Some animals display no nurturing actions at all such as turtles. As soon as they have laid their eggs, they abandon them. At the other extreme are bonobo monkeys who nurse their infants for four years while other species fall between these two extremes. In the case of many such as the leopard, it is the arrival of new mating season when the mother abandons their young. Lion cubs have a different set of considerations. If a new male takes over the pride, the incoming male will kill all the cubs as they are not his offspring.
Interspecies nurturing is uncommon in the wild but instances have been noted. With domesticated animals on the other hand, it is more prevalent.
Of all of my friends, Ashley Wood was the only one who truly loved this creature, the unattractive and unlovely Warthog. Not that they are hideous like the much maligned snake or repellent like a macabre bat, but they certainly lack the cuteness factor of a lion cub or the majesty of a tiger. That was why Ashley loved them because nobody else did. Even though they will never grip the imagination like the furry cuddly animals, somebody had to befriend them, so Ashley accepted that role.
As always, Ashley might have been the eccentric iconoclast but warthogs have feelings too. As such they deserve our protection.
Main picture: A sounder of warthogs absorbing the heat from a bushveld fire
I will now shatter the idyll of the African Bush. As a friend – who shall remain nameless but is a fellow hiking member – so articulately put it, “You want to see a charging Bull African Elephant in FULL MUSK with dripping, stinking, extended penis, green gunge and all on the hind legs charging you. THAT’S A ROAD BLOCK plus an INSTANT EMETIC! “
Maybe these photographs will disabuse you of these naive idyllic notions..
This is why I love Africa. A trip to the bush is what reconnects one with nature and its primal soothing influence. As one basks in the wishful thinking that this represents the idyll before the advent of mankind, reconsider one’s opinion.
The stark reality is that for both predator and prey life is precarious. For the prey especially herbivores, a carpet of vegetation is all that is required for sustenance. Just as crucial, if not more so, is the tenet of the survival of the fitness or in some cases the survival of the lucky. Any ailment however trivial or bad luck by being in the wrong place at the wrong time is hazardous to one’s longevity.
Evolution has the ability to mould creatures into an infinite array of shapes and configurations. What makes many of these animals unique is not so much because they are different – they undoubtedly are – but due to the fact that many of them combine features of disparate geneses and species.
The incomparable David Attenborough has introduced me to a few especially the star-nosed mole which has feelers protruding from where its nose should be positioned and the disgusting naked mole rat which even at birth has the body of a wrinkled superannuated rat on its death bed.
Main picture: The star-nosed mole which only its mother could love
Mother Nature puts on an elegant display again. From calm and tranquility to formidable waterfalls, these photographs have them all.
Main picture: Peace and transquility personified
Naturalist Casey Anderson has an unusual pet which is a major part of his life: A fully grown grizzly bear. How did his happen?
Casey’s love of the wild has led him to have other wild animals as pets such as otters but the gizzly bear is definitely the largest animal that he has adopted.
Main picture: Casey Anderson and his friend, Brutus, the friendly bear.
Animals can be as expressive as humans. It is this attribute which endears them to us humans and ensures that we adopt them and pamper them. In this series of photographs, their human owners or companions are attempting acts as banal as attempting to wash them or take them to the vet.
In no uncertain manner do they demonstrate their displeasure at such a sadistic activity.