the Nursery orphans, followed by Naserian, when Rapsu rushed to take the lead. Naserian was angry with Rapsu and pushed him very hard, forcing him to the back of the column again, so that her baby, Makena, could again be Leader.

03 November 2005

Buchuma is a loner, choosing to spend the day apart from the others. Even when the Keepers change location, he remains behind, and does not want to be urged to follow. He is very pushy with the small babies.

04 November 2005

Rapsu put on a good display at the mudbath, chasing away all the warthogs who were anxious to get into the mud because it was very hot. This excited Kora, who joined in the chasing game, much to the delight of all the visitors.

05 November 2005

Zurura is a funny little elephant, already quite pushy with the Keepers. He insists on having the blanket over his head whilst he feeds, and until things are correct, he shoves the Keepers around.

06 November 2005

There was drizzly rain in the morning, so Zurura and Makena had to be kept in their stables when the other elephants left. They did not like this. When the rain stopped at 10 a.m., they were allowed out to join the others.

07 November 2005

Zurura is very curious about the little blind baby, Ndololo, who is in the next door stable at night. He stretches his trunk through the partition, puzzled as to why Ndololo does not respond, not knowing that the baby cannot see the greeting.

08 November 2005

The orphans were scared today by a herd of running impala. They ran back to their keepers, bellowing. We changed direction, not knowing what had frightened the impala.

09 November 2005

Zurura was very hungry for his milk today, so we had to feed the big elephants fast in order to attend to him. Zurura even knocked one of the Keepers to the ground because he was so impatient. He is a very pushy baby, although he is only about 6 weeks old.

10 November 2005

It was a wet and rainy day, which made the orphans very happy. The Keepers had a difficult time trying to restrain Zurura and Makena from rolling in the puddles and getting wet, which is not good for tiny ones. They also wanted to eat the mud, which also is not a good idea. Naserian did not like the Keepers interfering with the little ones’ games.

11 November 2005

Zurura kept following Naserian, but she only wants Makena near her, and keeps pushing Zurura back. When he began to play with Makena, Naserian pushed him away and drew Makena towards herself. Eventually Zurura joined up with Kora, who is his friend.

12 November 2005

It began to rain hard at about 10 a.m. so Zurura and Makena had to be returned to the shelter of their stables. The Keepers had difficulty in separating Makena from Naserian, and once in the stable, Makena protested loudly, bellowing often. When the rain stopped, the two babies were able to join the others out in the bush.

13 November 2005

Kora and Zurura are friends, but today Kora misbehaved by trying to mount onto Zurura, who screamed, and ran to Naserian for protection.

14 November 2005

Zurura was again very impatient for his milk today, and knocked the Keeper down before accepting his bottle.

15 November 2005

Today, Ndololo enjoyed a soil bath which was made for him not far from his stable. He enjoyed rolling in the red earth very much, until a passing vehicle scared him, when he ran towards his Keeper, using his sense of smell.

16 November 2005

There was drizzling rain in the morning, so Zurura and Makena were kept inside their stable. Makena kept on protesting, which brought Naserian back to try and collect her. When the rain stopped the two babies were allowed out. Today, a new baby came in from Ziwani in Tsavo West. He is called Challa, the name of the place where he was found in amongst a herd of cattle. He is very thin, and quite wild, so he was put into Rapsu’s stable, where there is an escape platform for the Keepers. During the night, he calmed down, and by the morning the Keeper was able to be with him, and he was taking weak milk.

17 November 2005

After the mudbath, the orphans were taken to meet the newcomer, Challa, but Rapsu kept on pushing him. Challa was taken outside to be with the others, where Kora kept pushing him away. Eventually, because Challa is very weak, we returned him to the stable.

18 November 2005

Shida, the young rhino, was very suspicious today, and kept on looking in one direction. The Keepers went to see what was troubling him, and a female giraffe emerged with her twin babies

19 November 2005

Lualeni would love to take Zurura as her special baby, but he keeps on trying to attach himself to Naserian instead, who does not want him and only wants Makena. When Naserian pushed Zurura away, he bellowed, and Lualeni ran to console him, touching him gently with her trunk.

20 November 2005

At the mudbath, Rapsu, Kora and Lualeni chased away a mother warthog and her babies. Today Challa was given de-worming medication, which made him pass a lot of dead worms.

21 November 2005

It was a hot day today, and all the elephants wanted to get right into the mudbath. The Keepers had a difficult time trying to keep Zurura and Makena out of it, not wanting them to get wet and cold, or drink the dirty water which could upset their tummies.

22 November 2005

Because it was a very cold day, Makena and Zurura were kept in all morning. When they were allowed out to join the others in the forest, Makena ran to Naserian, who greeted her with enormous joy, trumpeting and rumbling.

23 November 2005

It was a cold and rainy day, so all the elephants had to have their blankets and raincoats on. Zurura kept on putting his trunk under the other elephants’ blankets thinking that it should represent another feed, and he became very frustrated when no milk was coming!

24 November 2005

Ndololo has diarrheoa today, so he was given Sulphadimadine and Rehydration. He was very uncomfortable during the night.

25 November 2005

The Keepers were joyful today, because Ndololo seemed a little better, and slept well during the night. In the afternoon he went out for a walk.

26 November 2005

Challa has a blown stomach today, and his whole body was trembling. The Vet came and gave him an injection, and he was better by the evening. He still has some live worms in the stool, but the Vet suggested we wait a few days before giving him another dose.

27 November 2005

Ndololo, who had not been well, seemed a little better. When the Keeper tried to wipe his mouth, he tried to push the Keeper!

28 November 2005

Makena made all the Keepers laugh today. She came running quickly from her stable to find Naserian, and when she could not see her, she knelt down, put her head near the ground, and bellowed several times. Naserian came running to fetch her.

29 November 2005

Zurura is making friends with Kora, having been rejected by Naserian, who only wants Makena. Kora has been pushing Challa, because he has been defeated by Buchuma, and wants to take weak Challa to show his strength. He and Rapsu are naughty towards Challa and have to be restrained by the Keepers.

30 November 2005

As soon as Makena was allowed out of her stable, she ran to Naserian’s Stockade, waiting at the door for it to be opened. Today Zurura kept following Kora, with Lualeni following them both, trying to take Zurura from Kora. However, Zurura was having none of it, which angered Lualeni, prompting her to give Kora a push to try and separate him from Zurura.