Baby Elephants Seek Love in Nairobi Orphanage

This is so good, I want another gallon, this older infant shows.

From the bush, 16 of them came running as fast as their little baby legs would let them. Awaiting them were 200 people wanting to see how they were doing and to give them love. But the 16 little ones were interested first in their bottles and headed right to them.DSC_0184

In a few minutes that gallon bottle of milk was gone and another one was in the baby elephant’s mouth for a few more minutes. In under 15 minutes, each infant elephant had finished its 11A.M. feeding.DSC_0007 Then it was time to nibble on browse of small twigs with leaves which the babies were just learning to eat.

I love to be loved by the tourists and everyone.

Now that the hunger pains were past, it was time to satisfy the love pains so several of the infants went to the people for petting, hugging and fondling. Fourteen-month-old Lemoyian headed straight for the area where I was standing. And all of us petted, showed and told him we loved him over and over. Lemoyian’s skin felt like sandpaper with little wires all over it.DSC_0038

He had to show his male prowess and test his 14-month-old 500-pound strength. So he head butted me and nearly knocked me to the ground. Luckily, I didn’t fall and his keeper immediately ran to the rescue and headed little Lemoyian for more love-showing in another crowd area. Baby elephants are very obedient, want to please, are very delicate to age 3, need to know they are loved every minute, fed milk formula at least every 3 hours or they will grieve themselves to death.DSC_0273

The keepers never hit the baby elephants, or even carry a stick. They only use tone of voice, hand signals or finger pointing to get the babies to do what they want them to do at the  David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya. Now managed by his wife, Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the Elephant Orphanage had 26 orphans when we visited, but the number is determined by donations, budget and need. Each little elephant costs many dollars to rescue, feed, house and doctor until ready to return to the wild. Most of their mothers were killed by poachers for their ivory tusks, but some became orphans like Lemoyian, due to an accident.DSC_0014DSC_0113

This browse is so good.

Lemoyian fell into the Lemoyian Well near Ambroseli National Park close to the border of Kenya and Tanzania when he was about 6 months old. His Mother tried to get him out and screamed and screamed for help. She left and never came back when Massai cattle arrived at the well.  So, the Park Ranger went to investigate and summoned the Orphanage. It took 5 hours to get him from the well at the border to the Nairobi Orphanage where he was fed, given a stockade room to sleep and a safe place to grow up. But the trauma of losing his Mother is always on his mind and more so for females who have a lifelong bond with their Mothers.

So that is why visitors are told to always show them sincere love. And the keepers have to do the same, for if the infants are mistreated, they remember it for years and can retaliate anytime. When the keepers correct them or tell them what to do and how to do it, the babies have to be told and shown they are loved and what they did wrong was only a little misdemeanor, not a major one, and they are still loved.

We have to see who is the strongest male among the teenage elephants because we will need this when we are adults..

Love keeps the delicate infants alive as does the 8 feedings a day of special formulated milk until the age of 3-years-old. Elephants are like humans in development and are very intelligent and remember everything after 3 weeks of age. Dame Daphne spent 28 years finding the exact milk formula for the babies. After a few months, cooked oatmeal is added to the formula and coconut has to be added at a certain time for the fat content.

Off to the bush for 3 hours and then back for more milk bottles.

Teenage males have to be allowed to make their own decisions, to show their strength by sparring and not told what to do for them to become independent and respected in the male family. Lemoyian was just doing what comes naturally by head butting me.

Getting ready for a warm and good night sleep in the stockade room.

After 30 minutes of milk, browse and love, the infants headed back into the bush. And 8 older children came running from the bush for their milk. These children, as they are called up to 10 years old, each had little tusks beginning to grow and they were taller and bigger, but still young and in need of milk and love. Plus, the males had to show and test their maleness by sparring with another male or two after their lunch.

The 11-12 noon public visit was over but there was another chance to see the infants at the “5pm Go-to-Bed Feeding” that day if a $50 donation is made to the Orphanage and an infant adopted to help raise for $50 each year.

One more ball game before I go to sleep between bottles.

Lemoyian was my adopted infant and at 5PM, he and the other infants again came running from the bush straight to the bottles of milk and their stockade rooms for a good night sleep. With their keeper for the night sleeping with him in his room, just like their Mothers did, Lemoyian felt safe and loved. The keeper wrapped a heavy blanket around him and Lemoyian was ready for bed. Keepers are rotated several times every day so the infants will not get attached to just one. If that person ever is gone, the infant will grieve himself to death. They consider all the keepers their family.

One more reassurance that you love me before I go to sleep.

The night keeper then petted Lemoyian several more times and played ball with him while he ate browse. DSC_0720Finally, it was time to sleep and Lemoyian lay down to sleep. But wait, there’s more. He then got up onto his knees and said “a thank you prayer” to all his supporters, friends, keepers and the orphanage for rescuing him and providing him with a warm safe place where he can grow up.DSC_0734

Now at 6 PM after one hour of routine procedures before bed, Lemonian could finally go to sleep with his keeper who covered him with another blanket.DSC_0773But, Lemoyian would be up again in 3 hours for another milk bottle and another milk bottle. This would continue several times throughout the night.DSC_0782

Lemoyian went to sleep in a safe place knowing he was loved by all the keepers and the other 25 orphans at the Elephant Orphanage and that he would be able to grow up into a big bull elephant and return to the wild with the other males in the Orphanage and hopefully never encounter a poacher for his tusks.

Photo Copy ©  2015 


Eating Breakfast with Giraffes in Nairobi

We just dropped pellets on Lynn’s black-purple tongue as fast as we could from the second floor of Giraffe Manor’s Daisy’s Room balcony above the Breakfast Room. Warthogs below eat the pellets that Lynn misses.

Lynn was hungry at 7 am because it was her breakfast time with 17 people feeding her pellets, giraffe pellets. She had put her head and mouth in our bedrooms, at the balconies, and on the patio to eat pellets non-stop from anyone who would feed her by hand or mouth. Now it was time for the Breakfast Room.

Oh, this Breakfast food is delicious. And Lynn eats several plates of pellets before she leaves to greet the tourists at the Giraffe Center.
The Breakfast Room “BL” Before Lynn and her giraffe family.

It was recommended that we feed her one pellet at a time but she wanted more, a lot more. She even wanted to eat at the breakfast table with us, and eat she did. She found her own plate full of pellets at each breakfast table, licked the plates and wanted more.

Lynn eating off of our table and stealing a fruit shish-kebob in one second flat while we watched in shock.
The fruit Shish-Kebob before Lynn.

But, then, all of sudden, without warning, she grabbed my 10-inch long fruit Shish-Kebob, full of watermelon, mango, pineapple and honeydew melon, and ate the whole thing in one gulp.

I screamed “Lynn, you stole my fruit.” And then, one at time, she spit out a watermelon chunk, followed by a pineapple chunk, and a mango chunk and honeydew melon chunk. It seemed like the fruit spitting would never end. And to my amazement, the chunks were in the original shape and condition.

That fruit-on-a-stick was right next to my scrambled eggs on my plate. Lynn had stolen food off of my breakfast plate without my offering it. Now, my fruit-was sprinkled all over the table, and I didn’t get more fruit  because Lynn had already “eaten” it.

The 3 windows in the Breakfast Room can have several giraffes at each window.
Lynn eating a snack right before Breakfast in the window.
The Giraffe Manor, built in 1934

Lynn Giraffe had eaten people’s breakfast food many times as she was one of the 8 resident severely endangered Rothschild giraffes at the Giraffe Manor Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1974, the owners of the old 1930’s style ivy covered English manor, Betty and Jock Melville, were asked to take a baby Rothschild giraffe to help save the species from extinction. Her name was Daisy and soon, Jock, a young male giraffe followed and many baby giraffes thereafter. Betty always loved feeding her 2 giraffes at breakfast through the open windows and a tradition began.

Calling the Rothschild Giraffes from the surrounding 140-acre complex in the Karen subdivision of Nairobi, Kenya.
Here comes Lynn for Breakfast, and the windows were perfect height for her13-foot height.

Now, Giraffe Manor is the only hotel in the world where a giraffe eats breakfast with guests.

To call the giraffes to breakfast, a hotel employee stands near the Manor’s front door around 7 am and rattles a plastic bowl full of giraffe pellets.

THE food in THE cauldron in THE Fireplace in THE Reception Living Room.

The pellets come from the Manor’s reception room fireplace where a huge brass cauldron full of giraffe pellets awaited for feeding them. In one minute flat, the giraffes started arriving from the 140-acre property around the Manor.

Lynn picks up the pellets that were dropped and the Giraffe Manor’s resident warthog family eats the pellets on the ground. The warthogs get on their knees to eat the food.
Hand feeding wasn’t fast enough. Lynn wanted a bowl full at a time.

Soon, we were surrounded by giraffes, each with a name like Jock, Marlon, Betty, Daisy, Lynn, and Karen in honor of Karen Blixen who wrote “Out of Africa”. The Manor is located in the Karen section of Nairobi and Ngong Hills. In honor of each giraffe, the Manor’s bedrooms were given their names.

We stayed in Daisy’s Room that had a balcony and Lynn Giraffe came around to eat our pellets at the balcony railing. It was the first time I had even seen her long, deep mouth and black purple tongue, and teeth. She just stood with her head pointed to the sky and mouth wide open, and I dropped pellets in her mouth.

She would also come back for more pellets in the afternoon for tea and evening for dinner on the terrace.

Staying at the Giraffe Manor was an awesome experience that we highly recommend for a giraffe experience of a lifetime. Plus, giraffes are everywhere inside the Manor from the photos and paintings on the walls, to giraffe dinner plates and chargers, to hot water bottle bed warmers with a giraffe on it, coffee and tea pots with a giraffe pattern cloth wrapped around them to keep the liquid hot, and a gift shop with, you guessed it, giraffe items for sale.DSC_0171

Now at 8 A.M., the giraffes left our breakfast as fast as they arrived earlier. Inquiring as to where the giraffes went, the Giraffe Manor manager said ,”to the Giraffe Center on the edge of the Manor property to meet the tourists”. They had eaten all the food for them at breakfast so now it would be tourists feeding each giraffe because they were hungry. Photo Copy ©  2015