9 Emotional Moments Animal Moms Risked It All For Their Babies
A mother is the giver of life.
But that's just one of the many, many roles a mother will play in a single day. From sharing times of laughter to creating learning moments out of everyday chaos, the relationship between a mother and her child is a profound and almost mystical one.
Below are stories of nine mothers who have seen the ups and downs of raising a child. Some are happy, and some are sad, but together, they create a collage of the important bond between a mother and her child, no matter the species.
A mother protects.
After her previous children were taken away from her, Clarabelle the dairy cow couldn't bear to lose yet another calf. For days, she hid her newborn from a farmer so the pair wouldn't be split up.
Luckily, Clarabelle and her calf were rescued by Edgar's Mission in Australia, where the two were able to live together without fear of separation.
A mother loves.
Pressing her face up against the glass wall holding her captive, a female orangutan shared a knowing glance with a human mother and her baby. It's a moment that brought a smile to both faces.
A mother nurtures.
Animals in the arctic are facing life-threatening scenarios from climate change, but this mama polar bear breastfeeding her two cubs demonstrates a mother's ability to care for her young in even the most desolate of environments.
A mother feels pain.
When tragedy struck at the Frankfurt Zoo in Germany, this mother gorilla shocked the world. After one of her newborn twins died, a western lowland female gorilla refused to let go of her lifeless child.
Despite zookeepers' efforts to take her dead baby away, this mother gorilla continued to carry him around in a display that showed how the bond between mother and child can defy all: even death.
A mother comforts.
In a similarly tragic scenario, a baby monkey wouldn't break his embrace with his mother who had just been killed by poachers in Thailand. The baby monkey closed his eyes, dug his face into his dead mother's fur and found consolation in the fading warmth of his mother's body.
A mother steps in.
After giving birth to a litter of their own kittens, mother and father cats Sugar and Spice took in an orphaned squirrel, found while their owners were out on a walk. Transcending the boundaries between species, the cats cared for the young orphaned squirrel as if he were one of their own.
A mother adapts.
Jess is a springer spaniel sheepdog. Sometimes she helps out the farmers by herding the sheep to safety or carrying buckets of water in her mouth, but her role greatly changed one day when an orphaned sheep needed somebody to care for her.
Jess stepped in to help and now she fosters many orphaned lambs on the sheep farm who are in need of a little TLC.
A mother teaches.
After racing into the water to save her cub from drowning, a mother polar bear waited patiently for her cub to learn how to pull himself out of the water. The baby struggled for a few moments as his paws slipped against the zoo's wet rock, but eventually he pulled himself out.
As a rescuer and a teacher, this polar bear mother took a life-threatening scenario and made a teaching moment for her young cub.
A mother gives life.
A mother gelada monkey turns around while giving birth to a newborn. The scene shows "life returning to a population and not being taken away," the photographer told The Dodo about what makes the image stand out amongst conservation photography.
All around the world, mothers of all species nurture and raise new generations. Let's celebrate the amazing individuals who gave us all life.