Keepers' Diaries, October 2016

Nairobi Nursery Unit

As we approach what should be the end of the dry season and pray for the short seasonal rains due in November, we can take stock of what has been a very busy month for us, with 6 rescues to the Nursery alone, and a further two who were orphans too young to be alone in the wild, but old enough to go straight to the Voi rehabilitation Centre. Towards the end of the month, dry hot sunny days started to cloud over and the first few small showers began to break, which we hope will develop into more substantial downpours during the month ahead, since much of the country is in desperate need. We often see this pattern of heightened rescues during a harsh dry season when desperate elephants come for water in places where their calves can become trapped, or their calves become too weakened by drought conditions and are unable to continue and keep up with the herd so are abandoned so that the rest of the herd is not compromised, or when elephants invade human croplands which results in conflict and injury as the humans defend their livelihood.

01 October 2016

During the private visiting time today it was extremely hot which meant all the orphans quickly enjoyed their milk bottles before plunging into the refreshing mud bath. Some like Pare, Tusuja, Galla, Godoma, Ambo and Mbegu decided to even go into the mud wallow first! This shows how hot it was and they splashed water behind their ears and little Ambo even had a good roll around before going to get his milk bottle from the keeper. When everyone had finished their bottle they went back into the mud bath again. Ndotto and Lasayen enjoyed climbing on Roi and Oltaiyoni as they lay in the mud. As this happy time was going on for our little elephant babies, it was a sad afternoon as well as the little white rhino we received into our care the day before passed away, succumbing to the trauma of losing his mother and the vicious wounds he received from the lion attack. We were very sad to lose this little rhino.

02 October 2016

When the orphans arrived out in the forest this morning, some were busy browsing and others like Kauro, Tusuja, Roi, Mbegu, Maramoja, Rapa, Naseku, Lasayen, Ndotto, Dupotto and Godoma were all rolling around in the wet soil and little mud baths following the shower of rain we had last night. Kauro and Roi rolled on the soil as Ndotto, Rapa and Lasayen all enjoyed climbing, bumping and sliding on them. Naughty Rapa was trying to bully Ndotto and Lasayen away from Roi so that he could enjoy sliding on her himself – but they teamed up together to try and push him away too! During the public visit today Esampu was the cause of chaos when she tried to interrupt the other babies from enjoying their milk bottles. After finishing her bottle she remained restless running from one point to the next and pushing the keepers demanding more milk. The keepers warned her and eventually she was moved away from the others until she calmed down. She is really becoming a naughty greedy girl!

03 October 2016

During public visiting this morning the orphans drank their milk and ran into the mud bath to cool down their hot bodies. Godoma loves mud baths almost as much as she hates coconut oiling, and she was first into the mud rolling around and running up and down splashing mud over the walls of the mud bath. This encouraged Mbegu, Lasayen, Pare, Ambo, Sana Sana and Rapa to run in and enjoy the mud themselves. Rapa went down on his front legs lowering his head with his hind in the air, which the visiting public thought was very funny. Once up from his funny pose, Rapa started his naughty behaviour and blocked poor Malkia and Tagwa from entering the mud bath. When they tried to come in he ran at them with his ears spread out trying to push them away. This forced the keepers to warn him away so the other two could go into the mud. After coming out of the mud bath Rapa walked over to climb on Mbegu who was enjoying a soil dusting session. When Mbegu realised it was Rapa she got up quickly and pushed him, but he fell into the mud bath! This scared Godoma, Tagwa, Malkia and Pare who came running out of the mud, leaving Rapa struggling to stand up in the mud and Mbegu watching him from the edge. Rapa got up though and left the mud to play a pushing game with Lasayen – so it was a day of fun for all!

04 October 2016

As the orphans were approaching the bushes close to the stockade compound, they were joined by a group of warthogs that are resident in the compound as well. The warthogs had been scared by some lions that had been trying to ambush them that morning near the car park area. This meant the warthogs wanted to spend the rest of the morning in the safety of the herd of elephants and their keepers. However, Kamok, Roi, Kauro, Tusuja, Galla, Maramoja, Naseku and Oltaiyoni had other ideas; they tried to charge and chase the warthogs away, but they in turn were persistent. They kept following them under the cover of the bushes and by standing close to the keepers as well. Jotto and Tamiyoi who are find of standing close to the keepers were frightened and yelled out as they tried to scare the warthogs away from their keepers. This reaction made the keepers try and move the warthogs away as well, but they only moved a few meters away and remained close for the rest of the day. Ngilai was very playful this morning and during public visiting he was play pushing with Ndotto and running along the rope cordon bumping into the visiting public – they all applauded his cheeky behaviour!

05 October 2016

Naughty little greedy Esampu is now forced to be the last one in the first group down to the bottle feeding area – this way everyone has already finished their milk bottles and there is no one she can run after and bully for their bottle too! During public visiting though if someone wonders too close to her whilst she is having her bottle, she runs after them and then back to her bottle. This reaction of going to and from the keeper feeding her attracted the attention of the visiting public and they all wanted to know the name of this funny, greedy little elephant! Out in the bush just after 1pm, Kiko was frightened by a lioness that was out hunting warthogs. After Kiko spotted the lion he ran back to where the keepers and the little babies were in the bush. He stood there with the others and watched the lioness disappear back into the forest. A few minutes later Kiko sprinted from there back to the stockades and hid out there for the rest of the afternoon.

06 October 2016

Early in the morning the orphans were busy walking out of their stockades when Maxwell our blind rhino woke up and it seemed he was in a playful mood. He was running and charging up and down his stockade, tearing at the ground with his horn and about what we were not sure! Maybe it’s because the orphans were busy browsing alongside the outside of his stockade? When naughty Kamok and Kauro saw him behaving this way they both reacted by trumpeting. This caused Max to turn back and knock against his gate trying to find where Kamok and Kauro were, but they had both already run into the forest! After sometime and after all the elephants had moved into the forest, Maxwell folded his game and went back to peacefully walking around his stockade. Having been frightened by the lioness yesterday, today Kiko resisted to walk out to the forest and insisted on browsing around the compound stockade. The keepers tried to coax him out with a milk bottle but without success and when they tried to walk him out he just ran back to his stable! Due to his reluctance to go out today, Kiko stayed around the compound the whole day and greens were provided for him there when he was not browsing on the acacia greens.

07 October 2016

When the orphans were out browsing this morning, Tagwa, Malkia, Wangala, Pare, Maramoja, Sana Sana and Esampu decided to go their own direction. Led by Esampu and Malkia their mission to what seemed like the mud wallow took a new turn when they came across a troop of baboons. Upon seeing the troop Malkia and Esampu got scared and took a u-turn running through their friends behind them and rumbling in protest. This caused the baboons to shout as well and suddenly all the babies were scattered and yelling out. This attracted the attention of Mbegu, Roi, Dupotto and Oltaiyoni who ran out to find out what was happening. They bellowed loudly and trumpeted with their ears spread wide as they called Esampu’s little runaway group towards them. Their trumpeting caused the baboons in the trees to jump up and down and shout as well, and in return Oltaiyoni’s group got very angry and started charging around, pushing trees and one tree Oltaiyoni pushed down forced a baboon to jump from the branches. The commotion saw the rest of the herd run to assist Oltaiyoni and the others scare the baboons away and they ran off. The orphans remained restless for some time after that but then they soon calmed down, especially with the reassurance from their keepers.

08 October 2016

Out during the public visiting hour, soon after the first group of orphans had finished their milk bottles, some of the orphans like Mbegu, Godoma, Pare and Malkia were busy enjoying a mud bath. Others like Murit, Tagwa, Jotto and Ngilai were busy feeding on the greens put out by the keepers, whilst Ambo and Esampu were busy fighting over a water trough and who got the right to draw water from it first. Ambo got hold of Esampu’s tail during their little tussle and pull it with his mouth. This caused the little girl to yell out and run along the rope cordon towards the keepers, to rescue her from the bully boy Ambo! Ambo let her go though before she reached the keepers, and he walked back to draw water from the same water trough, as if victorious in his efforts. Little did he know that the naughty Esampu was walking up behind him quickly for revenge; she pushed him as she walked past and he rolled over the water trough before landing on the ground with a bump! Before he could get up though she was already in the mud pool enjoying splashing around with Mbegu, Godoma, Sana Sana and Pare, and he looked confused as he looked around and tried to work out who had pushed him. He decided to walk into the mud pool and take his anger out by vigorously rolling around in the mud.

09 October 2016

As many of the orphans were busy browsing in the forest this early morning, it was lovely for us to see Luggard enjoying a pushing game with Godoma which really lasted about 20 minutes! With his broken leg it was lovely to see him enjoying a normal life. He was happy and confident in his game with Godoma and she was happy to welcome him to a fun game and start to the day. At one point Godoma playfully got down on the ground and welcome Luggard to climb on her in a fun twist to the game. This development attracted the attention of Ndotto and Ngilai though, who love climbing, which forced Luggard to end his part of the game as with his injured leg he could not take the risk of any kind of rough playing from the other boys. Instead he happily walked over to where gentle Tagwa and Tamiyoi were standing and he browsed with them instead.

10 October 2016

The majority of orphans were busy browsing this morning whilst Tamiyoi and Jotto were busy challenging each other and fighting over who could stand the closest to their beloved keepers, who themselves were busy trying to enjoy their morning breakfast! Jotto did not want Tamiyoi to stand close to the keepers and she kept trying without success. But as soon as Pea the ostrich arrived, who loves hanging out with the babies, he was funny to witness Jotto running away from the keepers to join his beloved Pea and suckle on her feathers; leaving Tamiyoi to enjoy the attention from their keepers all to herself.As soon as Pea tried to move forward Jotto would yell out and the sweet natured Pea would stop and wait a short while so Jotto could enjoy spending time with her. Pea and Jotto are best friends and it is lovely to watch this unique relationship unfold between the world’s largest bird and land mammal together!

11 October 2016

As soon as the orphans had finished their milk bottles this morning during the public visiting hour, they all moved on to enjoy a soil dusting moment in the fresh loose soil there, with many rolling and bumping into each other at once. Little ones likes Jotto, Ambo and Esampu who can hardly soil dust themselves their trunks are still so small, were happily assisted by their keepers and they were very happy scampering and rolling in the loose soil as it was thrown on their little bodies in shovels, as they rolled against Mbegu, Godoma, Pare and Tagwa. As their game was drawing to a close Ngilai was very naughty and decided to pick on poor little Tagwa who is a sweet and gentle little elephant. He chased after poor little Tagwa and held one of her hind legs so she couldn’t move. Tagwa yelled out for help from the little bully boy and the keepers came to help her and told Ngilai off so he let her go.

12 October 2016

Today when Kiko was heading out to the forest with the encouragement of his milk bottle he soon spotted the baby elephants. This was enough for him to make an abrupt U-turn and run away from his keeper back to the stockade area. After finding the poles up to prevent his access he walked all the way around to the car park side but found the chain barrier was up there too! He spent some time wondering around that area but when it started getting busy he was taken back out to the forest to join the baby elephant group. He stayed there until a mother giraffe and her baby tried to follow him, then run after him which scared him and he ran all the way back to the stockade again. This forced the mother and her baby to stop in the bushes just short of the compound as they were too shy to enter. They waited, hoping to see Kiko again, before walking back out to the forest where they came across the elephant orphans. Naughty Kamok, Kauro, Roi and Oltaiyoni charged after them and trumpeted and bashed the short bushes down, seeing the mother and her baby gently amble back into the forest. The elephants continued to bash the bushes and stomp around until they realized it was time for their 3pm milk bottle and then they settled down and got ready for their feed.

13 October 2016

As the orphans were busy walking out to the forest this morning, Murit and Luggard were busy enjoying a pushing game to welcome the new day! These days Murit and Luggard have been much more active and engaging in more play than before, showing that both are improving health wise. They still have a long way to come as poor Luggard’s leg has yet to fully fuse and recover from the bullet wound, and Murit struggles to overcome his poor health condition; but today, they both look good! During public visiting today young Malkia finished her milk bottle and started running around after her keeper, shouting at him and pulling on his dust coat for more milk. It seems she has picked up some naughty habits from Esampu and today was acting just like her! After finishing her milk bottle little Godoma went straight up to the water trough that was beside where the visiting public were standing beside the rope cordon. As she was busy drinking water many of the visitors got to enjoy touching her, but after she got tired of this after some time Godoma drew water in her trunk and instead of putting it in her mouth she sprayed it all over them! She caught some of the visitors off guard as they were busy trying to take pictures of her behind their cameras!

14 October 2016

As the orphans settled out to browse in the forest after a peaceful night’s sleep, Wangala and Galla were witnessed enjoying a busy pushing game – both boys were busy trying to decide who between them was stronger and more dominant! They confidently engaged one another and neither one showed any sign of surrendering. The keepers watched on wondering who would win the challenge as both were of equal age, size and height! Funnily enough they both have folded ears on top too. Their playful game took a twist however when Tusuja decided to join them, but initially the young boys showed no interest in welcoming him into their game. After Tusuja tried again to join they just decided to end their game and walk off into the bushes, leaving Tusuja bash down some bushes and trumpet trying to draw some attention to himself and invite someone to play, but everyone was too busy browsing! Ambo has been looking quite quiet over these past few days and not his usual playful self, although he has been feeding on greens and milk quite fine! Today his blood was taken to see if there is a reason he has been looking down and what treatment is required if any. In the afternoons he just goes into his stable and takes his milk before lying down to go to sleep which is not like him at all; he is still very attached to his adopted mother Oltaiyoni and the two are still very close. We are sure he will improve over the coming days.

15 October 2016

Murit is growing into a very happy boy these days and especially since the arrival of the new little one Wacha who was put into the pen next to his. He doesn’t go to bed early anymore like he used to. Normally when he arrives back in his pen in the afternoon he has is milk and goes straight down to sleep, but not anymore! He stays up and stands next to the wooden slats separating his and Wacha’s pens, feeding and communicating with the little boy; he will only go to bed himself when Wacha has fallen asleep. When Murit came out this morning he was full of excitement and he ran up to Maxwell’s stockade and woke poor Maxwell up who was sleeping next to his stockade. It seemed getting Maxwell up was his mission and he immediately ran back to Ndotto and Lasayen’s gates (they were still inside) as soon as Max got up! He tried pulling on the gates and their locks with his trunk but without success. He ended up at Wanjala’s gate and after greeting him they started playing until all the others had gone out to the forest already! Eventually they started to follow the others but as Murit reached the forest he decided to stay behind with Luggard and play a wrestling game with him.

16 October 2016

Malkia is a little girl that likes to shout loudly and often for no reason! Sometimes you will think that something really bad has happened to her or that she has been hurt by one of the others, but the poor little thing is just shouting! Early in the morning she created a bit of drama as Mbegu heard her shouting. She has been left slightly behind as the herd moved out to the forest and after realizing this she started yelling loudly. Mbegu came running and started bashing around in the bushes trying to find out what has made the little one cry. She started trumpeting, but found nothing! Lately the sun has been so hot even by 9am and by 11am it is scorching! Some still weigh up whether they would like a mud bath or not, but others like Pare do not give it a second thought and dive into the mud pool as soon as they can. He did not stay in for long but others like Godoma and Mbegu completely submerged themselves and had a great bath! They looked like hippos right up until the end of the visiting time. Even at the end the keepers had to get quite stern with them to make them come out of the mid bath they were enjoying so much! Just after 2pm today Ndotto had to intervene and bring peace between Jotto and Esampu who were fighting and seeking revenge every time one of them went and pushed the other!

17 October 2016

The boy who loves making friends is out to reconcile his differences with Rapa. None other than Ndotto has decided that today he would like to make amends with Rapa who he has had a few runs-ins with over time! This is usually due to Rapa’s naughty behavior but today they have been spotted together since morning! Lasayen, who doesn’t get on with Rapa that much, kept a distance from his friend Ndotto today because of this. Whilst out in the bush this morning, Ndotto and Rapa remained slightly away from the rest, browsing and playing together. During the public visit today whilst everyone else was enjoying the mud bath they were together enjoying the dusting soil, climbing on each other and wrestling from start to finish. At around 2pm today there were some lions spotted in the area and Sana Sana who always likes wondering off on her own encountered the group of lions. She ran shouting back to her keepers and a few minutes later, Kiko must have sensed their presence as well as he left the forest and walked briskly back to the stockade compound without having being told to do so. When he reached the compound he went straight into his pen! Just after the public visit this morning we received a call from our Meru National Park anti-poaching team and vet unit informing us they were rescuing an orphan. Our rescue team left from the nursery immediately for Wilson airport and arrived at the scene to find a young boy around a month old that had a deformed leg. The rangers said they had been monitoring the calf for some time but the last few days the herd had started leaving him behind as he could not keep up with his deformity. Only the mother would return back to him every few hours and the rest of the time, he was alone. Because he was too young and open to predators the decision was made to rescue him. In the morning he was in the same spot with the herd a few kilometers away so the rangers went ahead rather than have him try and face another night alone. He arrived at the nursery at around 4.30pm and was quite stressed until Ambo came back a short while later to his stockade which was next door; he drank his milk very well and was in very good condition still so we have every hope for this little young boy, despite his leg deformity.

18 October 2016

From yesterday afternoon right up until this morning Mbegu has been responding to the new little babies cries for its family. When she went out into the park this morning she went everywhere looking for the new baby as well but she couldn’t find it, despite being very sure there was one! She and Dupotto who she had been standing and communicating with suddenly took off towards the stockades and heading in the direction that the young baby’s calls were coming from – they moved around the compound calling out for the baby to respond. The baby heard them and started rumbling and pushing on the door to try to get out and join the older girls. The keepers working in the compound had a difficult time trying to turn the girls around and take them back out to the forest. The two girls forced their way through them insisting to get to the baby. Eventually Mbegu and Dupotto gave up trying to get to the stable and went back to the forest to join their friends, but for the rest of the morning they kept visiting the younger group to see if the young baby had joined the yet, until they were taken deeper into the forest for their milk. A little while later the baby, who we have called Mguu, was eventually brought out of his stockade to join Tamiyoi and Luggard who were very welcoming towards him and hugged and touched him all over his body. When he met them he settled down immediately and became much calmer. It did not take long for him to relax and even have a nap on the group. He has spent the whole night moving around his pen in great distress that now he was very tired. When he went to sleep he fell into a deep slumber and did not stir until he was woken for his next bottle of milk. The way he was able to lie down and go to sleep proved he really was more comfortable in his new environment. He has a very lovely first day out. Kauro and Maramoja came running out of the forest for the visit at 11am but in their path which lead down to their milk bottles there was a sacred ibis bird standing in the way. They changed route yelling for help, disappearing into the thicket and forcing some of the keepers to go and retrieve them – they came back but remained unsettled for some time!

19 October 2016

Tagwa likes competing with the other little babies Jotto, Ambo and Esampu. Jotto and Ambo used to push her around some time back but lately she seems to have sized up to them and wants to pick a fight. Today this behaviour resulted in a fight amongst the babies when she came over and started pushing Jotto who was having his milk. Jotto didn’t just stand there and let someone try to take his food so he started pushing her back, trying to protect his bottle. This didn’t go down well with Tagwa and she became even more aggressive! Ambo also then came over to get involved and this made things really complicated for the keeper who was trying to feed Jotto! Thankfully more keepers came over and they each took an elephant to control the situation; Tagwa kept following Jotto though trying to fight him! Eventually calm prevailed and everything carried on as usual. A phone call came in from the Voi stockades that they had a calf about 18 months- 2 years old but which was in a state of collapse; the nursery rescue team was told to wait on standby and around 11am the decision was reached that the team should conduct the rescue. Upon arriving they found the calf still in the same state of collapse and they immediately put him on a drip which perked him up. By 4.30pm the calf had arrived back at the nursery in Nairobi still breathing but very weak. He was supported on his feet so he could feed but he was very unstable. He was given some time to rest and was fed greens as he was lying down which he ate. At 8pm his drip was finished and he was supported to stand, shortly after which he charged at the keepers, though he was still not very strong; a good sign. We named the calf Trev and hope that he will recover.

20 October 2016

It was a bright morning for the orphans as they enjoyed their early morning browse in the forest. Tamiyoi and Malkia had strayed slightly further away from their human family, the keepers, as they chased and played with warthogs. Unbeknownst to Tamiyoi and Malkia there were 4 lionesses hunting the warthog at the same time and suddenly one of them jumped out and grabbed one of the warthogs! The other warthogs with the elephants panicked and didn’t know which way to run and Tamiyoi started screaming and running for her keepers. Malkia followed the other warthogs and ran into the thicket! The keepers ran over to check on their elephants and find Malkia who could not find her way. Oltaiyoni, Mbegu, Kamok and Roi overheard the confusion and ran over to find out what was happening. Tamiyoi was very shaken when the older girls came over to check on her. Mbegu was left with her to console her whilst the others went to look for Malkia. They found the lioness and charged at her with their ears spread open – as they lioness saw how serious they were with their aggression and anger she decided to leave. Then they all regrouped to check and make sure everyone was okay, just as Malkia came calling from the other direction, still very scared. Mbegu and Kamok ran over to meet her as she approached the herd running. Mbegu and Kamok hugged her with their trunks and pulled her under their necks to console her. Because of the incident today Kiko was kept in the stockade compound all day today.

21 October 2016

Esampu woke up this morning in a very happy and playful mood. When she came out of her pen she went to knock on Mbegu’s gate which was still closed. She had heard Mbegu knocking from the other side and perhaps thought she could help her come out! When that didn’t work she left for Max’s stockade where Max was sleeping beside his gate. There were many warthogs and their piglets were playing around the gate and some were feeding on max’s food there. Esampu started playing there going between head stands and sitting and raising her trunk high in the air. The piglets starts teasing and mock charging her which Esampu didn’t like and she started chasing her away – it turned into a fun game as the piglets dodged her and the very little ones ran between her feet. Tamiyoi decided to team up with her friend and help drive them away. Unfortunately this is when everyone else decided to join in as well and Maramoja, Galla, Dupotto, Mbegu and Naseku came over trumpeting, trying to drive the warthogs away. Max in his stockade had of course woken up by this stage and was also helping to chase the warthogs and those that had sneaked into his pen trying to avoid the elephants. Oltaiyoni, Roi and Kamok had already gone into the forest but when they heard the trumpeting they came running back to the stockades. By the time they reached the scene however all the warthogs had run away and they moved to calm every one down and walk them all out to the forest together. When little Mguu with the deformed leg joined the family out in the forest Sana Sana, Malkia, Pare, Luggard, Tamiyoi and Esampu walked up to him to greet him. They were all very excited and surrounded the little one, all patting him with their trunks. This was obviously a very happy moment for the little one has he seemed at peace, and very quiet and relaxed. They only left the baby when their milk arrived in the forest, and Tamiyoi and Luggard stayed behind to spend the day with him. All day long Pare has been playing pushing games with Sana Sana and Lasayen – these three had their own small group away from the others and even returned together after the public visit to continue their games for the rest of the day! Very sadly Trev passed away this afternoon after never regaining his strength after becoming an orphan; he passed away in the loving company of the keepers.

22 October 2016

Murit is still proving to us just how much better he is these days and lately has been spending a lot of time with Jotto. He is trying to teach this young boy how to do all sorts of things like how to socialize and play with others as well. All day today he has accompanied the young boy since morning. When the little boy Mguu came over to meet them he approached Jotto and Jotto wanted to play with him, but he was too rough and inconsiderate of Mguu’s bad leg. Murit was watching every move and was forced to intervene to show Jotto how the little ones should be treated. He was gentle with Mguu and allowed him to do everything he wanted – pushing him and even trying to climb on him! Murit remained calm until Mguu left with the keepers and all this happened in front of Jotto too. Murit then started playing with Jotto, a wrestling game, and they both had a lot of fun. During public visiting today Ndotto decided to entertain everyone by playing with Rapa, but Mbegu was filled with jealousy watching her friend have such fun with someone else. As the two boys were playing a pushing game and climbing on each other, Mbegu separated to two by pushing Rapa away. She then came back and started playing the same game with Ndotto until the end of the visit!

23 October 2016

There was a delay to start the public visit today and the cause of this was none other than Kiko! He had been browsing together with the orphans in the forest and then he left and none of the keepers knew where he had gone. All of a sudden he came running back towards the group and looked like he wasn’t going to stop! The babies shouted and scattered everywhere – it was around 10.30am and some of them ran towards the mud bath area. Oltaiyoni, Roi, Ambo, Kamok and Ngilai were among those that ran towards this area. Tusuja and Rapa decided to run back towards the stockades, while Kauro, Mbegu and Dupotto led the young ones like Jotto, Naseku, Murit and Pare to safety near the keepers. There was trumpeting and rumbling everywhere and this made it hard for the keepers to calm them down. Maramoja, Godoma, Wanjala and Malkia had become separated from everyone and lost their way. Even after all the others had made their way back to the keepers, they were nowhere to be seen. Then they were heard some distance away still trumpeting for help! The keepers ran in that direction and called their names in the hope they would come towards them too. They found them and soon the whole family was reunited and calm prevailed.

24 October 2016

Maramoja and Wanjala are becoming very close friends and most of the time they don’t stray too far from each other’s side. They are always together and sometimes they will walk off together to browse to the side of the rest of the herd, doing their own thing. They seem to understand each other very well and today was one of those days which they spent very much together. Luggard enjoys mud baths very much, despite his broken leg. Every time he visits the mud bath area he doesn’t leave before doing what he loves most and going for a dip in the mud. Today during the private visit when most of his friends opted to soil dust he went to submerge himself in the mud like a hippo! Wallowing at length. Rapa received some discipline from his friend Tusuja today. This was after he tried to climb on Luggard and head but him when he found him lying on the soil in front of Tusuja. Tusuja took action immediately and despite being Rapa’s very good friend he smacked him with his trunk and pushed him away from the group. Malkia is developing a lovely personality of loving and caring for the little babies. The young girl has been so close to little Mguu and not wanting to leave him alone whenever she comes across him. Because the lions were seen around the area today Kiko was kept in his stockade but after fighting to come out he was let out into the forest later in the afternoon under the watchful eye of a number of keepers. After walking around in the forest for a little bit though he sensed the lions and just walked back to his stockade again! We are glad he is this sensible about lions and the threat they pose to him.

25 October 2016

Mbegu is proving to have such a unique and caring character, above that of even Oltaiyoni. No matter the age or size of any new arrival, she is always the first to adopt them and take them under her wing. She is patient and will always designate all her time and attention to a new arrival until they feel settled. She has been trying to convince Oltaiyoni to be more accepting of the new little arrival Mguu, but up until now Oltaiyoni has been slightly indifferent. Every time she encounters this new little boy she walks him over to Oltaiyoni, and this morning was another example. Mbegu realised that Mguu had arrived in the forest with his keeper, slightly later than when the others do. She went over to him and spent some time with him, before walking him over to Oltaiyoni who was not far away with her baby boy Ambo. Mbegu approached with Jotto and Mguu and Oltaiyoni rumbled to her which she responded to as well, before pushing the two little boys Jotto and Mguu towards her. But Oltaiyoni remained uninterested and just walked away with her Ambo at her side. Mbegu didn’t give up though and pushed Jotto and Mguu to follow Oltaiyoni as well. But Oltaiyoni turned around with her ears raised high and gave a serious warning rumble! The little ones shrieked and turned back to Mbegu, and she pulled them under her neck to comfort them before walking them back to the keepers. Because Pea does not usually go down for the public visits, she is fast making a new friend in Mguu, similar to her relationship with Jotto. At 2pm we received another call from the Voi unit about another orphan found possibly due to the drought conditions. A rescue team left immediately and arrived back at the nursery with an older baby, over 2 years old, but she was very thin; a sign that she had been on her own for quite some time. We called her Ukame which is the Kiswahili word for drought.

26 October 2016

Ukame who arrived yesterday afternoon was given a lovely welcome from Dupotto. Dupotto has been so friendly and getting up in the night when Ukame got up, reassuring her and communicating through the bars separating their stockades. Dupotto even pulled her green browse in her stockade closer to these bars separating them so she could share it with the new girl and get to know her a bit better. In the morning Ukame got to meet the rest of her new elephant family when they came to her stockade gate to say hello. Mbegu, Oltaiyoni, Kamok, Roi and Ndotto were all shoving each other at the door to be the first to say hello. Eventually when they all started moving out to the forest the new girl became quite nervous and started pushing on her gate to join them too. Ndotto and Mbegu were the last ones to leave her and she struggled even harder to get out of the gate, but in vain. After they had all left she became very angry and then tired herself out, so lay down to sleep. Ngilai hasn't forgotten about or given up suckling on Kamok's ears - today he often started suckling on them every time he came across her, and Kamok is still happy to comply. During the private viewing today Ndotto, Kamok and Roi had a great time enjoying a fun game. Ndotto, as usual, was the first to initiate the game. He first invited Kamok to a wrestling game and then Roi joined slightly later which made the game even more interesting. It was so fun to watch how the short little boy handled playing with the two girls; even Kamok's big tusks and Roi's large size didn't put him off the game and he used his clever tactics to tackle the two. They went on playing until the end of the private visit when they left to walk back into the forest. It was a happy moment for Ukame when she saw Dupotto return home in the afternoon for her milk bottle. Dupotto first took the time to go into her pen to say hello to her new neighbor and then settled down to enjoy her milk bottle.

27 October 2016

The two little babies who usually like fighting each other, Jotto and Esampu, were behaving slightly differently today. They are almost the same age and size but neither of the two have ever respected each other - most of the time it is Esampu that initiates the tussles - but today they seem to have put aside their differences and have had a friendly time playing with each other instead! This has been very nice to see. Kauro has had a lovely time playing with Tusuja throughout the whole day - the two older boys have been wrestling, playing games of hide and seek and generally messing around. Whoever went down to lie on the ground the other would immediately climb on top and they would play like this for hours. Unfortunately we received yet another phone call today from Amboseli in the area called Mbirikani. An orphan had been spotted all alone and sadly wounded as well. The rescue team left immediately for Wilson airport to fly to the scene and when they arrived there they found the orphan had already been captured. They administered some first aid before putting him on the plane and at around 4.30pm the rescue team arrived back in the nursery. At first glance the poor calf seems to have been attacked by lions who took a chunk out of the hind near the top of his tail but we were not sure if this happened when the calf was still with the herd or after. He was let out in his pen and was very aggressive and scared, he was also very thin and immediately started feeding on the greens put there for him, suggesting he had gone for a very long time without food. It wasn't long before the other babies started running back into the compound and into their pens for their milk bottles. This seemed to help settle him down slightly but he was still confused as the elephants ran in from different directions. Eventually he settled down and went back to browsing whilst watching all of his new neighbours in their pens as well.

28 October 2016

It is the norm when a new elephant arrives that the older orphan females and some of the young ones too crowd around their gate in the morning. Because we have received so many young orphans this month Mbegu has been moved to the stockades further back, which is slightly further away from where the babies sleep as well. It seems as if some of the other orphans were not aware of the arrival of the other orphan yesterday but Mbegu was definitely aware. As soon as she was let out of her stockade this morning she walked right up to his gate. She started browsing on the greens that had been put out for him by his gate, whilst waiting patiently for him to approach. But the new little boy was scared and stayed in the corner of his stockade. A few minutes later Dupotto, Murit, Roi and Kamok joined Mbegu at the door of his stockade. They also shared his branches and greens but after some time of watching him and him not coming any closer, they gave up and started walking off with their friends into the forest. Pare was in a very different mood today and out in the forest he pushed Godoma for no reason at all! What he didn’t know is that Godoma is a tough little girl and she turned around to see what the problem was with her ears raised and ready to charge! Pare wasn’t prepared for that and ran off shouting towards the keepers and it was only because of their intervention that she stopped chasing him. Today during the public visit he repeated the same thing whilst Godoma was eating some browse in front of him. Minutes later he head butted Rapa to the ground but when Rapa got up and started to chase his for revenge, Ndotto got in the way and stopped in from doing so; what a stir Pare caused today!

29 October 2016

When the babies were coming out of the pens to go into the forest today, the keeper opened Ambo’s door and Ambo followed and walked behind him. When they got to Esampu’s door Ambo stood and waited as well. Naughty Esampu came out and straight away and head butted him to the ground! Ambo got a surprise as he might have been expecting a more greeting and instead he was knocked to the floor. As he got up for revenge a keeper got hold of him and tried to calm him down by offering a finger for him to suckle instead. He was okay with that and settled down as the little grumpy girl walked ahead and looked as if she was about to do the same thing to Murit. Murit didn’t stand for this behaviour though and drove her away out of the area. She ran off yelling for help but no one came to assist her. Wanjala has suddenly fallen in love with Maxwell’s lucerne – today when he was being asked by the keepers to follow and walk with the others out to the forest he refused, and went down on his knees and started yelling. He would not move but only when Maxwell started charging at his gate because of his yelling did he decide to follow the others.

30 October 2016

The orphans approached the forest today in a playful mood and we watched many of them scamper around the bushes charging, stamping and bashing into one another. Maramoja, Roi, Sana Sana, Mbegu, Naseku, Rapa, Ndotto and Lasayen were all leading the game with Ndotto and Lasayen running after Naseku and trying to climb on her. Naseku would turn on the two playful boys and playfully push them away – at one point Lasayen tried to climb on her back as Ndotto tried to climb on her head at the same time! Roi started trumpeting in excitement and suddenly everyone joined in the game running all over the place. They were charging and trumpeting and the little ones like Jotto, Tamiyoi, Ambo, Esampu and Malkia just ran around their feet as they are too young to be able to trumpet yet. They always seem to behave like this when a new orphan is about to arrive in the nursery and sure enough just after 10am we received a call regarding another orphan baby that needed rescuing from the Tsavo Conversation Area.

31 October 2016

Again it was Mbegu who realised that we had rescued a new baby last night and this morning she was yelling and knocking on her gate wishing to come out and greet the new arrival. When she walked out she was witnessed walking between all the babies’ pens trying to find the new one, who was still in her stable behind a closed door. Roi and Oltaiyoni followed behind her and they were all seen standing outside the new baby’s stable door, with Oltaiyoni trying to open it with her trunk and rumbling a low rumble to comfort the new arrival. The young elephant after learning of the older elephants outside started yelling loudly and this made Oltaiyoni, Roi and Mbegu react by yelling as well as they stood outside the stable. Oltaiyoni tried to knock hard on the door to get to the baby but the keepers instead tried to lead her out into the forest – though they were very unhappy with this decision and tried a few times to sneak back to the stockade compound! Today during the public visit Kamok was getting her trunk all muddy and painting the faces of the visitors waiting around the rope cordon. Her trunk was so muddy and she would just touch their faces – really offering those visitors a great and memorable experience of this cheeky character.