Learning From Mothers; a Mother's Day tribute extending beyond human

Learning From Mothers; a Mother’s Day tribute extending beyond human

Chimpanzee mothers share bonds with their offspring that are similar to what we, humans, share with our own. They do not give birth to litters. Instead, they expend all of that critical energy into the creation of one, single living, being to whom they will devote their attention to over the next five or more years.

Unable to hold their heads up initially, chimpanzee infants rely on their mothers for food, water, shelter, and all other essential needs that support a healthy existence. There begins the significant relationship between a mother and infant.

Chimpanzee Mom then spends the next several years teaching her offspring how to be a chimpanzee. She shows them how to find the most nutritious and delicious foods to eat. It’s a lovely day in the forest when fruits are abundant. She teaches them how to find food when food is limited. Mom contributes to the process of teaching tool-use; she knows all the right twigs that will assist her in ‘fishing’ for termites while her little one sits back to learn by example. She teaches social skills, how to play and also, how to be tough. One can’t deny that it’s a tough world out there in the wild. Chimpanzee mothers make quite the parental investment to say the least.

Due to the unnatural life of being bred into the pet trade and entertainment industry, none of the chimps living with us at Chimps Inc. experienced that unique bond, which naturally exists between a chimpanzee and her infant. Indeed, they were deprived of something special. Despite the trauma experienced in their early lives, they still prove their capabilities and desires to be maternal with each other.

Of the female chimpanzees living at Chimps Inc., who might you think would be the best mother of all?

~Shayla Scott, Snr. Caregiver