Keepers' Diaries, November 2018

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Our most recent arrival this month, the youngest within the establishment, somehow already seems to have become the pint-sized boss! Little Maarifa, a white rhino baby, was rescued after Meru Rangers spent two days trying to reunite her with her mother in Meru Rhino Sanctuary, which the DSWT recently expanded last year. With such a disappointing outcome, everyone could not help but feel relieved that at least the rangers had happened upon the stricken calf stuck in the mud at all, and that both mother and calf were at least alive. 

01 November 2018

Little Luggard is such a polite and gentle little elephant that he is very good company for all the little ones in the Nursery. He spends a lot of time with them out in the forest, as none of them walk as far as the rest of the herd when they go on browsing expeditions, so he is really used to their company. Sometimes they are joined by Sana Sana who likes spending time with the little ones as well. Today Luggard stayed close to the stockades and did not want to leave, once he realised that the babies were not accompanying them out. He tried to buy some time and wait for Merru, Mukkoka and Dololo to join. When he saw them finally come out of their rooms and coming his way, he playfully ran towards them to greet them. He was so happy to lead the little group out, and enjoyed sharing the soft tasty greens that are always found for the babies to feed on. The youngsters are also very happy to spend time with Luggard as well, as he is always so amiable and friendly.

02 November 2018

Jotto is the oldest boy in the Nursery now and is having to test is strength and gauge himself against the older females in the Nursery. He is always seen trying to play fight with Tagwa, Sana Sana, Kuishi and Malkia, although Malkia is always a tough play mate and is not always willing to tolerate his nonsense. Malkia is always a difficult option for Jotto, but Sana Sana, Tagwa and Kuishi are always ready to welcome him, albeit with caution. 

Today out in the forest when the orphans had finished their milk feed, Jotto was busy trying to engage Tagwa in a fun pushing game. He tried for several minutes, but in the end gave up when he had been warned by Tagwa several times that she did not want to play, but rather wanted to go and browse. Jotto then went to try and engage Sana Sana, but Sana Sana was not in the mood either and roughly pushing him away. Just as Jotto was feeling a bit hopeless, he spotted his play mate Luggard who was enjoying a dusting session. Jotto approached Luggard and the two had a happy time wrestling with each other, although Jotto was gentle with Luggard as he is aware that his friend has a bad leg and cannot play rough pushing games.

03 November 2018

Tamiyoi, Malima, Emoli, Ambo, Mapia, Kuishi, Sagala and Ndiwa seem to have formed their own group in the morning, and as soon as all of them are out they head out to the forest under the leadership of Tamiyoi, who knows all the routes and ways out to the Park. Today we watched as they all followed Tamiyoi, with Ndiwa second behind and within a few minutes they had disappeared into the thicket to browse, right up until the 9am feed. The Keepers found them all busy browsing with Tamiyoi in the lead, and without any concern that it was nearly their milk bottle time. This little group seem more wild and independent than the others in the Nursery, although it contains some young members too.

During our public visit today down by the mud bath, the weather was not very conducive for a swim and many of the orphans shied away from the cold water. Musiara and little Kiasa however decided to brave the weather and went wallowing in the mud pool. As they enjoyed their mud bath, Sattao, Maktao and Emoli just stood along the edge of the mud wallow, watching and deciding whether or not to join in. At one point Maktao put his front feet into the mud, but when he felt the temperature he quickly backed out again.

04 November 2018

Today was a sad and gloomy day as Merru has fallen desperately ill and we are all battling hard to save his life, watching and attending to him around the clock. What appears to be an pneumonia infection is causing fluid to drip from his trunk and mouth and we are trying everything to help stabilise him. 

Enkesha can be so caring and she realised that Merru was not very well when she came back to her stable in the afternoon. She was seen trying to reach out to him through the partition between their rooms with her trunk, and touching him as he had difficulty breathing. She didn’t even really want to eat her greens, which she always loves to do as soon as she enters her room. This afternoon she spent most of her time resting her trunk on the wooden bars separating their rooms, and watching poor little Merru. Regardless of their age, our young elephant orphans really are so caring of each other.

05 November 2018

It is both funny and interesting to see how Maxwell welcomes the resident warthogs into his stockade to share his delicious Lucerne pellets which everyone at the Nursery is crazy about. He is happy at the moment to share the pellets with the warthogs and their tiny young babies. Today as the elephant orphans made their way out to the forest with their Keepers, some warthogs with their tiny babies walked into Maxwell’s stockade to have their Lucerne ‘breakfast’. When Maxwell heard them sharing his pellets, he decided not to chase them but instead walked over to join them and peacefully ate alongside them. Seeing that Maxwell was comfortable with their presence, the warthogs settled down to eat, and the babies even started playing and chasing each other under Maxwell’s belly and between his legs. One baby even came nose to nose to Maxwell, as he seemed to be delighted with the young babies presence, and the baby enjoyed inspecting this funny huge creature who was sharing his food with them. Maxwell calmly kept still and posed for the tiny baby warthog to smell his nose.

06 November 2018

Merru is still very sick but is fighting hard, battling his difficult breathing and accepting some of his milk feeds when we can get him to stand. He is so weak but we continue to try and treat him and fight for his life. He has been recumbent in his stockade for the last few days now, and is missing his time out in the forest with his friends. Sana Sana has noticed his absence and we notice from time to time we hear her emitting low rumbles to comfort the young babies. 

07 November 2018

Our morning was very gloomy amongst the human-elephant family this morning as in the early hours of the morning our dear little Merru slipped away peacefully, surrounded by his loving Keepers. He sadly was not able to overcome the internal injuries which obviously still plagued him since his rescue, despite the best efforts of his Keepers and staff in the Nairobi Nursery, and he will be greatly missed. When Merru took his last breaths, his neighbour Enkesha rumbled and knocked on her door, as she knew something was wrong and her little neighbour had slipped away. When the doors were opened for the orphans in the morning to go out to the forest, little Enkesha did not want to leave her stable, until she walked out emitting low rumbling sounds communicating something we obviously could not know. Sadly, we see animals who have lost their mothers and families arrive in all kinds of condition, and are sadly used to some of them not making it despite our best efforts, but this does not make it any easier, and Merru’s loss affected us all, especially when we thought we had begun to see some improvement. Elephants do mourn the loss of their family members but it is important to remember that all the orphans in the Nursery are babies, and are not necessarily as experienced or emotionally developed as older elephants. These are feelings, emotions and skills that will be honed as they develop and get older. They might be more subdued for a few days as they notice the absence of a friend that they cared about, but they are very good at moving forward and forging new friendships and relationships. We think of them as little toddlers for example, who do not quite understand the concept of death, but only loss, and the absence of a loved one that was once there. Our little elephant orphans have already gone through so much, and are hardy little animals that will be drawn even closer together as a family unit.

08 November 2018

Today Ambo woke up in a bad mood, but we were not sure why. As the orphans were grouping together to go out to the forest, Ambo was witnessed bullying little Mukkoka, who only walked up to him to say hello, not realising that Ambo was not in a happy mood today. Lucky for Mukkoka the Keepers were standing there and were quick to reprimand the naughty Ambo. As Ambo ran away from the Keepers, he encountered Maktao and Musiara who were happily enjoying a pushing game. Still in his bad mood, he forced himself in between them and pushed his tusks into their backs, forcing them to yell out. Out in the forest today he didn’t want to be around any of the youngsters or those his own age. Malima and Maisha walked over to join him in browsing on a bush he was eating from but he only pushed them away, which quickly saw the two girls retreating away. Elephants clearly have good and bad moods just like humans, just like Ambo today, although we must admit that most of the time we find elephants behaving much better than humans.  

09 November 2018

Just like with humans, we have children who are not fond of washing every day and we see this with our baby elephants too! Not all of them want to go in the mud bath everyday either. We have some babies that hate the mud bath and are not fond of wallowing, and some that are always happy to go in the mud and adore swimming. As we have often witnessed, whilst some of the orphans go straight into the water after their milk bottles, Ambo and Sattao seem to do their best to avoid the mud pool. 

Today when the first group came down for their milk bottles, the whole group were observed in the mud pool at some stage, all except Sattao. Even Dololo, who you would think would hate the mud wallow considering his rescue, was not left out and was wallowing in the mud too. Maisha spotted that Sattao was not getting into the water, and it was very funny to watch her running from the mud wallow to Sattao to rub up against him to try and get him to join them in the water. Sattao was doing his very best to try and avoid Maisha! As Maisha kept missing him, she did the next best thing and ran down the rope cordon trying to bump into the visitors there and intentionally get them all muddy, just like Malima does, before running back to the mud wallow.

10 November 2018

Mapia and Ambo are becoming quite good playmates these days and often during the day we find them engaged in some pushing or wrestling game, testing their strength and judging their dominance against each other. This is common between young bulls and is good for their development, as they begin to learn about hierarchy and strength in their society. As soon as the orphans settled out in the forest today to browse, Mapia and Ambo busied themselves with a wrestling game. Their game went on for quite some time and neither one wanted to surrender. Eventually jealous Jotto came over and demanded to join in their game, but his arrival ended the game between Ambo and Mapia as neither one was interest in playing with Jotto who is bigger than them. Unhappy with Mapia and Ambo’s reaction, Jotto kept chasing them around in the bushes, wanting to climb on them. The two boys were clever enough however to run deep into the bushes where it was hard for Jotto to chase them. Eventually Jotto settled on inviting Kuishi to a pushing game, and she was happy to oblige, so the two enjoying playing right up until the 9 o’clock milk feed.

11 November 2018

Today began as usual with the elephant orphans engaged in their usual morning activities. Some were browsing and others were lying on the ground, resting and soaking up the warm earth as the sun rose. Others like Maktao and Musiara were playing, and Maktao has recently become more interested in these pushing games, previously having distanced himself from them. He is becoming more interested however and a little fighter, swiftly starting or joining any games that his friends start. He can be quite ruthless in these games, and today Musiara had to bow out of the game when Maktao became quite rough and boisterous. To quench his thirst for play, Maktao joined Emoli and Maisha who were enjoying a pushing and pulling game. His interruption seemed to annoy Maisha however, and in return she bit Maktao’s tail in protest. Maktao complained loudly, rightly so, which brought the attention of Malkia who was browsing from the nearby bushes. She came running over and stepped between the warring babies, bringing peace to the area again.

12 November 2018

Ndiwa is very capable of plucking and breaking branches from the top of many trees and she is getting better and better at it. Her closeness to Ambo is also growing with time as well. Today as all the orphans browsed in the forest, Ndiwa played her trade, breaking greens and branches to bring them down for her friend Ambo to feed on. It was lovely to watch as the little boy picked and chomped on the delicious leaves. This rambunctious young bull Ambo is having attention lavished on him by Ndiwa who is growing so close to him. 

Malima, who is coming in with the second group for the midday feeding time, made her way down for the feeding earlier than expected today. None of the Keepers expected to see her there for the first group’s feeding time, and had to give her a bottle!

13 November 2018

During the public visit today, Maktao had a wonderful time rolling in the mud pool with Kiasa and Musiara. Maktao had a fun time climbing on Musiara’s back, before deciding to take a nap in the cool water. His whole body was submerged in the water, with only his head resting on the edge of the mud bath. He even had to be woken up by the Keepers as he didn’t hear the other babies leaving to go back out to the forest. 

Ambo and Jotto decided to spend part of the afternoon teaching Emoli some wrestling tactics. From the moment they returned to the forest after their midday feed, the two big boys engaged Emoli in a lengthy wrestling game. As they are both older than Emoli, there were undoubtedly teaching him some new techniques. While the boys were playing, Sana Sana picked Mukkoka and moved ahead with him to browse in the bushes. Sana Sana is spending a lot of time with Mukkoka the past few days.

Kiko was very stubborn today and not listening very well to his Keepers. He wanted to stay on the edge of the car park area where he was browsing and did not want to move! This was after he had been sent away by Malkia, Sana Sana and Ndiwa in the forest, as they did not want him to browse with them. 

14 November 2018

The orphans who are moving in December began their training of entering the translocation lorry today. Sana Sana, Ndiwa and Malkia will be graduating to one of the Reintegration Units in Tsavo soon and beginning the process of returning to their rightful place in the wild. Ndiwa was fine with having her milk in the lorry, but Sana Sana and Malkia did not like the idea. Ndiwa walked straight into the lorry and drank her bottle without wasting any time, but the other two only got as close to the lorry doors and smelled the milk bottles, before reversing backwards. They then decided to run back to the forest to join the rest of the herd! 

Malkia was not happy, having missed her milk on the lorry, and as the group started moving for their next milk feed a bit later, she forced her way towards the wheelbarrow. At the feeding area she was in a very bad mood and was charging at everyone. She then turned to vent her anger at the Keepers as well, and tried to knock over the wheelbarrow. The Keepers managed to send her away from the area. She turned her anger on Jotto, Sagala and Mapia, charging at them, and Sana Sana had to forego her beloved milk bottle to try and restore the peace by driving Malkia away into the bushes adjacent to the feeding area. 

15 November 2018

Before leaving the stockade compound for the forest, Jotto and Sana Sana decided to enjoy a pushing game. They were playing next to Tamiyoi who was stealing some of Maxwell’s lucerne pellets through his stockade gate. She accidentally got caught up in their game and sandwiched between them and Maxwell’s gate, which made her cry out. Sana Sana got such a fright hearing her shout, as she was not sure what had happened. She ran off while Jotto seemed to realize why Tamiyoi was upset, and moved to console her.

Dololo still likes browsing away from the other orphans in the forest. During the day he can always be spotted slightly apart from them. Sometimes he browses close to Luggard, but not always, and we are sure he is still missing his family. Sometimes he is clever and sneaks back to the stockade compound to look for extra milk as well. Sattao seems to have realized that Dololo likes to sneak off on his own, and today he decided to befriend him and also prevent this from happening. Every time Dololo made to move off away from the others, Sattao was there to block him, stopping him from wandering off. When Sattao was unable to prevent him from moving off, instead he would follow alongside him, and that way he was forcing Dololo to have some much-needed company. 

16 November 2018

Today we noticed Sattao trying to be friends with Dololo again. When the family of orphans walked out to the forest this morning, four boys wandered off in their own direction. Musiara and Luggard have been friends a long time, and Musiara and Sattao are age-mates, so it was Musiara, Luggard, Sattao and Dololo who decided to browse away from the others on their own this morning. It was a lovely group as Luggard has been keeping Dololo company for a long time, and Sattao has been trying to befriend him recently as well. Sattao stayed by Dololo’s side so he couldn’t sneak off away from the group. Only for the 9am milk bottle did the little foursome decide to join the rest of the herd. Tagwa seems not to have noticed that they had sneaked away, as when she saw the little group approaching she raised her ears high with surprise and rumbled so loudly that all the Keepers turned to see what was concerning her. Malkia ran towards the little group and met with Musiara first, to welcome them back to the herd.

17 November 2018

Maktao was in his best ‘playing’ mood today. He has been playing almost all day since the start of the day when the orphans first walked out to the forest! He has especially enjoyed playing in the holes where the warthogs like to sleep. There are so many holes everywhere, where the warthogs like to hide their tiny babies from the lions. Maktao was making good use of the soil dug out to make these holes as his personal soil dusting piles, and was moving from one hole to the next. Enkesha must have been watching him as she began to push him out of the way so she could enjoy the soil herself, before moving on to the next one, but this did not stop the little boy from enjoying his fun. He just moved to a different place until Enkesha caught up with him. Jotto is a very friendly boy and seems to not have appreciated Enkesha’s bullying behaviour. He started following Maktao and whenever Enkesha tried to interfere he stood between them to block Enkesha from intruding in his games. At one stage he even joined Maktao in his rolling games, but still made sure Enkesha did not try to bother him.

18 November 2018

It is so lovely to watch how the older girls in the Nursery take care of the youngest, and if there is one lucky baby in the group we think it is Musiara at the moment. Musiara is loved by the majority of the older females in the family, but among them we think Malkia loves him the most. Sometimes she is a bit tough with the other youngsters, but she is always fond of Musiara, and the little boy of her too.

Today three of the older females decided to spend the day with one baby in particular. Malkia was with her beloved Musiara, and Tagwa made the strange choice of Kiasa, instead of Sattao as usual who loves her very much. This might be because over the past few days Sattao has been spending more time with Dololo, trying to help him, and Luggard as well. Sana Sana seems to be fawning over Mukkoka these days, and she will always respond to him if he rumbles or calls out. So these were the babies that Sana Sana, Malkia and Tagwa, our matriarchal figures, chose to browse with and look after for the day.

Jotto was in a very funny mood at visiting time and we wondered if Mapia had done something to annoy him. He is never usually naughty, but today when he finished his milk bottle he charged over to the water trough and head-butted Mapia away. Sana Sana saw what he did and was not very pleased; she came over to push him away from the water as well and Jotto had to leave the area and walk away from her and Mapia.

19 November 2018

We have had some lions around the area at the moment and the warthogs have been keeping a close eye on all their babies. They like to browse close to the elephants for security, as the elephants and the Keepers will act as a deterrent to the lions attacking in the day time. Today it wasn’t made easy for them however as Maisha, Tamiyoi and Enkesha kept driving them away from the group. Either they did not want them around or sharing their food, or they did not want the lions around either!

Sagala was browsing from a small bush slightly away from the others. As she was browsing, out of the thicket walked a big tortoise which gave her a fright. She ran shouting towards the group and Tamiyoi, Maisha and Enkesha charged in the direction she had come from. They were not sure what lay ahead of them when they encountered the ‘moving rock’. Maisha tried to kick the moving rock, but it kept walking towards her, so she turned back yelling and running towards the group as well. Enkesha and Tamiyoi followed suit when they saw what looked like a moving rock moving towards them, and they turned to look for the Keepers help as well. The Keepers went to find out what was bothering their elephant babies, only to find the poor big tortoise who quietly went on his way.

20 November 2018

Ndiwa is now used to her new routine of having her 9am milk bottle at the lorry. She remembers that she and the other two girls Malkia and Sana Sana have their milk first at the lorry to practice walking on to it, before the others have theirs out in the forest. Today she was standing at the front of the herd, waiting to be allowed to go down to the stockade to have her milk bottles. She was adamant that was the way she wanted to go, but today the Keepers were actually trying to lead her down to have her milk in the mud bath area. She was walking with Malima and Malkia and even when Malima was leading the way to the mud bath, Ndiwa turned off towards the stockades with Malkia following her, leaving Malima to walk to the mud bath alone. The Keepers working in the stockade compound had to walk them back to where the others were waiting in the forest still to go down to the mud bath for their milk bottles. In the end Ndiwa and Malkia came in last, escorted by some Keepers. Ndiwa is so clever for learning her new routine so well!

As it has been cold and drizzly, the orphans decided to have fun on the loose piles of soil in the mud bath area which had become quite thick and clumpy. Emoli and Mapia decided to turn one of the water troughs into a football by over turning it and spilling all the water out, before kicking it with their feet. Jotto and Malima started a pushing game. Ambo tried to interrupt their game but he was sent away by Jotto.

21 November 2018

The morning was fairly quiet with none of the orphans really playing or messing around and concentrating on browsing. During the milk feeding time in the forest however, Kiasa was being her old greedy character. She arrived at the feeding point with Maktao, Musiara and Sattao. She drinks her milk so fast, so she finished way before the other two and she turned her greedy habits first towards Maktao. She started picking on him and trying to snatch the bottle he was drinking, until Malkia walked over to control her. 

Before the feeding session was over it started drizzling, and this was Dololo and Mukkoka’s cue to head back to the stockades to seek shelter. Sana Sana was standing under a big tree with Dololo. When the Keepers went over to separate Dololo from her to take him back to the stockades, she tried to block them and raised her ears high as a warning. She had not noticed that Mukkoka was also being taken by the Keepers back to the stockades, and when she turned and saw him walking away too, she became confused as to who to stop. Her momentary pause gave the Keeper a chance to walk away with Dololo as well. They waited out the rain in the safety of their rooms until later in the morning.

Tamiyoi had a fun time in the rain. Tagwa, Malkia and Ndiwa made use of the fact the rain had softened all the soil and began digging and loosening the soil with their tusks. When they had finished, before they could lie down and play in the fruits of their labour, Tamiyoi got down and started rolling around and showing off different poses which were so funny to watch.

22 November 2018

There was a bit on confusion over the 9am milk bottle this morning, especially for Tamiyoi. Some of the babies who love their milk the most are the hardest to try and direct! Tamiyoi, Malkia, Ambo, Malima, Ndiwa and not forgetting our greedy girl Kiasa are some of the hardest to coordinate. This morning Tamiyoi was trying to leave with the big girls who are undergoing training of entering the translocation lorry for their move in December. She thought it was general milk feeding time and she was not going to be held back! She sped off with Malkia and the Keepers tried to call her back but she wouldn’t stop. Malkia was also called back and she listened, but Tamiyoi made it all the way to the forest milk feeding area where they are normally fed, and obviously found no one there as it was not time yet. She decided to carry on running towards the mud bath feeding area and again found no one there. In the meantime Malkia had caught up with Ndiwa and Sana Sana who were going for their milk bottles on the lorry. Finally Sana Sana is joining the other two on the lorry without any concern. Tamiyoi meanwhile heard Malkia yelling at the translocation lorry as she went for her milk, and decided to run and join those three there. All four babies, at least three satisfied with milk, joined the others in the forest again, who were all still waiting for their milk feed to commence. 

23 November 2018

Emoli has developed a strong love for his milk bottle, and so today decided to follow the trio of older girls who are practicing to enter the translocation lorry. It seemed he wanted to try his luck in getting an extra milk bottle if he followed them to where he knows they have theirs these days. Although the Keepers decided not to stop him and let him accompany the girls, they were sure that he would not get any extra bottles! As the three girls were having their bottles on the lorry, Emoli moved from one Keeper to the next to try and get just a drop of milk, but of course he was denied. When the exercise was over and Sana Sana, Ndiwa and Malkia had finished their milk, Emoli was the first one back to the forest, racing back out into the bush to where he knows his own feeding still takes place. When he got there he was surprised to find that there was no Keeper there and no milk wheelbarrow. This annoyed Emoli and he trumpeted loudly before running to where the others were standing. His reaction gave some members of the herd a fright as they did not understand why he was trumpeting and being so hyperactive. Malima, Jotto, Tamiyoi and Ambo also trumpeted but others like Kuishi, Sagala and Tagwa charged at him, unhappy with the way he was causing a commotion!

24 November 2018

Just after midday today, the weather changed from sunny to a heavy downpour. Water was running everywhere in little streams. As the rain poured, Maxwell moved from his bedroom to run up and down his stockade. Everywhere, except for his bedroom, was soon wet and muddy which is just how Maxwell likes it and he was running around with excitement. At the peak of his enthusiasm, he got down on the ground and rolled around, covering his huge body with red, muddy soil. His frequent yet uninvited guests, the warthogs, were also enjoying a mud bath, but on the other side of his stockade, as they know that he can get excited and strike at any moment. 

The baby elephants out in the forest were also enjoying the rain in different styles. Mapia and Ambo rolled in the mud, while Enkesha and Tamiyoi sprayed themselves with running water. Sattao and his friend Musiara were engaged in a play fight which went on for some time. Due to the weather Luggard, Dololo and Mukkoka were taken to the stockades as they are not yet strong enough to withstand heavy rain.

25 November 2018

Malkia is still very reluctant to enter the translocation lorry. The Keepers are trying everything to coax her into the lorry, but most of their efforts are futile. Despite Sana Sana and Ndiwa entering the lorry quite happily and having their milk bottles, Malkia is still unwilling to cooperate. Today Malkia was not interested in going to practice at the lorry for the 3pm feeding, and instead was trying her best to browse far away from the others and dodge the Keepers entirely. After struggling to direct her for a while, eventually she was coaxed towards the lorry. Unfortunately today she still refused to go on the lorry, and in fact she was not bothered about her milk bottle at all! 

Due to the rain we have had recently, the path to the mud bath area was very slippery today. The majority of the babies had a hard time walking along the path for their 11am milk bottle. Maisha and Sagala seemed to be the most affected today. Maisha, who came in the first group to be fed, slipped and fell twice, and Sagala fell once on her way down for her bottle.

26 November 2018

We have been receiving a lot of rain here in Nairobi and so the orphans have been experiencing different weather. This morning it was chilly because the weather was very cloudy. Our latest arrivals Mukkoka and Dololo wore blankets to keep them warm. Other youngsters like Kiasa, Maktao and Musiara sought refuge from the cold amongst the older ones. Maktao made sure he was always close to Tagwa, Musiara stayed close to Sana Sana and Kiasa, despite her naughty character, accompanied Malkia. Although Ndiwa is old enough to be a matriarch, she has always shown signs of independence and often chooses to browse away from the others. 

With the change to heavy rain, most of the orphans gathered under big leafy trees to protect themselves from the downpour, all except Jotto and Mapia who chose to defy the weather and continued to browse as though nothing was happening. At times they were seen digging at the now softened soil with their tusks too.

27 November 2018

Sometimes we see hints of Kiasa’s old naughty character. She really loves her milk bottle and sometimes will do all she can to get every last drop. After she downed her own 3 pints of milk at the 9am milk feed, she rushed to where Dololo was also quietly drinking his own share. She pretended to walk by but at the last moment she showed her hidden agenda and turned to push Dololo. Poor Dololo is still weak and was set off balance, and her head butt also caught the Keeper off guard who lost his grip of the milk bottle too, spilling some of its contents. Fortunately he recovered the situation as poor Dololo struggled to regain his balance, and sent Kiasa away so he could finish Dololo. That was not the end however, and the youngest but naughtiest girl in the Nursery walked off to try her luck elsewhere. She dared to even try with Tagwa, but Tagwa was wise to her ways and used the advantage of her height to hold her bottle out of Kiasa’s reach. 

Kiasa gave up and walked off into the nearby bushes, where found Maktao busy browsing. In her final act of defiance, Kiasa proceeded to bite Maktao’s tail, which started off another fight! 

28 November 2018

Emoli, who was known to be very calm and polite, has recently changed character slightly. This might have been fuelled by the growth of his tusks as nowadays he has started pushing around some of his friends, obviously feeling quite proud of his new accessories. He has even started pushing his old friend and age-mate, Maisha. Today he was very naughty during the 11am milk feed and pushed little Mukkoka who lost his balance and fell into the rope cordon. Luckily the Keepers were there to rescue him. Emoli turned his naughty mood on to Tamiyoi who was drinking water from one of the water troughs, and a slight push and pull game ensued. The game ended quickly however as Tamiyoi, the mini matriarch who is also much older than Emoli, put a swift end to it. 

Maktao caused a bit of a commotion when he sneaked over to the wheelbarrow where the full milk bottles were still sitting. He tried to steal a bottle but succeeded in only taking off one of the teats, before the Keepers arrived and rescued the situation from the naughty little one.

29 November 2018

As the translocation date draws closer for Sana Sana, Malkia and Ndiwa, their practicing sessions continue at the moving lorry. They are having the majority of their milk feeds on the lorry to prepare them for the move. Sana Sana and Malkia have been responding well and feeding well in the lorry without hesitation. They drink their bottles so quickly on the lorry, and sometimes even demand more. Malkia has been much more fearful and reluctant, but she has much improved today. Her last two feeds she showed some sign of having her milk on the lorry. At 5pm when the foster parents were visiting, she entered half way, stretching to reach the tip of her bottle with her trunk as much as she could for the rest of the way as the Keepers were trying to entice her inside. To the amusement of the visitors, she almost stood on her front two legs she was leaning forward so much to reach her bottle. Her back legs were stretched out so far behind her they almost left the ground. She finally succeeding in drinking one of her bottles while standing mostly on the lorry. As Sana Sana and Malkia moved quickly to their stockades for bed, where their fresh greens were waiting for them, Malkia even went back to the lorry to see if there was any more milk to be found! When she found none, the girl with the folded ears rumbled and walked off towards her stockade.

30 November 2018

Little baby white rhino Maarifa has joined the foster program now. Her day started a little later than usual today as the weather was not very nice. Today she took off to start her usual routine just after 8am, in the company of her Keepers as usual. She is always happy and so speedy, easily overtaking her Keepers should they try to run past her. When she is in the mood, she can make several rounds of the open space out in the forest, running through the nearby bushes and scaring the warthogs, but all under the watchful eye of her Keepers. 

Today was her first day to attend the mud bath visiting time, but just for a few minutes. At first she was slightly apprehensive, running back to her Keepers. Once the Head Keeper instructed everyone to maintain silence, she was happy to walk down, and she walked majestically behind her Keepers for one full circuit of the mud bath area as everyone’s eyes were fixed on this sweet baby, and they did not make a sound. She was so well behaved, and when she had walked around the area she patiently and diligently followed her Keepers back out to the forest again, to make way for the baby elephants to come down for their milk bottles.