Keepers' Diaries, October 2004

Nairobi Nursery Unit

The arrival in the Nursery of a two week old infant bull calf, rescued on the 2nd from the drying shore of Lake Jipe in Tsavo West’s boundary with Tanzania where he had become hopelessly bogged in mud. Obviously the mud was too treacherous for any of his elephant family to risk trying to extract him, but fortunately some Rangers were at hand to help pull him free. He was held overnight in their quarters before being flown to Nairobi the next day, arriving in the early afternoon of the 3rd where he was greeted enthusiastically by Sunyei that evening, and by all the Nursery inmates the next day. Being so young, he was instantly trusting and docile, happy to take his milk from a bottle, and also happy to follow the mini herd and their Keepers out into the bush the very next morning. From day one, little “Jipe” has thrived. He is a great charmer and a delight for all the visitors who visit the Nursery elephants every day between 11 a.m. and 12 noon, when we open our doors to the public as a P|R exercise.

01 October 2004

A warthog family with babies passed by Shida who was in a playful mood. He started to chase them, and the warthogs scattered in all directions. On our excursions in the bush we encountered zebra, who galloped away, scaring Shida.

02 October 2004

All the Nursery babies woke up in fine fettle. Naserian was in a playful mood, running around trumpeting. The new baby, Buchuma has improved very fast. Both Naserian and Sunyei are wanting to be very close to him, but Galana is distant.

03 October 2004

It was so lovely to see little Buchuma trying to run after the warthogs, despite the pain of his wounds. Buchuma came in as reinforcement, since some of the warthogs were not that scared. Soon, our Nursery elephants and the warthogs were all mixed up. Late in the evening, another tiny orphan of about 3 weeks old arrived, having been rescued from the mud of drying Lake Jipe. He was placed in the stable next door to Sunyei, who returned to give the new orphan, little Jipe, a warm welcome, by touching him all over his body. He responded by wanting to touch Sunyei.

04 October 2004

Madiba played with Sunyei supported by Naserian. Jipe kept close to Naserian and Sunyei, but Madiba remained aloof, feeding. Galana, in between milk feeds, just sucks sticks. She only thinks of the milk!

05 October 2004

Naserian is being very loving towards little Jipe. She kept on following him. Buchuma spent the day feeding apart whilst Galana has eyes only for the milk.

06 October 2004

Galana again thinks only about the milk. Madiba competed with Sunyei for some grass roots she was uprooting with her feet. Naserian spent her day following little Jipe.

07 October 2004

Buchuma tried to take on Madiba today, yet spending most of the time next to little Jipe. Sunyei was scared of impala who were feeding nearby, whilst Galana just waited for her milk rejecting both Buchuma and Jipe whenever they came close.

08 October 2004

Naserian has decided to take Jipe as her little baby, trailing him closely everywhere, whilst Jipe tries to suck her ears. Quite a lovely scene. Madiba and Ndomot indulged in their play fighting, which does not end. Friday is coconut oiling day and Buchuma tried to play with the

09 October 2004

Three buffaloes forced us to take another route this morning. Shida was chased by Makosa after the mudbath. One of the Keepers ran away with Shida abnd the other had to climb a tree, whilst Makosa stood guard underneath until more Keepers came to rescue him.

10 October 2004

We came across three lionesses and one lion lying down in our feeding base in the forest. All the elephants were very scared, running up and down, even little Jipe. At first we did not understand the problem, but when the baboons began to make a lot of noise, all up a tree looking in one direction, we spotted the predators. We all retreated hurriedly and the lions went in the opposite direction

11 October 2004

Shida and his Keepers were given a hard time by Makosa who kept finding them, forcing them to become mobile. Little Jipe tried to play with the warthog babies, running after them, with Naserian determined to protect him from them.

12 October 2004

Buchuma is becoming friendlier to Sunyei but dislikes the attention of the Vet, who came to give him treatment for his bruising and another injection. Ndomot and Madiba indulge in a mock battle every day. That is the same each day..

13 October 2004

Buchuma spent the whole day apart from the Keepers, angry with them for having to treat his wounds. Sunyei went to great lengths to try and comfort him, but he does not want humans close, scared that they are going to hurt his wounds again.

14 October 2004

Sunyei had a fight with Ndomot today over Madiba, not happy the way Ndomot kept following Madiba and shoving him. Naserian is very protective of little Jipe, pushing away others that came close to him, even Buchuma, who was walking slowly with him to the mudbath.

15 October 2004

Jipe is very active today, lying down to play in the loose soil having had his coconut anointing. This made us all laugh. It was lovely to see him and Naserian playing together so happily, joined later by Sunyei

16 October 2004

Shida was scared by two running giraffe. We did not know why they were running so decided to change direction. Jipe has become very playful, even at the mudbath, kneeling down to play in the big tractor tube. Naserian keeps a close watch over him all the time, whilst Sunyei keeps an eye on Buchuma.

17 October 2004

Jipe tried to push Galana, which was very funny, because Galana did not know what had touched her! Meanwhile Madiba and Ndomot were busy with their usual play fight. Whilst escorting Shida, we encountered Makosa, who came running after us when we changed direction, causing us to shout at him.

18 October 2004

Again Makosa just followed the scent of Shida, which caused the Keepers to try and avoid him all day. Jipe enjoyed chasing the warthogs, but forgot where his Keepers were. He came back screaming for them

19 October 2004

Buchuma now trusts his Keepers. Sunyei was first to spot two buffaloes and came back to the Keepers, trumpeting. We went to take a look, saw them, and changed direction.

20 October 2004

Buchuma wants to play in the mud, but has to be restrained due to the wounds on his back. Jipe loves playing in the tube during the mudbath hour, with Naserian standing beside, watching him. Shida became very playful due to some rain showers, running up and down for most of the day.

21 October 2004

Again, Shida was very playful, running up and down without stopping until about l0 a.m. without listening to his Keepers. Jipe also spent time running between the orphans feeding apart and the Keepers, closely followed by Naserian

22 October 2004

As usual, the orphans were all very playful after the coconut oil had been applied, Jipe being the most funny one, with Naserian helping him to get up each time. Sunyei fell out with Ndomot when he tried to grab a root she had found. We Keepers had to intervene to stop the fight!

23 October 2004

It had rained during the night, so the orphans enjoyed playing in the mud, although we tried to restrain them because they had their rainwear on. We managed to restrain Buchuma and Jipe, but not the other five. Naserian played, running back to check up on Jipe from time to time.

24 October 2004

Jipe was very playful this morning, running ahead of all the others when we left the Night Stables early in the morning. Sunyei joined him, running together with him far, and returning to the others. Then Naserian followed suit, and later, Madiba and Ndomot, leaving only Galana and Buchuma walking sedately with the Keepers

25 October 2004

We came upon two buffaloes in our way this morning. Sunyei wanted to charge them, but we restrained her. Then Naserian made an attempt, but we could not allow that, so we remained close to the stables until the buffalo left.

26 October 2004

A group of zebra scared the elephants by running towards us, but Sunyei was brave, and went to investigate. Naserian rushed to be near Jipe who was with the Keepers.

27 October 2004

Jipe enjoyed chasing the baby warthogs, but the mother stood her ground, so we restrained Jipe, fearing that the mother might attack him.

28 October 2004

Some bushbuck came running towards us, and at the last moment realised we were there, and jumped over Jipe, scaring him.

29 October 2004

Madiba had a lovely time chasing the baby warthogs. He followed them until they had all disappeared, and then returned to take on Ndomot. Sunyei intervened to break up the fight.

30 October 2004

Today Naserian and Madiba had a disagreement over who should be closest to Jipe. Galana came in to support Naserian, leaving Madiba running to safety. Jipe enjoyed playing with the tube during mudbath, and we had to restrain Buchuma, who also wanted to play in the mudbath.