After the the rains of 2004, Wendi, Selengai, Napasha, Taita, Ol Malo, and Tomboi became the very first orphans translocated to the new stockade in Ithumba.
Back in the nursery in Nairobi was it kitty Sunyei with her raffled ears, who became now the mini-matriarch of the babies. A job she did very well despite being so young yet herself. Ndomot was Wendi’s favorite and he missed her so badly. For a few days he refused to play and join with the others, but Sunyei took good care of him. Sunyei enjoyed being the mini-matriarch of her “own” little group of boys. She took care of Madiba, Ndomot, Buchuma, Rapsu, Kora and a while later the herd became bigger by the coming of Naserian, Galana, Lualeni, and Nalitu. Sadly Nalitu died unexpected. Her dead proved that baby elephants younger than 2 years of age, are extremely vulnerable and suddenly could die, also on a moment when they seemed to be doing well.
Sunyei had a hard time being the mini-matriarch with so many naughty little boys, but Sunyei managed them very well, with help from Naserian and sometimes Galana.
Galana had the habit fighting against the others during the milk ritual. The cause of her fighting was the fact that she was still far underweight yet, and needed extra milk. She was always afraid that there was not enough for her. Her survival instinct kept her fighting , she now has to learn that there was no need to fight anymore, in the nursery she becomes now everything she needs.
All the little orphans were afraid to rhino orphan Magnum. Usually Magnum was laying down under a tree. Most orphans became in a state of panic by seeing him. But Sunyei showed them how to be brave and climbed happily on the back of sleeping Magnum who immediately waked up. Magnum showed the orphans that there was nothing to be scared of, he was nothing but goodness to them and they all played together. And since then no one was still scared of him anymore.
Sunyei was very nursing to Madiba and Ndomot when they both suddenly became ill. All she wants was being with them to nurse. Madiba was just recovered from a very nasty infection and now he and Ndomot were suffering from diarrhea. Diarrhea could be life threatening, within no time they could be dehydrated which could lead to death.
But what was the cause of them being so ill suddenly? Not the nutrition because all the other orphans were doing well. It was very strange. After a while of thinking and researching Daphne and the keepers came to the conclusion that the cause of their illness must be the supplements they both since a recent time became. Immediately they stopped the medication of the supplements and it worked. Soon they both were feeling much better.
In the same period of Ndomot and Madiba became ill, Sunyei suddenly behaved herself very, very strange. From this moment on Sunyei refused to sleep in her own stable. The keepers thought it was because of Ndomot and Madiba being ill. So for one time Sunyei was allowed to join them overnight.
The next day the keepers cleaned Sunyei’s stable again and search her stable groundly. Nothing seems to be wrong.
But this night Sunyei refused again to go in, despite all the efforts the keepers tried to persuade her. Sunyei didn’t want to go in her stable. What she instead did was remove all the hay out of her stable and it looked like that she was searching for something. Sunyei clearly didn’t trust the situation.
This behave was so strange and so unlike Sunyei, so the keepers knew there was a reason that Sunyei acted like this. For the second time Sunyei was allowed to stay the night with Ndomot and Madiba.
The next morning all the keepers removed everything out of Sunyei’s stable again and cleaned the whole place again.
The keepers were so busy doing that….
Suddenly one of them felt being looked at…..
Yet the mystery was solved…
Indeed the keeper was looked at…a pair of green eyes belonging to the cat who was purring happily above the haystack. The hay that was gonna use for Sunyei’s stable.
This must be the answer of Sunyei’s problem. Her hay had had a nasty smell..a smell of cats, and once being wild Sunyei remembered the smell of lions also a “catty” smell as a smell of danger. That was why she had refused to go in her stable.
That same night the keeper were waiting for her reaction….Should she refuse to go in again?
Carefull Sunyei walked searching and sniffing into her stable…good, trusty smell…a very satisfied Sunyei settled down on her mattress put her blanket on top of herself and was happy falling asleep into dreamland.
Smart little Sunyei.
Do elephants dream?
In the orphanage they know it for sure. At one night Daphne was walking her evening round to make sure everything was oke, when she heard the noise of an adult trumpeting elephant. By looking further, she discovered that it was little Ndomot ( just 5 months old) who was making the noise when the little baby was very, very deep asleep. Normally they learn to trumpet when they are about one year of age, and Ndomot had never done it before.