Keepers' Diaries, October 2014

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

In the month of October four more orphans arrived into our care, two were tragic victims of poaching and two tiny arrivals were dry season well victims falling down man made wells in Northern Kenya.

In the month of October four more orphans arrived into our care, two were tragic victims of poaching and two tiny arrivals were dry season well victims falling down man made wells in Northern Kenya.

On the 14th of October, Wass from the Milgis in Northern Kenya was rescued, but this day was rather unusual as it turned out. The rescue was for more than a baby elephant as our Keepers were asked by KWS to save two tiny ostrich chicks as well, so this unusual package arrived back at the Nursery late afternoon. Pea and Pod, the two ostriches, arrived with baby Wass who was not in good condition and his collapsed state required IV intervention to resurrect him.

On the 16th of October another orphan arrived approximately 10 – 11 months old, this time from Mt. Kenya. His mother was found poached with her ivory missing weeks before he was finally found. We called him Sirimon. He settled quickly and was out with the others in no time.

On the 22nd of October another baby approximately the same age as Sirimon was rescued after her mother died on the plains of the Masai Mara from a poisoned spear wound to her face. We called her Roi, and she arrived in excellent condition but understandably extremely wild. She responded well to the company of the others and is now very much part of the herd. Finally, on the 30th of October another tiny well victim from Namunyak was rescued and safely delivered to the Nursery. Little Nkii arrived scratched a scraped from her struggles in the well just days old.

Another significant day on the calendar was the Global March for Elephants held on the 4th of October. The world marched for elephants and rhinos in more than 130 cities globally in an effort to highlight the crisis facing these two endangered species. We had a special day planned between our Units too, highlighting the plight of the elephants and rhinos through the DSWT iWorry Campaign.

Ziwa’s road to recovery has been slow since he was flown back to Nairobi from Ithumba last month so that he could have round the clock intensive care at the Nursery in an effort to overcome his chronic problem. He has had numerous blood tests along with various other tests and he is extremely anemic, so much so that we felt he required a blood transfusion. Jasiri thankfully obliged and cooperated by donating some of his blood and the transfusion took place without too much fuss from either. It is assumed that Ziwa’s problem stemmed from blood parasites, but with ongoing medication we are happy to report that he has shown remarkable improvement towards the end of the month. He has settled into Nursery life again and he and our baby giraffe, Kili, have become firm friends, spending most days together. Kili provides excellent company for the less robust orphans who are not up to the boisterous behavior of the main group.

Kili has been growing fast and has even outgrown his stable, so we have hurriedly custom built him a sky scraper stable. He loves his original stable which adjoins our baby elephants and the security of that at night along with the company of the Keepers who attend the elephants provides him with great comfort. His new stable adjoins his original one so everything will feel the same for him, just with increased headroom. Ostriches Pea and Pod have been joining Kili out in the bush during the day too, faithfully trailing after their beloved Keeper Siprian. Murit has surprisingly taken a real fancy to Kili and this tiny elephant enjoys charging games with him, who obliges by running around skittishly making tiny Murit feel very much in charge! Kili has been looking at his own kind with great interest while wandering out in the Park during the day, likewise his wild counterparts have been doing the same, fascinated by the motley company he keeps.

The many tiny babies have been enjoying the attentions of Oltaiyoni especially and Arruba too this month has been showing increased interest in them. Rorogoi, Mashariki and Lentili do their bit, but the most maternal of all is wonderful gentle Embu. She imparts an energy that all the orphans respond to, especially any newcomers, and she walks around like the Pied Piper with a cluster of satellites in her wake. Enkikwe and Dupotto are her babies, with Enkikwe enjoying the enviable position of sharing a night stockade with Embu too.

There was drama this month when Tundani and Nelion were moved into the stockades around the back of Maxwell’s stockades, the old sleeping quarters of Murera and Sonje. This was necessitated by new arrivals. Any bedroom move is met with great reluctance and this was a big step for these two and we had to endure a few sleepless nights until they finally settled down.

Greedy boys Olsekki, Sokotei and Enkikwe keep the Keepers on their toes, as all milk feeds are punctuated by bad behavior from these three. Sokotei has been struggling with a huge wart that developed on the top of his trunk which has definitely affected his mood. Thanks to the miraculous properties of Thuya his wart is now shrinking and he will shortly be rid of it altogether. Kithaka and Barsilinga, along with Lemoyian have predictably continued their mischievous ways. It is nearing the time for them, along with some of the older orphans, to head to Tsavo where they will have the company of many other older bulls and wild friends to stimulate them.

Maxwell had his stockade spring cleaned this month, which took some doing. All his soil was replaced and a new mudbath dug. He continues to enjoy visits from wild rhinos at night, but Solio’s visits have been few and far between in recent weeks. She thankfully has made a couple of appearances so we know she is safe and looking wonderfully healthy. She is obviously having a great time totally immersed in a wild life in the Nairobi National Park rhino community which is satisfying indeed.

Please read the Keepers daily entries for more orphan specific details.

October 2014 day to day

01 Oct

Little Ndotto is really becoming quite the character, out in the field today he spent time rolling in the soil next to Ashaka. He would push up against Ashaka’s stomach and throw dust on Ashaka who was trying to enjoy the midday heat. This is so sweet to watch because he remains so tiny. Little Ndotto is becoming mischievous and fast resembling the character of naughty boy Kithaka. Ndotto is even pushing the other elephants and sometimes the Keepers at feeding times. Ndotto still has not gone through the dreaded teething phase but his gums are swollen and showing signs.

Ndotto out and about with the others

Ashaka relaxing