an animal shelter in Delhi, has an unusual mother and child. The dog has adopted
a baby monkey. The baby suckles the dog, he rides on her back and she growls at
anyone who comes near her child. She nuzzles him, cuddles him at night to keep
him warm and lets him bite her ears. He is her son and animal love knows no species
brought a parakeet whose wings had been clipped and who had been kept in a cage
for two years. The cage was so small that the parakeet could only crouch in it
so its muscles and legs were almost paralysed. I gave it to a lawyer to nurse
back to health. He already had a guinea pig who was the boss of the house. When
the parakeet came into the house and was encouraged to run free till she regained
her muscles and wings, the guinea pig took charge of her and the parakeet sat
on his back and was carried to wherever she wanted to go. They ate together ,
they slept together for one year. Then the parakeet flew away. She still comes
back to say hello to the guinea pig sometimes.
a female mongoose was seen leading her babies near a patch of forest. . Following
her were three healthy-looking young mongooses and one kitten. The youngsters
played together and were cuffed equally by the mother.
is not just a quirk among human beings and eccentric mongooses. From gulls, geese
and bats to seals, wolves and dolphins, all kinds of creatures have been known
to take in and raise another animal's young. According to Eva Jablonka, an evolutionary
biologist at Tel-Aviv University who describes the behavior in the book Animal
Traditions, adoption "is certainly more common than previously thought."
She and her coauthor, zoologist Eytan Avital, report that several hundred bird
and mammal species occasionally adopt.
is common in chaotic breeding colonies of animals such as seals, bats and gulls
. Studies of elephant seals and Hawaiian monk seals, for example, show that the
denser a colony, the more likely a mother and pup will become permanently separated
during the ruckus caused by bull seals barging through the group, scuffles between
neighboring females or high surf. More separations lead to more adoptions. While
most monk seal mothers care for only one pup at a time, they may cycle through
two to four different ones by the time they're done nursing for the season.
northern elephant seals, pups frequently become separated from their mothers--and
would die if they were not adopted by another female. Fortunately, such pups are
often taken in by first-time mothers who have lost their own young.
and terns, for example, hatch more chicks each season than they can successfully
raise to adulthood. If chicks are starving in their own nest, they may sneak into
a neighboring nest and pass as a member of the family.
several bird and mammal species that live in groups--often with close relatives--caring
for one another's offspring is the norm. In packs of wolves or coyotes, for example,
only one or two females give birth to pups each year, and adults of both sexes
help care for the young. Mothers sometimes nurse another female's pup, and in
a few cases have been known to adopt orphans. Lionesses on the African savanna
also care for cubs communally, freely nursing each other's offspring. Feral house
cats do the same thing in farmyards and suburban woodlots worldwide. And young
acorn woodpeckers often spend their first year of adulthood hanging around the
home nest, helping to raise younger siblings rather than hatching their own chicks.
even bears, solitary animals that normally have little contact with other adults,
have been known to become adoptive parents.
when the urge to nurture overwhelms, animal parents can end up in bizarre situations.
In the mid-1970s, a biologist working in Alaska observed a pair of arctic loons,
which had lost their own chicks, raising five spectacled eider ducklings that
might otherwise have made a decent lunch.
everyone in animal welfare has a story to tell. Cats that are feeding their own
kittens often feed orphaned puppies as well. Dogs who nurse kittens along with
their own puppies. Cats who nurse baby rabbits . Rabbits who look after rats.
Someone reports a huge black MALE police dog that adopted a litter of kittens
when their mother was killed. Luckily they were old enough to not need to be nursed,
but still young enough to need a mother's supervision. He did a good job with
them, licking them to keep them clean, etc. except that he went nuts trying to
keep them from doing undoglike things like climbing the curtains.
maternal instincts take over ,a mother animal will frequently nurse a surrogate
infant. Cows, goats, sheep and horses also nurse young that had been rejected
by their mothers.
2001, at Kenya's Samburu National Park ,a young lioness spotted an Oryx antelope
calf near its mother. The lioness frightened away the antelope mother, then picked
up the calf in her mouth. She kept the Oryx calf by her side for naps, nuzzling
it, but allowed it to return to its antelope Oryx mother for nursing. This went
on for two weeks, until a lion from another pride killed the calf while the calf
was playing away from the lioness, who was asleep. When the lioness awoke to find
the dead Oryx, she was enraged and roared at the predatory lion, circling the
predator 10 times, before she drove her away. In 2002, the lioness adopted another
Oryx calf, this time protecting the calf fiercely from predator lions. The lioness
adopted a total of five Oryx calves, nuzzling them but also allowing them to return
to their natural mothers for nursing. Her behavior showed that animals have feelings
and a true knowledge of what they are doing.
are so much like we are; after all, we are but animals. If only we all could live
together, as one, the lion with the lamb, the people with the animals, the people
with one another. Nature will nurture those in need. The animals know this. Why
do we humans need to be told? Your species or not, it is better to err on the
side of compassion.
join the animal welfare movement contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Human Propensities of Cow
Intelligence of Birds
feed from rendering plant