Keepers' Diaries, September 2005

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Nairobi Nursery Unit

Narrippi’s condition deteriorated towards mid-month, which we put down to teething, which always triggers fever and stomach upsets. When blood appeared in his stools, we had to resort to another antibiotic course of Sulphadimidine, with trepidation, knowing how antibiotics depress an elephant’s immune system and also knowing that he was a prime candidate for the dreaded pneumonia, having been a well victim, and moreover a victim of a well heavily utilized by Masai cattle. However, following this, which included doses of yoghurt made with his milk formula, his diarrheoa had definitely improved and we were hopeful that perhaps we might have won the battle. But, it was not to be, and by the time our foster-parents read this update, written upon Daphne’s arrival after an overseas visit, they will know that Narrippi was one that we could not win.

Narrippi’s condition deteriorated towards mid-month, which we put down to teething, which always triggers fever and stomach upsets. When blood appeared in his stools, we had to resort to another antibiotic course of Sulphadimidine, with trepidation, knowing how antibiotics depress an elephant’s immune system and also knowing that he was a prime candidate for the dreaded pneumonia, having been a well victim, and moreover a victim of a well heavily utilized by Masai cattle. However, following this, which included doses of yoghurt made with his milk formula, his diarrheoa had definitely improved and we were hopeful that perhaps we might have won the battle. But, it was not to be, and by the time our foster-parents read this update, written upon Daphne’s arrival after an overseas visit, they will know that Narrippi was one that we could not win.

The highlight of the month was the arrival of little Makena, the tiny female from Laikipia, who came into the Nairobi Nursery on the 20th. From the start, she was an anomaly, tiny for her obvious age, but all together, extremely playful and active, and, amazingly, with all the first molars in place which meant that she must be at least 3 – 4 months old. Teething in baby elephants usually takes place between the age of l and 4 months.

Two small babies in the Nursery during the month of September have kept both Naserian and Lualeni, our two little Nursery female calves, extremely occupied, with Naserian constantly rushing back to the stables to check up on them, and once they were allowed out, finding them both near their Nursery stables but not as far afield as the other elephants go each day to browse and pass time. Buchuma has been better behaved towards Rapsu this month, and it is interesting to see Kora actually initiating tussling contests with Buchuma, who loves nothing better than a scrap! It is also very gratifying to see Kora now completely healed, with plump cheeks and in good physical fettle. He and Rapsu share a strong sense of time, (as well as a passion for milk) often coming to search out the Mixer on duty if he happens to be slightly late! Lualeni and Kora are very close, and Rapsu is friends with everyone, a very gentle and loving character far removed from the aggressive young bull with an almost blind eye that arrived in the Nursery a few months ago. Now he, too, is totally healed, with two bright eyes, and plump cheeks that signify good condition in a baby elephant. Both Naserian and Lualeni are extremely maternal and passionate about Narrippi and Makena, who charm everyone that visits the elephants because they are so small and endearing. But, this month, it has been Narrippi who has needed constant monitoring being a well water orphan and as such a prime candidate for respiratory problems, having also undergone an anaesthetic for his trunk operation, and so much emotional and physical stress. Tiny Makena is a gem, playful, cheeky, extremely clever and mischievous, a winning combination!

The Rhino Orphans:- Makosa still visits the Nursery stockades regularly, otherwise his territory is in the forest to the back. His and Shida's tends to overlap slightly. This month, it suddenly dawned on Magnum that someone else was in his Nursery Stockade which is next door to that or Makosa, (whom he knows), and, worse still, another rhino occupied it in the person of Shida! Magnum has interrupted his daily home routine by paying regular visits to inspect his Stockade, and vent his disapproval within, as well as taking an unhealthy interest in Shida himself. Astonishingly, Shida escaped from his Keepers one day to meet up with Magnum for the first time at the Orphans’ noon mudbath, on a day when Magnum just decided to come on a hot day out of his usual rhino routine. How Shida knew that Magnum would be there has amazed us all, but why else would he suddenly decide to do the disappearing act? There was a tussle, which was interrupted by the Keepers fearing for Shida’s safety, but which, from Magum’s point of view, had not reached a satisfactory conclusion and so his Shida hunt has tended to persist. Now, Shida’s dung will be carried by the Keepers to be placed in Magnum’s habitual middens, which is the way that rhino introductions have to be conducted. Whilst Shida is known to Makosa, and the wild rhinos that occupy territories at the back of the Trust Headquarters, he is a stranger to those on the opposite side, which happens to include the territory staked out by Magnum. Hence, the extended introductions will continue the safe way via scent, which is the correct way for this ancient, fiercely territorial species!

September 2005 day to day

01 Sep

Immediately after the mudbath, Naserian and Lualeni, forcing their way in to touch little Narripi all over his body, but concentrating on his damaged trunk. The Keepers had to force them out.

Narripi having sunblock applied after his arrival

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