Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Spider monkey allomothering at Zoo Basel!
Zooborns has some adorable pictures with an equally-adorable story: In late December, a female spider monkey, Quilimari, gave birth to an infant, but due to birth complications, was too weak to care for her infant. However, while zoo vets cared for mom, the baby's older sister, Dicha (who is a young adult), took care of the infant. Most surprisingly, she somehow was able to nurse the baby... I wonder how long it took for her to lactate, and what hormonal processes might have triggered that... But the good news is, Dicha took good care of her little brother, and once Quilimari was well, Dicha returned the infant to her.
It's nice to hear a story like this--too often, there are stories about how an infant cannot be taken care of by the mother (due to birth complications, illness, rejection...), and in too many cases, those poor babies end up being hand-reared. It's great to hear that a competent alloparent was able to step in, and that the infant has been successfully reunited with her mom--with a great allomother nearby that is eager to help out.
Above is the picture of the infant. You can read the story and see more pictures at Zooborns: Dutiful Daughter Cares for New Baby Brother.