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Friday, 17 May 2013

Mother's Day Entry: Maternal Love

It's the month again where we celebrate our mothers. When I was young, my parents always told me that animals love their offspring/babies more than humans. I've seen it when our cats and dogs gave birth. Those who doubt animals' maternal instinct probably don't know that some animals can sense when their babies are in danger. Yes, even though when they're miles away looking for food. Animals will put their lives on the line to defend their offspring. There are a lot more evidence that a mother's love for its offspring is not just for the sake of survival and continuity of the species only. There is something more to it. Or at least that's what I want to believe..

A couple of years back I watched this one documentary about a big cat. It's probably one of the most amazing turnarounds in the animal kingdom that's ever been recorded on video.

Zoe Brennan of Daily Mail UK retelling the story.

She is the ultimate predator - a sleek and stealthy killer. Pouncing on her prey, she silences the baboon with one swipe of a vicious paw. Then, suddenly, something stirs in the dead animal's fur, and the law of the jungle is rewritten.

From the bedraggled pelt of her kill crawls a tiny infant - a one-day-old baboon. In that moment, this young leopard forgets she is a hunter, and nurtures the baby baboon as if it were her own cub.

Smelling blood, a pack of hyenas gather to finish off the kill. Legadema, as she has been named by the camera crew who took these moving shots, carefully carries the baby baboon high up into a tree for protection. There, she cuddles the newborn to her for warmth through the long, African night.

"It was as if nature had turned on its head completely," says Dereck Joubert, a filmmaker who followed Legadema for three-and-a-half years in her natural habitat, the Okavango Delta of Botswana.

"She had killed the mother primate, but then found this live new-born on the ground. The little baboon called out, and we thought we were going to hear a major crunch and the leopard smacking its lips, but instead the baby baboon put its paws out and walked towards the young leopard.

"Legadema paused for a moment, apparently not knowing what to do. Then she gently picked it up in her mouth, holding it by the scruff of its neck and carrying the infant up a tree to keep it safe."

Baboons are arch enemies of the leopard, and one of their major food sources, but Legadema - the local Setswana word for "light from the sky" - was in the transitional stage between cub and predator, and it seems her maternal instincts came to the fore.

The film crew kept watch through the night. "Several times, the baby baboon fell out of the tree," says Joubert. "Each time, Legadema raced down to pick her up before the hyenas descended, and carried her back up to safety.

"The baboon clearly thought of Legadema as a surrogate mother. For several hours, they nestled in the tree."
He adds: "Legadema was like a cat looking after her own kitten, rather than predator and prey. She was part inquisitive cub, part mother -and forgot momentarily that she was a hunter. It was quite extraordinary and very moving to watch."

I'm speechless.There's a famous saying that goes like this; A leopard never changes its spots.

Now I doubt it. As Brennan puts it, the law of the jungle has been rewritten. 
Happy Mother's Day, everyday!


  1. OMG! I think I just got a cuteness overload!!! You wouldn't "think" that predator and prey would get along so well, but it happens so many times especially with the younger animals... Thanks for the smile :) my blog is