Mother's Day in the Wild

May 11, 2017

Mom's job is never easy – whether you're a person, a panda, a porcupine, or a parakeet. In honor of Mother's Day, we present a trio of mother animals from the wilds of three different continents.

The Cinderella Tigress

In 2013, a starving three-month-old tiger cub was brought to a rehabilitation center in the Russian Far East. Dubbed Zolushka (Russian for "Cinderella"), she was later released and is thriving in the Bastak Reserve, an area from which wild tigers disappeared some 40 years ago.

Miraculously, Zolushka met a mate and is raising two young cubs, making her the first-ever rehabilitated tiger to reproduce in the wild. In the time since this video was shot, scientists have continued to capture camera trap images confirming that Zolushka and her family are doing well.

A Mom in Mbeli Bai

Photo Credit: ©Barbara Hendus/WCS

Mbeli bai is swampy forest clearing in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo that happens to be a gathering place for some of the most majestic animals in the world, including western lowland gorillas and African forest elephants. One frequent visitor is Gina, a female elephant who recently gave birth to her first baby (seen here).

The baby first arrived in the bai in the company of both Gina and Gina's own mother, so it was a multi-generational outing. Gina's baby does not yet have a name – if you'd like to help choose one, you might be interested in the Mbeli Bai Study's Adopt an Elephant program.

The Collective Capybara Moms

Photo Credit: ©André Baertschi/WCS Peru

Capybaras are a highly intelligent species of South American rodents. Capybara moms are very mindful of their offspring, and receive plenty of the support – these animals travel in herds, and all the adults in the group will work together to protect the children. The baby capybaras and mother seen here live in Peru's Bahuaja Sonene National Park, a remarkable protected area that is home to 174 species of mammals, including rare animals such as the giant otter, spectacled bear, marsh deer, and maned wolf.

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