Keepers' Diaries, October 2015
Nairobi Nursery Unit
The month began with reports from Samburu of a tiny orphaned elephant baby. Rescued by a Samburu herder he was taken to ‘Save the Elephants’ base in Samburu. DSWT was contacted and the tiny newborn baby was flown to Nairobi. Arriving in the afternoon he joined the fold, amongst whom was recent arrival, little Wei Wei. Throughout the month these two baby elephants have grown extremely close. Wei Wei, despite arriving towards the end of last month in desperate condition, has gone through the fraught teething process this month and is now beginning to put on condition.
01 October 2015
Kauro was having a good time with Mbegu as the rest of the group browsed in the early morning. They were the only ones playing around, trumpeting and running after each other with their ears raised up. Suddenly they came across a troop of baboons and started chasing them away. Pea and Pod were then invited to play in their game but they did not seem that interested and kept running away from them. Mbegu and Kauro would pretend to give up, as the two ostriches were busy plucking shoots from the ground then the elephants would approach from two different directions and at once go ‘smack’ with their trunks. The ostriches would speed off, their feathers raised and their wings spread wide and after a few meters they would go around in circles and then down on the ground.
Wei Wei went out slightly earlier today so as to spend some more time with his new friends; though he stayed away from the public show as it is still too soon for him to join. After around 9 o’clock and the babies milk feeding session, Kiko was out in the park with his keeper when he saw and heard Impala’s fighting; this scared him and he and ran away! About seven keepers had to run after him as he was still very confused. It took some minutes to catch up with him and a few hour before he settled down.
Later in the morning just after 10am a call came from the Save the Elephants camp in Samburu that they had a lone baby elephant. A rescue team was assembled immediately and within a few minutes they left for Wilson airport. By noon they had left for Buffalo Springs airstrip and within one hour they had landed in Samburu. On arrival they found a very tiny baby waiting for his flight to Nairobi. The baby had been found all alone by Samburu herders that morning. He was given some milk which he took well, which also confirmed he had been without his mother’s milk for some time and at least over 12 hours. The calf was a few days old and no one knew why he has been left behind. His condition was not too bad and he just seemed a bit confused. The little boy was flown to Wilson and by 3pm he had arrived at the nursery. He was off loaded and put straight into his pen next to Lasayen. After resting for a little while he took some more milk and went out for some exercise to stretch his legs in the compound. He went back into his stable to wait for his new friends to arrive. When Lasayen came back at 5pm he immediately noticed the new baby in the stable next door. He tried to reach out to his through the space in the wall but the little baby was shy and was more interested in his new keeper.
02 October 2015
The new baby from Samburu has been named Loboito (meaning ‘abandoned’ in Samburu) and he seems to have settled in well as he was feeding well throughout the night with good sleep in between; only at the beginning of the night Lasayen had tried to distract him as he was very interested in meeting the new little baby. He kept putting his trunk through the bars between the two stables and pulling on Loboito’s blanket which kept waking him up. Loboito found a better sleeping spot under the keeper’s bed and then he slept well. In the morning he didn’t come out at the same time as the others. He and Wei Wei stayed behind until it got a bit warmer, and then they came out together and went out to meet their new friends, Loboito’s first time. Before they reached where the others were, Mbegu spotted them from a distance and ran towards them to meet them. She rumbled with joy for the little ones and inspected the new arrival with her trunk. She is so lovely, as she hugged them with her trunk and led them to meet the others. Kamok was happy to meet Loboito too, and pulled him underneath her. When the older ones herd the joyful rumbling from Kamok and the others, they all went over to welcome the new baby into the family. Arruba and Oltaiyoni took Loboito away from the others while Mashariki was left with Wei Wei. But their encounter did not last long as the older ones had to keep moving into the thicket and the new babies had to stay closer to the stockades. Later in the afternoon, Pea and Pod sneaked away from the older group and joined Loboito and Wei Wei. Kiko the giraffe also came over to the little ones, where Loboito had gained interest in the ostriches and was following them around. The ostriches kept running away from Loboito though, as he persistently followed behind them. Kiko was interested in the move and started following Loboito too, so eventually there was a line of two ostriches, a baby elephant and a little giraffe! Eventually Loboito got tired and left Pea and Pod alone. He went to play with his blanket which was hanging instead, before deciding to have a nap.
03 October 2015
It is about 8.30am and the babies have come for their milk feed in small groups. The first group to arrive was Lasayen, Ndotto, Mbegu, Alamaya, Kamok and Roi, and it was like a running competition! From the start, Ndotto and Roi were leading. But about 50 meters from the feeding point, Lasayen came from behind and overtook everyone going as fast as Usain Bolt to get milk! He was also the first one to drink all his milk from the bottle. After, he decided to go over and see the little ones who were close by, while the rest went in a different direction after finishing their milk. When everyone had finished, the rest of the babies spent some time with the youngest Wei Wei and Loboito. Their time altogether was cut short however when Lasayen started bullying the young ones. It happened that most of the keepers were paying attention to Loboito and Wei Wei, which Lasayen was not happy about. He started acting up. As they were being separated back into their groups, Murit refused and decided to stay with the very baby ones. The little ones were playing with dust and Wei Wei accidentally stepped on Loboito’s trunk. He screamed in pain and the screaming reached Mbegu’s ears. She came running back, charging to come and find out what was going on. She inspected him before going over to Murit and spending a bit of time with him, before leaving to follow the rest.
04 October 2015
Solio has been making frequent visits lately, not like before when she would be gone for months at a time. Today, she arrived very early in the morning through Daphne’s garden – she spoiled a lot of flowers before getting to the red soil behind Maxwell’s stockade. She played, rolling in the soil for quite some time, before Max learned of her presence. When Max came up close to the wall between them, Solio sprayed urine in his face. He went mad, charging and pushing the wall to try and reach her, but all in vain. He remained nervous the whole time the young girl was around, running up and down between the two halves of his stockade. It was even worse for him when Solio went into her old stockade and started calling for lucerne. After having enough lucerne, she left. As she was leaving, she met Olsekki who was feeding close to Maxwell’s stockade. The two started playing an attacking game, one would go after the other for a few steps and then when one turned their back the other would sneak up behind. After Solio had had enough of the game, she ran into the thicket where the other babies were browsing. They all ran away in fright, looking for the safety of their keepers. Suswa confirmed that everyone was in the herd and safe, before going back to the thicket, charging around to find out what the problem was. By then Solio had already left though so she didn’t find anything, but Arruba and Mashariki joined her just to make sure everything was okay.
05 October 2015
Roi seems to be a seasonal baby sitter – there are times she is good with little babies and other times she is not. Today she was being really bad with Ndotto and his friend Lasayen. Ndotto, who sometimes likes to be alone, was browsing on his own a few meters away from the keepers. Roi appeared from nowhere and without anyone knowing why she knocked Ndotto to the ground before disappearing into the thicket. The keepers though the poor little boy had done nothing wrong! During the public visiting, Lasayen had arrived with the first group to have his milk. He had drank his share and was playing at the water trough, sucking up water and spraying it out. Roi drank her milk and walked straight over to Lasayen and without any warning, she knocked him down into the mudbath. He rolled into the mud bath shouting as the keepers ran to help him out; Roi ran away into the far corner like she knew she had done something wrong. She was lucky that neither Oltaiyoni or Mbegu had arrived by then, otherwise she would have been given a tough time by either one!
Boromoko gave such a show! By the time the babies were all present for the visiting hour the weather was a bit windy and none of them wanted to enter the mud bath because it was feeling cold. After all the older babies had taken their milk, Boromoko walked down to the mud bath and started spraying himself with mud. Enkikwe attempted to do the same but the coldness of the water made him change his mind. It seemed the whole mud bath was for Boromoko, he wallowed at length as most of his peers browsed nearby or some, like Mashariki and Olsekki, played football. The two were holding the ball with their trunks and kicking it to each other too. Olsekki kicked it to Mashariki who missed it and it went into the mud bath with Boromoko. That was when the real show started. Boromoko kicked the ball running after it all on his own in the pool. His ears were raised high and wide, going in circles, trumpeting and attracting the audience’s attention towards the end of the visiting. When it was time to leave he was left behind and he did not want to leave, even after being pushed and escorted by the keepers. Suswa, from a distance, saw the keepers having trouble with him and she ran back to the mud bath area, with one rumble he got out of the pool and walked to join the rest.
06 October 2015
Well, well, well, it’s mud bath time and none of the babies want to be left out. They are all having their mud bath! Murit knows his status and he is not aggressive like some of the others. He joins Lasayen, Ngilai and Ndotto who are having their fun on the edge of the mud bath. They are all having fun, rolling in the mud, loose soil and mounting on each other. After a lengthy mud bath, Kamok got out of the pool and started showing off her real character. She started smacking visitors who were standing along the rope line with her muddy trunk! Some of the school children were afraid and started running away – but the more they shouted the more fun Kamok was having and the more she did it. The keepers had to come over and move her away from the line with some real encouragement. When the older group came, they all enjoyed a lengthy mud bath too, except for Kauro who rarely joins in on that. He was moving up and down the rope cordon, interacting with the visitors.
The brilliant girl Mbegu, doing what she does best, was protecting the young ones. It is now lunch time and the keepers are eating altogether. Wei Wei and Loboito are present while the rest are browsing around the area. Kiko is also there, watching the younger babies. Wei Wei starts screaming because the keepers will not give him a finger to suck whilst they are eating. The complaint reaches Mbegu’s ears and she immediately runs over to attend to the little one. On her arrival she meets a strange figure standing with the babies, Kiko. Mbegu thinks it is him causing the problem for the young babies so she raises her ears and tries to drive him away. Kiko runs away, seeing her big ears, and gets lost in the thicket. Mbegu was not finished and trumpets and charges around, attracting Oltaiyoni and Arruba who come over to find out what is going on. The keepers abandoned their lunch to go and help poor Kiko; they split into two groups, one to go and run after little Kiko and the other to try and stop the rowdy orphans. It worked and Kiko was brought back but he didn’t really settle down in front of the elephants, so he was escorted back to the stockades where he would settle down.
The night-rocking girl Dupotto has also finally settled down since we moved her into a stockade next to her best friend Embu. She came home this evening in a very jovial mood, after having her milk. Embu had arrived home before her and she put her trunk through the bars between them and the two started playing, moving and sharing greens between the two rooms ‘across the border.’
07 October 2015
During milk feeding time even the best of friends can argue. Sokotei and Sirimon are good play mates and they always respect each other, they even share a stockade at night. When they get into their stockade at night, after their milk, they always size each other up a bit before going to bed. Last night was a long night for the two compared to the others they have spent together as there was screaming and fighting between the two during feeding hours. The keepers remained at the gate to stop them fighting but it was in vain and they had to iron out their differences before returning to the gate for the rest of their milk. During the day things were totally different between the two and they played together all day. Mwashoti and Boromoko are two other young bulls that like being together, like today. They had lots of fun play-fighting and mounting on each other. They spent a few minutes browsing, but the rest of the time playing these pushing games.
Alamaya, who is mostly a quiet boy, was enjoying his milk bottle at 9am today when Roi came up to him, struggling to snatch his bottle. He reacted by pushing the greedy girl away, and after finishing his bottle he charged after her, demanding more respect and not do that again. Rapa and Godoma still trust the company of Tusuja over any other orphan. Tusuja seems to have been avoiding their company today, but they continued to follow him everywhere he went. They had been browsing in the woods together and at 3pm when they all came together to be released to go and get their milk bottle, Tusuja managed to leave without being noticed by the other two. When they realised he was gone, they ran back to the bushes where they had been browsing together. They were brought back to the rest of the herd but remained restless and nervous, searching for Tusuja within the group. They only settled down once they met up with Tusuja again in the feeding area.
08 October 2015
Kiko has had a very happy day full of excitement. He had some fun with the warthogs out in the bush. He was full of happiness, running up and down and kicking out with his front and back legs. It’s the norm that as soon as the baby elephants come out of their pens, the warthogs join them right away. Kiko has started to get used to the babies, as he spends his days with Loboito and Wei Wei. Pea and Pod have returned to spend time with the little ones as well. A few days before the arrival of the two baby elephants, the ostriches had started skipping the public sessions and they would only come down when they felt like it. This has given them even more reason to stay away from the visiting time as they hang around Loboito, Wei Wei and now with Kiko too. Warthogs eat down on their knees to reach better – to Kiko they must seem like toys, so far down; today he bent his long neck down to watch them eat and see what they are doing. As they approached him he pretended to be scared of them and move a few steps away. He then sped up and jumped over them one after the other, run off for about a 100m before returning back and kicking in the air. All the warthogs then disappeared into the bushes. The warthogs stayed in the bushes for a few minutes before coming back, immediately starting to feed again. Kiko repeated the same moves! Until the warthogs gave up and decided to go and join the older elephants.
At around 2pm Mbegu sneaked away from her group to go and find where the little babies were. By then both Loboito and Wei Wei were having a nap. When she arrived she went around them, touching and smelling them. After confirming what she wanted to know she went back to Loboito and started trying to wake him up by kicking his front legs. When the little one got up she started pushing him to move, getting a few steps away from the keepers. She found some digging and preparing some lose soil for the baby to play with but she would end up dusting the baby herself; just as mothers do with their babies in the wild. After having good fun with Loboito and making sure they were okay, Mbegu left to go and join her herd again.
09 October 2015
It’s around 6:30 in the morning and all of the orphans are out in the forest, although not very far from the stockades yet. Boromoko is having a great time with the warthogs, having a ‘you can’t catch me’ game. The whole area was full of trumpeting from Boromoko chasing the warthogs into the bushes, before the warthogs would come running out again with their tails raised up, seeming to also enjoy the game! They would try to head-but Boromoko from different directions and he would spread his ears, trumpet and pretend to charge. Watching the big Boromoko about to charge them, the warthogs would run into the thicket, out again – and so the game continued! After playing with them for quite some time, Boromoko ended the game by walking away. He then went and found Lasayen to teach the young boy some wrestling skills that he likes to learn so much. Lasayen enjoyed the game so much he wouldn’t let Boromoko leave.
The mischievous girl was on a mission after public visiting today. As they were all leaving the visiting area to go back to the bush, Kamok overheard men working on the compound. She sneaked out of the line without anyone’s knowledge and went directly to the parking area near Daphne’s where the men were working – and ran at them! They ran away shouting for help. She is so naughty she did not even obey some of the other Trust workers to stop attacking the workers, and a keeper had to be called from the bush to come and get her! She is clever too, and spotted the keeper coming. She immediately ran away, taking a different route to the woods where the other orphans were.
Ngilai and his friend Elkerama have spent the day together without sneaking away from the herd. The two made a nice picture – Elkerama with his trunk on top of the bushes picking some leaves as the young boy suckles on his ears below.
10 October 2015
Rapa seems jealous of Murit, which the keepers have noticed on a few occasions. Whenever Murit is fed in his presence he fights for his bottle; both at the 9am feeding and the 11am feeding, this little boy has been trying to snatch Murit’s bottle. Normally Murit is quite slow is drinking his bottle, and Rapa doesn’t like to play around with food. Even if Murit comes to the feeding before him, Rapa will still find Murit having his milk. At 11am Rapa almost pushed the keeper over who was feeding Murit, in an effort to grab the bottle. It took another keeper to intervene to stop that happening but the bottle had already been thrown down and some of the milk had poured out.
Simotua’s wounds are recovering so well. This can also be seen in his spirited mood – very happy and playful like the others. He teamed up with Roi this morning in chasing the dik diks in the thicket. Because of the drought and dry weather, they are able to see through the bushes to the dik diks. They both pushed them out, trumpeting and running after them. The two girls with similar characters, Siangiki and Rorogoi have spent their day together away from the rest. They always seem slightly nervous, ready to raise their ears up, and take less interest in caring for the younger babies.
11 October 2015
The two little boys, Wei Wei and Loboito are doing very well so far – drinking well and still with good tummies. Today at around 9am, soon after they had finished their bottles, Loboito was seen having a fun time running after Pea and Pod, though never catching them obviously, through the bushes. This soon tired him out though and Loboito returned to his friend Wei Wei for a short nap. The little boy peacefully rested against Wei Wei’s tummy – something that did not even wake the tired Wei Wei! Nowadays Pea and Pod spend most of their time with the two younger boys and Kiko, rather than the other boisterous lot. At around 1pm little Kiko had a busy time charging around after the warthogs who were hanging around. Kiko ran around after them, trying to kick them with her fore and hind legs, though the warthogs challenged him by running through the thicket.
12 October 2015
When the orphans came out of their stockades this morning, Mbegu and Kamok were quite reluctant as the two girls have become quite attached to the two tiny boys Wei Wei and Loboito. Mbegu stayed standing beside Wei Wei’s door, knocking on the door for him to come out, but it was still too early and cold for the little babies to come out yet. She made low rumbles which drew the attention of Wei Wei who walked close to his door and rumbled loudly back at Mbegu. Poor Mbegu waited patiently for some time, before leaving to join Kamok who was also waiting patiently outside Loboito’s stable! After realizing that the two boys were not going to come out at that time, the two girls left running and trumpeting towards the bush – as if protesting against their failure! At around 7am Wei Wei and Loboito came out of their stables and went into the bush; Kamok and Mbegu, after learning of their arrival, went running to pick them up. Joining the two tiny boys, Mbegu happily embraced Loboito who put his tiny trunk inside Mbegu’s mouth as Kamok spent some time rolling on the groun, playing with Wei Wei who was trying to step on her head. These two young girls have very strong maternal instincts irrespective of their age, it is clear. We are sure in the future they will be good matriarchs.
13 October 2015
Towards 7am, soon after the orphans had settled down to browse in the bush, all of a sudden Suswa and Rorogoi got a fright from a lone male buffalo that was walking towards them. The two girls turned around quickly and trumpeted as they ran back to the keepers. Their sudden reaction made the entire herd frightened and they all began trumpeting and the little ones began shouting as they ran around trying to find the keepers. As Suswa and Rorogoi led the older group towards the keepers, Kamok, Mbegu and Dupotto led Lasayen, Ndotto, Ngilai, Murit, Godoma and Rapa towards the stockades though some keepers ran after them to try and bring them back. All the orphans stood very quietly beside their keepers and Lasayen, Ndotto and Ngilai stood as close to them as possible. The big girls Mashariki, Suswa, Arruba, Embu and Rorogoi stayed very restless with all their ears erect and they watched out for the buffalo and another encounter! After a while though they all settled down again and began busily browsing once more. During public visiting there was no major show of activity, although naughty Kamok had a fun moment of teasing the school children who were enjoying touching her as she stood along the rope cordon; the rest of the babies were all busy soil dusting.
14 October 2015
Wei Wei is getting his strength back and is happy playing with his friend Loboito. Looking at him today, he is not the same baby he was a few days ago. This morning he played so well out in the bush with his friend Loboito. They both enjoyed soil dusting which was prepared for them by their keepers. Though he still can’t properly use his trunk as he is still weak, he couldn’t properly scoop up the soil and spray himself, the keepers helped him out as his mother would have done in the wild. He rolled over and over in the soil, walking on his knees as well, fully enjoyed the session. This attracted the attention of Loboito who came over and tried to mount on his head. They had a lovely and lengthy time soil dusting.
The three babies that will always be the first ones to line up for milk feeding are always Mashariki, Sokotei and Roi. It is always a must for these three to be the first! Sokotei always seems to be the time keeper for the rest as well. He understands the keepers mobile radios and when he hears them communicating he comes out of the bushes and starts fighting to get to the milk first. Today we did not have a Private Visit attend so the whole family spent the afternoon close together, except for Wei Wei and Loboito. This meant that any of the herd could have their milk first, and these three wanted it to be them! Roi is another naughty girl as whenever she is denied getting past to get to the milk she turns her anger on the younger ones and starts pushing them around. At one point she attempted to take her anger out on Alamaya but he defended himself and put her in her place.
15 October 2015
Lasayen, Ndotto and Murit were having fun today on the edge of the mud hole, playing and rolling in the mud and mounting on each other’s backs. There was another game unfolding nearby between Ngilai and the warthogs. With the scorching sun at the time of the public visiting, most of the orphans present were enjoying a mud bath. Ngilai was moving all over the place. The warthogs approached to cool themselves down in the mud bath too but Ngilai spotted them from some distance away and kept an eye on them. As they came closer to the mud hole he raised his ears high and charged towards them. They pretended to have moved back into the bushes, but they were watching Ngilai and if he moved out of the way. They returned in a bigger number and Ngilai must have known the trick they were planning because it didn’t take him any time at all to charge at them again. Some went screaming through the audience that was standing watching the babies, some ran away over the rocks. The shouting from the audience attracted the attention of the other babies Roi, Kamok, Mbegu and Mwashoti who all ran to help the young boy chase them away. As Ngilai went under the rope trying to chase out the ones that were hiding behind the audience, the rest of his team chased the ones that were standing on the rocks. All the warthogs ran back into the forest and peace was restored.
It was during lunch hour for the keepers that Mbegu and Kamok teamed up to chase poor Kiko the giraffe away. Kiko seems to have started to understand who they are though, not like before when they would do this and he would feel threatened. They prepared themselves, raising their ears ready to charge, but Kiko just watched them. They carried on with their mission of scaring him, but he did not move until they were very close. And then right in front of them, he stepped out and threw hind kicks in the air. Seeing him react with full force and start kicking like that, Kamok and Mbegu ran back to their keepers, now scared of Kiko! They would think twice about trying to scare Kiko the baby giraffe again…
16 October 2015
Early in the morning, the orphans left their stockades in a playful mood. Big and small, they all scampered out charging and trumpeting around; Mashariki, Arruba, Suswa and Embu approached the bushes and bashed them around, welcoming the new day and showing off their strength too. When they usually show off like this in such a happy way, it is an indication of a new baby elephant to come into the nursery. This came true when at 1:30pm the office received a report of a rescue from Maralal in Samburu. The KWS station there reported an elephant calf that had been spotted down a well by Ngoteiya Conservancy Scouts at around 6am when they were out on their patrols. At 10:30 the calf was rescued by KWS personnel together with the Conservancy Scouts and towards 4pm the calf was airlifted to Nairobi and driven to the Nusery. The calf arrived safely and with relatively good health since it had no injuries. He had a good response to his human family and took his milk well too. The calf is a young female with an approximate age of 2-3 months and we have named her Tamiyoi from the area she was found. On arriving back at the nursery it was Mbegu the baby lover who was the first to react and start shouting to meet the new baby, but it was already too late in the day to get a chance. She remained unsettled for some time, annoyed at missing the opportunity – but soon she settled down and went to her stockade, eager for the next day to arrive.
17 October 2015
The new baby Tamiyoi had a peaceful night under the watchful eye of his keepers. When early morning came the orphans came out of their stockades and Mbegu and Kamok were witnessed just standing beside Tamiyoi’s stable door, trying to knock on it and get the attention of the new baby. As the young girls waited patiently, Tamiyoi smelt their presence and all of a sudden started yelling loudly, prompting the girls outside to start yelling even more loudly as they ran around protesting against not being able to meet the new baby; they were unlucky however as it is still too early for the baby to come out of its stable. At 8am Tamiyoi was happy to meet Wei Wei and Loboito however, and she paid a lot of attention to her keepers who she is really fond of, always enjoying suckling on their fingers. At 9am Mbegu had her dream fulfilled when she got to meet little Tamiyoi who she happily embraced.
18 October 2015
It was a chilly morning when frequent rainfall which meant the little ones Wei Wei, Loboito and Tamiyoi had to stay indoors with the warmth of their blankets on. The rest of the orphans however were busy out in the field, playing with the mud made by the heavy rain. The young boys like Ndotto, Lasayen and Ngilai were seen happily playing mounting games on each other and enjoying bumping and sliding on Alamaya, Mwashoti, Tusuja, Mbegu and Dupotto. They all had a busy time rolling around in the wet muddy grounds! The happy games of the young boys gained the interest of Rapa and Godoma who then joined in. Rapa took on Tusuja by enjoying scratching his rear against Tusuja’s forehead as Godoma enjoyed sliding on his belly! However the happy game took a turn when Rapa accidentally stood on Tusuja’s trunk which saw him yell and protest in pain. Tusuja did not react or take it out on one of his favourite babies, but instead embraced him with a show of affection. Tusuja is always a cool, gentle boy well liked by Rapa, Godoma and Murit too.
19 October 2015
As the orphans went into the bush in the early morning, they came across a herd of impalas that were busy browsing. But their busy morning of browsing took a turn when Olsekki, Enkikwe, Sirimon and Sokotei decided to charge at them, bashing bushes and trumpeting – seeing the impalas sprint off deep into the forest! The sudden disappearance left the boys full of energy though, and they continued to charge around butting bushes and stamping, but the poor impalas were long gone. With their targets missing, they started engaging each other in pushing games instead with Olsekki taking on Sirimon and Enkikwe reinforcing Sirimon from behind to beat Olsekki. Even combined, they could not meet the strength of Olsekki and his long tusks which gave him an advantage over the other two boys, so they quickly gave up the game.
Little Ngilai is nowadays becoming a playful boy who quite often when out in the bush joins up with the keepers and engages them in pushing games too. Today during public visiting, soon after he had finished his bottles, he followed naughty Kamok and both of them went to tease the school pupils that were nearby watching them. Little Ngilai was witnessed running along the rope cordon enjoying bumping and fair pushing games with the pupils who were happily enjoying touching him; though some were shouting as it was their first encounter with an elephant! Ngilai had a busy and joyful time targeting those that were shouting! Kamok was heavily guarded by the keepers so as not to be too boisterous with the pupils, so Ngilai had a lovely time with the students on his own.
20 October 2015
During public visiting today the babies were busy drinking their bottles when naughty Olsekki snatched poor Sirimon’s bottle as he was busy feeding himself! He bravely took the bottle from Sirimon’s trunk and ran off to enjoy the rest of the milk. Olsekki was in a naughty mood and would not listen to the keepers, moving from one point to another as he quickly tried to finish the bottle. Once it was finished he walked around slowly still holding the empty bottle and brought it back to where Sirimon was standing, quite unhappy not to have his bottle. Before Olsekki had nearly reached Sirimon he jumped forward and snatched the bottle back from him, not realizing that it was basically finished. Although Sirimon was upset, the audience thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle and that elephants could be so intelligent and have such great minds.
The three little babies Wei Wei, Loboito and Tamiyoi are still doing well, though we are still waiting for little Wei Wei’s body condition to improve as he is still quite skinny, though he is feeding well. Tiny Loboito is always attached to Wei Wei slightly more than Tamiyoi, who loves to hang out close to the keepers. Tamiyoi has produced her teetch on the upper jaw as well as on the lower jaw too – thus crossing the delicate time that is teething! She is quite strong and her body condition remains good so far!
21 October 2015
It’s 6 o’clock as the orphans go out this Wednesday morning and it is already quite hot. With such hot weather, most of the babies will remain under the trees browsing quietly. Later when they arrived at the 11am visiting hour there was a bit of chaos. Alamaya and Mwashoti, who is starting to become the other greedy one, broke out. Alamaya was being bottle fed by a keeper and as Mwashoti arrived he forcefully went ahead to snatch Alamaya’s bottle. Alamaya fought to defend his milk and it got a bit out of hand when the keeper attempted to try and feed them both. Neither of them wanted to feed from the other keeper that was supposed to be feeding Mwashoti, but they both struggled for the same one. Things turned worse when they started to push the keeper too and then fight each other. Another keeper had to jump in and separate the two.
Ndotto is becoming another little boy who likes to mount others, just ike Kauro. The short boy is always looking for someone to mount and show off, to him size or age doesn’t matter. Mostly he is seen mounting Lasayen and Mbegu. Whoever is near him and happens to be lying down, the short boy will always try and climb on top of them. Oltaiyoni and Mbegu, who are still good friends, were rolling and playing in the dust at 11am. The short boy approached them and this time around he decided to go for Oltaiyoni. As he climbed on poor Oltaiyoni’s head, she started struggling trying to get up. The boy was stuck on her head and she managed to get up with him hanging his hind feet in the air. Thanks to Mbegu who came over to Oltaiyoni when she heard Ndotto shouting, she moved close to Oltaiyoni and when Ndotto fell off he landed on Mbegu, preventing him from landing on the ground in pain.
22 October 2015
Lasayen has become an entertainer at the public show lately. The young boy will always leave the crowd smiling and cheering him on with his many stylish games. At the end of the visiting time many people will keep on asking who the little baby was that was showing off. After drinking his bottle he began with a few football kicks before getting to the line where he is used to playing. Most of the visitors were crowded close to where he was playing his games and the school children were enjoying touching him as he raised his head up swaying his trunk around whilst sitting down. However, Kamok with her innocent and smiling face came over and spoiled the show. Whenever Kamok is about to do something naughty, it is quite hard to tell. She will always bring you close and once you are convinced she is not going to do anything that is when she reacts either with a push or a smack with her strong trunk. This time her mission was fulfilled as there were so many people standing near the rope where Lasayen was. The keepers saw her and were controlling her from keeping away from the rope line, but she did not listen to the keepers commands until she got what she wanted.
Arruba has been out to discipline the greedy ones today. It was the 9 o’clock feeding time when she turned to Olsekki and Enkikwe who were giving some problems. The boys were causing trouble even after finishing their milk. Later in the afternoon at 3pm Rorogoi, Embu and Olsekki again were misbehaving and pushing everyone around, snatching bottles from both the keepers and their peers. Arruba arrived in the company of her best friend Suswa and instead of going for her bottle, she drove all of those that had finished their bottles away, so the others could all settle down to enjoy their bottles in peace.
23 October 2015
Last night Solio visited the stockades leaving Max in an agitated mood for part of the morning. She arrived home around 3 o’clock in the morning and left soon after 5am leaving the poor boy to wonder all over his stockade. With the overnight pour of rain Max was even more excitable; the rain had started around 9pm and gone on until morning until 10am when it was still drizzling. Such weather conditions leave Maxwell very excited as he loves all the mud too, but he settled down later around 11am when he went to sleep. With the cold weather Wei Wei, Loboito and Tamiyoi had to stay in doors for some time before going out a few minutes after the public show around12 noon. The very little ones need to be protected from the cold because they are susceptible to pneumonia which is prone in young elephants.
In the afternoon as the orphans moved and browsed further into the thicket, Balguda accidentally stepped on a hyena’s cave. The hyenas were sleeping inside with their puppies but both sides reacted with as much surprise and fright. The hyena’s ran and spread out in all directions as the orphans ran to their keepers. Balguda was the fastest of all the orphans running towards their keepers followed by Oltaiyoni and Sokotei, Arruba, Suswa, Rorogoi, Mashariki and Roi. This group went on trumpeting and bashing the bushes as a sign of strength and anger. The big girls became much more concerned when they could not find the group of little babies and the likes of Ndotto, Lasayen, Godoma and Rapa, but they had accompanied Kamok, Tusuja, Simotua and Mwashoti. The keepers had to relocate everybody and bring peace back to the whole group.
24 October 2015
What a fun day for Mwashoti and his best play mate and friend Boromoko. It brings such joy to the family of orphans seeing them engage on another in such friendly games. The two boys would at some point invite Kamok in their pushing/hide and seek game, but Kamok seemed to be not that interested even after a lot of persuasion. She would join them for a few minutes then run away when it turned into a real boy’s game. Sokotei and Sirimon will also usually not end the day without sizing each other up as they have being doing today for almost the whole day. Embu at some point did not seem that happy with the game as she tried to charge them as a way of making them stop their games, but that didn’t keep them from what they love doing and playing together. They went looking for each other whenever they were free from browsing.
Wei Wei and Loboito are getting along so well as friends, even though sometimes Loboito will try and bully Wei Wei who is still much weaker than him, Wei Wei still likes him and tries to maintain their friendship. Tamiyoi is still a little pushy and wild compared to the two and she always wants things by force. She keeps moving up and down whilst Loboito and Wei Wei are much calmer. Because of that she normally follows the keepers whenever they move; she loves suckling on fingers but if you do not present them when she wants, she charges at you!
25 October 2015
We had some drizzle during the night and it was still a bit wet in the morning, too wet for Loboito, Wei Wei and Tamiyoi to come out of their stables. The older ones as well were not browsing very far from the stockades until it was a bit warmer. At around 7am, Tamiyoi led the other little two into the bush. From quite a far distance Arruba and Mbegu saw as the babies were walking to the bushes and they abandoned all that they were doing to run and greet the babies. When they approached, they hugged them in a form of greeting and turned around to lead them to the others. A blanket had been hung on a branch for the little ones to play with and side by side Arruba and Mbegu escorted the little ones to it, both their trunks were on top of the two Wei Wei and Loboito. Tamiyoi was walking in the middle slightly ahead of the rest. When they got to the blanket the four Arruba, Mbegu, Loboito and Wei Wei started suckling on the blanket, but Tamiyoi who doesn’t know anything about it went up to the keepers. The two older girls spent some hours with the little ones before returning to the main herd.
In the first group of the younger babies at public visiting, Rapa was the only baby who decided to get into the mud pool; he had a good time in the pool on his own. In the second group only Boromoko decided to take a lengthy mud bath and had lots of fun playing with the football down in the pool, wallowing and kicking and splashing mud on the crowd. He played in the pool from the beginning of visiting to the end of the session when he was pushed out by Suswa when the time was up.
26 October 2015
Elephants are such intelligent animals even when they are young. Tamiyoi has only been in the nursery a few days and she is already listening to the keepers and some of the things they say to do. She also knows when she has made a mistake! She is known as a little grumpy girl to the keepers as she is always shoving Loboito, Wei Wei and the keepers. In the morning out in the bush, the keepers were having their cup of tea and Wei Wei and Loboito were quietly and gently interacting. Tamiyoi however is a non-stop mover and always wandering all over the place. She walked around the keepers and then all of a sudden quickly head butted Wei Wei who fell on the keepers’ legs. Tamiyoi knew very well she had done something wrong and ran away as the keepers helped Wei Wei to his feet.
At about 8.30am there was a call from the Voi stockades to say they had rescued a baby elephant that had fallen down a manhole on the Mzima Mombasa pipeline near Voi Safari Lodge. The baby had been spotted by guests from the lodge, who alerted the lodge management and they contacted the keepers at the Voi stockade. The calf had already spent one night down the man hole it seemed. The rescue team from the nursery was immediately dispatched to Wilson Airport to collect the baby from Voi airstrip. The calf arrived at the nursery just before 4pm in the afternoon; he looked very tired and disturbed. The group consisting of Wei Wei, Loboito and Tamiyoi was called back close to the stockades so that they could help calm him down. It worked immediately and as soon as he saw them coming he raised his ears as a form of alertness and as if ready to charge, but none of the other babies wanted to charge him back and instead he went up to them all to say hello. He then eventually took his first feed from the bottle, together with the other babies. After a little while they all went to their own stables which caused a bit of confusion until Mbegu came back and helped calm the new boy down again.
27 October 2015
It was a bright morning today as the orphans headed out to the woods. The new baby is called Kwama and before Mbegu and Kamok, who are his neighbours, came out of their stables, all was calm with him. But as soon as the two of them walked past his stable Kwama started rumbling and screaming and struggling with his door with all his might to get out and follow them. It was still too early for him though and he had to wait for his baby group to come out of their stables. Finally his group of Wei Wei, Loboito and Tamiyoi was let out to accompany him to the forest. He appeared happy and settled to be out finally in the wild with his new family. He was so comfortable taking his feed and bottle so well with the others you wouldn’t believe it was his first day at the nursery.
However, at around 7.30 the nursery received another call from the Voi stockade that they had rescued another tiny female calf from the same man hole that they had rescued Kwama from. A team of keepers left immediately for Voi for the rescue. They landed at Voi airstrip where the baby was waiting to be airlifted back to Nairobi. A few minutes before 2pm and the team with their precious cargo arrived at the nursery. Her condition was not that bad apart from a swelling under her chin which had been caused by struggling to get out of the man hole. When she was put into her stable she immediately got up and ran out trying to get back to the bushes. The little baby group was called back to come and meet her and hopefully calm her down. From a distance Tamiyoi saw her and started running to meet her first. When she met her, the new baby, who we decided to call Kawaida (which means ‘the same’ in Kiswahili after her rescue from the same place as Kwama), Kawaida tried to charge her but Tamiyoi stepped back and greeted her before proceeding to the keeper standing nearby to see if he had any milk. When the rest of the babies arrived, Kawaida started to calm down and all looked fine. They all together walked a little bit further from the stockades. Kiko the giraffe came to say hi to her as well but he later ran away from everybody when it started drizzling… he wanted to stay out and not accompany the babies as they were taken back to the stockades to avoid the rain! We had to make milk for Kiko to persuade him to come home, and that worked for the giraffe who loves his milk. Kawaida stayed together with the other four babies until 4.30 and going to her own stable for bed.
28 October 2015
Mbegu has had a long night – this young girl is very concerned over her small babies, especially when they have an issue. She became very disturbed when Kawaida, the new little one, couldn’t sleep. The new little girl was up and down trying to climb the wall to get into Mbegu’s stable next door, shouting the whole time. She was like a little one looking for her mother. Mbegu started to respond her well and try and climb her stable wall to get to Kawaida! She actually even managed to break one of the wooden frames separating them, but the space was not big enough for them to reach each other. She turned to Kamok as if asking Kamok to come and help her with the problem. She ended up breaking one frame on Kamok’s side and climbing through where she spent the rest of the night. While in Kamok’s room Mbegu eventually settled down a bit too, but as soon as the two of them left the stable in the early morning they were at the babies door trying to knock on it so the baby could come out too. They were sent off by the keepers though so the baby could get some rest before coming out later in the morning. It was drizzling for most of the morning though so the little babies Wei Wei, Tamiyoi, Kwama, Loboito and Kawaida stayed indoors until late morning.
With this kind of weather there was not much activity between the rest of the orphans. Only some were playing some wrestling games like Enkikwe and Olsekki, and the others browsed slowly. Poor Lasayen has changed stables twice since the arrival of Kwama and Lasayen and this evening, he refused to enter his new room, forcing the keepers to use lots of milk persuasion and convincing because he just wanted to go into his old room. It has been a long time since Solio visited home during the foster parent visiting hour in the afternoon but this evening she arrived and was directed to her stockade and given some lucerne. All who were present were happy to see her and she stayed overnight.
29 October 2015
Roi is in a bullying mood today. She seems to have been in a bad mood since morning as she has been pushing and charging towards all the younger ones. Oltaiyoni must have been watching her for awhile. Whilst in the bush Murit, Lasayen and Ndotto were playing. Roi came over and separated them apart, charging t Murit who she pushed over. When Oltaiyoni and Mbegu heard him cry they ran towards Murit to find out what had happened to him. Roi was still standing there and when she saw them coming she ran away into the bushes.
During the public visiting at 11am, Godoma, who is usually not as interactive as the rest, was sharing a good moment with Rapa holding and pulling each other’s trunks. Roi approached them and started head butting them, one after the other. Oltaiyoni was a few meters away and watched this happen. This time, Roi had no chance to escape, she was caught red-handed and given proper discipline by Oltaiyoni who drive her away from the whole group until the end of visiting.
Sirimon sneaked away from his group at 11am to get into the middle group so he could have his milk earlier! He was allowed to stay though and walked down with Kamok’s group. It has been another wet day for the babies who stayed indoors until later in the afternoon when they went out, although not very far from the stockades. The warthogs around the nursery are used to all the young babies and follow them all around. Baby Kawaida has never been as close to them as she has since being in the nursery, and while she was having fun with her new friends, a male warthog came over to join them. Kawaida was not comfortable with his presence and she started chasing the warthog, who was surprised as he thought the little ones would play or browse with him! He stood firm not wanting to go, but Kawaida was serious and raised her ears and went after him charging. When the warthog saw how serious the young elephant was he decided to run away. She followed him until he disappeared into the bushes, before returning to reunite with her friends at play.
30 October 2015
Ngilai and Elkerama are good friends. Today Ngilai came out earlier than Elkerama and started to walk out into the bush, but he remembered his friend and came walking back to stand beside Elkerama’s gate. He started pushing on the gate so that Elkerama would come out, and Elkerama walked over to greet Ngilai. Elkerama started pulling on the gate as little Ngilai was pushing from the outside, but Elkerama was finally let out by his keeper who picked up his young friend and the two of them disappeared into the thicket all alone until milk time when they joined the others.
Balguda was in a very jovial mood today, playing the mounting game with Arruba and Suswa who also enjoyed playing with him. At around 2pm a call was received at the nursery from Nick one of the DSWT pilots – there has been a calf spotted all alone in Tsavo West and even after flying the area, Nick could not see its mother or another herd. A rescue team left the orphanage immediately for Wilson Airport. The team landed at Kamboyo airstrip some minutes after 5pm. It was about a 10 minute drive from the airstrip to where the baby was. The calf was found standing under a tree looking very weak. As she was approached by the keepers she tried to charge them but she was not strong enough to make a very good effort. The keepers took control of her and managed to capture her safely. From a distance a bull elephant, who seemed to have been watching over her and perhaps trying to protect her from predators, started to approach as he had been watching everything happen. He abandoned the water he had been drinking and decided to follow behind the calf who had been loaded in a Landcruiser and was being driven to the airstrip. Eventually the bull gave up following though, as the car drove faster to the airstrip in order to give the baby the necessary treatment. When the calf arrived at the plane she was set free and given some milk and first aid assistance before being loaded on the plane to Nairobi. By the time the calf arrived at the nursery she had already gained some strength from the drip she had been given on the plane and she tried charging at the keepers again. It was good that she took some more milk and had a good conversation with Kawaida who is her neighbor in the next stable, which made her relax a lot more.
31 October 2015
Due to the arrival of the new calf yesterday, a lot of the orphans had to move around to create space with the increasing number of babies in the nursery. Kamok and Mbegu finally made the move from their stables to a stockade which they took from Kauro and Olsekki who moved into some of the back stockades (previously used by Rorogoi and Suswa who moved to another two stockades near Daphne’s parking area and Solio’s old stockade). Arruba and Kauro seemed to be the most affected by the move and Kamok, Mbegu and Suswa were less concerned about it. With the moving, one error was made in that now Arruba missed her friend Suswa who had been next door. She did not know where her friend had gone and at 6am in the morning when they were all let out, she went directly to look for her. Before the keepers knew where she had gone, they heard the rumblings of her greeting her friend Suswa at her stockade, and she stayed at her gate until she was let out too. After exchanging greetings she suckled on Suswa’s ear before they both walked out to the forest. Kauro was only upset with the move just because of the difference and he did not sleep very well. He trying to climb the wall and shouting until the morning; but it will not take long for him to settle down in his new room. The new baby had a quiet and comfortable night, taking all her milk during the night. She is looking more comfortable and calmer this morning. Her friend Kawaida next door went out early with the other babies, but this girl, who we have called ‘Tafuta’ meaning ‘to search’ in Kiswahili, has to stay indoors for a bit to get her strength back. She is about 6 months old.