Ubukombe’s babysitting services not only help the mothers — they are saving her species. According to a recent census, only 1,063 mountain gorillas remain. The time that the baby spends apart from his mother, no matter how brief, increases his independence.
“The sooner the infant becomes independent, the sooner the mother can give birth again,” Gorman said. “It typically takes three and a half to four years for a gorilla mother to wean her infant, and during that time, they do not get pregnant.”
Thanks to conservation efforts, mountain gorillas are rebounding from the brink of extinction. And with more helping hands like Ubukombe, they might even thrive.