Assignment: Mothers Day, Later

While getting the photos of the new baby gorilla and mom were a big part of my Sunday, it's only half the story of the day.   The actual story for the paper was about Mothers Day and the universal connections between mothers of every species.

When Derek, the reporter, got to the zoo, we started to talk about the direction he thought he'd like to take in the article.  The idea was to find and interview some moms at the zoo and contrast their stories with some of those newer moms at the zoo.  Finding human moms at the zoo was fairly easy since they were all over the place as the zoo offered them free admission to celebrate Mothers Day.  It was nice to see so many families out there having a great time.

Coming up with some zoo residents with their offspring was a bit more challenging. Lucas, the PR guy at the zoo was trying to recall all of the most recent births.  Obviously, we had Madini and her newborn.  Not far from there were the three lion cubs that were born in September, 2014.  When we went over to the lion area, this was pretty much the only shot I could get....

Cute, but not exactly what I was looking for.  Lucas mentioned there was a mandrill born recently too, but we had no luck in locating it in its area.

Then Lucas put out the request on the zoo radio network and we were given several ideas.  So off we went to look for babies.  We went cruising in a golf cart behind the scenes at the zoo  to try to find them.  There was a wallaby which I thought would have been cool....but it was still in the pouch and we couldn't figure out in whose pouch it was. We also went to one of the nurseries where they had some really cute Orinoco goslings, but mom was a bit aggressive and was in the adjoining pen. They were able to imprint and model mom but there was no real connection. Again, cute, but not exactly what I was looking for. 

Then there were three Kory Bustard chicks to consider.  These are the largest flighted birds and they are endangered. Believe it or not, they are being slaughtered in the wild because their feathers make great fishing lures. The zoo is one of only a handful of zoos that have a breeding pair of these birds. The chicks were hatched about three weeks apart from each other because that's how often mom lays a fertilized egg.  Unfortunately, mom isn't the motherly-type; she sits on the egg for about an hour or so and then doesn't bother with it again.  So, the zoo takes over and incubates the eggs.  But the important thing is that these three were born and the species continues.

I was successful in finding Luke, the baby bonobo that was born in October, 2014 and his mom, Jo T.  Luke wanted to be out and about, but mom wasn't having any of it.  The temperatures were already climbing and she was interested in taking it easy.  I can imagine that little Luke will be tearing it up before too much longer.

I figured I had enough for the paper.  But I thought I'd give the lion cubs one more try.  This time, I got exactly what I was hoping for....

The whole family was now out there looking very regal and King of the Jungle like.  After a bit though, Tamu, the mother lion decided that one of her cubs needed a little cleaning and attention. Not sure if it was Michael, Matthew or Sriracha, but I guess the little one didn't wash behind their ears.

Once I had all the images I needed of the animals, Derek interviewed a couple of young moms for his article.  I wanted to be sure that I had some photos of them as well.  And their little guys were very cute and extremely personable.

All in all, it was a great afternoon and I was very satisfied that I'd gotten images that would illustrate the article well and that people would like to see.

And the journey continues.....