Keepers' Diaries, September 2017
Nairobi Nursery Unit
It has been an especially trying month this September with too many orphaned babies pouring through our doors, victims of the ongoing drought in large parts of the country, meaning that mothers cannot produce the milk required for their young babies and are even collapsing and dying from exhaustion themselves. It is heartbreaking to watch another factor contributing to the decline of this species when they already have so much to contend with; aside from poaching and clashes with communities they now have to face shortages of food. We work hard on the ground in Tsavo, home to Kenya’s largest population of elephants, contrasting and maintaining our wind-powered boreholes, to alleviate the pressure of water shortages but we know the main contributing factor this year is the scarcity of vegetation. Our DSWT funded Kenya Wildlife Service Mobile Veterinary teams have been kept very busy on the ground too, attending to multiple cases and assisting in rescues as well. The younger orphans have come to the Nairobi Nursery for the more intense treatment and care they require, whilst other older orphans have been taken to our Voi Rehabilitation unit to assimilate back into the wild with our dependent orphans there. Orphans Maisha, Namalok, Sapalan, Sagala and tiny Pili were all rescued from across the country this month, as the drought grips large areas of the country and not just Tsavo, and are currently in our care at the Nursery. We received a couple of showers at the Nairobi Nursery this month that were very welcome and good for settling the dust and reviving the parched flora, but much more is needed and we hope will come in the impending short rains.
01 September 2017
Soon after the orphans had settled out in the forest this morning, some of them were seen busy enjoying a wallowing session in a mud pool that had formed from the heavy downpour we received yesterday afternoon. The game was started by Enkesha, who really loves mud baths and in all kinds of weather. Then she was followed by Malima, Jotto, Tamiyoi, little Maktao, Sattao and Musiara as well, who all rolled and played happily in the muddy pool. Their bumping, sliding and trumpeting in happiness drew the older orphans to the side lines to watch them, as Mbegu, Godoma and Maramoja drove away the likes of Rapa, Ngilai, Pare, Lasayen and Ndotto so they did not interrupt or climb on the young ones. Since there was another even wider muddy pool nearby, the boys went there and had some fun in the mud on their own. Ndotto, Lasayen and Ngilai were seen happily clambering all over Kauro and Pare, whilst Mbegu and Godoma went to join the little boys in their smaller pool. The little ones were trying to climb on Mbegu but they could hardly manage due to Mbegu’s big size!
02 September 2017
Ndiwa, Mundusi and Mteto are being little trouble makers these days, especially during the morning public visit. They are giving their keepers a really hard time when they are still in the forest and the first group of orphans are going down to the mud bath area. They have learnt all the different escape routes and are able to sneak down to the visit just after the first group have settled there. Today they were unlucky however as the keepers kept an eye on them, especially Ndiwa who is the ‘escape’ group leader, and they were not able to sneak down. With the rest of the second group Ndiwa and Mundusi were very restless and yelled out in protest at not being allowed to run down for their bottles earlier.
03 September 2017
Today the orphans walked out of their stockades in a calm and quiet manner, unlike some other mornings when they run about the stockade compound, some running into the pens of their friends to look for leftover lucerne pellets and others running over to Maxwell’s gate to see if he has left much of his tasty lucerne grass there. The big boys like Kauro, Pare, Ndotto, Lasayen and Rapa usually grapple and wrestle with each other as they walk out to the forest as well, but this morning it was a different story. As soon as all the orphans came out of their pens they just walked out quietly to the forest in a long line, with Mbegu, Ndiwa, Maramoja and Mteto at the head of the group.
04 September 2017
When the orphans came out of their pens this morning, the big girls like Mbegu, Godoma, Maramoja, Sana Sana and Tagwa were checking on and greeting the young ones like Sattao, Musiara and Mactau, while big boys Pare, Lasayen, Rapa and Ndotto welcoming each other and the new morning with some wrestling games. As all this was going on, Jotto and Malima were spotted arguing over lucerne pellets by Maxwell’s stockade, an argument which escalated into a head butting fight in which neither one showed any respect for the other. Tamiyoi was looking for lucerne pellets in Jotto’s stable and saw Malima being picked on by Jotto, so she rushed to help her challenge the young boy! Jotto had other ideas though and waited for the girls to turn and eat the lucerne when he walked up quietly behind them and took Tamiyoi’s tail in his mouth to bite it! Poor Tamiyoi yelled out and ran off, scaring Malima who quickly followed her as she was not sure what caused her to run away, and leaving the delighted Jotto to feed on the lucerne pellets all on his own. His triumph did not last for long though as Mundusi came along and pushed him away, leaving him to yell out in protest at losing his prize and with no choice but to walk out to the forest to browse.
05 September 2017
It was an active morning as the orphans approached the forest in a playful mood. Older orphans like Kauro, Ndotto, Lasayen, Mbegu, Maramoja, Pare, Godoma and Rapa were seen actively running around in the bushes charging and trumpeting, which in turn attracted the attention of the entire herd. Little figures like Sattao, Musiara and Mactau, Tamiyoi and Enkesha were also seen scampering about but hardly able to charge and trumpet like the others, so they stayed slightly to the side so as not to get in the way. Tamiyoi loves the young boys and was seen happily playing alongside them. We were not sure why the orphans were behaving like this in the early morning but such behaviour has prophesized the arrival of a new orphan later in the day before! There is a belief that elephants are telepathic and the keepers whispered amongst themselves that there might be a rescue either today or tomorrow – not even an hour later we received a report of an elephant baby that had been rescued and was at the Tsavo-Voi stockade. A rescue team was quickly dispatched and the new orphan arrived by 3pm. It has been found by rangers in Tsavo lying down in a completely collapsed state and it arrived at the Nursery still very weak. It is a female less than a year old and evidently a victim of the drought in Tsavo.
06 September 2017
The new orphan spent the entire night on IV drips having arrived in a completely collapsed state and obviously dehydrated to such an extent she was almost unconscious. The IV drips worked wonders on the young girl though and by the middle of the night she had gained enough energy to stand on her own four feet and then even better than that, she managed to drink some milk formula as well. The next day she looked even better and was feeding on greens. When the other orphans came out of their pens, it was funny to watch Kuishi, Malkia, Maramoja and Mbegu all milling around the new babies stable; Kuishi and Malkia kept yelling out as they wanted to meet the new little one; but she is not yet strong enough and the keepers began to walk out to the forest so they had to follow. Kuishi and Malkia remained quite restless in the forest though and they kept trying to sneak back to the compound to see if they could meet the new one. They yelled out again in protest but soon settled down to browse with the others as the keepers moved deeper into the forest. We called the new girl Maisha.
07 September 2017
We watched today how caring and protective little Malkia and Tagwa are for little Sattao. Whilst he was in the mud bath they stood along the edge and watched his every move whilst he splashed and rolled about in the water. At one point he rolled over and lost his balance, finding it difficult to right himself and he yelled out for help; before he even had to yell though the two girls were in the mud pool and ready to help him, with Malkia supporting him up using her forelegs and Tagwa supporting him with her hind legs, which eventually assisted little Sattao up! As soon as he was standing Sattao wanted to go back to playing in the water but these two girls were having none of it and guided him to the edge of the mud pool to get out. Just as they reached the edge Sattao tried to sneak back into the water but his attempts were blocked by the two girls who jointly pushed him out of the mud pool and onto safe, dry ground where they escorted him to join his friends Musiara, Tamiyoi and Enkesha who were enjoying some soil dusting. Once there he tried to run back into the pool again! Malkia and Tagwa never let him free though until he gave up and settled to dust himself – what lovely, caring girls these two orphans are and it is so lovely to watch them being so compassionate to one another within their new family.
08 September 2017
Kuishi was very naughty today at the public visit which is out of character for her. After all the groups had downed their milk bottles and dispersed to feed on the Lucerne pellets, Kuishi started being quite the bully. She ran from one pile of pellets to another picking a small amount from each then moving on to the next one. She seemed to target the piles that other orphans were enjoying and pushed them out of the away. At one point she head butted little Tamiyoi so hard she fell on her hindquarters in the mud pool. Poor Tamiyoi had a hard time trying to exit the mud bath and when she finally got out she avoided Kuishi who was being driven away from the pellets by the keepers as punishment for her behaviour. Kuishi then kept herself busy by chasing the warthogs that were at the mud wallow also looking to feed on the lucerne pellets.
09 September 2017
After the 9am bottle feed the orphans went into the field and had a playful peaceful morning until they encountered the lovely Solio. Ndiwa, Mundusi, Kauro, Rapa, Sana Sana, Mteto and Ngilai accidently bumped into Solio whilst she was resting in the middle of some dense bushes. Solio quickly announced her presence with a snort which sent the young babies scampering into the bushes in alarm. The rest of the herd reacted to their trumpets and rushed to see what was going on, except little Musiara, Sattao, Maktao and Luggard who were busy hanging out with the keepers. With all the bush-bashing and trumpeting from the elephants, Solio decided to exit the area at a run with Mbegu, Godoma, Kauro, Maramoja and Rapa following her until she disappeared deep into the forest. All the excitement left the orphans in a state of unrest and they continued their bush-bashing and noise making, turning it into a new game. The game finally ended when Maktao yelled in protest as Luggard denied him to suckle his tail which sent the mini-mums to his side for comfort.
10 September 2017
Out in the field this morning, playful Ngilai, Mundusi, Mteto and Sana Sana were all having a great time chasing and charging a troop of baboons they encountered. Some of the male baboons were fighting and running around making a lot of noise which attracted the attention of the elephants. Their fierce sounds prompted Ngilai and others in the group to jointly gang up against the fighting baboons and they charged them with their ears wide open. They managed to scare some female baboons who ran off with their young ones on their backs. Ngilai targeted one of the females with a tiny baby and chased it round and round the tall trees. The female baboon had a wise idea and challenged playful Ngilai by running around a huge tree trunk whereby they both played hide and seek until Ngilai moved to face the baboon too aggressively. The baboon became scared and ran in the opposite direction and accidentally lost its hold on the tiny baby. The baby fell off and screamed loudly which finally attracted the attention of the entire troop who ran back to protect the baby by chasing and threatening Ngilai. When facing lots of angry baboons, Ngilai lost all his courage and took off back to the safety of the herd and his keepers.
11 September 2017
When the orphans walked out of their rooms this morning they were all very busy greeting each other and starting the mornings games. Happy boys like Murit and Luggard were seen pushing each other as they welcomed the new day. Caring girls like lovely Godoma, Mbegu, Malkia, Tamiyoi and Tagwa went straight to the young babies to make sure they had a good night and were happy. Malkia, Tagwa and Tamiyoi’s first order of the day was to check on the new girl Maisha in her stable. Malkia rumbled to Maisha and Maisha yelled loudly in return causing Malkia to try and open the stable door. When she couldn’t open the door she realized she could go into Musiara’s stable to greet Maisha through the stable wall. It was quite funny to watch Malkia, Tagwa and Tamiyoi all trying to fit through the door and into Musiara’s stable at the same time – all desperate to be the first ones to touch and say hello to Maisha. Maisha was also really happy for the attention and started calling out loudly and putting her chin up on the stable wall so she could see her visitors. The three caring babies were unhappy to leave the newcomer when it was time to go into the forest and they will be very happy when it is time for Maisha to join the orphan herd. The new calf is called Namalok.
12 September 2017
Yesterday ended with a new baby elephant arrival and this young baby spent a fairly peaceful night under the care of a new human family. Even though he is an older elephant he shows very little aggression which we expect from elephants orphaned at all older age. Kauro, the oldest elephant at the nursery, welcomed him and comforted him by touching him with his trunk. This let the newcomer know he was in a safe place and he was clearly grateful to be rescued. When Kauro left the stockade to go out into the bush the new baby was very upset and banged hard on his stockade walls as he wanted to join his new friend. It isn’t time yet for this young bull to be let out of the stockade as he needs time to adjust and accept his human family and the magic taste of milk formula. Poor Kuishi has been transferred to another stockade to create space; an idea she did not welcome and she spent the night yelling in protest. When she was let out from her stockade she ran straight to her stockade to inspect the situation and find out why she was moved. She was very unhappy to find the new baby in Kauro’s room and Kauro in her room!
13 September 2017
As the orphans were walking out to the field they peacefully bumped into each other and all was calm; that was until Pare, Maramoja and Ngilai were frightened by Maxwell. Some warthogs had broken into Max’s stockade and were noisily fighting over his lucerne pellets. All the racket from the squealing warthogs alerted Maxwell to the lucerne thieves and poor Maxwell got very agitated. He began chasing the warthogs round and round his stockade until all three managed to squeeze through his stockade gates. Pare, Maramoja and Ngilai were quietly munching on Maxwell’s lucerne through the bars of the gate and were caught off guard by the sudden and noisy exit of the warthogs with Maxwell huffing and puffing just behind them. The three baby elephants ran off trumpeting in surprise and charged towards the other orphans who were slowly approaching the field. Their reaction was only welcomed by Lasayen and Ndotto who happily engaged Pare and Ngilai in a play pushing game.
Ndiwa and Mundusi always keep themselves in high spirits and they were very restless and playful during bottle feeding today. When it was time to go for their bottles they both ran so fast they had difficulty keeping their balance. When Ndiwa reached the mud wallow he lost control and sadly fell straight into the water pool.
14 September 2017
The day started with a chilly morning and the orphans were reluctant to leave their nice warm bedrooms. When their stockade doors were opened Ambo, Malima, Tamiyoi, Jotto, Sattao, Musiara and Luggard only took a step out then quickly turned back into the stockade to avoid the early morning drizzle. Even Ndotto, Lasayen and Kuishi were reluctant to walk out. Only Mbegu and Kauro were seen out and about ready to head into the field. Mbegu was very busy, making regular returns to the stockades calling out in low rumbles to the other orphans to try and encourage them to head out to browse. Finally her efforts worked and they started walking out one by one slowly to the field. However, even out in the forest many stayed reluctant to start their morning browsing and only Ndiwa, Mundusi, Maramoja, Kauro, Lasayen and Rapa appeared relaxed.
Today, little Maisha and Emoli are showing positive progress. They are now looking calm, relaxed and happy, finally overcoming the trauma and stress from losing their mothers and accepting their new lives and family. The two are lovely friends and spend their days together within the bushes abutting the stockade compound.
Today we also received another new baby from the Masai Mara who is about 3 years old and in good health.
15 September 2017
Not all the orphans noticed the new baby that came in the previous day from the Mara as they were all very focused on getting their milk bottles then going into their rooms for the special Lucerne pellets. However, as they have a strong sense of smell they sensed the new arrival throughout the night and first thing in the morning Malkia went straight to Ndiwa’s old stockade where he had been placed. There was a lot of communication between the two which attracted the rest of the babies to come and meet the new arrival who we called Sapalan. Sapalan looked very calm and content as the other orphans crowded around his gate. Some of the babies then started shoving each other and fighting for the special greens inside Sapalan’s stockade. Mteto, Lasayen and Rapa were the only ones causing trouble so Mbegu drove them away and they moved to Namalok’s gate where others had gathered to share his greens. Kauro and Ndotto didn’t allow them at that gate either so they decided to move into the forest.
16 September 2017
Ngilai woke up in a playful mood and was busy trying to invite everyone he came across into some morning games but none of the other orphans were interested in playing. As they walked into the forest he did his best to get some attention from the others by bush-bashing, trumpeting and pushing Murit, Luggard, Malkia, Kuishi, Mundusi and Mteto to encourage them to play but none were bothered. When he realized no one was paying him any attention he changed his mind and tried to engage the keepers who were enjoying their morning tea. The keepers shooed Ngilai away to play with his peers but Ngilai ignored the warning and laid down amidst the keepers, rolling playful to get their attention and those of the little babies who were close to them. Little Maktao saw Ngilai lying down and came running to play with him. He thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to clamber over a bigger boy like Ngilai. Maktao’s game attracted Musiara and Sattao who then joined in the climbing and sliding game over Ngilai and they all had a lovely morning playing.
17 September 2017
As a result of the evening rain it was very cold in the morning as the babies headed into the forest. With so many waterholes filled, Enkesha had lots of fun rolling around in the mud. She was still in a playful mood at the public visit and together with Maktao they enjoyed a lengthy mud bath. After wallowing in the mud they both got out of the pool but Enkesha went back and played on the edges of the mud bath by herself. A keeper prepared some loose soil and Maktao then enjoyed rolling around in it to dry himself. Enkesha saw him in the dust and came over and started kicking him. However, Maktao was so comfortable he didn’t want to get up but eventually with so much pressure from Enkesha he no option but to get up and move away. Enkesha then lay down and rolled in the dust but then Malima came and started kicking and pushing her! Enkesha was paid back for what she did to poor little Maktao.
18 September 2017
Musiara likes playing with Sattao and often invites him to play a wrestling game. Today they had been sizing each other up in a lengthy game but then Sattao started applying more strength and pushing too hard. Musiara maintained calm but Sattao continued charging and attacking him. Eventually Musiara decided to defend himself by charging back. Tagwa was browsing close to the pair and Sattao seemed to know Tagwa was keeping an eye on him. When she saw Musiara teaching his new friend a lesson, that it was only a game not a fight, she stepped over the keepers and moved towards the duo. The keepers thought she was bringing peace but that wasn’t the case. She was so hard on poor Musiara, and Sattao assisted her by head-butting him as well. At this point the keepers stepped in to rescue poor Musiara. However, after hearing Musiara’s screams for help, Malkia came rushing in and charged Tagwa even though she had already been sent away by the keepers. The keepers had to go after those two to bring calm and peace back to the group.
At the public visit the first group had lots of fun when Jotto and Malima led them into the mudbath after finishing their milk bottles. It was only Godoma and Kuishi who settled to eat the lucerne pellets but later they joined the rest of the babies in the mud pool as well. Pare then started mounting little Tamiyoi and surprisingly it was Rapa who came to her rescue and pushed Pare off.
19 September 2017
Emoli and Maisha are doing really well considering when they arrived at the nursery they were both close to death. They have been in doors since they arrived so they could gain back some strength before joining the other babies out in the forest. Today, for the first time they joined the other babies for their 9am milk feed. In the beginning, Emoli gave the keepers quite the run around as he didn’t want to leave the stockades at all. He is very fond of his milk so the keepers thought he was going to run after the milk bottle wheelbarrow, but he didn’t and the keepers had to use a lot of tricks to persuade him to follow them into the forest. Maisha was good and cooperative. After all the orphans had taken their milk, Mbegu went to catch up with Emoli and Maisha when they strayed away from the group. After inspecting both of them, Mbegu decided to pay special attention to Emoli and took him around in the company of Malkia. Maisha was surrounded by Sana Sana, Tagwa, Maramoja and Godoma and these four girls all shared time with Maisha throughout the day. At one point Maisha and Emoli isolated themselves away from the others. Pare is growing into another bully boy and when he found them standing alone he started pushing them. When Mbegu, Malkia and Godoma heard them screaming they ran over to find out what was wrong and as soon as Pare saw them coming he disappeared into the bushes.
20 September 2017
The orphan’s day started out with a bright, sunny and warm morning as they headed out into the field and they were all in a happy mood. Rapa and Pare were enjoying a game of hide and seek whilst Ndotto, Kauro and Mbegu engaged in a pushing game. Emoli and Maisha didn’t join them until a bit later in the day and when they did, Enkesha chased Maisha around as she feels jealous of the new girl. Malima couldn’t allow Enkesha to bully Maisha and came to rescue her and drive Enkesha away. After the 9am milk feed the whole herd went further into the forest for greener pasture but the weather changed and all of a sudden it started raining. Musiara, Sattao, Maktao and Luggard were taken closer to the stockades to wait out the rain but Maktao didn’t want to stay with the group and caused some trouble, trying to get back to the main herd. When the rain started pouring down the keepers moved the four to the stables to stay warm and dry. Maktao still ran all over trying to go back to the others but eventually complied and joined the babies in the stockade. When the rain stopped they all went back to join the rest for the public visit but Maisha and Emoli stayed close to Sapalan and Namalok until it got a little warmer. Later in the field Tamiyoi kept Maisha and Emoli company and made sure nobody bullied them.
21 September 2017
As the saying goes “the grass is always greener on the others side” which is very true for orphan elephant babies! Musiara and Luggard share neighbouring night time stockades which has cemented a firm friendship between the young bulls. When the two came out of their stables in the morning, Musiara went into Luggard’s bedroom and started feeding on his left over lucerne pellets and Luggard went into Musiara’s stable to feed on his leftover cut greens. Murit and Malkia both know that Musiara doesn’t finish all his pellets in the night so they made a beeline for his stable when their bedroom doors were opened. Malkia also likes walking Musiara out and accompanying him for the day in the forest. When Murit came running into Musiara’s room he was not expecting to find Luggard and when Luggard heard someone at the door he turned around raising his ears ready for action. As Murit was not expecting to find a big elephant in Musiara’s stable he got quite a fright and backed up quickly, not sure who it was. He decided to go into Luggard’s room instead to check if there was anything left there, where he found Musiara feeding from the pellet trough and joined him. In no time, Malkia arrived in Musiara’s room only to find Luggard. She flushed him out and went ahead and started enjoying the pellets. Finally they were all driven out by the keepers and into the forest.
Luggard remained in a happy and playful mood all day today and he even challenged both Murit and Ngilai at the same time. He started playing with Ngilai in a pushing game but Murit approached them with the intention of getting Ngilai to play with him instead. However, Luggard must have communicated to Murit that he could play with both of them at the same time. Luggard would push one in one direction then run back to the other, wrestling him in the opposite direction. This game continued up until it was time to walk down to the mudbath for the 11am milk feed and public visiting hour.
22 September 2017
It has become part of the normal routine for all the babies to assemble at Namalok’s and Sapalan’s stockades before heading out into the forest. Sana Sana, Malkia and Tagwa are usually the first three to pay the new arrivals a visit. However, this morning Mundusi and Mteto spoiled the morning’s interaction when they started fighting. Mteto then also fell out with Kuishi when she tried to snatch a branch from her mouth. Eventually Kauro took control of the situation and he didn’t care who started the fight, he stopped it by taking the branch away and disciplined them all, sending them off in different directions. Meanwhile at Namalok’s gate Mundusi was having a rough time with Ndiwa. Again it was all about browse, and Maramoja stepped in and took the branch away but handed it to Ndiwa and drove away Mundusi. All the fighting resulted in less time for interaction with the new babies and it was soon time to leave them behind and go into the forest.
Today Kiko joined the elephants in the field early in the morning. Malkia and Ngilai tried to push him away from the herd but he kept dodging them by running around the bushes and coming back. He was in a very naughty mood and when a documentary film crew arrived the keepers had a hard time controlling him. He must have seen them coming from a distance and immediately came over and started chasing them around. He wouldn’t listen to his keepers commands and then started trying to kick the smallest elephants! That was when Mbegu, Godoma, Ndotto and Esampu intervened and charged him, trumpeting all the while. Eventually they managed to chase him away and the keepers were thankful for the older orphans help!
23 September 2017
All the orphans were in a good mood this morning and headed out to the forest trumpeting and racing to see who could get to the grassy plain first. No one wanted to be last! Even Mbegu, Kauro and Ndotto, who normally stay at the back of the group making sure no one was left behind, were eager to be first and were shoving the little ones into the front. Pare, Lasayen and Rapa then engaged one another in a lengthy wrestling game whilst Godoma, Esampu, Sana Sana and Ndotto were having a lot of fun rolling in the long grass and sliding on each other. It was the first time Mundusi, Mteto and Ndiwa had visited this area of the Park and they were very busy exploring and enjoying the new vegetation they found. When it was time to leave the field for their 9am bottle feed, Maramoja, Malkia, Luggard and Tagwa didn’t want to leave. It was only once they realized they had been left behind that they decided to start running and trumpeting to catch up with the group.
A 3 week old baby was later rescued from the Mara in the evening and has been named Pili.
24 September 2017
Tamiyoi had a sleepless night because of the new little orphan, Pili. She spent the whole night awake trying to get into Pili’s room which is next to hers. When she arrived back in the evening, Pili was sleeping so she didn’t realize immediately he was there. However, once he woke up she was desperate to be with the little one. Pili was keen to be with little Tamiyoi too and was climbing the walls to try and cross into Tamiyoi’s room. Jotto was moved into a bigger stockade to create space for Pili and he liked his new room as he is a very easy going baby that appreciates anything he is given. He exchanged with Malkia who took over Rapa’s stockade while the naughty boy was moved to one of the empty pens. Malkia didn’t seem to mind the switch around but Rapa was uncomfortable with the change and he complained the whole night. Malkia was the first one to meet Pili when he went out into the forest in the morning. Mbegu, Godoma, Ndotto, Esampu and Tagwa soon joined them and the little baby was quickly surrounded by elephants all wanting to comfort him. In the end it was Ndotto and Mbegu who won out and they walked away with the new baby between them.
25 September 2017
Some of the buffaloes that inhabit the National Park have discovered the lucerne grass that is given to Maxwell and they come at night to steal the leftovers. At about 6am, just when it was time for the orphan elephants to be let out of their nighttime stockades, six buffaloes were still enjoying Maxwell’s leftover lucerne which they can reach through his gate. Pili must have had a bad dream as he was in a deep sleep when he suddenly burst into loud trumpeting. This startled the buffaloes who became very scared and took off in all directions. Some became trapped when they tried to jump into the bushy garden next to Maxwell’s gate and one even ran into Murit’s stockade whilst he was sleeping. Murit woke up with a start and screamed for help which frightened Jotto who tried to climb onto his keeper’s bed. The bed was too high for him but the keeper quickly jumped down and soothed him. All in all it was a very shocking start to the morning!
Esampu is a very naughty girl and was causing trouble today by bullying Ambo, Enkesha, Jotto and Malima. The four grouped together, but Esampu came over and head butted them one by one then ran away. She then found Maktao quietly feeding on lucerne pellets and pushed Maktao so hard he fell over. Maktao rolled several times towards the line of visitors; almost rolling onto the feet of people nearby. Esampu was lucky that Godoma was busy wallowing at the other end of the mud bath and didn’t see what she was up to so she avoided discipline for her naughty behaviour. Maktao can also be a bit naughty and was bullying Emoli, Maisha, Sattao and Musiara by pushing them away from the keepers so he can keep all their attention for himself. However, he was very kind and friendly to the newcomer Pili, as if he knows he is younger and needs the extra care.
Ngilai loves playing with his human family and today he was in a playful mood. He sneaked under the rope to try and play with the visitors but the keepers acted fast and brought him back into the circle in case he accidentally hurt someone.
Late in the afternoon our helicopter from Aerial Surveillance unit landed at the Nursery with a two year old elephant orphan on board from Voi in Tsavo. We named her Sagalla.
26 September 2017
Maxwell became very excited at about 8pm in the evening which all the keepers thought was because of the buffaloes that come to share his lucerne. However, it turned out it was because Solio had come to visit and he was so happy he charged up and down his stockade. When she didn’t find any keepers around, she decided to go and lay down in an empty stockade, but not before going to say hello to Maxwell through the bars of his gate. When she heard the elephants leaving for the field in the morning she woke up, knowing the keepers would be around to help her. However, she seemed to want to avoid the elephants so she stayed quietly in her stockade until she thought they had all left. However, the baby elephants stayed longer than usual in the compound as they wanted to greet the new baby that arrived in the evening from Voi, who we named Sagalla. Solio eventually gave up waiting and started calling for her lucerne which the keepers happily supplied for her and then she went back into the forest.
Malima was in a very excitable mood this morning and was having lots of fun trumpeting and running around. Pare, Malkia and Godoma then joined her and they all had a fantastic time trumpeting and rolling around the in bushes. Meanwhile, Ngilai allowed new boy Pili to suckle his ears, which was a comfort he used to get from Elkarama. Mbegu was watching from a distance just to make sure all was well, but Godoma did not trust Ngilai’s intentions and pushed him away from Pili.
27 September 2017
Mteto doesn’t seem to want to make close friends like the others, not even with her neighbour Sagala, the new arrival. When Sagala puts her trunk through the bars separating their rooms, Mteto just charges at her.
Out in the bush today, the tiny baby Pili was very much attached to Maramoja and Esampu, not wanting to leave their side. Esampu can behave so differently at times. On some days she is naughty and bad and on others she can be good and gentle and a wonderful baby sitter, just like today and how Pili is hooked on her. She didn’t go as far as allow Pili to suckle her ears but the rest of the time she was very caring towards him. Maramoja then took him away from the rest of the group and prepared some loose soil by kicking the ground with her front legs. When it was ready she lay on the ground and rumbled to Pili to come and play. Pili seemed not to understand as he stayed standing so she decided to pull him down next to her with her trunk. When he lay down she got up and started dusting him until he fell asleep, then he napped as she browsed and watched over him nearby.
28 September 2017
Ex Orphan rhino Solio was fighting with the buffalos during the night so Maxwell was in a very tense mood this morning. He doesn’t want anything near his stockades so the warthogs have had a very hard time trying to reach his lucerne pellets in his food trough. Solio arrived at around 6.15 the previous afternoon; she seemed to be hanging around in the forest just waiting for the foster parents to leave because as soon as they left she walked straight into the empty stockades near Maxwell’s pen. She was given some lucerne and it wasn’t long before three male buffaloes approached her. She stood her ground to try and protect her food but there were too many for her. The keepers came to help her drive them away but they came back again to fight her. They eventually had her pinned against the side of the wall and she had no way to escape, so the keepers drove them away again and opened one of the empty stockades for her, put more lucerne in and she spent the night in the pen. The gate was opened at 6am but she only left around 8am having had quite a rough night; and she left without saying goodbye to Maxwell.
Maramoja was in charge of babysitting Pili today; no one else was allowed to approach him. The babies were fussing around at mud bath today as there were no lucerne pellets. After her milk Tamiyoi ran around to all the places where the lucerne piles are normally put but found nothing. She felt all over the ground with her trunk but came up empty and ran over to the keepers with her trunk outstretched to ask where the pellets were. The keepers gave her a finger to suckle but she declined and walked away.
29 September 2017
Kauro and Ndotto had a great beginning to their day as they welcomed it with a pushing game. These two kept looking for each other the whole morning for a wrestling game, right up until milk feeding time.
It’s almost been a month since Namalok arrived in the Nursery but he is still not very trusting of his keepers and still does not drink milk from a bottle. From his behaviour and reaction it seems as if he had bad experience with humans before his rescue. Sapalan is different as even though he has not fully accepted his keepers he has started taking milk from a bottle and seems to trust them a bit more. He has even almost suckled the keepers fingers like the rest of the babies do in the nursery. These are all good signs and it is only a matter of time before he joins the others out in the forest during the day.
Maktao still yells when it is his time to leave the mud bath area and today it was especially funny as when he heard the radio hand set signaling his time to go back to the forest, he stood up from where he had been happily rolling in the soil and ran towards the milk wheelbarrow yelling. Not even an empty bottle could persuade him to leave, even though it was in his mouth, he continued to yell as the keepers tried to lead him out.
Ngilai did the same thing as the other day by going to the other side of the rope cordon during visiting time. After drinking his milk bottle he went around the edge pretending to look for lucerne pellets but suddenly he darted through the rope with his trunk raised, giving everyone who was standing there some trunk kisses. When he saw the keepers coming he lifted up the rope and went back to the right side to avoid being told off.
30 September 2017
Emoli and Maisha behave just like a brother and sister who love each other. One is always following behind the other although usually it is Emoli who lead with Maisha following. They attended the public visiting time today for the first time and they were so well behaved that no one could tell it was their first time. They seemed to love the mud bath and wanted to join their friends there who were having lots of fun, especially Enkesha and Malima. With Emoli leading and Maisha following behind, they walked towards the mud hole and started pushing the keeper there standing on the edge, trying to get access. They almost made it in but the keeper was quick and pulled Emoli back from the edge. Instead of going into the deep pool, a smaller one was made for them on the edge using a spade and they both really enjoyed rolling around the muddy soil; they didn’t want to leave and Maisha complained as she was escorted by a Keeper back out to the forest. Esampu was in a naughty mood and came over to push Maisha. This annoyed Murit who immediately started poking Esampu in her back with his little tusks to teach her a lesson.
Kiko was out with the elephants this afternoon right up until their 3pm milk feed when he disappeared only to show up at the mud bath where the elephants were having their milk. He was very well behaved though and later walked back to the stockade compound to browse around there on the acacia trees.