To celebrate Mother’s Day on this coming Sunday, Marketing Assistant Zoe talks about five of the Zoo’s favourite mothers…
1. First up is our white-throated capuchin, Irazu. Nominated for her expert carrying skills, Irazu is a first time mum, having given birth to her little infant Benito back in February 2017. As a mother, it was Irazu’s job to carry Benito for the first 4 months of his life, with the occasional help from Dad Zaitu. This parenting duo have also been responsible for teaching Benito how best to climb around the enclosure. Irazu’s work is not finished yet either, with another 12 months of Benito being carried on her back and dependant on her for grooming.
2. Next up is mum of 9, Mustard, the humboldt penguin. Mustard’s mothering duties include feeding her chicks and encouraging socialising within the colony. For the first 4-6 weeks, penguin chicks will remain in their burrows, relying on their parents for food and warmth. Once they reach 6 weeks old, chicks will begin to venture outside to socialise with the other birds in the colony and at 12 weeks, it’s time for these chicks to learn how to swim. Most of Mustard’s chicks have ‘flown the nest’, now to a variety of other zoos, from London Zoo to Folly Farm, in Wales.
3. Another mum to be admired is our short-clawed Asian otter Jameela. Mother of an astounding 27 pups, 4 of which were born and reared here last year. Jameela is the dominant female of the family, and father Topan is the dominant male. Although it is mum’s responsibility to feed her pups and to teach them how to swim, raising them is much more of a family activity - Aunty Pod, for example, is an excellent teacher.
4. Another first time mum for 2017 was Carpathian lynx, Kicsi, who gave birth to her first cub, Tink, in June last year. Kicsi, alongside dad Boomer, has been responsible for grooming Tink and teaching her how to hunt. The pair can often be seen playing with her in the afternoons here at the Zoo, just before feeding time. Although a lot more independent now, Tink is still learning how to groom and hunt for herself; she will be considered fully-grown when she is around 9 months old.
5. Lastly, but by certainly no means least, is our nyala antelope mother, Arya. Arya was born at the Zoo in 2013 and has since given birth to 3 calves, the most recent a young female, yet to be named. Mothers will often hide the calf from the rest of the herd, including the father, for several weeks to nurse them. Last year, mother Arya gave birth to a single calf called Archie who is still here at the Zoo. Arya will continue caring for the calf until she gives birth to another one, which will hopefully be around this time next year!
A very happy Mother’s Day to all of our mothers! If you’re stuck for a Mother’s Day gift, why not give a truly unique experience with one of our animals? Find out more here