Keepers' Diaries, October 2017

Nairobi Nursery Unit

With all the new arrivals at the Nairobi Nursery due to the drought ravaging parts of Tsavo, we have had to change some of the orphans’ night stockades. Ndiwa and Mundusi were moved into the stockades on the other side of Maxwell’s pen which Ndiwa took very well as she is such a calm little girl, but Mundusi on the other hand gave his keepers a lot of trouble entering his new room and it took him a few days to get used to it. Since she arrived in the Nursery we have known that Ndiwa is a fast learner, she quickly memorized where all the milk feeding areas were, but this little girl often reminds us about her good memory. She has been moved a few times to different rooms because of new arrivals, and she always remembers her new room and goes straight there for her milk at 5pm, without any fuss at all. Newcomers Sagalla, Sapalan and Namalok have all settled in very well considering they were rescued at a much older age, although Sagalla is seemingly the most comfortable in her new surroundings and started drinking milk from a bottle almost straight away. By the end of the month they had all joined their new family out in the forest for their daily routine and were used to the keepers, although Namalok still drinks his milk from a bucket and not from a keeper holding a bottle. Sapalan and Namalok arrived within a few days of each other and are both slightly older than the other orphans in the Nursery, and quickly became very attached to one another. Sapalan was quick to introduce himself amongst the other bulls and likes pushing games with Pare, Ndotto and Lasayen; though these younger boys are slightly fearful of his long tusks! Namalok is quieter and doesn’t like to play as many games, preferring to concentrate on browsing instead! Sagala has a unique feature which distinguishes her from all of the others in the Nursery, and that is her extraordinary long eyelashes and long tail hairs – she has more and longer hair in these places than we have ever seen on a baby before!

01 October 2017

Sagalla seems to be settling in much faster than Namalok or Sapalan as she already started taking her milk from a bottle this morning, while Namalok is still drinking his from a bucket. Sagalla is still desperate to join the others out in the forest and fights to leave her stockade every morning when she sees them walking out; but she is not quite ready yet. The orphans had a lovely time during the public visit today. Jotto was the first one into the mud pool after finishing his milk and even though it wasn’t that hot, Emoli and Maisha seemed to want to join him in there as well. They walked up and down the edge of the pool but they were not allowed in as they are not strong enough to mingle with the others in the mud. Luggard who loves and enjoys the mud baths very much, was in the middle of the pool with Jotto. When Murit and Malima saw the fun the two were having they decided to jump in and enjoy the mud as well. They swam from one point to another, playing with the football in the mud, but Murit brought an end to the happy games by trying to climb on the others back. They decided to get out of the mud pool when he started to do that whilst Godoma came in to make sure they were okay when she heard Malima shouting. As the others came out she decided to stay in and enjoyed a nice wallowing session before it was her time to leave.

02 October 2017

Mbegu’s motherly nature seems to cover everyone and all species. Today the warthogs were in Maxwell’s lucerne trough which seemed to upset him. Not only were they eating his food but they were wasting it as well, spilling it everywhere. He tried to chase them away and some did run away, but some naughty ones stayed. Maxwell decided to teach them a lesson and pinned one against the wall of his stockade. The elephants orphans were already walking out to the forest but when Mbegu heard the warthog shouting she ran back, charging towards Maxwell’s pen. She charged and trumpeted at Maxwell where he had the warthog pinned until he let it go. Esampu, Ngilai, Malkia and Ndotto had also arrived to help save the situation but arrived to find it was already resolved. They turned and ran back to the forest in an excitable mood. It was warm enough for a mud bath today and Emoli really enjoyed playing in it like the others; he really seems to love them these days. He ran in there very quickly after his milk bottle to join the others, but when it was time to return to the forest he seemed to get stuck in the middle. When Godoma saw him struggling and shouting for help she tried to help him but in vain. This forced the keepers to wade into the mud to help him out, and Godoma was very happy when he was out the other side.

03 October 2017

Mundusi seems very serious with whatever he does and doesn’t normally like to waste time playing with the others. This morning Ngilai seemed to want to play with him and put a smile on his face but instead Mundusi kept fighting back whenever Ngilai approached him. In the end Mundusi pushed him so hard that Ngilai walked away but this seemed to please Luggard who walked right up to him and initiated a pushing game, which they both seemed to enjoy. Kuishi is one of the only girls that hasn’t developed an attachment to Pili yet. Today she approached the little one and started pushing him, which annoyed Enkesha and she pushed Kuishi from behind. Kuishi turned to push Enkesha back but Malima was quick to intervene and block her from hurting Enkesha. A keeper was also there to help bring control to the situation. Usually Maramoja is very selfish at sharing little Pili as she likes to look after him most of the time. She will walk him away from the rest of the herd and the other females like Mbegu who might want to care for him, to care for him all by herself. Today Malkia watched her walk away from Mbegu with Pili and thought she would join them, but Maramoja drove her back to the herd as she walked away with the little one. Little Musiara thought he was very brave today when he charged at Kiko who was walking towards the orphans. When he saw him coming he ran towards him with his little ears held high, but Kiko just looked down at him and walked away.

04 October 2017

Jotto is a lovely little boy and it is not often you will see him bullying any of the younger ones, he knows they are just little. Enkesha knows this and is happy to push him around as she knows he won’t retaliate as she is younger. It is very funny to watch, like today for example, when Jotto spent ages laboriously digging up this tasty root and Enkesha was browsing close by. She watched him digging and when he got his prize she ran over and began fighting him for it. Jotto just surrendered his tasty snack to Enkesha but she would never have dared to do this to another elephant like Ambo or Kuishi – she just knows that Jotto is a soft elephant and will give the babies what they want! Mteto has been nicknamed the laughing girl! She has a funny new habit of laughing whenever she sees a milk bottle, even when she has the milk in her mouth! If you are close to her whilst she is having a milk bottle, be prepared to be sprayed with milk in your face!

05 October 2017

Some of the orphans like to walk off from the keepers but others do not do this as much and when they do, it will be noticed almost immediately. Today as the orphans started to fan out in the forest in their different groups, Mbegu walked off with Tamiyoi and soon we noticed that Tamiyoi was making her way back to the stockades. The keepers watched her from afar to see what she was up to. When she reached the stockades she wanted to see if there were any keepers there who would send her back to the forest, and she walked up to the milk-mixing area to check. Having confirmed there weren’t any she walked back up to Sapalan’s gate where she had a bit of a conversation with her before moving on to Namalok where she didn’t spend too much time before proceeding on to Sagala’s gate. Here she went into Mteto’s pen next door where she could interact with Sagala better and they had a lengthy conversation, with Saglla looking calm and relaxed in Tamiyoi’s company. Tamiyoi then, having seemingly accomplished her mission, ran back to the forest in a hurry to find the rest of the herd. The herd had moved much further into the forest from where she had left them, and she started running up and down and trumpeting loudly to find her friends. Jotto and Esampu heard her calling and responded by trumpeting and running towards her as well.

06 October 2017

Whenever there is a new little one introduced to the others at the Nursery, the older females will fight amongst themselves to win the little ones affection and mother it. The others will always envy the winner of the little ones affection as well, and we have seen this with one of the babies today as well. Malkia, Godoma, Esampu, Tagwa and Mbegu have all been trying to take the baby by their side but Tagwa was selected as the adopted mother. This morning and many other times too, when Pili arrives in the forest all the girls come running over to pull him under their neck or pat and hug him, but when they are done he just puts his trunk up in the air to try and find Tagwa. He is always happy when he finds her and settles by her side, rumbling happily as he suckles on her ears. Today Godoma kept trying to pull the little one away from Tagwa but he was fine by her side. She then started pushing Tagwa to try and move her away and out of respect Tagwa was happy to move, but still the little one followed her. On the other hand little Sattao is feeling rather neglected by Tagwa now, as she used to look after him the most. When the keepers are not watching he tries to push Pili away from Tagwa but Tagwa has been putting a stop to that and making sure she spends some time with Sattao too.

07 October 2017

Last night at around 8.30pm the Nursery received another baby from Lake Jipe in Tsavo West. She is less than two years old and has been named Lumi but she is very thin and in very bad condition. Mbegu, Ndotto, Lasayen, Kuishi and Godoma were all very welcoming and crowded around her stockade before they left for the forest. She was upset when they all left to join their friends in the forest but she soon settled to eat the browse in her pen. She seemed to settle in very quickly in general and drank milk from a bottle at noon. Ndiwa and Mundusi were moved to a different stockade on the other side which Ndiwa took very well. She is such an easy going girl and settled into her new room very well, but Mundusi gave the keepers a hard time about going into his new room and it took awhile to get him used to it!

08 October 2017

Watching Ngilai this morning we were thinking about how Ngilai is not really a bully; he hardly bullies anyone, it is just that when he is playing he is slightly rougher. When it was nearly time for the 9am milk feed all the elephants were gathering around the keepers. Ngilai was standing very close to them when Mundusi pushed his way through and then head butted Ngilai to move him out of the way. He then ran away knowing that he would be told off for his naughty behaviour. Ngilai is such a soft bull that those weaker and younger than him can still push him around and he will not retaliate. Esampu then appeared from nowhere and pushed Jotto down. Jotto is another mellow boy who loves his keepers and others will be able to push him around. At 3pm we had two orphans arrive at the Nursery in very critical condition from Tsavo where the drought continues.

09 October 2017

At 6am Solio encountered a gang of buffalos on her way to the Nursery. They were in the bushes surrounding Maxwell’s stockade. They charged at her trying to scare her back into the forest but she managed to dodge them and she came round to visit Maxwell, and get some tasty lucerne as well. When the babies were in the forest the buffalos were still there standing under a tree. Ndiwa saw them and walked towards them. They didn’t seem to mind her company but they didn’t like the keepers and started walking away. Ndiwa followed them and the keepers tried to call her back but she kept following the buffalos. They had to run ahead and hide in the bushes from the buffalos, while trying to separate Ndiwa from them and eventually they managed, but it was quite a chase! She came back running and shouting in fear of being told off! Esampu, Sana Sana, Malkia and Mbegu ran to respond to her trumpeting. They all received her warmly with lots of hugging from Mbegu. Very sadly one of the two arrivals from yesterday’s rescue died as she succumbed to her condition. The other one is very young and is doing okay but has a swollen foot and an injury down one side. The little stubborn boy Maktao was well behaved during the public visit today. He was one of the first ones to get into the mud pool and after some time Jotto joined him as well, and they enjoyed wading together up and down in the mud. When Malima and Esampu jumped into the mud he moved away to his own spot so as not to get squashed by the bully girl.

10 October 2017

With all the recent new arrivals, Tamiyoi, Malima and Godoma were sharing one big stockade. After the older new arrival passed away however, Tamiyoi was moved back into that stockade so she could continue looking after her neighbour, Pili. Malima was left in the stockade with Godoma and she had a very long night as Godoma was being very selfish. She didn’t share the greens with her nor let Malima enjoy her milk bottles in peace. Every time she approached the food she shoved her away and because of this, Malima yelled throughout the whole night until morning. She was relieved and happy when their gate was opened in the morning! Tagwa and Maramoja seem to be taking turns babysitting Pili today. During the morning it was Tagwa but for the whole of the afternoon it was Maramoja watching over Pili. We watched on as we saw Maramoja walk little Pili away from everyone else and prepare some loose soil using her feet. She then pulled the little boy directing him to lie down and then she moved to stand over him, keeping him under her belly while she dusted him some more. Pili napped there for more than 40 minutes while the big girl just sheltered him. When it came to his milk time Maramoja blocked the keepers from waking him up though in the end she relented and allowed the baby to go for his milk bottle. Maktao left mud bath with the first group but somewhere on the way back to the forest he decided to turn around and he came running back to join the older herd for another mud bath. Ngilai decided to guard and protect the keepers during their lunch break from the warthogs - any of them that came close to try and get a piece of their lunch he chased away back into the bushes, allowing the keepers to enjoy their lunch in peace.

11 October 2017

As the orphans were walking out into the forest they came across 10 male buffalos who were standing in the bush there, waiting for the orphans to leave so they could see what leftover food might be lying around. Ndiwa, Maramoja, Kauro, Rapa, Mteto, Ndotto, Lasayen and Pare who were leading the herd tried to charge after the buffalos but they just banded together to show a united front, which scared Kauro, Ndotto, Lasayen and Pare! They ran back trumpeting to join the keepers and the others. It was only the keepers who managed to chase the buffalos away from their path out to the forest and their departure made the orphans scamper around the bushes and stamp their feet in defiance as if they had achieved their goal all on their own. Just after 9am, Namalok was brought out of his stockade to join the others out in the forest for the first time. Having spent almost a month in his taming pen, he seems ready to join the others and is more trusting of the keepers. He seemed very quiet and calm walking out into the forest with the others and this gentle nature towards the other young and older ones meant he was well received by Mbegu, Kauro, Ndotto, Lasayen, Maramoja and the little ones too like Musiara, Ambo, Sattao, Jotto, Tamiyoi and Malima; they were all milling around him and enjoyed toughing him. He remained very calm and gentle even with his keepers - though he never takes milk from a bottle and drinks it directly from a bucket using his trunk. Going back to his stockade in the evening he was pretty composed and did it with ease, not giving the keepers any hassle. He is a gentle young bull!

12 October 2017

This morning as the orphans were walking out to the forest, we watched as Musiara and Sattao enjoyed a lovely pushing game, trying to test and challenge each other. These two playful little boys were playing a very serious game that drew Malkia’s attention as she loves to mother Musiara. She walked in between the two little boys but Musiara walked around her to continue tackling Sattao. Malkia then settled on pushing Sattao away from Musiara which really brought about the end of their game, and he walked off to join Luggard, Maisha and Emoli who were browsing nearby. These two little boys hang together and play together just like Ndotto and Lasayen did when they were little! Today for the 9am bottle feed Sapalan came out of his stockade to join the other orphans for the first time. He was evidently nervous though as his first reaction to seeing Kauro, Rapa, Mbegu, Ndotto and Pare was quite rough as he pushed them and tried to assert his dominance as a big boy too. As time went on though during the course of the day, he calmed down a lot and was more composed as he realised all the other orphans around him were friendly and were not going to do him any harm, but welcome him lovingly into their herd.

13 October 2017

The heavy rainfall in the night filled the natural puddles and streams in the forest so that when the orphans went out in the morning, Godoma, Malima, Mteto, Jotto, Mbegu, Enkesha, Tamiyoi, Musiara, Sattao and Emoli were seen swimming in and enjoying these natural water pools. Tiny Musiara and Sattao were spotted swimming with their little trunks above the surface as snorkels, and when it felt like they were losing their balance they just grabbed Mbegu or Godoma’s tail. They spun and splashed around but their little bodies hardly displaced any water as they tried to copy what Enkesha, Tamiyoi, Malima and Emoli were doing. Orphans like Ambo, Kauro and Maisha who shied away from this early morning event stood very far away in the company of Namalok and Sapalan who were busy browsing. It is amazing how quickly Namalok and Sapalan have become attached to each other since their arrival. Sapalan was quick to introduce himself amongst the other bulls and likes pushing games with Pare, Ndotto and Lasayen; though these younger boys are slightly fearful of his long tusks! Namalok is quieter and doesn’t like to interact that way as much, preferring to concentrate on browsing instead!

14 October 2017

Today the orphans walked out in a playful mood. Kuishi, Sana Sana, Malkia, Jotto, Malima and Tamiyoi especially were seen scampering around as soon as they came out of their stockades this morning. They took their games out into the forest with them where some others like Ngilai joined them, trumpeting and charging around, which got everyone fired up! The climax of the game saw Namalok, Sapalan, Emoli and Maisha take off into the bushes to avoid the stampede of their playful friends. When Emoli and Maisha ran off yelling, the game came to an end as Mbegu, Godoma and Malkia ran off to check on the youngsters. Today we rescued two orphan female calves from Tsavo and unfortunately both are in very bad condition due to the drought.

15 October 2017

It was a sad morning as we lost one of the new arrivals early this morning. Both of the new arrivals had been found in a pathetic collapsed state and had been given IV drips to try and restore their functions and enable them to fly to the Nairobi Nursery. We lost the small one and the older one is not doing very well either as it spent all night on a drip and even this morning she remains on the drip. We are doing everything we can for her and hope that she pulls through. We have called her Kigelia. The drought continues in Tsavo and is unrelenting, especially affecting elephants because of their large body mass and need to eat a lot of vegetation. During the public visit today naughty Esampu was quite mischievous. She was enjoying the mud pool with Enkesha, Maktao, Emoli, Jotto, Kuishi, Malima and Murit, rolling and bumping into each other, when she decided to run out of the mud playfully run up along the rope cordon and plaster all the visitors who were standing close to the rope with lots of mud! As they dodged backwards to avoid her she ran back into the mud pool leaving the visitors laughing at her naughty antics. Ngilai is another character at visiting as he always tries to go on the other side of the cordon and spend some time there with the visitors before the keepers bring him back to the correct side. When the keepers warn him to come back he always holds the rope in his trunk until the last second, looking for someone to play with!

16 October 2017

The poor new baby woke up this morning looking a bit better than yesterday and even took some milk from a bucket and ate some greens, which she had not managed to do previously. In the morning she was greeted warmly by Maramoja, Mbegu and Godoma where the trio enjoyed entwining trunks with the new arrival, always a sign of compassion and affection. When the three left to go out into the forest the poor girl rumbled after them as she wanted to join them, but it is still too early and she is still very weak. At 9am the orphans had their bottle feed near the stockades so that after, they could escort Sagala out to the forest for the first time. We watched as Kuishi, Godoma and Malkia walked into Sagala’s stockade to escort her out as when we first opened the gate she looked very shy and unwilling to come out, but these three convinced her to follow them. On the way out to the forest she was completely sandwiched between all the orphans. Though boys like Ngilai and Pare tried to chase her and climb on her, their plans were thwarted by the keepers. Sagala looked happy and very relaxed in the company of the others.

17 October 2017

It was very hot during the public visit today, especially when the second group came in to enjoy their milk bottles, which meant they all rushed into the mud pool to cool their bodies down. Malkia and Ndotto were showing off and demonstrated a funny way of going into the mud by going in backwards and sliding in. This unique style was then copied by Mbegu, Pare, Lasayen and Sana Sana. The visitors really enjoyed watching them play in the mud pool and roll around, but their laughter was cut short when Malkia came running out of the mud pool and bumped into those standing close to the rope. She playfully walked to the other side of the rope and targeted a water bottle being held by one of the visitors. She tried to grab it from them and the poor unsuspecting person dropped it, not wanting to get covered in mud by Malkia! Before she could pick the bottle up however, the keepers were there and brought her back to the right side of the rope, where she once again went into the mud pool and enjoyed the rest of her time there with the others, all except Kauro who is not such a fan of mud bathing.

18 October 2017

It was a very peaceful morning today with none of the orphans playing or messing around like they usually do when heading out to the forest. It was all quiet, a peace which lasted for about one hour until Pare, Ngilai, Maramoja, Sapalan and Namalok popped out of the bushes running and trumpeting about something! This frightened the rest of the herd who all ran towards their keepers with the little ones like Maktao, Musiara, Sattao, Emoli, Maisha and Jotto yelling and struggling to get in front of the big ones to reach their keepers first. Mbegu and Godoma tried to console them but they would not settle until they were near their keepers. Eventually everyone settled down and went back to browsing, but Jotto, Sattao, Musiara, Maisha and Emoli didn’t leave their keepers side for quite a while until they were sure everything was safe. The keepers never did find what frightened them in the first place!

19 October 2017

Sagala is pretty settled within the orphan herd these days and with her new human family too. She has made some friends including Ndiwa, Mundusi, Maramoja and young ones like Emoli and Maisha too. She has been polite and gentle in her approach towards the others which has meant it has been easy for her to make friends. She has a unique feature which distinguishes her from all the others in the Nursery and that is her extraordinary long eyelashes and long tail hairs – more than we have ever witness before! Ndiwa is a very fast learner. We have seen this since her early arrival here when she quickly learnt about all the bottle feeding places and we continue to see this trait in her. She has often had to change stockade due to the new arrivals from the drought in Tsavo, and she has never failed to remember her new room. When she comes home in the afternoon she goes right into her new stockade and without a fight, unlike others when they are first getting used to their new pen! She is a lovely young girl. Up until now Namalok has not learnt to take his milk from a bottle and it is funny to watch him in the bush take it straight from the wheelbarrow. He loves the milk but is still so shy to take it from a bottle from the keepers, even after watching the other orphans do just that; he is a funny bull!

20 October 2017

Poor Kigeria did not fair well during the night and collapsed at around 1am. She was put on an IV drip but her life evidently hangs in the balance at this stage. Poor little Kiangazi was put on a drip in the night as well, suffering from his injuries and compromised foot – he does not look good either. Our two new little ones aren’t looking good but we are trying our best to save them and are praying for their recovery. We love watching how Luggard and little Musiara are becoming great friends these days. Musiara is becoming even more attached to him than to his age mate Sattao. When it is milk feeding time and he realizes that Luggard is not close by he will stop and wait for him so that they can walk together. Today was the same at the public visiting time when the first group were all running down to have their milk bottles. Musiara was walking down with Sattao, Maktao, Emoli and Maisha but after a few meters he turned back after realizing that Luggard wasn’t in their group. He ran back to where Musiara was waiting with Malima, Tamiyoi, Esampu and Kuishi and the keepers tried to lead him out but he would not budge until Luggard came with him, and then the two happily walked down together to enjoy their milk bottles.

21 October 2017

It was a chilly, rainy morning but all the orphans were in a playful mood; the majority of them were seen playfully enjoying the stream and puddles as the rain poured down all morning. Youngsters like Tamiyoi, Malima, Esampu, Jotto, Ambo, Kuishi and Malkia were playing in the running streams which they splashed in with their front legs. They charged and trumpeted around in excitement as they seemed to celebrate the start of the rains. Since they spent the whole morning bathing in these different spots, they had no interest in the mud bath at the public visiting time and preferred to browse on the greens provided there instead. Kiangazi and Kigeria have not shown any improvement and are still on a drip.

22 October 2017

It was a sunny morning today as the orphans walked out to the forest and all the vegetation hungrily absorbed the light after the heavy rain yesterday, feeling rejuvenated. The most playful ones like Ngilai ran ahead of the group, rolling on the ground as a way of inviting the others to play as well. Ambo was also in a happy and playful mood, running fast to catch up with Ngilai so he could enjoy rolling down the side of his back. Ngilai then took hold of Ambo with his trunk and help him tightly, preventing him from getting up. Musiara was standing to the side watching as Ambo struggled to free himself. He then made a loud cry which brought Mbegu, Tagwa, Malkia and Esampu running to help save him before the keepers also intervened to help restore calm.

23 October 2017

All the orphans were excited during the 9am milk feed this morning as tiny Pili joined them out in the forest. They had not met up with him yesterday as he had not gone out due to the bad weather. Mbegu finished her milk in a hurry so she could rush to where the little baby was. She patted him all over and Pili raised his little trunk up to her. Tagwa, Malkia, Esampu and Tamiyoi then also joined, surrounding the baby and each trying to get closer to him than the other. Esampu wanted to be closest and she pushed poor Malkia hard, who bumped into Tamiyoi causing her to fall. Tamiyoi’s loud cry drew Pare and Lasayen’s attention who came over to see what was happening with their ears raised and their trunks held high. They walked around Tamiyoi as she attempted to stand up to protect her from being bumped again! It caught the keepers by surprised in the morning when Ndiwa, Sapalan and Sagala joined the mud bath area before the first group had left. Sagala seemed to be confused, and walked back out with the first group, who were just leaving, before even having her milk!

24 October 2017

Although it was cloudy and cold this morning, the babies seemed to be in a good mood. They were having fun and engaged in play fights, as others dusted themselves and rolled on the ground. Ndotto was squaring up to Kauro despite Kauro’s much longer tusks and bigger size; this didn’t seem to faze Ndotto and he bravely tackled Kauro, pushing him against trees. Ndotto’s best friend Lasayen joined in the game, obviously trying to assist him in overpowering their bigger friend. As their game gained momentum, Murit jumped in to push Lasayen in order to help Kauro against the two boys. This prompted Ndotto to turn towards him with his ears raised and his trunk pointed, forcing poor Murit to retreat and back out of the game. In excitement, Kauro pulled down a big branch from a tree and as the leaves fell, Luggard rushed in to have a share, but Kauro blocked him. At the same time Kuishi, Pare, Sapalan, Maisha, Maramoja, Emoli and Sagala were busy dusting themselves with soil. Mbegu was far away browsing with her babies Ambo, Maktao and Musiara, as Malkia, Sattao and Malima, who didn’t show any interest in either playing or browsing, chose to relax instead. Their rest did not last long because it was interrupted by a warthog that came running out of the nearby bushes. The ever-playful Ngilai was busy in the middle of the keepers, touching each one of them with his trunk. Although they kept walking away from him, he kept following them and at last lay down in the midst of them, kicking up a lot of dust which made the keepers eventually walk away from him again!

25 October 2017

Kiko woke up this chilly morning and followed the orphan elephants out to the forest. He was avoiding interacting with the elephants as newcomers Sapalan and Namalok tend to charge at him, unused to the presence of a baby giraffe in an elephant herd! Malima joined in charging at him and raised her ears, but this seemed not to bother Kiko perhaps because he is used to it and also the fact that she is so small! Malima ran back to the herd but accidentally tripped over a cup of tea one of the keepers was having as breakfast, spilling it on the ground. Malima went to join Mteto who was throwing wet soil on her body for it had rained the previous night. During the 9am milk feed all the orphans drank their milk quickly and Kiko too, then he came over and intentionally kicked the wheelbarrow over that was holding all the empty bottles, scattering them on the ground. He then moved away to enjoy the leaves in the tall trees nearby as the keepers went about collecting the bottles. Maisha and Sattao were left near the wheelbarrow as the rest of the elephants moved away; Maisha wanted to collect up some of the milk that had spilt from the bottles before the keepers moved them out to the forest.

26 October 2017

The day began as usual with the orphans walking out to the forest with their keepers. As they moved deeper into the forest Godoma, Sana Sana, Kuishi and Emoli went slightly off course but they didn’t know that buffalos were grazing behind the bushes. When Godoma saw the buffalos she raised the alarm, which drew the attention of the other orphans; there was a lot of trumpeting and bush bashing as the four ran for safety to where the rest of the orphans and the keepers were. Malkia and Godoma ran behind Emoli, trying to protect the little one who was desperately trying to keep up with Kuishi. He cried out which Mbegu heard and in her capacity as the Nursery Matriarch it was her duty to investigate. She ran over in the direction of the cry for help with her ears raised and trumpeting very loudly. Kauro and Ngilai also joined her. Upon seeing Mbegu run through the buses, the buffalos decided to run for safety but she, Ndotto, Malima, Malkia, Godoma and others pursued them to make sure they were really gone. The keepers ran to keep up with the orphans as they crashed through the bushes and stamped around. After some time they managed to restore peace and quiet amongst the babies, although Sagalla and Sapalan took awhile longer to settle.

27 October 2017

The orphans walked out to the forest this morning as usual, although little Pili did not accompany them today due to poor health. The babies looked jovial, playful and happy. After the 9am milk feed the keepers walked the orphans further into the forest to look for greener pasture and Kiko followed them too, although from a distance and making several stops to feed on different trees. It was a sunny day today so most of the babies seized the opportunity to wallow in the mud bath during the public visit. Enkesha, Godoma, Maktao, Sattao and Malkia seemed to enjoy the mud the most and were splashing so vigorously it reached the visitors who shouted – some with excitement and others in complaint at having their clothes made dirty. Before their time at the mud bath area was over the keepers managed to calm the orphans down. Musiara didn’t want to play in the mud but just wanted to be with his keepers, moving from one to another to say hello. Just after lunch time, we received the sad news about Pili’s passing as he succumbed to his illness. He will be much missed as he was a lovely little elephant. Maramoja, who is showing very good motherly qualities these days, was hanging around little Makato and helping him spray himself with dust. Malkia was watching and wanted to help little Maktao as well but this annoyed Maramoja who pushed her away. Malkia did not give up though and she pushed back, but Mbegu came over to intervene and separate them.

28 October 2017

As the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side, and we witnessed this today after the 5pm milk feed when all the babies had settled in their stockades. Murit, who is Jotto’s neighbour, stretched his trunk through their partition and without poor Jotto noticing, pulled him greens through to his own side, despite having some of his own already. Before Jotto noticed that his food was being taken, almost half of it had gone! It took one of the keepers to replace Jotto’s stolen greens, but this did not stop the crafty Murit. He again reached through and took a branch before Jotto noticed and tried to defend his food. The two pushed each other through the gaps in their partition and pulled each other’s trunks until the keepers came to intervene!

29 October 2017

Kiko has been spending more time out with the orphans these days and this because the area is so beautiful and green after the rain we have been having! Today he wasn’t given a very warm welcome from Namalok and Sapalan however. When they found him browsing alongside them they charged at him which sent him running back towards the stockade area. After 12pm he walked back out to join the orphans again but chose to keep his distance right up until 4pm, when he returned back to the stockade compound to go into his stable for the night.

30 October 2017

The orphans were evidently in a playful and happy mood this morning as they were all seen running about in the bushes, trumpeting and expressing their full joy at the beginning of a new day with lots of nice green things to eat. This mostly involved the little ones like Sattao, Musiara, Tamiyoi, Malima, Jotto, Ambo, Malkia, Tagwa, Godoma, Kuishi, Maisha, Emoli and some of the older ones like playful Ngilai, Pare, Ndotto, Lasayen, Murit and even poor Luggard! Even he was managing to play and stamp around in the bushes despite his broken leg; he doesn’t like anything to hold him back! The oldest female and matriarch Mbegu was kept very busy running amongst all the hyper babies making sure they were okay and checking that they were all playing safely. At last all the activity grew too much for Mbegu and she blew a huge loud trumpet which made everyone stop dead in their tracks. There was silence before, unfortunately for Mbegu, the games started again! Normally this kind of hyper activity is a sign to the keepers that an elephant will be rescued that day and sure enough, just after 1pm a new orphan arrived on the DSWT helicopter from Tsavo, having been spotted on its own without its mother or any other family members but walking alongside two big elephant bulls. She is a young female, about 8 months old, and is in average health condition and responded well to the milk formula. We have named her Kiasa after the area she was found.

31 October 2017

Kiasa spent her first night under full observation and protection from her new loving human family and was really enjoying the milk formula that was slowly but surely rejuvenating her and improving her condition. During the night she was happy to exchange greetings with Maktao through the partition in their stable and this really helped calm Kiasa and help her settle into her new environment too. During the public visit this morning as the first group of orphans were walking back out to the forest after their milk feed and play around the mud hole, the temperature was really felt to soar high and the older orphans walked down flapping their ears like mad to keep cool. Even the greedy elephants like Ndiwa, Mundusi and Pare who always run like mad to get to their milk bottles first, were just sauntering down because they felt it was too hot to run. When they came in, some like Pare and Mundusi only drank their first bottle before running to the mud pool to splash some water behind their ears, before eventually going back for their second. Pare had barely finished his second bottle when he turned back to the mud bath and started splashing himself again. When the keeper walked up to him to plead with him to finish his bottle, Pare just turned his back and through more mud over his back, which ended up hitting the milk bottle and the keeper right in the face! This made all the visiting public laugh and eventually Pare turned back for the bottle when he felt he was finally cool enough; on his own terms!