Keepers' Diaries, November 2006

Nairobi Nursery Unit

The 2nd November saw the arrival of a tiny 2 week old female, who, at the insistence of her Samburu rescuers, has been named“Lempaute” (meaning Big Pool of Water). She was spotted all alone in the Samburu West Gate Conservancy, near this big waterhole, and at the sight of the tribesmen, immediately rushed off into the bush screaming. However, soon she re-emerged, and simply followed them trustingly, remaining with them until they managed to get a message to Ian Craig of Lewa Downs, who alerted us to the rescue. The baby was airlifted to the Nursery, and apart from sun damage to the top of one ear, she is in good condition, and has attached herself to spirited little “Lesanju”, who sees herself as the Leader of the infant set. These two tiny babies have now been joined by Shimba, and another newcomer mentioned below named “Galdessa”, since they need to be kept in the shade to protect their fragile petal-soft ears from sun damage. Also, Shimba has been unwell, a wet trunk threatening pneumonia, to this has entailed another injectible antibiotic course, added to which when with the older elephants, he spent most of the time suckling on ears and anything else he could attach himself to, rather than concentrating on taking his milk.

01 November 2006

Makena was very lively at the mudbath today, running everywhere with the football, and chasing the baby warthogs. Loijuk liked the game, and joined in.

02 November 2006

Baby Shimba had to be kept in his stable this morning because of the rain. Sian spent a long time standing outside his stable waiting for him to come out, and refused to leave, even when the others had gone to the bush.

03 November 2006

Lempaute and Lesanju are very good friends, and very playful, running around together, but Shimba pushes them away when they come close to him. Lesanju looks upon herself as the little mother to the others.

04 November 2006

Chyulu was in a very playful mood today, running and rolling in the mud and then going to the others to push them and encourage them to join in.

05 November 2006

Kamboyo still bears a grudge against Lenana. He keeps pushing her away, and when she goes close to little Chyulu, he pushes her away as well.

06 November 2006

Lempaute and Lesanju had a lovely time playing in the mudbath today. They even tried to chase away the warthogs, which made all the visitors laugh.

07 November 2006

Shimba’s habit of suckling Sian is affecting his feeding. It was decided that he should join the baby group led by Lesanju, because of this. He was not best pleased, but at least he is taking his milk more readily.

08 November 2006

Lesanju is a lovely baby. She always wants to play, running around with the Keepers, and kneeling down to play in the soil. She loves her blanket, and knows the way around the compound, running back to have a session at the blanket, and leading the way to her stable when the time is right.

09 November 2006

Early this morning, Lesanju wanted to remain close to her stable, so the Keepers decided to take the babies further afield. On the way they came across a tortoise. Lesanju began to play with it, but when it began to move, she became very scared, and rushed back to the Keepers, crying!

10 November 2006

Today, the baby unit went to meet the Bigger Elephants out in the bush, and were warmly welcomed by Sian, Loijuk and Makena. Lesanju preferred the Keepers. Sian and Loijuk tried to console Shimba who looked a bit dull, but he sought out Kamboyo and began sucking his ear. Kamboyo loves Shimba, and does not mind being suckled.

11 November 2006

The day began with a light drizzle, so all the elephants were reluctant to leave the shelter of their Night Stables. When they did leave, they began to play in the puddles and the mud.

12 November 2006

Chyulu was very sociable at the noon mudbath. She remained close to the rope, walking up and down it, and allowing all the visitors to touch her, which made them very happy.

13 November 2006

The elephants came across the troupe of baboons out in the bush, who did not feel threatened by the elephants’ mock charges towards them. In the end, we decided to give them a wide berth and take another route.

14 November 2006

Makena is always the first to come running for her milk rations, often scaring the visitors who are waiting at the rope. She is followed by Sian and Loijuk, with Kamboyo always last.

15 November 2006

Zurura has grown big, and now likes to test his strength against Loijuk, who has tiny tusks, but this does not deter him. Often, when he is pushing Loijuk, Kamboyo comes to help him, and together they win the contest.

16 November 2006

Makena is obviously going to become the Mini Nursery Matriarch when Sian moves on, because she is always very close to Chyulu and loves little Shimba as well. Out in the bush, she is often the leader of the group, deciding where to take the others.

17 November 2006

Lenana was very scared by a giraffe who was feeding close by. She rushed back to the Stockade, even though it was only 2 p.m., and did not want to come back to the bush. It took the Keepers a long time to persuade her to join the others.

18 November 2006

Shimba is more active since he was separated from the older orphans and is now feeding much better, and faster. He is beginning to play with the other tiny babies now.

19 November 2006

Lempaute is tiny, but very playful, and mischievous. When she wants milk, she pushes the Keepers, and if the others come close to her hung blanket, she pushes them away at feeding times.

20 November 2006

Now that Chyulu is the smallest member of the Big Team, she expects all the others to take care of her. She always feeds close to either Sian or Loijuk. Makena loves her as well, but she prefers the other two females.

21 November 2006

Sian has turned out to be a very proficient Matriarch ever since Lualeni left. This has surprised the Keepers, because they thought Loijuk would take on this role. However, Sian is the one that takes care of, and looks out for, all the others, even rushing to Loijuk should she have a problem. Sometimes she leads the group, and at other times keeps returning to the back, just to ensure that they are all present and correct.

22 November 2006

Makena made all the visitors laugh at the mudbath by playing football, running with the ball ahead and kicking it with her front legs, and when she misses, getting it with one of her back legs. This impressed Loijuk, who joined in the game as well, so everyone enjoyed today’s mudbath.

23 November 2006

We were happy to welcome little Galdessa to the Nursery, who was flown in from Tsavo today. He was very calm and friendly to the Keepers, sucking their fingers. The three small babies came to see him, but he was so tired that he soon fell fast asleep. However, during the night he was very restless and disturbed.

24 November 2006

Galdessa joined the three small babies today, but is still very restless, and does not want to play with them. He was also very tired, and wanted to sleep, so was taken back to his Night Stable.

25 November 2006

Because Galdessa was so restless during the night, Loijuk was moved from her Stable into the Big Stockade sharing it with Zurura, so that Galdessa could be near Chyulu and Shimba. Chyulu was not happy about the absence of Loijuk, and made a lot of noise during the night.

26 November 2006

For the second night Chyulu protested loudly over the absence of Loijuk, and Loijuk also protested, knocking down the timbers of her Stockade during the night. It was decided that Loijuk would have to be moved back to her usual Stable next to Chyulu, and that Galdessa would have to go back into his original one, because he and Shimba kept fighting over the milk during the night.

27 November 2006

Galdessa, for the first time, went to join the big elephants, and was very warmly welcomed by all the girls, especially Sian and Loijuk, but he seemed disinterested and a bit shy.

28 November 2006

Whilst Sian is a very caring Matriarch of all the babies, and has a large role in this respect, she forgets her duty when it comes to milk-time, running to be first at the venue without caring for the youngsters!

29 November 2006

Chyulu was very happy today, because Loijuk was returned to her previous stable next door, having been moved out to one of the Stockades so that Galdessa could utilize her stable next door to Shimba and in between Shimba and Chyulu. Chyulu protested about this as did Loijuk, so for the sake of peace, the decision about the move was reversed again.

30 November 2006

Little Galdessa made the Keepers very happy today, because he has been running to his blanket to take his milk eagerly, previously having been a very reluctant feeder because his face was so sore. Shimba is not as playful as the other tiny babies. Having taken his milk, he just wants to eat leaves, probably because his ailing mother never had much milk for him.