Five of Johannesburg Zoo’s most extraordinary mothers

Blackly, a water buffalo, with her calf.

As any mother will tell you, being a mom is one of the most demanding jobs out there.

As if having to grow a whole new life (or set of lives) inside you wasn’t enough, you have to ensure that you keep your offspring safe, fed and comfortable. That’s as true for many animal mothers as it is for humans.

Some animal moms, however, take things to the next level. Whether it’s the number of offspring they must look after, the pressures faced by their species, or the dedication they put in, they are extraordinary and deserve your appreciation.

Many of them can be found by taking a walk around Johannesburg Zoo.

1. Sabi (lion)

Sabi is the mother of Bontle and Bula, the first lion cubs to be born in the zoo in over 10 years. Now six months old, the cubs are growing fast and first explored their new enclosure in March.

In the wild, lion cubs usually grow up as part of a larger pride. For their own safety, however, Sabi and the cubs will remain in a separate enclosure until they’re older.

Sabi tends to one of her cubs.

2. Blackly (water buffalo)

The arrival of any newborn in an endangered species is something to be celebrated. Small wonder then that zoo staff were so excited when Blackly the water buffalo gave birth.

Blackly’s calf was the first birth of the endangered species in over 50 years at the zoo.

Endemic to the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia, it’s estimated that there are only around 3 400 water buffalo left in the wild, making Blackly’s little one an important ambassador for the species’ survival.

3. Daisy (chimpanzee)

Daisy is known as the zoo’s supermom. Born in 1983 at the Ravensden Zoo in the UK, she has given birth to several young over the years, many of whom have gone on to become visitor favourites themselves.

Her youngest, Jozi, is four years old. That means he/she’s only just approaching the end of his/her nursing period. Once weaned, Jozi will play a fuller role in the troop, helping out with any other newborns.

4. Lunar (lar-gibbon)

Another endangered species, the lar-gibbon, is endemic to Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand. Also known as the white-handed gibbon, it is known for its striking looks, most notably the ring of white hair which surrounds the black face.

Lunar gave birth to her baby in 2017, meaning that her little one will be nursing until sometime in 2019. That, in turn, means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch the two of them being cute together.

Lunar, a lar-gibbon, with her baby.

5. Gabby (buff-cheeked gibbon)

Gabby shares parenting duties with her partner Mar. The pair were introduced in 2010 and, a few months later, were the proud parents of a bouncing baby gibbon.

The pair has continued to breed with their current baby delighting visitors to the zoo.

Native to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, little is known about the species in the wild. They are, however, endangered, meaning that Gabby and Mar’s offspring may be vital to the survival of the species.

Information supplied by Johannesburg Zoo

  AUTHOR
Tembisan

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