Keepers' Diaries, November 2015

Nairobi Nursery Unit

This month has seen significant rains here at the Nairobi Nursery, with El nino seemingly upon us with some very wet days and nights never pleasant for either the Keepers or the orphans. However with plentiful vegetation, flowing streams and a mudbath at every turn, the baby elephants have had a lot of fun. During wet days we are mindful that our tiny baby herd has to be kept warm and dry. Boisterous baby bulls such as Kauro, Enkikwe, Olsekki and Sokotei enjoy trying to clamber over the long suffering older girls, Suswa, Mashariki, Embu, Arruba and Oltaiyoni and such jovial games can last for hours.

01 November 2015

Our new baby girl Tafuta accompanied Wei Wei, Kawaida, Kwama, Tamiyoi and Loboito for the day out in the forest this morning. When they got out it was around 6:30 in the morning and it was already warm and bright. Tafuta was so happy to be out although she wasn’t that interactive with her new friends. She mostly stayed away from the others and browsed on her own. Before the public visiting hour, most of the older girls came over to check on Wei Wei’s little team. There is a high possibility that they realised there was a new member among them and decided to come and say hello and introduce themselves as part of her new family. Suswa, Mashariki, Arruba, Oltaiyoni, Kamok, Siangiki and of course Mbegu made their way to the babies without anyone’s knowledge. They were very friendly and passionate with the little ones. When they arrived they made sure to greet everyone but they missed out Tafuta who was by herself in the bushes. Arruba went looking for her and when she found her she gave a happy rumble that also attracted all the others towards her too. They joined her and Tafuta and spent plenty of time introducing themselves and comforting the new arrival. They finally left to go for public visiting and their milk bottles, leaving the babies behind.

02 November 2015

Yesterday Murit was looking down and dull for almost the whole day. Today he looks much better and was one of the first babies to arrive for milk at public visiting. Immediately after drinking his milk he went down to the mud pool. It was after enjoying a lengthy mud bath all alone that Mwashoti joined him followed by Alamaya. Mbegu kept drawing water from the bath and spraying herself with mud. After doing that for some time she finally went into the mud hole herself after being pushed by Alamaya. Mbegu, the mud lover, was at her best at that point because she loves mud and swimming the most. She was down in the mud rolling and wallowing, and then she started running and kicking the football and when she started that, Murit came out of the pool. Mwashoti followed him, leaving Mbegu to enjoy the mud hole on her own. It was fun and entertaining when she went on splashing mud onto the feet of the crowd who were watching. She remained playing in the pool until the end of the visiting time.

03 November 2015

It was around 6am when the orphans came out of their stockades. Most of the older females were crowded around the new baby’s gate to greet her. She has been names Naseku and she still appears to be very confused, which is quite common with orphans when they arrive at this slightly older age. She tried to keep a distance from the other orphans. Arruba and Oltaiyoni were among those present at the gate and they stayed there awhile, insisting they would not go out to the bush until Naseku has interacted with them. The two managed to sneak into Rapa and Tusuja’s stockade and stretch their trunks to Naseku through the bars between the two stockades. Arruba and Oltaiyoni were reassured about her condition when Naseku came close to them; there was some nice trunk interaction between them both with Naseku which must have been of great comfort to her. The others standing at the gate started to leave one by one for the bush. As she watched them go and after enjoying that nice interaction with Oltaiyoni and Arruba, Naseku was not that happy with their decision to leave, not yet realizing that it was part of their every day routine and they would be back later. She tried bashing the gate and rolling on the ground in protest of not being allowed out yet too. It took her some time to calm down again and settle to browse on the greens in her stockade. It is very rare to find Balguda bullying his peers. He is always polite and gentle to his peers regardless of their age, but there must have been something that happened between him, Sokotei and Kauro. They were all standing together and in fact Sokotei is one of the older males that he plays wrestling games with when he is in a playful mood. Today though he decided to turn on Kauro and Sokotei and head-butt them and drive them out of the gathering. Kiko is becoming more independent these days and today it was very hard to bring him back home in the evening. After reaching Maxwell’s stockade he decided to turn back to the thicket and totally refuse to come home. It was only after the keepers brought him some milk that he decided to comply and follow them back. Back in the stockades in the evening, Naseku was so happy and very relieved when she saw her new neighbours Tusuja and Rapa enter their stockade. She went up to the gate separating their pens and after he finished his milk, Tusuja went up to her and exchanged trunks in communication.

04 November 2015

In the morning all the orphans were out in the field and the babies were in their two groups – Wei Wei and the other little babies and the older ones, and both groups were in different places. Tamiyoi sneaked off and found her way to the older herd. She is a little greedy girl and if there is no milk bottle around she wants to find a keeper’s finger to suckle on for comfort until her next bottle! She is quite a funny little elephant as she never really shows any interest towards the older orphans, but today she did; either she was looking for their affection, or she thought she might find some more milk with the older herd! She was found together with Arruba, Mashariki, Kamok and Mbegu who were all enjoying babysitting her. When Loboito left his stable this morning with his other friends he was looking okay. But by later in the morning his condition had changed and he started shaking and becoming weak. Blood tests were done and it indicated that his blood sugar level was a little low so he was put on a drip that gave him some energy. As the orphans enjoyed their day out in the bush, going further into the thicket, they were all in small groups. Oltaiyoni took off with Roi and Dupotto and they stayed away from the rest. When time came for public visiting and all the orphans group together to go down for their milk, these three girls were missing and they always go down in the first group of 15 babies. Some keepers started looking for them and the other keepers took the other 12 babies down to the mud bath where the public visiting takes place. Almost towards the end of the time for the first group, the three babies came strolling down of their own accord calling for their milk bottles. They must have lost track of time because all the babies know when it is milk time! Ndotto and Lasayen are two elephants that will never leave the public visiting time without trying to put a smile on the visitor’s faces! These two boys enjoyed their time down at the mud bath enjoying their usual games and making people laugh.

05 November 2015

Rapa is being such a little bully boy today, he envies Murit so much and keeps bullying him all the time. Today he is been bullying both Godoma and Murit both out in the bush and during the public visiting time near the mud bath. Godoma was standing next to a keeper feeding on the branches put out there for them to eat and Rapa came over and head butted her so she fell down, almost rolling into the mud pool! Earlier he had harassed Murit too whilst he was drinking his milk by trying to steal his bottle. When Murit keeper who was feeding him attempted to stop Rapa, he pushed both the keeper and Murit. The sweet little mini matriarch Mbegu was imitating the bad, cheeky behaviour of her friend Kamok today. She gave the keepers a hard time at visiting trying to steal milk from the other babies directly from the wheelbarrow. She attempted to charge at the keepers as a way of keeping them back from the wheelbarrow she was trying to steal from. This naughty behaviour was stopped by Mwashoti who had been watching her charging at the keepers. He came over and took control by pushing her away from the wheelbarrow. It was quite hot at 11am today and most of the babies went on playing in the mud pool. Oltaiyoni was not swimming though and was out busy browsing on the greens provided. The warthogs came over to cool themselves in the mud pool but as well as browsing Oltaiyoni was guarding and protecting the herd, like a matriarch who would never enter a mud hole without checking the safety of her herd first and foremost. Wanting to prove this role she drove the warthogs away and kept an eye making sure they didn’t come close to the babies again. Since last night poor baby Loboito has been on and off a drip. This morning he didn’t go out because his hind legs would not work. He can support himself on his front legs and can stand to drink and he is still enjoying his milk so we will endeavor to treat him.

06 November 2015

Loboito is still down and he is missing the company of his friend Wei Wei, and Wei Wei is missing him too. When Wei Wei was leaving in the morning for the bush the little boy heard him leaving and started crying for him. He fought to stand up but he still couldn’t do it. In the end we decided to delay Wei Wei for awhile to keep him company. As soon as Wei Wei came into the stable Loboito was happy to see him and stretched his trunk to touch and hold him. There was some relief on his face and some happiness in his eyes too. After some time with Loboito, Wei Wei left to go for a walk and see the other members of his baby herd. Loboito was taken outside and supported so that he could get some sunshine and vitamin D as well. When Wei Wei got to his group out in the bush he went around inspecting everyone with his trunk; it is obvious he is missing Loboito though as he dropped his head and went to stand on his own next to the short bushes. He remained by himself without any interaction with the rest of the group for the whole day. Back in the stockades in the evening, Boromoko joined Simotua in his stockade. Boromoko is so polite to the others and isn’t very much of a bully. But Simotua did not like Boromoko being in his stockade and bullied him because he didn’t want to share. Since they returned home this evening he has been bullying Boromoko; Boromoko is strong but Simotua has got longer tusks than him. Just by looking at Simotua’s tusks Boromoko can feel quite intimidated. Soon things thankfully settled as they concentrated on the cut greens in their stockades. Kiko is still giving the keepers problems when it is time to return home for bed. He ran back to the bushes this afternoon again after reaching Maxwell’s top stockade. The keepers had to run around and it took them awhile to bring him back and again only his milk seemed to work. Solio arrived home early this evening and Max was happy to see her. They played at length as Solio teased Max through the bars of his stockade and he got so excited, running up and down his stockade.

07 November 2015

Finally Naseku has joined the other babies out in the bush this morning. By 9 o’clock the older babies were brought back to the stockades to pick her up. Mbegu as usual was the first one to get to her when the stockade gate was opened. They communicated well and Arruba and Suswa followed her. It was such a nice, warm welcome from almost every member of the family. There wasn’t any bullying from any of the naughty ones either. Mashariki was not left out of reassuring her and introducing her to the rest of the family. Siangiki and Embu who are some of the ones that normally don’t show much interest in newcomers were also happy to welcome her. There is a stream that runs through the bush and Godoma led her to where this water was. Siangiki, Suswa and Sokotei all joined her for water. Rorogoi came over to say hello and then moved on. Sokotei then led Naseku to Lasayen and the other little boys. Ndotto showed much interest in knowing her better and kept her company for some time. Balguda spent some nice time with her too and they exchanged trunks in greeting for some time. That day Naseku even came down to public visiting and enjoyed a lengthy mud bath. She behaved so well throughout the whole time and this was all due to the acceptance of her new family.

08 November 2015

Today again when all the orphans were heading out to the forest, Loboito was left behind. This little boy is fighting for his life but he is becoming more and more weak. He is still taking milk with the support from his keepers holding his head. As Wei Wei left his stable he seemed to not want to leave but there is nothing that he can do. Tafuta is also still weak and was given a boost from a drip this morning after she collapsed again. She eventually went out into the bush after 7am to join her friends. She is becoming good friends with Kawaida who is also her neighbour in the stables. Rapa received some discipline from Dupotto today after she saw him head butting both Ngilai and the keeper who was bottle feeding him. He was pushed and driven out of the group by Dupotto who will not stand for such behaviour, like a Matriarch would not in the wild. Rapa is growing into a bit of a cheeky young boy who needs some discipline from the older girls. His best friend Tusuja sometimes disciplines him as well but most of the time he does not listen. Naseku’s second day out has been perfect giving no problem to her peers or the keepers. Murit had a fun time playing with Kiko after public visiting when they met out in the bushes, chasing each other in their own little style of game.

09 November 2015

Murit confirmed today he is feeling better by stopping those other young ones who are used to harassing him. Godoma had been pushed by Lasayen who keeps bullying her too. To enact her revenge she took it out on Murit. Murit was standing on the edge of the mud pool playing with the water but when Godoma came over to bully him he reacted angrily and pushed her back – disciplining both Godoma and Lasayen! It has been quite a while since Pea and Pod came down for the public viewing. They normally try to avoid it and stay with Wei Wei’s little herd who do not go down to the mud bath for this time. Even if they are with the older group in the morning, they will find a way of sneaking out and go to find the babies group to stay with them instead. Today however they decided to accompany the orphans down to the public visiting. They arrived with the first group including Kamok and Oltaiyoni. When the time was up even they didn’t want to leave and instead waited for the second group including Arruba and Suswa to stay until the end of the hour. Training of the older orphans who are to graduate from the nursery began today. This is what happens when those ready to leave have to be trained to get used to the lorry that will take them down, so they are not stressed by the move. A part from Elkerama, all the rest such as Mashariki, Rorogoi, Arruba, Suswa, Balguda, Embu, Sokotei and Olsekki had no problem entering the lorry, which is disguised using branches and greenery. They all got on so well and fed nicely from their bottles in the lorry that some of them even wanted to stay longer because they know that by being in there they get an extra bottle of milk! It is a way of making them feel more comfortable for the long journey ahead.

10 November 2015

Loboito is still fighting for his life and he hasn’t given up yet. He is still down and not able to turn or move around very much. He is still taking his milk though with the help of his keepers supporting him. He can still tell if his friend Wei Wei is around and he responds to Wei Wei’s rumbles. At feeding times during both night and day he calls for his milk even when lying down. Last night there was a heavy downpour and none of the babies slept very well. Rapa, Mbegu, Kamok, Kauro and Naseku all had a long night, some of them struggling to push their gates open to look for safety with some of their friends. Naseku kept running to her gate and back to her keeper and pulling his blanket down in search of safety as it has not rained like this for a long time. They were so happy to see the light of dawn breaking, dashing out of their pens to head to the bush. Mbegu forced and pushed Rapa into the mud pool, keeping guard over him and making sure he didn’t leave the pool until the end of public visiting so he did not bully anyone. This was a form of discipline as Mbegu had seen him head butting her friend Ndotto when he was drinking water from the water trough. Mbegu was not happy with his behaviour and decided to keep him in the pool where she could keep an eye on him! Mwashoti must have felt for Rapa and thought he must feel lonely as he decided to go and keep him company. Simotua was bulling Naseku and Oltaiyoni came over to assist her. Simotua is not very friendly towards the younger ones lately and he too is becoming a bit of a naughty boy. The training of the older elephants went on well today and was as good as yesterday. Still Elkerama refused to get on the truck but it is only a matter of time. Ndotto is still doing the things that he enjoys so much and climbing on everything. It is such a funny picture with Kamok and Arruba rolling on the ground playing together and the short little boy coming over and climbing on top of the big girls.

11 November 2015

In the early morning when the orphans were heading out for the day they separated into their small groups and went their difference directions. Balguda and Arruba were on a mission and they took Naseku with them. Maybe they wanted to show her around a bit more; a few of the places they hide out in or where they get special greens. Ngilai was with his older best friend Elkerama and together they went a different way from the rest as well. Naseku has been loved and welcomed by almost all the whole family. The whole day she has been under the guidance of Arruba and Balguda and at the same time Arruba has not seen much of Suswa today. At about 10:00 in the morning the nursery received a call from the Voi stockades that they had rescued a little baby elephant, around 2 weeks old, from a mud hole not far from the one Kwama and Kawaida were rescued from. They had received a report from the KWS who had got the information from a tour driver. The calf had spent the night in the hole and was terrified but very happy to have been saved. The rescue team left from Nairobi immediately and called the Voi stockades to say they were on their way so they could meet at Voi airstrip with the baby and get him back to the nursery fast. The calf was immediately loaded onto the airplane and they took off for Nairobi. They arrived back at the nursery a few minutes after 3pm. The calf looked very tired and confused but after taking some milk he started to regain his strength. It was too early for him to join the others and it started to rain very hard. We decided to name him Korongo after the name of the waterhole where he fell down.

12 November 2015

Late last night Korongo seems to have regained his memory and he started calling and crying for his mother. But the presence of a keeper with a bottle of milk calmed him down very much. We are very much afraid we are giving up on Loboito. As Wei Wei was leaving to go out for the day with his baby herd and new friend Korongo, he passed by Loboito’s stable to wish him a good day. He stretched his trunk out to Loboito but today Loboito doesn’t respond like he has on previous mornings; he used to respond with a rumble. Poor little Wei Wei tuned away from the stable with a sad face. Loboito is still breathing but we don’t see his chances of survival now. He really wanted to survive and he has been fighting well, but now it seems like he has given up. Korongo was so happy to see his new friends, Tafuta, Kawaida, Tamiyoi, Kwama and Wei Wei. Among them all it seems to only be Wei Wei and Tafuta who realise that Korongo is new. Amongst all the rest, all is normal! Tafuta and Wei Wei were most curious as they engaged with him and wanted to know him more; there was a lot of trunk touching and hugging. He seems likes he is going to challenge Kawaida over who spends more time with Tafuta; Kawaida is always trying to suckle on Tafuta’s ear. Our sad news, Loboito is no more. He passed away around 9am after a long battle. He for sure fought a good fight but at the end he succumbed to his illness. After the public visiting the older orphans paid a visit to the little ones. Mbegu with her good matriarchal instinct knew there was a new baby who she had not met yet. This was a chance and she came over calling all the babies to find the new one. By then Korongo was in the woods with Tafuta but Mbegu managed to find the two. She took him away from Tafuta and led him to Kamok and Roi who were still greeting the other little babies. As soon as the other girls spotted Korongo the air was filled with rumbling and joy to welcome the new baby to the herd. Then there was some shoving between them to decide who would walk with the new baby. That didn’t last for long though because soon Mashariki, Arruba, Oltaiyoni and Siangiki arrived and took charge, being the older girls. They took charge of the situation and took the baby with them leaving the other 3 girls behind.

13 November 2015

It is early morning and most of the orphans are out in the bush and busy browsing on the new green shoots. Sirimon, Olsekki and Enkikwe were busy playing a pushing game with each other, as they tested each others’ dominance and strength. Before they could find this out, Elkerama took an interest in their game and came to join in but the other boys didn’t want to play with him as they respected his age over theirs – as well as his strength and longer tusks! His showing up prompted the other 3 boys to end their game and walk off, leaving Elkerama with no other option than to resume his browsing. During public viewing there were no further activities but only Kamok, as usual, had a busy time interacting with the visiting public who really enjoyed her presence so close to them. Ndotto and Lasayen were also showing off, offering dramatic displays of games such as rolling on the ground and Ndotto enjoying bumping and sliding off Lasayen. The show attracted the attention of all the visiting public!

14 November 2015

Poor lovely Tafuta who is so loved by little Kawaida has been having moments of collapsing throughout the night, as well as in the early morning today. As a result she has been put on an IV infusion drips in order to help boost here. She has not been browsing or very active at all and just remains quiet and rests frequently with little Kawaida as company. Tiny Korongo Tamiyoi and Kwama are looking strong and out in the field they enjoyed moments of running after warthogs.

15 November 2015

As soon as Kiko walked out to the bush to join the young babies he came across some warthogs that were busy grazing. He first stared at them before running towards them and trying to kick out at them with his fore legs. The warthogs challenged him but they kept running away. All of a sudden Kiko managed to kick one of them with his hind legs which saw the whole group of warthogs run away deep into the bushes. These days Alamaya and Mwashoti are becoming very greedy for milk. Today when the first group of babies were drinking their bottles, and Alamaya and Mwashoti had finished theirs, they kept on running from one individual to another who were busy trying to drink their milk and trying to push them off their bottles! They were not listening to their keepers either. Alamaya went and head butted poor Tusuja as he was happily drinking his own bottle, an incident that prompted the keepers to keep him away from the group for awhile so he could learn his lesson and wrong doing.

16 November 2015

Poor young Tafuta woke up this morning terribly weak – she had gone through the night on an intravenous drip infusion and continued to be medicated. Despite these treatments she was not improving, so all her human family had their fingers tightly crossed. She was not taking milk very well either, which does not help her condition. At around 9am we received a call from Enasoit in Laikipia who had found an elephant calf down a water well. The rescue team was quickly mobilized to go and rescue this orphan and bring it back to the nursery. The small elephant calf arrived at the nursery a few minutes before 3pm. The elephant calf was completely exhausted and the breathing seemed to be complicated as he had probably inhaled a lot of water being stuck in the well. He was given the necessary medication and due to his very tender young age he was given blood plasma as well. The tiny elephant could hardly feed though given his poor condition and this made his worsen further. He is very young male calf around 1 or 2 days old.

17 November 2015

What a sad morning and a double blow to the entire human family and orphans at large for losing two babies in one night!!! At around 11:45pm poor Tafuta breathed her final breath and passed away quietly next to her keepers who had tried everything and all means to contain her poor health condition but without success. Marooned in the same state at around 5.45am the little boy rescued from Enasoit passed away after intense breathing complications. It was extremely sad to lose these babies and two in one night. We will miss them very much. Today at around 2.45pm we had such a downpour that saw the five little babies to come back indoors whilst the older orphans enjoyed the wet weather and rolling and sliding in the mud. As usual for the boys during such play games of rolling down Kauro, Enkikwe, Olsekki and Sokotei had a busy time trying to climb on some of the girls who were trying to play like Suswa, Mashariki, Embu, Arruba and Oltaiyoni. Their jovial games came to and end when it was time to drink their bottles.

18 November 2015

Little Wei Wei woke up this morning looking really dull – he wasn’t very active or playful like on other days. As a result his blood sugar levels were tested and the results showed that these were quite low. These levels were immediately boosted. Lovely Naseku has completely settled and these days she is becoming another greedy individual for milk. During public viewing after the first group walked back into the bush, Naseku sneaked back to the mud wallow together with the next older group… just to get another bottle of milk! Some of the older orphans had their milk right at the lorry since the translocation training process of Arruba, Mashariki, and Rorogoi to Tsavo East National Park has begun. The three girls are doing very well at going into the truck thus the process of moving them down should go smoothly; though they have been known to change their mind and become uncooperative in the final attempts! We are wishing them all the best in their move back to the wild where they belong.

19 November 2015

Early in the morning, around 4am, the translocation of the three girls Arruba, Rorogoi and Mashariki successfully and the procession down to the relocation stockades started well with the girls comfortably inside the lorry. Around 5am however the translocation journey took a twist when the lorry reached Athi River area and there was a terrible traffic jam that reached far off towards the Machakos junction, due to two big trucks which had collided blocking a wide area of road. This saw the lorry return to the nursery and the girls were back by around 6am. On arrival Mashariki, Arruba and Rorogoi were still normal with no negative reactions towards their brief trip. When the doors were opened they just walked out and were happily welcomed by Embu, Suswa, Balguda, Kauro, Sokotei, Olsekki and Oltaiyoni who were patiently waiting for them in the loading bay. As they were all walking out into the bushes, Embu and Oltaiyoni were busy touching Rorogoi and Arruba as if asking where they had just been. Out in the field the three girls appeared normal and also at 9 o’clock bottle feeding that took place at the lorry again – Arruba, Rorogoi and Mashariki walked right in again and took their bottles like any other day and were not afraid of the lorry at all.

20 November 2015

As the orphans approached the field Sokotei, Enkikwe, Balguda, Kauro and Siangiki encountered a group of impalas and they decided to run after them, charging and trumpeting which saw the impalas sprint off deep into the forest. Their sudden disappearance left the five elephants charging and kicking the bushes down in protest. As they failed to find the impalas, Enkikwe and Kauro engaged each other in a pushing game instead that gained the interest of Balguda as well. As all this was happening Siangiki had walked back to join the others who were already busy browsing. Naseku is showing more interest these days in interacting with the big girls like Embu, Suswa, Mashariki and Arruba. Today as the middle aged group led by Oltaiyoni was ready to go down to public visiting, Naseku ran away from the group and joined the older group and went to stand right in the midst of the older girls. The keepers tried to lead her away from the older group but with no success so she was left to remain with them for the rest of the day. The translocation training is still taking place at the lorry as the rehearsal for the older individuals continues. Elkerama is still a little shy of getting into the lorry but all the other individuals are pretty much enjoying the rehearsal and the change of location for getting their milk. With time and practice Elkerama will be fine and he will learn from the others of how to move into the vehicle with ease.

21 November 2015

During public viewing little Ndotto, Lasayen and Rapa all had a lovely time playing with Ndotto and Lasayen enjoying lying along the rope cordon as they enjoyed the visiting public rubbing them as they rolled and bumped their feet; this was a game that attracted much applause! As Ndotto and Lasayen played this game, lovely Rapa had a busy time running along the cordon whilst leaning against it and bumping into the visitors standing there. He then made a u-turn and started trying to push on the rope and make his way into the midst of the visitors, to-ing and fro-ing on either side of the rope. Rapa is becoming a very playful character!

22 November 2015

Today Wei Wei looked like he did not have enough energy again and he could barely stand using his own weight. He wasn’t able to leave his stable as his other play mates walked out to the bush leaving poor Wei Wei behind on an IV infusion to boost and restore his lost energy and low blood sugar level that has periodically been dropping. He has also been having loose stools which is also robbing him of energy and worsening his health condition. All day poor Wei Wei remained with his keepers in his stockade to preserve the little energy he had. His health is not back to normal after all the appropriate medication being administered and he is starting to look skinnier, however his appetite for his milk has improved and we are still hoping for the best and for him to pull through. During public visiting at 11am, the orphans were not very active other than feeding on their milk bottles. Embu and Enkikwe showed off their greediness by troubling Siangiki and Kauro as they tried to enjoy their bottles. Back in the field after lunch around 1pm, the entire herd had a playful time of wallowing in a mud hole in the forest. Their happy time took a twist when two male warthogs who were chasing each other ran past the mud bath where the babies were – this scared the babies and made them all run out and run towards their keepers for protection. Arriving at where the keepers were standing they all stopped and stood in dead silence whilst Arruba, Suswa and Mashariki marched back with their ears spread wide and trumpeting in order to make sure it was safe for everyone. They all calmed down after the keepers herded them far and deep into the forest away from the mud hole.

23 November 2015

It is a gloomy morning today after losing little Wei Wei during the night. He arrived at the nursery in poor health condition that everyone believed was getting better and could be contained, but the process and effects of teething and what underlying problems this fraught time might flare up is still a concern and always a worry at that young age. As the days passed recently he just seemed to be getting worse and worse and despite regular blood tests showing no indication of infection, his condition seemed to worsen and his energy drop. Despite the best being done for him from what was known, he passed away next to his beloved keepers. He will be missed by his little peer group of Tamiyoi, Kwama, Kawaida and tiny Korongo who used to spend all their time with him. He will be missed by his human family as well who felt a big blow today losing another baby. The four other little ones seem to be doing pretty well with Tamiyoi acting as the leader of this young group. In the field, she is always adventurous and when it is almost time for them to have their milk bottles she keeps on trying to lead the babies back to the stockades, and after they have finished she leads them back out to where Kiko is. Maybe, quite a long time from now, Tamiyoi will make a good matriarch – she is already displaying such a character at a very young age!

24 November 2015

Young Murit and Balguda who have both suffered from poor health in the past are these days, and thanks to certain courses of medication, very active and bright. They are happy and playful with the other orphans and have shown such good signs of progress. During bottle feeding, out in the field and during public viewing, Balguda and Murit come down running with the others – in the past this is something they definitely could not have done. Today out in the field, as they awaited their 9 o’clock bottles, Balguda was witnessed playing a pushing game with Olsekki and Sokotei- though their happy time was short lived after they realised the milk bottles were on their way. Balguda and Murit are looking so much better than they did before and we are so happy that they might hopefully continue to live long and happy lives.

25 November 2015

It was very hot today during public visiting which prompted all the elephants to enjoy a lengthy mud bath and cool down their bodies. Mbegu, Dupotto, Alamaya and Mwashoti opened up the mud bathing activities and they all had a great time rolling in the mud pool, with Alamaya enjoying scratching his back legs against Mbegu who was fully deep in the mud pool. He did not get to enjoy this for long since Mwashoti envied his game and pushed him away from Mbegu so he could play with her. He tried to climb on her though which made Mbegu yell out for help. Oltaiyoni, the leader of the first group, walked right into the mud hole to recue Mbegu from Mwashoti! The presence of Oltaiyoni saw Mwashoti walk away and out of the mud pool, leaving Mbegu and Dupotto in peace and also allowing Godoma and Rapa to join in the mud bath. As all this was happening in the mud hole, the lovely boys Ndotto and Lasayen were enjoying rolling out on the wet soil and mounting on each other. Ndotto was brave enough to wait for Lasayen to go down onto the ground so that he could climb on his back. He is such a tiny figure but with a great mind and he is always first and fast to make decisions. He is always first to climb on the other, a lesson that Lasayen has not picked up yet!

26 November 2015

The day started very chilly and extremely wet with frequent rainfall which meant the four little babies were kept in their stables and under their thick blankets so the bad weather would not affect them; as young babies are so prone to pneumonia and would normally stand under their mothers and nannies. The bad weather did not bother the older orphans and they were all witnessed happily enjoying the rain. Out in the field the majority of the orphans were all busy enjoying early mud bathing. The likes of Arruba, Suswa, Mashariki, Balguda, Elkerama, Embu and Rorogoi were all busy mud bathing as the down pour continued. On the other hand, Kamok, Mbegu, Ndotto, Lasayen, Ngilai and Dupotto all lead by Mbegu, all had a busy time running and playing in the running water in a little stream out in the forest. They enjoyed running and splashing and trumpeting whilst they did it, bumping into each other in the running stream. Their happy time came to an end when Kamok and Mbegu collided head-on promoting Mbegu to walk away from the game and draw the attention of the others. Their game really looked like that which little human children would also enjoy in a little stream, and also how they would act if they bashed heads accidentally! It was all fun and games for the orphans.

27 November 2015

Out in the field at around 10 o’clock as the orphans were busy browsing deep in the forest they were suddenly frightened by two male buffaloes that made their way running through the orphans to the browsing area; leaving the entire orphaned herd slightly shaken up with the young ones like Murit, Rapa, Godoma, Mbegu, Kamok, Roi, Ndotto and Lasayen yelling and running to their keepers. Older ones like Arruba, Suswa, Mashariki, Rorogoi, Embu and Elkerama were left busy trumpeting and bush bashing as security for the herd. As the young ones went to stand next to their keepers, the big girls were busy breaking down bushes as they ran about wondering on the whereabouts of the buffalos (though they were far gone deep into the forest). The herd settled down after the keepers called them and they all headed to a calmer place. As they all made their way to another place, Arruba, Suswa and Mashariki lagged behind the herd and followed them still trumpeting and bush-bashing to ensure the security and protection of the herd, and their lovely human family too! During public visiting the orphans had no major activities other than feeding on the greens provided for them there and as usual naughty Kamok enjoyed interacting with the visiting public who were really enjoying her naughty character. She was walking along the rope cordon and bumping into the visitors; she had bad intentions and targeted the school children to try and head butt them, but she was closely watched by her keeper and thus she remained calm.

28 November 2015

During public viewing Roi displayed a greedy character of sneaking out and troubling the other babies who were busy enjoying their bottles. The keepers tried to caution her but she kept moving from one individual to another; whereby eventually she managed to bully poor Rapa and steal his bottle. This promoted the keeper who was trying to feed Rapa to drop the other bottle which still had one pint of milk left in it. Before he could pick it up Roi had already snatched it and ran off with it to enjoy the little milk that was left; this really made the visitors laugh and think how intelligent these babies really are. As this was happening, Naseku was finishing her bottle after which she walked away from the public visiting area and tried to run out to where the big orphan herd was waiting. She was stopped from going there though; poor Naseku likes to be with the big girls rather than with the younger group and Kamok and Mbegu.

29 November 2015

The day started very chilly and then it proceeded to rain on and off for the whole day. This meant that the poor little ones had to stay in their stables for the whole day again. The big orphans were very busy out in the field rolling in the mud and having fun. During public viewing it still rained very hard but the orphans continued to roll and slide in and out of the mud. The boys Ndotto, Lasayen, Alamaya, Ngilai, Mwashoti and Rapa enjoyed mounting on Oltaiyoni, Roi, Dupotto and Mbegu as they tried to spend their time enjoying the mud bath. Ndotto and Lasayen played with Mbegu whilst Alamaya and Mwashoti played with Oltaiyoni. At one point they all stopped and all tried to climb on Oltaiyoni, piling on top like a rugby game. The visiting public, despite the rain, loved watching their games in the mud bath.

30 November 2015

Yesterday Kwama and Kawaida started their new day looking dull and not as active as they had been for the past few weeks, and had unhappy faces. Both have been having loose stools below the normal standard and as well as that both are fighting with their teething stage which normally robs these young babies of their body condition. They both have skinny faces though they are continuing to feed well. Today both Kwama and Kawaida woke up looking much better and much stronger than yesterday though they still appeared a bit skinny. Korongo and Tamiyoi are looking good too though little Korongo still has to go through the teething stage. Out in the field Naseku has been having moments of sneaking away from her group and walking into the stockade area, though she is being stopped before she actually reaches that area on her own. Nowadays she has become so greedy for more milk! During public visiting the babies were not overly active since they had all had a busy time mud bathing earlier. As the show was taking place, a sudden down pour began again. Kamok, Ndotto, Lasayen and Ngilai ran along the cordon to shelter themselves under the visiting public umbrellas! Which they recognized from when the keepers hold them. Naughty Kamok tried to pull down the umbrellas as the keepers tried to control her naughty behavior.