Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day (and baby animals)!!!

Michele and I recently visited Tanzania to look for birds and other wildlife. Many big mammals of East Africa breed and then give birth to their young to coincide with the rainy seasons (November-May), which provide the most grazing (and hunting!). At this time of year, when grasses are high, trees are covered in leaves, and food abounds, wild babes have stronger chances at survival. Most of these photos also highlight the adults, usually the mothers and female groups, that help raise them to adulthood.

A lioness (Panthera leo) with her two cubs trek along the Tarangire River bed in Tarangire National Park. Cubs can run by the time they are one month old but depend on their mother until about 16 months old.

A baby African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) stays close to its mother in Tarangire National Park. African elephants have a gestation period of nearly two years (about 21 months) before the baby is born. On average, the elephant young breast feeds for about 78 months. Happy Mother's Day indeed!

African buffalo females (Syncerus caffer) from strong bonds with their young. The young females remain with their mothers until they reproduce on their own (five years to sexual maturity). Young males join other male groups after two years. (Arusha National Park)

Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) actually breed in the rainy season and have their young in the dry season. However, this young giraffe will stay with its mother for about 14 months. (Arusha National Park)

A young olive baboon (Papio anubis) hitches a ride on an adult's back, possibly the mother's, judging from the size and apparent lack of a facial mane. Males also carry the young although the mothers do most of the rearing. Baboons, can live in large groups with many males, females, and young; these two baboons were photographed in a group with more than 45 individuals in Arusha National Park.
Happy Mother's Day!

Works cited:

  • Harrington, E. and P. Myers. 2004. "Panthera leo" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 07, 2011 
  • Kingdon, Jonathan. The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2004. 
  • Maisano, S. and A. Fraser. 2006. "Giraffa camelopardalis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 07, 2011 
  • Newell, T. 2000. "Syncerus caffer" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 07, 2011 
  • Norwood, L. 2002. "Loxodonta africana" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 07, 2011 
  • Shefferly, N. 2004. "Papio anubis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 07, 2011

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