Keeper's Journal: November 2022 Summary for the Nairobi Day Care Unit (2023)

The rains continued until late in the afternoon. It was too cold to wallow in, but certainly not too cold to enjoy the mud! Suguroi, Naleku, Sagateisa, Bondeni, Esoit, Roho, Oldepe, Olorien, Kinyei, Kerrio, Choka, and Neshashi all had a blast rolling around in the dirt while the blanket babies played on the ledges. Bondeni and Esoit got too excited and tried to mount Kinyei and Olorien, much to the chagrin of the girls.

Rescued within a day of each other, Weka and Muwingu became good friends. In her early days at the nursery, Weka kept sneaking up to the stockades. This really upset Muwingu, who flinched and cried out when he noticed his absence. Weka has since stopped these disappearances, but Muwingu still fears the worst if his friend is out of sight. One afternoon, Muwingu suddenly began to play his trumpet loudly and ran back into the compound, heading straight for the Weka stockades. Finding it empty, she returned to the orphans, upset and restless. Weka, who had been with the pack all along, ran up to them, and the girls greeted each other with lots of banging and trunk hugging. Drama is over!

Kitich is the third member of the happy trio of Weka and Muwingu. He is an absent-minded teacher and often strays from the pack. Unlike Weka, he doesn't distract in any particular place; he just forgets the time! Fortunately, Weka and Muwingu are very attentive to his little friend and always keep an eye on him.

Bondeni and Esoit are our playful children. One rainy morning, they attacked a group of impalas who were trying to take shelter from the rain. Screaming and flapping their ears, they chased and attacked the impalas, with the mischievous Bondeni leading the way and Esoit close behind. As expected, Bondeni slipped on the mud, but recovered quickly and kept rolling, trumpeting with enthusiasm. The agile impala shot off in a different direction and backed away. This time, Esoit stayed protectively by Bondeni's side as he struggled to his feet. The search may have been futile, but the boys didn't give up!

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On the other hand, Tingai and Lodo prefer a quiet life. They often hang out together and keep their distance from each other. These youngsters develop the confidence to do what they want instead of always staying with the pack. Slowly but surely, they are emerging from the shadows of the great rulers.

Although Tingai is a boy and Sileita a girl, they were both rescued from Laikipia and have a lot in common. Both of them were orphaned due to the human-animal conflict, so it is understandable that they are nervous. They enjoy sailing together through the bush and are quite shy, with the habit of calling out surprises. In the forest, they move slowly and suspiciously like two large chameleons. We discovered that both, when scared, curl up their trunks and put them in their mouths, like babies sucking their fingers. The caregivers have learned to give these two orphans the space they need to feel comfortable.

Choka may be small, but he's trying to be brave! One morning a flock of baboons disturbed the herd in the nursery. Naleku, Muwingu, Sileita, Olorien, Taabu, Choka, Mukutan, and Kerrio immediately ran after them with great enthusiasm. Choka was very brave until a large male baboon came down from a tree and babbled in his face. The boy ran for cover and cried out in alarm, but his older friends rescued him from his dire situation.

Sagateisa's steely nature has helped her face nearly insurmountable odds, but now she applies the same toughness to everyday life! She is currently going through a phase where she is more assertive than affectionate. Knowing that Sagateisa may be a feisty young woman, the newcomers keep a reasonable distance.

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Meanwhile, Kerrio proves to be a wonderfully caring young woman. She realizes that Nyambeni and Mzinga have usurped them as babies from the breeding herd. Far from blaming them, she took the opportunity to be a "big sister". Kerrio's behavior shows that she has the potential to be a great matriarch.

Mageno may be a boy, but he is also very affectionate. He dotes on the three youngest orphans, Nyambeni, Mzinga and Shujaa. Shujaa is a hot-headed boy and sometimes argues with him, but Mageno reacts like a kind older brother and refuses to get involved in a confrontation that he would easily win. We've also seen him settle disputes between Nyambeni and Muridjo, which have turned into something of a sibling rivalry.

Rafiki has made friends within the Nursery pack, but seems to enjoy his own company more. He is an interesting person, reserved, calm and content, though not immune to the occasional drama. Late in the afternoon, Rafiki was surprised by a giraffe in the woods and ran in the opposite direction. The Guardians spent an hour searching for the fugitive, eventually finding him standing quietly behind a large tree.

Our newcomer Ahmed, on the other hand, is gaining confidence every day. This month, he decided to push the boundaries and ignore the wishes of the Guardians. One afternoon he ran away from the second group of orphans to join the first feeding group. The Guardians couldn't help but laugh at his bravery.

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Kamili is a reserved girl. We often group her with Sileita, Tingai, Lodo, ​​Choka and of course her best friend Latika. These calmer orphans are more comfortable hanging out and feeding together. Kamili and Latika always go to the mud baths together. They are happy that the Guardians are close, but not too close. When they feel their space has been invaded, the girls give a little nudge of warning.

Sometimes the biggest characters come in the smallest packages. Mzinga is a reminder of that! Bold, loving and intelligent, she responds to her name and is fully aware when she misbehaves. If she doesn't want to do as she is told, she moves her ears expressively. At noon, Mzinga likes to lie down next to a keeper and rest her trunk against her leg.

With the rain came a change in the weather, much to Maxwell's delight. Taking advantage of the newfound coolness in the air, the black rhino woke up one morning in a particularly happy mood. As is tradition, his wild boar friends came to share their breakfast. That morning, however, they were unlucky: Maxwell ran full of energy and finally banished them from their stockade.

The arrival of the first rains in Tsavo also signaled that it was time to resume training for our next class of kindergarten students. Neshashi, Oldepe and Roho formed the first group. Their graduation was postponed for a long time due to the drought, so they were pretty well trained when training resumed. They used to stay in the moving truck as long as they wanted. They were very upset to find out that they had to leave after the session to give the second group an exercise.

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The second group, Sagateisa, Suguroi, and Naleku, were significantly less enthusiastic about the new experience. On the first day, Naleku and Sagateisa obediently boarded and drank their milk, but Suguroi felt uncomfortable. The next day, Naleku and Suguroi knew what was written in the note and stubbornly refused to get on the truck. That's why we take a long time to train!

She's not quite ready to graduate yet, but the smart Ziwadi saw an opportunity in the training sessions. One morning, she secretly escaped from the breeding herd and followed the boarders to the moving truck. Our headstrong girl pushed her way through the six orphans, climbing aboard in search of milk. A manager, realizing that a deal was inevitable, brought Ziwadi's milk to the truck.

Two of our newcomers, Iletilal and Elerai, have become good friends since joining the orphaned pack. They were rescued at an older age than many of their kind, so they remember their wild lives well. A cautious pair, they like to squirm together and gravitate towards blanket babies, knowing that rowdy youngsters won't bother them there.

The 28th was an important day for our weaning herd: after months of training, Neshashi, Roho and Oldepe were finally ready to go to our Ithumba Reintegration Unit! The Guardians woke up at 2 am, preparing to escort the trio to the float. Kinyei and Kindani, two of our most attentive girls, were also awake. They didn't seem overly concerned, but they did pick up on unusual movements and sounds early on. The guardians were sad to say goodbye to Neshashi, Roho, and Oldepe, but proud that their wards had achieved a wild life.

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On this day, the herd of orphans was somewhat off. They did not seem alarmed, but they stayed close to each other and searched in silence. Esoit, Suguroi, Naleku, Sagateisa, Kinyei, Kindani, and Taabu were particularly attentive and seemed to understand what was going on. However, the next day, they were back to their usual hectic and energetic activities.

November started with heavy downpours and ended with even heavier rain. No longer gray and droopy, the trees are tall and covered in bright green leaves. The ground is no longer yellow and dusty, but covered with fresh grass. Conditions are finally changing!


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