Animal moms


With Mother’s Day soon upon us, we wanted to share with you some amazing examples of the incredible nurturing instincts of the animal kingdom.

Mother elephants at Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary (BLES)

Raising a baby elephant is no easy task so mother elephants will often live together in herds, raising their children cooperatively. As a herd, they work together to protect the children from harm, surrounding them with a protective wall when there is a threat of danger and sacrificing their own safety for that of their young.

Each herd is led by a matriarch, usually the oldest and most experienced female in the family. A good matriarch will use her knowledge to serve the herd which includes helping the females to become good mothers for their children. We met one of these matriarchs at Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand.

Unfortunately, many elephants across Thailand are poached from their mothers at a young age so they can be sold into the entertainment industry.  But at Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary, all the elephants rescued from this fate are cared for by Panton, the sanctuary’s matriarch elephant. She follows her strong maternal instinct to mother them, protect and teach them how to become elephants again so that they settle into their new home and begin to slowly recover.

Mother bear necessities

Bears are renowned for being great moms. Their youngsters are born blind, naked and vulnerable and often when the mother bear is hibernating. They will stay with their mother for several years as they grow. In Romania, we saw one example of a bear trying to be a good mother to her cubs but ran into conflict with people.

To provide food for her two cubs, mother bear Epison, began sneaking into a Romanian town to forage in people’s gardens which worried the local residents. After being caught twice, she was in danger of being put down and having her cubs sent off to the zoo.

Fortunately, our partner the Millions of Friends Association (AMP) stepped in to protect them and move them to their nearby sanctuary. The Romanian Sanctuary, known as Zarnesti, is made possible by the kind donations from our supporters. Thanks to you, this mother bear and her cubs are now safe in their forever home enjoying dips in their pool and foraging in the woods.

Mother whales keep close

A true big mama, humpback whale mothers stay close to their calves as they grow, often touching flippers in what appears to be a gesture of affection. These mothers nurse their young for nearly a year, and their calves don’t stop growing until they are ten years old.

Researchers have discovered that mother humpback whales will teach their newborns to use a "indoor voice" to avoid attracting the attention of nearby killer whales.

Spot on Teaching

Cheetah cubs are born without any survival instincts, which means that their mother needs to be on hand to teach them all that they need to know. Cheetah mothers can have four to six cubs in any litter, so this is no easy feat.

These mums will spend up to two years teaching their cubs how to survive in the wild, including lessons in hunting and avoiding predators. Once the cubs can fend for themselves, the mother cheetah can then give birth to another litter to start the process all over again.

Happy Mother’s Day!

We hope you have a lovely day. If you’re looking for a special Mother's Day gift, check out our World Animal Gifts. Each gift comes with an eCard you can personalize and send with a special note of gratitude.

Choose from our selection of Mother’s Day gifts to help feed, care for and protect vulnerable animals who deserve to live a life free from suffering. Click here to browse all gifts.