Keepers' Diaries, September 2015

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Little Godoma, who arrived in the Nursery on the 14th of August, has settled well. She came to us battered and bruised having been rescued from a steep sided water hole. How long she had been there before help came is not clear, but long enough for her herd to have given up hope and abandoned her. The trauma of her loss and subsequent rescue caused her at first to be distrusting of the Keepers and it took a long while for her to settle, but thanks to the gentle and steady care and attention she received she has grown in confidence and now seeks her Keepers out for company, and is content to spend endless hours suckling their fingers. She has grown extremely fond of gentle Tusuja and Rapa. Kamok and Mbegu are always quick to shower the younger babies with attention and love and Oltaiyoni is a born matriarch, ever present if needed to give support and understanding. These three habitually tutor the new arrivals into Nursery life, happy to take the responsibility from the older females like Arruba, Suswa, Rorogoi and Embu.

01 September 2015

It was hot today during public visiting hour, which meant most of the orphans decided to enjoy a lengthy mud bath. As usual, Mbegu, Dupotto, Roi and Rapa were the first babies to kick off the mud bathing event. They all had a joyful time spinning around in the mud pool, with Mbegu and Dupotto showing a dramatic display of scratching their hinds against the edges of the pool at the same time. They then both left the mud wallow and began charging at Pea and Pod (our ostriches) who were standing on the sidelines, though the ostriches managed to sprint away in time. After failing to chase Pea and Pod, the two girls decided to go and roll on the loose soil, posing wonderfully. This attracted the attention of Lasayen who joined and had a happy time; he sat on Mbegu’s head and scratched himself against her which drew much applause from the visiting public who saw how happy and content the little babies are in their nursery.

02 September 2015

All of the orphans walked out of their stockades early in the morning. The big girls were busy greeting each other and checking out the young ones such as Rapa and Godoma. Olsekki and Sirimon happily welcomed the new day and spent a busy moment challenging each other in a pushing game. Their game attracted the attention of Sokotei who joined in by trying to mount Sirimon. This annoyed Sirimon turned around furiously and head butted Sokotei, pushing him on to the ground and causing him to shout out. Suswa, who was watching, came running to help and Sirimon saw her coming and quickly moved away from Sokotei who was trying to stand up again. Suswa found him still on the ground and helped him up with her hind legs. Sokotei did not go and find Sirimon again but decided to go and browse instead, staying close to Suswa for the rest of the day.

03 September 2015

Soon after the orphans settled down in the field to browse in the early morning, their morning was disturbed by two giraffes that made their way through the dense bushes after spotting the orphans. The sudden movement and noise through the bushes scared the entire orphan herd who started running, trumpeting and rumbling with the little ones shouting as they all ran towards the keepers. As the majority ran towards their keepers, Elkerama, Ngilai, Simotua and Godoma ran a different way and ran further into the forest. This meant the keepers had a hard time enticing them back as Elkerama led them one way then another, but finally they found them and managed to lead them back to the other babies. Pea and Pod are still doing well with their human and orphan family, though sometimes nowadays they are walking slightly further away from their orphan group, and browsing on their own. This is a sure sign they are growing up and becoming more mature and independent.

04 September 2015

It’s Friday today so that means coconut oil day for the orphans. Soon after they had finished their bottles at 9 o’clock they all had a joyful time enjoying oil being rubbed on them, and none tried to run away from the event. During public visiting hour it was all fun for the entire orphan herd as they all played and enjoyed the loose dusting soil; they enjoyed dusting at length as it was too cold for mud bathing. Tiny Ndotto and Lasayen had a funny time rolling around on the loose soil and playing with the football, kicking it through the dust. In most of Ndotto’s attempts he would fall down onto his forehead, as Lasayen ran after him; the game drew much delight and applause from the public who were enthralled by the little boys’ games. A little further away, Kauro was busy climbing on Mashariki and Suswa as they were rolling on the ground enjoying the loose soil. Kauro’s happy game took a twist though when Rorogoi spotted him on Mashariki and came running and head-butted him down to the ground. This made Kauro give up his game and walk away, as he watched Rorogoi take over from his game of climbing on Mashariki! Climbing on his friends as they lie on the ground, irrespective of their age or size, is always a game Kauro likes to play and Rorogoi was naughty today using her age and size to dominate and rob him of his game and replace him by doing the same thing herself.

05 September 2015

As the orphans were heading out into the field in the early morning, Kamok, Mbegu, Boromoko and Mwashoti encountered a group of warthogs that were busy grazing along the path they were using. Kamok and Mbegu were in a mischievous mood and decided to chase them, trumpeting and bashing the bushes. This looked like a fun game to Boromoko and Mwashoti who decided to reinforce them, forcing the warthogs deep into the forest. As Kamok and Mbegu settled down to browse, Boromoko and Mwashoti happily engaged each other in a pushing game, as the two boys are the best playmates. Their game did not last long however as Boromoko knocked over Mwashoti, though he managed to stand up quickly (surprising the keepers who were watching because of his bad leg, it just shows how well it has healed) and give Boromoko a good challenge in return. Suswa intervened however and ended the fight, as she did not like to see it get too rough considering Mwashoti’s bad leg. During public visiting the orphans enjoyed a good time mud bathing. As bathing time came to an end, Mbegu was struggling to stand up in the mud pool, as the rest were already making their way out and going back to the forest. She was rolling around and finding it hard to stand up, which caused her to shout out and the lovely Oltaiyoni heard and ran back to her. She went down into the mud pool and down onto her forelegs, bravely helping Mbegu to stand up. This friendly and courageous act drew the applause of everyone watching who happily cheered on Oltaiyoni for the great work she had done. As the audience cheered the two babies left the area running and trumpeting, drawing the attention of the other babies who ran back to join them. It is clear Oltaiyoni will one day be a good leader and maybe even a matriarch.

06 September 2015

Tusuja has been showing good progress, standing up on his own in the night which was something he was previously unable to do. He also has a more full and happy face and is more active. His skin is peeling less, though his body condition overall still has to improve and he has to put on more weight. Hopefully this will happen gradually over time and as he improves. He even attends the public viewing now, unlike before when he only used to attend to feed. Dupotto has been showing some funny behaviour when she returns to her stable for the night. As soon as she has taken her bottle she goes to one corner and starts swinging to and fro, sometimes for more than an hour and sometimes all night, in-between moments of lying down and other moments of shouting. The reason for this is still unknown but it might be something to do with how she became an orphan or during her rescue. Her behaviour will be monitored but as long as she is not in pain or doing any harm there is nothing we can do in the meantime.

07 September 2015

Blood samples were taken from Balguda, Tusuja and Murit at 9 o’clock today so their progress could be monitored as these three are being monitored closely as their body condition is not completely satisfactory. The results showed Murit had no infection, though he still has a small appetite and his overall body condition just doesn’t look as healthy as we like. He sometimes appears dull and quiet and lags behind the others. Balguda and Tusuja were found to be improving well. Godoma is nowadays very much more settled and more relaxed with her human family. Initially she was terrified to approach them and wasn’t comfortable during her bottle feeds. Now she approaches the keepers with ease, suckles on their fingers and takes her bottle with comfort and full trust. Out in the bush she hangs close to Mbegu, the baby-sitter, Kamok and Oltaiyoni too.

08 September 2015

Early in the morning, the orphans approached the field in a playful mood. Almost all of the big orphans were scampering around the bush, trumpeting and bush bashing as they made their way deep into the forest. As the playing around was nearing the end, Siangiki, Oltaiyoni, Embu and Roi frightened the other babies and they all went running and yelling back towards their keepers. Arriving at the keepers they all stopped and were silent with their ears erect, facing the direction they had run from. They remained nervous for some time but settled down after the keepers walked them to a different place. Out during the public visiting hour, the orphans enjoyed playing in the bath as it was an extremely hot morning. As usual, Mbegu, Dupotto, Roi and Rapa were the first ones to kick off the bathing event. As Mbegu and Roi made their dramatic games of running out of the mud bath to roll on the loose dusting soil, Lasayen, Ndotto and Ngilai had a happy time scratching and bumping against them. Lasayen was trying to climb on Mbegu whilst she was rolling on the ground, but he couldn’t because they were both so muddy and he kept sliding off!

09 September 2015

As the orphans were walking out into the field, Alamaya, Simotua and Mwashoti had a busy time chasing after Pea and Pod as they were trying to feed. Pea and Pod challenged the boys though by sprinting to and fro in front. Since Simotua cannot afford to run as fast as Alamaya, even Mwashoti is okay on his legs, Simotua could hardly reach them even by stretching out his trunk as he charged with his ears erect. Pea and Pod seemed to enjoy the chase since they kept running off and turning back again. This entertained the three baby boy elephants for quite a long time, until the keepers moved the herds further into the forest. Today Suswa was quite a bully to the young boys. During public viewing and private visiting, she was seen knocking Olsekki, Enkikwe and Sokotei so hard with her little tusks whilst they were in the mud bath – prompting them to yell out. During private viewing she knocked Sokotei so hard he fell into the edge of the mud wallow on his side – she clearly thought the young boys needed some discipline today! As the orphans were running back into their stockade in the evening, Dupotto, Rapa, Kamok, Roi and Mbegu came across impala crossing their path. Unfortunately two baby impala’s got trapped amongst them which confused them which way to go; one bumped into Roi and another into Mbegu which prompted them to turn back and run to their keepers. Kamok, Rapa and Dupotto continued rumbling down the path and right into their stockades; the other two only followed slowly behind with their keepers!

10 September 2015

As usual, Boromoko and Mwashoti were busy playing a pushing game when the orphans were settled out in the bush in the early morning. They spent a busy time scampering, bush bashing and charging at each other in a test of strength. As they were playing, the game gained the interest of little Ndotto and Lasayen, who started their own pushing game against each other! They also happily scampered about, and bashed the bushes with all their strength as they saw Boromoko and Mwashoti doing. The two little boys who are best friends had a lovely morning playing. The keepers are watching Godoma spend even more time with Tusuja and Rapa, since Tusuja is a cool, welcoming young boy like Elkerama (Ngilai likes him even more than the older girls!) Godoma’s bruised skin is also healing very well.

11 September 2015

This morning the orphans were calm and peacefully browsing, with none of them engaged in the usual playing antics! Rorogoi, Elkerama, Arruba and Embu were all seen competing for who could browse ahead of the other the fastest, picking the best, first green shoots. They led everyone as they moved though, so the whole herd was moving deep into the forest. A short while later, when the orphans had their bottles and they were heading back into the bushes again to resume their browsing, they came across a lone male buffalo, which looked old and skinny. Suswa, Arruba and Mashariki tried to charge after it, knocking and kicking down bushes as they trumpeted which forced the buffalo to disappear. Its sudden departure left the big girls charging around the bushes, but they all settled once the keepers led them away further into the forest. Later, some time past 10 o’clock, the buffalo appeared again at the orphans mud wallow where it enjoyed some water before going to stand in the bushes nearby. It was provided with some lucerne to feed on as well. It stayed feeding in the bushes throughout the entire public visiting hour, and didn’t react at all to the people visiting, but just kept on eating!

12 September 2015

The orphans had a quiet morning, with no major events other than the browsing activity. When it came time for bottle feeding, Sokotei showed his greedy character by downing his bottle before persistently troubling the other young boys like Rapa, Simotua and Tusuja as they tried to enjoy their bottle feed too. The keepers forced him away from the feeding area, but he kept on turning back. Eventually he managed to sneak all the way back and make his way to the wheelbarrow where the milk bottles are kept, and before the keepers could catch him he had got a bottle and run away with it clutched in his trunk before sticking it in his mouth and drinking the whole thing. The keepers tried to take it of him but he challenged them by running into the bushes. After finishing the bottle he dropped it and walked far into the bushes to avoid being punished by the keepers!

13 September 2015

As the young group of orphans were running out to receive their milk in the public visiting area, it was an amazing sight to see Tusuja leading the others out in full running mode. He must have been thirsty for his milk bottle, and he was the first to arrive for milk. Nowadays Tusuja is really showing progress and slowly putting on some weight. During the public viewing he was witnessed enjoying soil dusting like all the other orphans, something that until recently he has been unable to do due to his poor health and body condition. Nowadays he has a reason to smile! He is still receiving multivitamin injections too. On the other hand, poor Alamaya’s wounds have healed well but unfortunately the urethra canal seems to be closing due to scar tissue which has meant that he urinates under pressure. Thankfully not bad enough to require additional surgery, and we hope that in time it will loosen abit . We are monitoring this closely but want to be conservative in our approach and hopefully avoid a second operation.

14 September 2015

The orphans came out of their stockades this morning and the big girls were busy greeting and checking over the younger babies. Olsekki, Sirimon and Enkikwe went out to feed on lucerne left outside Maxwell’s gate. As they were busy competing over who was going to get more of the lucerne, their business attracted Maxwell’s attention, who slowly approached them and all of a sudden, sprayed urine in their faces! The three boys ran away trumpeting in protest over what Maxwell had just done. Maxwell was left running around his stockade and going up to where the three boys had been and knocking against the gate with his horn, a sign he was securing his area and his lucerne! Max was quite restless for a little while but he settled down once all the orphans had left for the forest. Little Ngilai now has new molars on his lower jaw, one on each side. In the upper jaw he has almost a full set. This means very soon he will have a bright, big smile and be that bit closer to becoming a big boy. At the moment he has pretty good health condition and he is always active and playful.

15 September 2015

As the orphans were walking out from their stockades in the early morning, they were greeted by Solio who was visiting her old stockade that morning after some time in the bush. Rorogoi, Arruba, Mashariki, Suswa and Elkerama were the first to come across Solio in the bushes near the stockades. Lovely Solio approached the orphans peacefully and made her way through them, happily enjoying their touch. As she was walking through the group however, naughty Kamok approached her charging, kicking dust and trumpeting, prompting Solio to back over to her stockade where she settled down nicely and ate the lucerne the keepers had provided for her there, plus a special treat of copra cake (Coconut). She happily enjoyed her special treats with Maxwell in the next door enthralled by her visit. Sometime later, towards 8am, Solio and Maxwell had a busy time knocking horns between the spaces in their stockade walls. Their happy game came to an end when Solio sprayed urine in Max’s face, this time, and Max ran back into the main area of his stockade. Solio left too and disappeared into the nearby bushes.

16 September 2015

The little boy Ndotto has been so playful throughout the whole day today. At the public visiting, he was the main star of the session. He was running along the rope cordon raising up his trunk and smelling and inspecting everyone around. Then he proceeded to exchange some football kicks with his friend Lasayen. He later went for a dust bath where Mbegu joined him, and Lasayen abandoned the football and also joined in. The three in dust bath didn’t last together for very long because Mbegu did not pay any attention to Lasayen who then became jealous of Ndotto and started to push him around. Mbegu intervened to separate the two, but instead she was challenged by Lasayen who tried to head butt her, even though he is much smaller. When Mbegu was just about to discipline him, Kamok came over and stood between them as Mbegu was about to charge. Kamok got hold of Mbegu’s trunk instead and invited her to a pushing game. The game went on for quite some time before they got bored. As they were engaging each other head to head though, Ndotto would try and distract them by walking underneath their heads – it was very funny to watch. Or he would wait as they spread their ears in preparation to charge at each other, before running up between them and going down on his head. Embu behaved badly today, bullying Elkerama who was enjoying a mudbath at 3pm. She pushed him and he fell over, shouting with pain as he fell. Embu ran off as the keepers came over to tell her off.

17 September 2015

It was another lucky morning to see Solio return home to the stockades to say hello to Maxwell and the baby elephants. She was at her stockade almost around the same time the other day. She immediately started calling for her lucerne as soon as she entered her stockade. When Max heard her calling he started running up and down his stockade wanting to cross the divide to reach her. After she had finished eating her lucerne, she moved over to where Maxwell was and they had a short conversation through the bars before she immediately left. Max ran to the back of his stockade thinking she was going to his other gate, but she didn’t. This left Max unsettled for quite some time in his pen, until he settled down later in the morning. On her way back to the thicket, Olsekki tried to invite Solio to a game but she wasn’t interested even as he tried to chase her from behind. Balguda has been so active today. With the hot sun, he has been having so much fun down at the mud bath. At 3pm it was a fun and happy moment for everyone as almost all of the babies were rolling in the new, fresh red soil, if not wallowing in the mud bath. Compared to everyone else, it seemed Balguda was the happiest baby today. Godoma is growing into a lovely little girl as well; as she has won the keepers’ trust and wants to spend more time with them.

18 September 2015

Kamok was being very selective and choosy today about whom she was going to play and interact with. It is quite rare to find her playing with her age group too, as mostly she prefers interacting with the younger ones or the ones she is most used to; the likes of Mbegu, Lasayen, Ndotto, Murit and Ngilai... and once in awhile Kauro too! Surprisingly this morning whilst out in the bush, she spent some good playing time with Boromoko. It was a game of ‘sizing up’ which she really seems to have taken on board and enjoyed. They engaged each other in this game from when they first reached the bush, until it was milk feeding time. Later in the day Dupotto attempted to charge at Kamok and this really scared her! They were all browsing out together near the same bushes. Kamok might have spotted a nice type of plant in the bush that Kamok was browsing from and she stretched her trunk to reach some of those leaves. When Dupotto saw her do that she raised her ears high and wide ready to charge, but as she moved a few steps towards Kamok, Kamok got scared and ran away screaming towards the keepers for help.

19 September 2015

Rapa is still pursuing the company of Tusuja, which Murit also seems to enjoy as well. After the 9am feed the whole family had some time together. The three boys decided to go their own separate way from the rest however. Tusuja has improved enough to face up to Rapa as well, who he used to retreat from not long ago. Murit, being such a quiet and polite boy, enjoys such company very much. As all the babies were crowded in the thicket, no one realised the three little boys were missing until it was just before the public visiting hour. A search began and the boys were located some meters away from the rest just browsing quietly. After the public session, as the keepers were having their lunch, Elkerama disappeared with his little friend Ngilai. He took the little boy for a mudbath in the thicket about 800m away from the other babies and after walking around the keepers found them having a wonderful time in the mud! At about 1pm the orphanage received a call from the Meru Vet unit that they had a baby giraffe orphan. A rescue team left immediately and arrived back at the nursery at 5pm with a male baby giraffe. Angela called him Kiko after an area in Meru National Park.

20 September 2015

As the doors are opened for the babies to go out into the park for the day, Solio popped back to check on her stockade. She did not stay ling today, or even ask for lucerne. She only went into her pen, inspected it, and then immediately walked back to the bush. Max was asleep but when he heard her come in he woke up and started pacing around his stockade. By then Solio had already left and was standing in the bushes beside Max’s stockade. Solio appeared nervous about something, raising her head and going around in circles. Eventually she left though and went back into the woods. Kauro, Lasayen, Kamok and Mashariki showed off some football skills out in the field. The ball was with the keepers in the bush and Ndotto took it away from them. He started playing, rolling it with his head. Lasayen snatched the ball from Ndotto and kicked it towards Kamok who rolled it to Kauro with her trunk. As the three went on fighting for it, Mashariki came over and took control of the ball. Wanting to show them more skills, she grabbed the ball with her trunk, left it up high and threw it to the young ones. They went after the ball trying to grab it, but in vein. Instead, one of them kicked it accidentally, and it went much further into the bushes. Mashariki kept her distance watching the game go on.

21 September 2015

Wow, what a wonderful morning for the babies. They waited until everyone had come out from their pens, as they gathered in the area by the stockades. It all started with Suswa, Rorogoi, Arruba and Mashariki. They were trumpeting, pushing the short bushes over and rampaging through the forest. The likes of Sirimon, Enkikwe, Olsekki and Sokotei just watched in disbelief in the beginning, but then they joined their peers too in trumpeting before they started pushing each other. The keepers kept their eyes on the little ones, Ndotto, Lasayen, Godoma, Murit and Ngilai who were also included in the game. They too ran and shoved around among the older ones. The game went on for such a long time before being stopped by the keepers before it got too rough. This was because of Embu who started poking the younger ones with her tusks. She came towards Siangiki, Kauro, Sirimon, Roi and she even pushed Balguda too. She seems not to have wanted certain babies to join in the game and have fun too! The new giraffe Kiko today in the afternoon went out into the park. He behaved so well and kept following his keeper the whole time. He is also feeding very well on his milk which we hope he keeps up. He came back home for bed earlier than the baby elephants started returning home at 5pm.

22 September 2015

Today Alamaya was showing the real character of a boy, despite being a eunuch as a result of being ravaged by hyenas. He had been such a loving and caring little boy for so long. Today he is different, or maybe he is just in a bad mood! He has been a bully to Rapa, Simotua and Godoma. At one point he was stopped by Mwashoti. Mwashoti challenged him when he pushed Godoma in front of him. When the young girls, Dupottto, Roi and Mbegu went rolling down in the dust, he would try and climb on their backs, which he hasn’t done before. To maintain the babies in the evening just before it is time to return back to the stockades for bed, it is always a game of cat and mouse for the keepers. Most of the babies will fight to be the first ones to be taken home, no matter if they are young babies or the older orphans! At this point Sokotei, Rorogoi and Roi will even try and push you over. While the keepers were trying to hold a few back so they can return in small groups, Lasayen and Ngilai managed to get away and run away in front of everyone. The two were competing to get home and Lasayen was running faster than Ngilai. They both had a good gap between them and the rest of the group behind. They ran ahead of their keepers and went straight into their pens for milk. For Ngilai this is his normal routine, and he goes straight to sleep after his milk without wasting any time!

23 September 2015

Mbegu with her baby friend Ndotto did some fabulous entertaining during the public visit today. As it stands, these two babies adore each other anyway; neither one of them wants to lose sight of the other. After finishing their milk, Ndotto went to the soil and started dusting himself. Mbegu joined him after some time and she went down and started rolling in the dust in front of Ndotto. Ndotto paid no attention though and ignored Mbegu’s invitation to play, in fact he decided to move away from her. As time went on though, he finally came around to the game. Mbegu had her trunk in the air, waving it around. Ndotto grabbed hold of her trunk and held on to it as she was swinging it around. Mbegu eventually went down on her knees so that she was Ndotto’s height. Ndotto moved backwards with his ears raised up, ready to push Mbegu. As Mbegu pretended to have been pushed down, Ndotto tried to climb on her back and rolled down, ending up outside the rope cordon. Whilst Ndotto was outside the rope he got up and started chasing the school children – he enjoyed when he heard them scream! Before the keepers could get to him, he was already back inside the ring again, pushing Mbegu. However the game was spoilt by the warthogs who came in to wallow in the mud pool. When Ndotto spotted them coming in a line, he ran up to them with his ears raised to scare them away. Mbegu teamed up with him and with her trumpet, Kamok was not far behind. They were encouraged by the audience, cheering them on as they drove out the warthogs completely. They might think twice about the time they come for mud bath! Kiko went out on a further walk today, he went down from the stockade area to the mudbath ground and walked along to Angela’s garden as well. He enjoys walking very much and always stays near his keeper too.

24 September 2015

Early in the morning, around 3am, Solio reported back home. This time, she came in a destructive mood. She pushed down a few flower pots and fed on the flowers inside. She patrolled the whole compound for more than an hour and when she was done, she went into her pen until around 6am, before returning to the forest. Today Enkikwe has been kept on watch by the older girls. He is so naughty and such a bully as well these days – one that needs to be watched all the time. It is easy for him to charge and push anyone – keepers, strangers and even the younger babies. At 3pm he caused a lot of trouble to both the keepers and his peers. Rorogoi was watching him be naughty though and we only realised this when he moved some steps away from the keepers and she went after him to discipline him, driving him away from everybody. He shouted for help but none of the older ones paid any attention. He remained all alone away from the scene in the ticket until the end of the session. Later in the evening, when returning home to bed, he was in the company of Siangiki, Boromoko, Mwashoti, Simotua, Kamok, Rapa and Tusuja. Mashariki saw them leave and she sneaked in to join them. She had her reason for this as on the way back, Enkikwe ran in front and tried to block the rest of the group from walking. Mashariki ran in front and took control of the group, driving Enkikwe back to the other group that was still waiting with the keepers, as the other team proceeded on to the stockades! Enkikwe had to come in last, together with the keepers.

25 September 2015

Suswa and Arruba are still behaving like older and younger baby, even though they are the same age; Suswa still allows Arruba to suckle her ears like a little baby. While Arruba was suckling on Suswa’s ear, Ngilai decided to take advantage of the opportunity and suckle on Arruba’s ear! Apart from Elkerama and Kamok, there is no other older baby who allows Ngilai to suckle on their ears – which he likes doing most! It was a nice display of affection from the three babies. Balguda, Rapa, Tusuja and Simotua were playing cat and mouse with the keepers because of coconut oil. As usual on a Friday the babies receive coconut oil, but not all of them that enjoy it; some will keep the keepers on their toes before they comply. Today it was Balguda and the other three who did not want to have it. But as usual they eventually got it and enjoyed it like the rest. Because of the oil and that it turned out to be a sunny day, all of the babies enjoyed a lengthy bath in the mud hole except for Kauro, who never enjoys it.

26 September 2015

Kamok is one elephant with many different characters. She can be soft and nice, or can be naughty and cheeky. She can be playful and interactive when she wants. She sometimes doesn’t like anyone touching her and if they do, she knows how to complain! She was drinking water from a trough close to the rope cordon during public visiting and sometimes she would balance some of the water in her trunk and spray it at that crowd! The audience were happy having such fun with her. Mwashoti came by and started having a little pushing game with her. Oltaiyoni approached from behind and started shoving her around too. She assumed it was just one of the younger ones, but the pushing became more serious than she had expected. Oltaiyoni’s short tusks were prodding her in the back, and Mwashoti was pushing harder from the front thinking that Kamok wanted a fight! Kamok, stuck in the middle, started shouting for help and the noise attracted all the other babies who abandoned their games to find out what was going on. From that point whenever Mwashoti approached Kamok she would run away in fear. Later, Murit also had to stand up for himself when Mwashoti tried to steal a branch that he was eating. With the help of a keeper though he won back his branch and carried on feeding.

27 September 2015

He may be young but he is big and today Kauro proved to Sirimon that the only thing he lacks is short tusks like his. He can still withstand Sirimon’s bullying. Kauro was taking some water from a trough when Sirimon came over. Instead of sharing the water too, he tried to push him away so he could drink alone. Kauro wasn’t about to be walked over though, and stood firm to defend his right to drink there. He challenged Sirimon back but Sirimon had an advantage because of his short tusks which he prodded Kauro with. Kauro was very persistent though and got back to the trough for more water. The trough was between the two as they challenged each other. Suswa the big girl came between them and brought peace to the situation. She separated them and after a while they all joined together to go and drink water. Tusuja is mingling very well with his peers, playing in the mud bath with them too; compared to a few months ago when he needed the keepers help all the time. These days he feels more part of the family and is not isolated anymore.

28 September 2015

We like to see it when two babies are very fond of each other, but it is a challenge when one is much older than the other. For example Ngilai and Elkerama are great friends but the age gap between them is so big that they cannot spend the day together. The big boy seems to value Ngilai as his younger little brother. Elkerama arrived at the nursery at an older age compared to all of the others and always wonders further away and further into the bush where he seems to like it. Most of the other babies his age like Mashariki, Suswa and Arruba still feel more comfortable near their human family. Even though the orphans are young they are very intelligent, and can easily trick their keepers so they can sneak off on adventures in the bush. Normally during the day the babies are divided into two groups, but at some point they can come together so the young ones can learn a few things from the older ones. Around 3pm today, the whole family was together to enjoy the 3pm milk feed. But within a short time Elkerama was nowhere to be found, together with his friend Ngilai! It took the keepers ages to find the two and only then it was due to Ngilai, because he knows his name. If you keep calling him you will hear him responding with a rumble if he hears you. He will also rumble as he runs to find you. If Elkerama is alone he will even hide further in the thicket so as not to be found – he enjoys it in the bush so much. So when Ngilai heard the keepers he came running out to find them, but to get to Elkerama the keepers had to trace his footprints and his dung. Eventually he came out to greet them and they all walked back together. Boromoko and Mwashoti are the best play mates and had lots of fun together throughout the day. They sized each other up and mounted each other; all day long they enjoyed good games.

29 September 2015

This morning there was much anticipation at the nursery as a new baby boy arrived from Turkana in Northern Kenya. All the orphans came out of their pens full of excitement; as if they knew it wasn’t just a normal morning. Oltaiyoni came out of her pen to greet Lasayen, Kamok and Mbegu who were waiting for her outside. They touched and exchanged trunks as a sign of greeting and together they met Dupotto who was waiting for her friend Embu to come out. When Embu came out they all went wild, even those that were still inside their pens. They broke out trumpeting and rumbling like a musical band, but a brass one in a very low tone. Some of the older girls, Arruba, Suswa, Rorogoi and Mashariki were pushing and breaking down the short bushes attached to the stockades. The young ones were chasing the warthogs around and the boys paired up in pushing games, Sokotei with Sirimon and Enkikwe with Olsekki. No one was left out and they were all active doing something in pairs or groups. The games came to an end with the arrival of milk hour and by then almost everyone was exhausted – there was no hurrying and fighting for who got to the milk first! Some minutes to seven o’clock, some of the keepers left for Wilson airport. The evening before the orphanage had received a call from the KWS at Lobokat station near the Wei Wei River and South Turkana National Reserve. They had found a lone male elephant calf which had been left behind by its family after they had been driven out from a farming area by the farmers. Rangers patrolling Orwa area had located the calf and had tried to reunite it back with its herd but they all apparently had run away from fear of man. They took the calf to their camp where it spent the night with them before our own rescue team arrived at Turkwel airstrip to bring it back to the orphanage. Upon their arrival they fed the calf some milk, which he took very well since he had not been fed on anything for at least one or two days. Just before 2pm the team was back at the nursery with the baby. He looked very exhausted and thin and after an evening milk bottle he went straight to sleep. He got up when Mbegu came back home from the bush and he went over to the partition between their stables and went back to sleep next to her pen. Mbegu was putting her trunk through the wooden slats which woke him up again and he was happy to see her as she went on communicating to him throughout the night.

30 September 2015

The girl that rocks at night, Dupotto, started to take her night behaviour out into the field, but Siangiki would not tolerate that. She immediately went over to stop her. Normally the orphans are released in small groups to go and have their milk in the feeding area. Crowded altogether as they waited, Dupotto started hitting Siangiki with her head as she does in her pen. Siangiki was ready to put her in her place but she was blocked by Balguda who was standing next to her. By the time they were ready to go for their milk, Siangiki and Dupotto were in the same group. Dupotto ran ahead shouting like she does in the night. Siangiki went ahead of her and blocked her from running, kicking her with her hind legs. As she changed direction she followed her and poked her in the back to stop her from crying for no reason. Siangiki disciplined the young girl and made sure she could only go ahead once she had stopped making a noise. With the hot sun that has been going on for some time now, whenever the orphans get down to the mud bath, most of them are ready to show off their swimming styles, especially during public visiting at 11am. Today Mbegu, Lasayen and Ndotto left some smiles on the audience’s faces as they had great fun rolling in the mud and dust. The two little boys would roll on Mbegu who was also rolling around in the mud. One would climb on her head and the other on her back which they all enjoyed at length. Dupotto went into the mud bath as soon as she had finished her milk. She wallowed for quite a long time, until she fell asleep in the mud! All of her body was submerged in the mud except her head which she had raised up on the banks of the mud hole. It was confirmed she was asleep when all the other babies had left and she did not know a thing until a keeper woke her up. Mbegu proved her strong maternal instinct today towards Wei Wei, the name of the new baby, who came out of the stockade today. Wei Wei came out at 3pm to join his new friends in the park. He remained a distance away from the other and liked the company of the keepers, so it was Mbegu who came over to meet him first. She was later joined by Arruba and Suswa. She was very impressively welcoming and loving towards Wei Wei. Oltaiyoni, Mashariki, Kauro and Balguda joined and surrounded the new one. He did not spend that much time out as he is still very tired and it was just to introduce him to the others and his broader surroundings; he was escorted back home by Mbegu who kept him company until all the others returned home for bed.