Keepers' Diaries, September 2019

Nairobi Nursery Unit

Maxwell our resident rhino has become very used to the morning routine of Kiko being in the stockade next to his.  This happens as we keep Kiko away during our daily visiting hour as he is very much his own boss, and who knows what antics he might get up to, so to avoid any mishaps we make sure he is next door to Maxwell for that hour. When Kiko arrives next door, Maxwell likes to walk over to greet the young giraffe. One morning Maxwell lifted his head right up to smell Kiko, and Kiko lowered his head and nibbled one of Maxwell’s ears as if greeting him back. The two spent a couple of minutes at the same gate before moving off and continuing with their normal morning routine. This is now happening regularly.  

01 September 2019

After their midday bottles of milk, the orphans made their way over to the waterhole were they enjoyed a long mud bath. It was quite amusing to watch as Tamiyoi, Maisha, Enkesha, and Nabulu similarly sat with their bums in the mud and were all splashing mud all over their bodies with their trunks. Even though most of the orphans enjoy a long mud bath there are a few orphans that don’t always seem so eager and prefer to stay dry. Today, Kiombo and Sattao were not in the mood to have a mud bath as they both preferred to browse on the shrubs around the waterhole. When the Keepers tried to get close to spray them with some muddy water, Kiombo went running off, trumpeting in protest. 

02 September 2019

Maxwell has gotten very used to the morning routine of Kiko being in the stockade next to his. This morning, as Kiko arrived next door, Maxwell seemed to walk over to the stockade gate to greet the young giraffe. Maxwell lifted his neck right up smelling Kiko, and as he did this Kiko brought his head down and seemed to nibble one of Maxwell’s ears as though he was greeting him back. The two spent a couple of minutes at the same gate before moving off and continuing with their normal morning routine. 

After the orphans finished their evening bottles of milk and were back in their stables for the evening, most of them began to enjoy the greens that had been freshly cut for them by the Keepers. Some of the orphans, however, always seem to want to steal their neighbours’ greens as opposed to enjoying their own. Kiasa is one such orphan, and she is always trying to steal Maktao’s greens and when the Keepers or Maktao try to stop her she just tries again. This evening, Kiasa had stolen several branches before Maktao realized. As soon as he seemed to realize that he was missing quite a few branches, he started to steal them back and the two ended up in a long game of tug of war trying to get the most branches. 

03 September 2019

Kiombo and Dololo appear to be really frightened by the baboons. This morning, as the orphans were busy browsing in the field, a troop of baboons were making their way through the forest, jumping and running around. Suddenly, one of the baboons chased another right through where Dololo and Kiombo were browsing. This gave the young bulls such a fright that they both went running off, trumpeting loudly. They ran past all the other orphans and were running so fast that they didn’t take any note of the Keepers trying to call them and calm them down. The two bulls ran straight back to the stockade compound and hid inside one of the stables. The Keepers came back to take them back into the bush but the two remained very nervous as they could hear the baboons as they were walking back out into the field. Eventually, the baboons moved off and they both calmed down. 

04 September 2019

Nabulu and Kiombo seem to have very similar personalities as they are both quite shy and nervous when they aren’t surrounded by the other orphans. Even when they are having their milk, they prefer to drink in the company of another orphan otherwise they seem to be quite insecure about it. The Keepers have noticed that if they are the last two to have their bottles, they seem to approach the Keepers very cautiously and don’t rush down to have their milk. Once they are finished drinking, they don’t even try to get more milk like Kiasa, Luggard, Mukkoka, Sattao, Maktao and Larro, but they simply head back into the field. 

Luggard is always so eager to have more milk that he is often caught sneaking up to the wheelbarrow to try and steal an extra bottle. Even when all the bottles are empty the young bull will make his way to the wheelbarrow and will be seen picking up each bottle to sip on every drop. 

05 September 2019

Maktao and Mukkoka have recently become full time playmates. This morning, as soon as Maktao came out of his stable he walked up to Kiasa’s stable and playfully knocked the milk bucket outside before making his way to Mukkoka’s stable where he knocked Mukkoka’s bucket too waiting for him to come out. As Mukkoka heard his friend outside he began to knock at his door eager to get out. As soon as Mukkoka was let out his stable he went running after Maktao. Maktao quickly sped off and the two playfully chased each other around the stockade grounds before running off into the forest. Their game continued for a long time, even Tamiyoi seemed to try to get the young bulls to calm down but they just carried on chasing each other. Whilst running around, Maktao accidentally slipped, letting Mukkoka catch up with him. As Mukkoka caught up he pulled Maktao’s tail, Maktao trumpeted loudly in response and quickly got up and chased Mukkoka back. Their game only stopped when it was time for them to have their morning bottles of milk. 

06 September 2019

Larro seems to enjoy all the attention and protection she gets from the older girls. This morning as the orphans came out of their stables, they all greeted each other and the older girls Tamiyoi, Nabulu, Enkesha, Maisha, Tagwa, and Kiasa all checked on the younger orphans before making their way out to the field. Larro was confidently leading the Nursery herd out into the forest and seemed to want to walk them very far out. She seemed to know that the older girls will always follow her, so she kept walking further afield to find the perfect spot to browse. 

Luggard, who seems to have noticed that Ziwadi likes to keep to herself and doesn’t always rush to follow the others, kept her company today as they made their way out into the forest. The two happily browsed together as the others carried on further afield. Ziwadi seems to really enjoy Luggard’s company and is often happy to browse with him. 

07 September 2019

Ziwadi has learnt all the milk feeding points and today when it was time for the orphan 9 o’clock bottle of milk, she managed to sneak off away from the other orphans and make her way to the milk feeding point. When she didn’t find any milk, she quickly made her way down to the mud bath but again found no milk. She finally made her way back to her stable where she had a look at the mixing point and found that the milk was still being mixed. She followed the wheelbarrow out back into the forest and enjoyed her milk with the rest of the orphans.

Ziwadi’s health seems to have stabilized and she hasn’t had any seizures recently. The Keepers have noticed that she becomes quite stressed when some of the boisterous boys such as Maktao, Dololo, and Mukkoka playfully push her around and when she is stressed, she shows signs of her seizures. The Keepers believe that this may be one of the reasons she sticks to herself and avoids any stressful situation.

08 September 2019

During their midday mud bath, after the orphans had finished their bottles of milk, Maktao, Mukkoka, Dololo, and Musiara began to chase each other around the waterhole. They were trying to playfully climb over each other and were all trumpeting loudly. The Keepers tried to calm them down, but they just kept playing. Their game was quickly ended when they decided to chase Larro around and were quickly told off by Kiasa who is very protective of little Larro. Maktao was the first to catch up to Larro, so Kiasa quickly rushed over and pushed him away. Her harsh reaction to the games scared all the young boys who quickly moved off and started to calmly browse on some greens laid out. 

09 September 2019

Tagwa is doing very well since she has moved back to the Nairobi Nursery, as her health and body condition seem to be improving. She also appears to be enjoying the company of her old friends such Tamiyoi, Maisha, Enkesha, Nabulu, and Luggard whom she grew up with in the Nursery. She is often seen browsing with them in the field and walking with them when they move around in the forest. 

Kiko was well-behaved today and not up to his usual antics. This afternoon as he made his out to the forest, he happily followed his Keepers and settled to browse exactly where the Keepers stopped, near the orphans. When the orphans were making their way down for their afternoon bottles of milk and mud bath Kiko didn’t rush off to follow them but instead happily stayed in the field with his Keepers. In the evening, he calmly walked back to the stockade compound and went into his stable for the night.

10 September 2019

The Keepers are constantly amazed by how the orphans behave and react to different situations. It has been phenomenal to watch Tamiyoi’s respect for Tagwa as matriarch since her return. Whilst Tagwa was away, Tamiyoi quickly assumed the role of Matriarch of the Nursery herd, but since Tagwa has returned she has had the utmost respect for her and has not challenged for the role of matriarch. 

The rest of the Nursery herd also seem happy to follow Tagwa once again, and even the young bulls respect her when she tells them off. This afternoon, whilst in the field, some of the bulls were teasing Ziwadi and Larro, Tagwa was quick to the scene and she quickly told the boys off chasing them away from the young girls. Kiasa and Maisha also rushed to the young girls as though to comfort them. Little Larro seems to have grown attached to Tagwa and she is always seen by her side. Whilst in the forest she can be seen right by Tagwa, picking up the branches Tagwa had broken for her. 

11 September 2019

Larro has become quite the greedy little girl, and she seems to be taking after Kiasa as she is always trying to steal milk from the others. At the 9 o’clock milk feeding time, she was walking behind with Tamiyoi, Kiombo, Nabulu, and Sattao, when she noticed that Tagwa and the others were far ahead having the milk, she began to trumpet and rumble loudly as if to call them all back. Tagwa, who had just finished her milk, went back to get her. Larro suddenly seemed to be in a hurry as she quickly rushed off ahead of Tamiyoi and the others and ran straight to Tagwa before having her milk. Once all the orphans had finished their milk, they made their way back into the forest.

12 September 2019

We have begun training Kiko to get into his translocation crate so he can begin his process of reintegration back into the wild. At first, he appeared to be quite nervous about approaching the crate and doesn’t want to walk into it to follow his milk bottle. This morning when he was let out, he quickly headed off towards the forest and didn’t want to go the stockade neighboring Maxwell’s which is where he usually spends his mornings. The Keepers had to quickly rush to get him his bottle of milk and walk him in the right direction. He calmly followed them to the stockade but decided to stop and have some of Maxwell’s morning pellets before going in. Maxwell, who had heard all the commotion, quickly rushed over to the gate to hear what was happening and wait to be let into the upper part of his stockade to enjoy his Lucerne pellets. 

13 September 2019

Ziwadi, who appears to be feeling much better over the last few weeks, has become quite close to her neighbour Maktao. Recently, she has been browsing near him in the forest and has been coming down with him when it is time for them both to have their milk. She appears to also be getting stronger and more confident with the rest of the orphans which has been great for the Keepers to see. Dololo who used to try to playfully tease her, has now also been seen browsing next to her and he too appears to be making other friends such as Kiombo. 

14 September 2019

It was quite a cold morning as the orphans were let out their stables. Luggard doesn’t like the cold and was one of the last to leave his stable and make his way out to the forest, accompanied by Musiara who was waiting for him. Kiombo on the other hand was one of the first orphans out of his stable and he quickly ran over to Sattao and Larro’s stables for them to be let out. He later went up to greet Tagwa who was leading the orphans out. Luggard and Musiara slowly joined the rest of the Nursery herd in the field, and spent the morning browsing together. 

15 September 2019

Maxwell was full of energy this morning as he was seen charging out of his bedroom and bouncing around his stockade, heading straight for his morning Lucerne pellets. He seemed to be quite disappointed when he noticed the gate between the two stockades was still locked as Kiko had just been moved into the stockade next to his. He stood waiting at his gate, eager to get to his pellets. After a few minutes the Keepers let him through, and he eagerly made his way over to the feeding point and began to thoroughly enjoy his pellets. He appeared to be so content that he did not even mind the warthogs coming in to share his breakfast. 

16 September 2019

It was a bright sunny morning as the orphans made their way out to the forest with their Keepers. The orphans were being led by Kiasa, who was closely followed by Larro. Kiasa often seems to enjoy deciding which direction to go so it suited her perfectly to be ahead of the herd. The duo began to head in completely the opposite direction that the Nursery herd were intending to go in, so the Keepers rushed in front of them and started to lead the orphans in the right direction. They settled in one of their usual browsing spots, where there is lots of greenery, and only left when it was time for them to have their midday bottles of milk. 

17 September 2019

Since Tagwa’s return she has grown very fond of little Larro, like most of the older girls, she likes to take care and protect the young calf, making sure that none of the young boys disturb her. Whilst in the field Tagwa can often be seen browsing with Larro and when it is time for their 9 o’clock bottles of milk the two can be seen walking down together. Larro seems to feel most secure when she is around the older girls. Kiombo on the other hand, seems to enjoy being with any of the orphans, and is often seen walking amongst them all when making his way to the feeding point or out to the forest. When it is time for their midday bottles of milk, however, the younger orphans go down ahead of the older orphans, which is when Kiasa and some of the other girls take Larro under their wing. 

18 September 2019

When Maxwell woke up this morning, he seemed surprised to smell the warthogs in his stockade as he is used to being on his own before his Lucerne pellets are laid out for him. The warthogs who appeared to be on their way into the forest, were using Maxwell’s stockade as a short cut but were then shocked to see Maxwell awake and walking around. As Maxwell could smell them, he started to walk up and down his stockade, kicking up the dust and marking his territory in as many spots as possible. All the while the warthogs were keeping their distance. Finally, when the Keepers were bringing Kiko through to the stockade neighbouring Maxwell’s, the warthogs were able to quickly run out and leave him in peace. 

19 September 2019

Nabulu who is normally quite shy and quiet, this morning, decided to have some fun with Dololo, and started a strength testing match with the young bull. As the orphans were making their way out into the forest, the two could be seen charging around after each other, having a great time. This seemed to spark the interest of Maktao and Tamiyoi who both joined in in the fun. They carried on playing all the way to the field but once they were in the forest, Nabulu quickly lost interest as she appeared very eager to start her morning browsing activities. Nabulu went off in her own direction, whilst Dololo Tamiyoi, and Maktao joined the rest of the orphans. When it was time for them to make their way down to the mud bath for their midday bottles of milk, the two could be seen walking down together. 

20 September 2019

It was a cold morning as the orphans were let out their stables. As Sattao and Mukkoka were making their way out into the forest, they were closely followed by Mukkoka. The two were happily following the rest of the Nursery herd, when suddenly Mukkoka decided to change direction and head over to the 9 o’clock milk feeding point way ahead of time. As he arrived at the milk feeding point, he quickly realized that there was no milk to be had, and he began to trumpet loudly as if in protest. One of the Keepers came running over to call the young bull and walked him back to the rest of the herd. All the orphans were busy browsing on a variety of greens. 

21 September 2019

Kiko was in a naughty mood this morning and was being disobedient with his Keepers. When the Keepers were trying to get him into the stockade where he stays for the morning, he quickly decided to change direction and went running off towards the forest. He came across Tagwa and Larro who were browsing and decided to stop near them to enjoy some of the green branches. By this point, his Keepers had got up to him and were calling him back to his stockade. Having had his fun, the young giraffe followed his Keepers back to the stockade where he began to browse on the greens that had had been hung up for him. 

22 September 2019

Maxwell was full of energy again this morning, as he was seen charging around his stockade feeding on his greens and pushing them around. When he heard the gate between his two stockades being opened, he quickly went charging up to the top stockade to start feasting on his morning Lucerne pellets. He thoroughly enjoyed his pellets, without any warthogs joining him this time, and then slowly walked around his stockade before settling down in the sun. He napped in the sun for several hours and as the midday heat set in, he went down to his bottom stockade and enjoyed a long mud bath before walking up and down his stockade scratching himself against the wall.  

23 September 2019

Musiara, who is now one of the older bulls in the Nursery, often enjoys browsing on his own and doesn’t have much of an interest in playing any games whilst browsing. This morning, when he reached the forest, he immediately went off on his own and started to eat some of the green branches on a bush not so far away from the rest of the herd. He was so preoccupied, that he didn’t notice the rest of the herd moving further afield, and when he suddenly looked around, he seemed shocked to see no other orphans around. As soon as he noticed he was on his own, he began to trumpet loudly as if he was looking for the others, and when nobody trumpeted back, he decided to run back to the stockade compound. Tamiyoi and Enkesha, who appeared to notice his worry, came running after him and one of the Keepers was walking in his direction too. As soon as he saw the Keeper, he quickly calmed down and was soon joined by Enkesha and Tamiyoi. He seemed so happy to see the two girls, and Keeper, that he excitedly went running back to join the rest of the herd. 

24 September 2019

Larro seems to be a little spoilt by the older girls as she is constantly under their protection and none of the other orphans will dare to disturb her whilst the older girls are around. As the older girls are always working together to protect Larro some of them have become quite close such as Tagwa and Kiasa. The three can often be seen out in the field browsing together. 

Dololo and Maktao have recently become very playful with one another. Today, at their midday mud bath, the two were seen charging after one another playfully pushing and wrestling each other. As opposed to Maktao, who is quite gentle when playing, Dololo charges around and pushes his friends with great energy. Once the two were done chasing each other, they started to climb on all the other orphans backs as they were enjoying their mud bath. They even tried to climb onto Larro and Ziwadi’s backs. This did not seem to please Kiasa at all, as she came charging over, pushing them away, and protecting the two young little girls. 

25 September 2019

This morning, Luggard enjoyed spending some time with Maxwell. He appeared to be waiting for the other orphans to head out to the forest so that he could see Maxwell. As the other orphans headed off, Luggard walked round to where Maxwell was sleeping and reached out to tap him with his trunk. As Maxwell felt the tap, he got up very quickly and started to joyfully bounce around in circles, pushing his horn through the gate to greet Luggard and then running up and down his stockade. Luggard also began to run up and down with Maxwell, trumpeting in excitement. Their game continued for a few minutes before Luggard went charging off into the forest, trumpeting and bouncing around. As Luggard came bouncing out to the forest, as fast as his broken leg could enable him, Sattao and Musiara ran towards him to greet him. 

Nabulu and Kiombo enjoyed a long mud wallow this afternoon. As the rest of the herd stood on the edge of the pool, the two were rolling and splashing about, completely covering themselves in mud. 

26 September 2019

During the midday mud bath, Mukkoka seemed to be in a very playful mood. He chose to play with Musiara and would not seem to allow any other orphan to play with them as he kept chasing them away. Dololo appeared to really want to join in on their games, but he too eventually gave up as Mukkoka kept charging him and pushing him away. 

Whilst the orphans were down at the mud bath, a female warthog was making her way towards the waterhole. Ziwadi and Mukkoka appeared to notice the warthog approaching. As the warthog got close to the water, Mukkoka suddenly charged her and chased her in the direction of Ziwadi. Ziwadi then began to chase the warthog around the waterhole and back towards Mukkoka, giving the poor warthog no room to escape. Eventually the warthog quickly ducked under the rope and ran off to the bushes. 

As Kiko made his way out into the field this afternoon he was not allowed anywhere near the other orphans as Nabulu and Maisha kept charging him. Eventually the Keepers had to intervene and stop the two young girls, leaving Kiko to browse in peace. 

27 September 2019

It is always pleasant to see how the orphans care for one another even though they are still so young. The orphans always seem conscious to keep Luggard company, and you can often see a different orphan with him at different times. This morning Enkesha was seen walking with Luggard out to the field, Sattao then kept him company before the midday mud bath, and Musiara then stayed with him the entire afternoon. There are, however, some days when Luggard prefers to be on his own and enjoys browsing slightly further away from the other orphans. 

Maktao and Musiara were in a playful mood today, and when they were down at the mud bath area for their midday bottles of milk, they began to wrestle each other in a strength testing match. The two played for the entire time they were down at the waterhole. 

28 September 2019

Younger orphans will always seek the care and protection of the older orphans as can be seen with Larro. This, however, does cause some jealousy amongst the younger orphans, and Larro has been known to get quite jealous when the older girls pay attention to the other orphans. Today, Tagwa was standing nuzzling Kiombo, while Larro was with Tamiyoi and Maisha. Larro watched the two interact for some time, when she suddenly decided to leave Tamiyoi and Maisha and make her way over to Tagwa. As she got closer to the two, she seemed to presume that Tagwa would immediately pay attention to her and when she didn’t, Larro got quite upset. She began to push Kiombo to try and move him away, but he just pushed back at her. When Kiombo pushed back at her, unlike before Tagwa did not intervene and she let the two sort it out between themselves. This is all an important lesson for the younger orphans, as they need to learn that it is okay to share the attention. 

29 September 2019

The orphans had a great time at the midday mud bath today. Most of the older orphans including Sattao, who doesn’t always like to have a mud bath, were rolling around and splashing mud all over their bodies. He was joined by Tamiyoi, Tagwa, Kiombo, Maisha and Enkesha. They were all thoroughly enjoying themselves when a big male warthog came walking over to join them in the mud bath. Tagwa didn’t seem too eager for the warthog to join them, as she tried to chase him away. When the warthog wouldn’t budge, Tagwa was seemed so annoyed that she walked out the pool. She even tried to wave her trunk at the warthog, but the warthog did not budge. Eventually, when Maisha and Tamiyoi started to rumble at the warthog, the big male decided to run off back to the forest. 

30 September 2019

Mukkoka is also turning into quite the curious young bull, always watching, smelling, and listening to his surroundings. This morning, whilst out in the forest, a wagtail bird flew straight past his face and he quickly turned around in fear. He raised his ears and began to charge at the bird, but the wagtail just ignored him. He seemed to get more agitated by this, as he began to trumpet loudly at the bird. All the commotion appeared to catch the attention of some of the orphans and Sattao, Kiasa, Maktao, Tamiyoi, and Enkesha all came running over to see what was happening. The bird, seemingly unbothered by the orphans, flew up to the top branch of a tree not so far away. As Mukkoka could no longer see the bird, he calmed down and decided to join the others. 

In the afternoon, Mukkoka came across a large tortoise as he was walking around the mud bath area. He again began to charge around in fear. Musiara quickly ran over and calmed the young bull down so that they could all carry on with their mud bath.