Motherly Love in Wildlife

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Just like humans, wild animals exhibit maternal care for their offspring. A young bird, tiger bulb or deer cub, all grow up with the loving care of their mothers. The love for one’s offspring is on of nature’s unbreakable laws. We humans grow up in the loving care of the mother nature. 40000 years ago, cavemen held up maternal care in their cave paintings. We know that humans were simple hunter-gatherers back then. But they still noticed relationships between different animals and between a mother and its offspring. Slowly, we became more and more civilized and realized the true meaning of maternal love. Just like civilized humans, there is a lot of maternal care in the wild. It is a completely natural phenomenon. All animals protect and take care of their offspring. The young grow up slowly in the care of their mothers. Alongside maternal care, some animals exhibit fraternal care. This paternal care differs among different species and can be easily observed by looking at a few wild animals. Monkeys, langurs, gibbons and other such primates show deep maternal care. Because these animals depend on their mother’s milk. These animals live in groups in our forests, and all groups include some very young members. The young ones are part of the group of the pack from birth. The offspring usually sticks to their mother and get nutrition from the mother’s milk. Even if they wander off to play, the young run back to the mother at any sign of danger. They find protection and safety in the arms of their mother. Once they mature, they start roaming around independently.

Animals

The largest terrestrial animal found in our evergreen forests are Elephants. They are female dominated which means the leader of a pack is always a female. Mother elephants are in charge of leading the pack and looking after their offspring. Young elephants are very small in size about adults but grow up very fast with the care of their mother. Two mammals in the aquatic environment are Dolphins and Whales. They can be found in our large rivers, river deltas, coastal areas and the Bay of Bengal. Even though they are colloquially known as fish, they are both mammals. Like other mammals, they give birth to their offspring and infants drink their mother’s milk. The offspring stays with their mother until they reach adulthood. Kangaroos carry their young in their pouch for very long distances. Then chimpanzees, they take extremely good care of their offspring. If their offspring gets sick, the chimpanzee gets medicinal leaves to feed them. Just as most birds navigate their surroundings with their strong eyesight, most animals navigate using their strong sense of smell. The mothers have a very keen sense of smell and can sense danger or predators to protect their young. Among grouped animals, there is a level of coordination and cooperation. Other than them, maternal care is common among all other mammals.

We still don’t understand all the mysteries of nature. Animals share similar inner emotions as humans. Some reptiles and amphibians also exhibit maternal care in their behavior.  Another one is the crocodile. They dig deep holes to lay their eggs where they regulate the temperature and sunlight. They create an optimal environment for the eggs to hatch. As they are about to hatch, the offspring makes a whistling noise from inside of the eggs. The mother hears this and gets the offspring our of the eggs. The mother then keeps the offspring in their mouth to protect them from the environment.  In groups of Bison or Ox, there is a group solidarity. If one animal gets attacked, all others come to its help. Their dedication to protecting their group members is extreme. Then there is the porpoise that is a species of dolphins. They are extremely intelligent, comparable to humans. They protect their young with such diligence in the ocean that it is simply amazing.

Birds

Though many birds don’t give birth to mammals, their maternal care is uncompromising. Just like different birds have unique and diverse life cycles, so are their methods of care. From building nests during breeding to laying eggs and raising the infants, every step has an enormous amount of parental care. Birds build nests for the safety and protection of their offspring. During breeding season, some build nests on treetops, some in the bushes and some on the ground. Just as their nests are diverse in characteristics, so is their craftsmanship. They use grass, hay and other objects to build comfortable and safe nests for their offspring. From the time they lay eggs to the time when their eggs hatch, they put in a lot of hard work. The female parent does most of this work but in some cases the male does it. The feeding and dietary habits of birds are different depending on their environment. Insectivores like the Drongo feed their offspring with various insects. White birds like Black-hooded Oriole collect fruits and seeds to feed their young. Large birds like Kites and Lesser Adjutants hunt smaller animals to feed their young. Through feeding and care, this offspring grow up and mature.

Breeding and parental care are vital to the survival of any animal. This care enables the helpless infants to grow up. But due to deforestation we have destroyed a lot of wild animal habitats and breeding grounds. Slowly some animals are moving from endangerment towards extinction. Every wild animal is important, and everyone has the right to survive. Whatever animal we have left, we need to ensure that they can breed and prosper without our interference. Only then, we can protect ourselves and all other animals under the care of mother nature. There are instances where people take the offspring and young of birds or tigers out of their natural habitat. Some people just take the eggs from the nest of birds without any reason. This is simply inhumane. There is some aggressive inmate ferocity that works inside us that causes destruction. We need to instill this awareness inside everyone that we can not survive without these wild residents. We are all part of the same interconnected ecosystem.

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