Keepers' Diaries, November 2007

Nairobi Nursery Unit

The two Nursery Big Boys, namely Zurura and Kamboyo were transferred to the Ithumba Reintegration facility on the 8th November. It was time for them to go, for they needed the discipline of older Matriarchs, and stronger bulls against whom to test their strength and practice sparring skills. By now, the three older Nursery girls were finding them a handful, as were the Keepers, the new Matriarch, Lenana, not assertive enough to keep them in line.

01 November 2007

Because it was a chilly morning, with light drizzling rain, the small Nursery babies were not allowed out in the morning. When they eventually came out, Lesanju targeted Shimba, who had emerged from his separate stable. We think that she thought he had been allowed out, when the girls had not!

02 November 2007

As soon as they emerged in the morning, the small Nursery orphans had a lot of fun chasing a warthog family with small piglets around the compound. Even little Dida joined in the chase – the first time she has started to play.

03 November 2007

Lesanju, who is the Leader of the smallest group, and who usually leads the babies to the mudbath at noon, today allowed Lempaute this privilege. Lempaute went charging straight into all the school children, rejoicing in the affect this had, and then spent a long time fraternizing with all the visitors, forgetting about her milk. Eventually, towards the end of the Open Visiting Hour, she decided to take her milk.

04 November 2007

The small babies had a wonderful time playing in a pile of soft red earth that had been brought to the mudbath area. Lesanju, Lempaute and Shimba all rolled around in it, and little Dida tried to climb on them.

05 November 2007

Makena tried to copy the naughty behaviour of little Lempaute today, by playing behind the visitors’ rope. The Keepers had to bring her back because she is much larger than Lempaute and might inadvertently knock a visitor over.

06 November 2007

When cleaning Sinya’s wound, we were impressed to see that healing is taking place. The wound looked clean, with no sign of pus, and Sinya was very good and did not put up the usual struggle when we restrained her.

07 November 2007

Lempaute had us very worried today, displaying un-natural behaviour, flapping her ears, biting her trunk and trembling, as though constantly startled and afraid of something unseen. Although she took her milk at 9 a.m., she then refused the noon feed, and remained in this agitated state. The Vet came to see her, but also could not understand such unusual behaviour. He thought she might have eaten a poisonous plant, or a mushroom that was making her hallucinate. Mercifully, by the evening, the affects of whatever had caused this upset were wearing off, and she appeared normal again. Everyone remains extremely puzzled as to what could have happened to Lempaute.

08 November 2007

Although we have been trying to persuade Kamboyo to practice getting into the Truck for 8 days now, he still refuses to go in. Since today was the day for the move, he was given a mild sedative, and eventually we managed to get him loaded, pushing him from behind, and getting a rope around one front leg so that a Keeper could pull from the front. Zurura was very obliging, and was already loaded and waiting to leave. Eventually both trucks left the Nursery at 5.30 a.m. in the morning, headed for Ithumba, and we all waved a farewell to our two Big Nursery Boys.

09 November 2007

Lenana, Makena and Chyulu noticed the absence of Kamboyo and Zurura today, and kept returning to the Stockades to search for them. Makena was not as distressed as Lenana, and eventually took over the leadership of the group. Even the milk feeds were disorderly, because they noticed that Kamboyo and Zurura’s share was missing, and things were not as usual.

10 November 2007

After the noon mudbath, we noticed that Sinya was dragging her right back leg. There was a swelling on the back of the foot, which was hard and looked like a boil. We began mixing her milk with colloidal silver.

11 November 2007

This morning Sinya’s foot was obviously worrying her because she didn’t sleep well last night, and looked tired. We continued with the Silver.

12 November 2007

Whilst walking through the bush, Sinya’s wound got scratched by a stick, and began to bleed. We dabbed it with Calendula and then put the Green Clay on, and the bleeding instantly stopped.

13 November 2007

Although it was a very cold day, Makena and Chyulu insisted on going into the mudbath, and had a wonderful time wallowing. Only Lenana didn’t go in. the small babies were not allowed near the mudbath, it being far too cold for them to be tempted.

14 November 2007

At about l0 a.m. a male bushbuck popped out of the bush near where Shimba was feeding. He came running to the Keepers for protection, and this startled all the girls, who also began running to the Keepers. The bushbuck likewise ran, but in a different direction.

15 November 2007

Makena, Lenana and Chyulu came across a group of warthogs and their piglets after the mudbath, and then the chase began. The pigs went in different directions, with elephants after them, also in different directions, so the Keepers had a difficult time rounding up their charges. Makena chased the warthogs right down into the main Park.

16 November 2007

As the babies were feeding and playing out in the bush, Shida suddenly appeared. This scared the girls, who ran back to the Keepers, but Shimba remained. Shida then approached Shimba, and wanted to play with him, but the Keepers drove Shida off, because this would have been fraught.

17 November 2007

Sinya is very possessive of Lesanju, and doesn’t want to share her with little Dida. Dida only wants Lesanju, and is not interested in being with Lempaute, which has made Lempaute irritated with her.

18 November 2007

We were told to put Dida in with Lesanju and Lempaute at night. Sinya is in the next door stable. Dida had a wonderful night, able to be close to Lesanju and Lempaute was also pleased to have her attention.

19 November 2007

As soon as Shimba was let out of his stable in the morning, he went straight to Lesanju’s stable to look for Dida, who used to share the night in with him. When Dida emerged from Lesanju’s quarters, he stretched out his trunk to greet her, and then went off on his own, as usual.

20 November 2007

Today, Lempaute wanted Dida all to herself, constantly hanging on to her head, and legs, so that she couldn’t follow Lesanju. However, Dida only wanted Lesanju, which didn’t please Sinya, who kept pushing her away. In the end, Lempaute gave up trying to gain possession of Dida, and went off to feed alone.

21 November 2007

A very large group of school-children, noisily coming down to the mudbath area scared Lenana today, who bellowed and ran into the bush. The Keepers had difficulty calming her down.

22 November 2007

Today when it was time for the 3 p.m. milk feed, Lesanju ran to meet the Mixer, taking Sinya and Lempaute with her. Little Dida was left on her own, until she spotted Shimba who was feeding nearby. She went to join him, and he then slowly walked down to the milk venue, continually looking behind to make sure that Dida was following. He seemed very touched that she was now with him rather than with the three girls.

23 November 2007

Shida interrupted the mudbath today, so the Keepers had to remove the elephants to allow him to wallow. Having taken a mudbath, Shida then went to dry himself by rolling in the red earth, before moving off. All the visitors were very pleased to have seen him, as well as all the elephants.

24 November 2007

When it was time to go into the Night Stables, Sinya went in with Lesanju, Lempaute and Dida, and refused to come out. The Keepers had to force her to come out and go into her own stable next door. She always wants to be close to Lesanju.

25 November 2007

It was a beautiful sunny morning, and the small babies came out in a joyful mood first thing in the morning. They were running up and down, and playing with each other. It is wonderful to see little Dida playing at last, because for a long time she has been very dull.

26 November 2007

The small elephants had a wonderful time playing in the earth pile today, all rolling around, and climbing on one another. Little Dida had a wonderful time as well, which made the Keepers very happy.

27 November 2007

We could not understand what upset Shimba at about 8.30 p.m., when he began trying to climb out of his stable, bellowing and passing a lot of dung. He was so upset that in the end we took him to Sinya’s stable, and when with her, he settled down and slept peacefully.

28 November 2007

Shimba went into his stable quietly, as usual and all went well until about l0 p.m., when he started playing up again. He had a sleepless night, so we will have to decide what needs to be done to make him happier at night. He seems to be missing the company of Dida, and because she is now with the other girls, feels that he needs to be with them as well.

29 November 2007

We decided to try and put Sinya into the stable next door to Shimba, but this didn’t work. First of all, she refused to go in, until we had to force her. Once inside, she was very restless, and began crying, so we gave up and took her back to her usual place, next door to Lesanju and Lempaute. Shimba seemed to have a more peaceful night and did not begin his nonsense.

30 November 2007

Shimba is now happy sleeping with his new friend, Sinya. When he emerged this morning, he began a tough fight with Lesanju, which went on for almost an hour. Although we kept on trying to separate them, they just continued the argument somewhere else. We think that Shimba is blaming Lesanju for having taken baby Dida from him!