We have a little Cherub in our Nairobi Elephant Nursery – 4 month old baby Naipoki, who was orphaned when just 3 months old, and rescued from a well in far off Namunyak Conservancy on the 15th December 2010. Naipoki is unique in that she oozes intelligence and charm, and from the very beginning, all l7 other baby elephants in our Nairobi Elephant Nursery, who were strangers to her, responded instantly to her unique personality and adored her from the start, as did all the Keepers. There was not one that was jealous of the attention given her by the Keepers, and this, in itself, was unusual, especially when a Keeper called Mishak Nzimbi is concerned.
This man stands out above all others, and has done for ever since he left his Night Watchman’s job and became an elephant Keeper way back in the mid l980’s. He simply has a unique heart, which every elephant that has ever passed through our hands has recognized, irrespective of age or origin, and to which they have responded with an outpouring of love. Over 130 orphaned elephants have selected Mishak as their favourite human family member. He can work miracles with a heartbroken baby who simply does not want to live. He exudes confidence, humility and a depth of understanding of elephants that is quite unique, so just his quiet presence can turn things around overnight, and has done so, on many occasions. Naipoki, like all others before her , battened on to him instantly. She talks to him with special vocalizations every time she is with him, glued to his side as she wraps her trunk lovingly around him and pleads to be allowed to suck a finger whenever in his presence. This attachment is accepted by all the other elephants – even Shukuru, who also adores Mishak and who has always been extremely possessive of him. However, she is quite happy to share him with little Naipoki, though not the others. Little Cherub Naipoki can do no wrong in the eyes of all the other orphans, and also in the eyes of all the Keepers, but Mishak alone can claim the unique status of being an “Elephant Whisperer”, whose heart, when it comes to animals, has to be pure, because all elephants can read one’s heart and over 130 elephants simply cannot be wrong!.