MOM. Only three letters, but the word signifies so much. From unconditional love to guidance, mothers play a crucial role in our lives, and the animal kingdom is no exception. At ZooTampa, we have an array of animal mothers, each one highlighting the unique qualities that make all mothers, regardless of species, one of the most important people in our lives.
Meet DeeDee, a Bornean orangutan. She’s the “protective and attentive mom.” The bond between an orangutan mother and her young is one of the strongest. Mother orangutans will hold their babies for the first four to five months of life and nurse them until they are approximately five years old. The Zoo’s newest addition, Riplee, joins three generations of this endangered species, all of which are part of AZA’s Species Survival Program.
Jamie, our greater on-horned rhino is an “endurance mom.” Following a gestation of 15 months, rhinoceroses give birth to only one calf at a time, which can weigh over 100 pounds at birth! Jamie’s baby boy, Gronk (Go Bucs!), will stick close to mom for at least the first year of life and can reach up to 6,000 pounds as an adult.
One of our newest moms is Hutan, a siamang gibbon. She’s an “affectionate mom.” Siamang babies will cling to their mother’s bellies as they climb and swing high above in the canopies. The largest of all gibbons, siamangs occupy habitats as extensive as 50 acres in the wild, and their calls can be heard up to two miles away. The yet-to-be-named baby is a positive step forward in maintaining these swinging primates’ population for generations to come.
Just like human moms, animal moms are fiercely protective, full of love, and would do anything for their offspring!
At ZooTampa we love Moms—animal and human alike! The work we’re able to do to protect and preserve animals and to inspire future wildlife conservationists is made possible in part by all the moms who pack their strollers, slather on sunscreen and bring their kids to the Zoo to connect with amazing species (and hopefully get tired). Moms, we salute you!
*photos provided by ZooTampa