Friday, October 19, 2012

Motherly Stories in Honor of Mother's Day and My Mom

May 10, 2012
Mother's Day is just right around the corner. A day to honor the woman that raised us and cared for us through good times and bad. And though many will honor their mothers by picking up a little something at Walmart on the way to her house on Sunday, she won't care because she's mom. She's just happy to see you.

I lucked out in the mother department. My mom is the best. Probably just like your mom is the best, except we're talking about my mom here and I'm the one doing the talking - so in this case, she's the best.

My mother is a lover of all things related to nature. She's an animal lover, a bit of a bird watcher and a planter of all things that can be planted. Honestly, I have dug more holes for that woman to be filled with rose bushes, trees and other varieties of flora that I still can't even pronounce. So for this week's blog, I've decided to pay tribute to both mothers and nature in honor of my mother with three stories about some amazing "mothers" from nature. That was a mouth full. You'll understand those quotation marks around that last use of "mothers" in a second.

The crow that (sort of) raised a kitten
Several years back Ann and Wally Collito headed out to their Attleboro, Mass backyard and discovered a stray kitten in dire need of its mother. Like most of us, they decided to intervene and lend aid to the little guy - but they weren't the only ones. Before the Collitos could take action, a crow beat them to the punch.

They watched in astonishment as the crow walked over to the kitten, leaned down and fed the baby feline just as it would its own baby birds. Yes, yes, just like that. So I suppose it's a little gross but nonetheless heart warming. The kitten gladly accepted his meal of worms or whatever the crow brought him and they sparked a four year long friendship that inspired a children's book.
Here's a video of them romping around. I warn you, it's adorable.

The email forward you received that wasn't completely made up
This story circulated in email forwards for quite a while. The body of which usually described the heartbreaking tale of a mama lion in California who was simply devastated after the unexpected death of her three cubs. Zookeepers tried to locate orphaned cubs for her to raise but were unsuccessful. So, they tried the next best thing...piglets dressed like tigers. And it worked. Except it's not true.

However, this picture that made its way around the world with the email was true. It was taken at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Thailand. The zoo puts on shows showcasing many different animals besides tigers and officials claim that by allowing different species to nurse and mother species not of their own, it makes the animals more tolerant of one another as well as of humans. Critics, however, say shuffling the baby animals from species to species is simply done for the entertainment of zoo goers.
1924 Olympic gold medalist Doug Larson once said, "Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon." If it's tempting to us, think how a tiger must feel. So, we may never know the exact reason zookeepers in Thailand manipulated a mother tiger into nursing and caring for those piglets, but it's certainly a testament to maternal instinct and how loving and caring a mother can be - even if she's a totally different species.
Here's a video. Less cute than the first, as several times it appears that the tiger might eat one of the piglets. I can assure you she never does though.

The sweetest thing about an oryx isn't their name
In 2001 the staff at Kenya's Samburu Game Reserve noticed something peculiar about a lioness on the reserve. She was walking around with a baby oryx and, as opposed to carrying it in her mouth like a lion style sack lunch, she was taking care of it.
Here's what a baby oryx looks like.

And while you're probably saying something like, "Oh that's an oryx?" A lion would probably say something like, "I call drumstick."

The lioness, nicknamed Larsens (In English) or Kamuniak by the folks at the reserve, apparently scared away the little oryx's mom and made up for it by taking on her role. Now, unfortunately this story gets a little sad but stay tuned. Your heart will still be warmed. After 17 days a male lion came by and did what male lions do. He decided the oryx looked more like a lunch than a tiger cub and proceeded to be a lion.

Some accounts have Larsens being upset, but experts say it was a blessing in disguise because the lioness had not hunted or eaten in the 17 days after adopting the "cub." Never-the-less the odd occurrence was over and the lioness could go back to being like a lion. Except she didn't. Instead she almost immediately sought out and adopted another baby oryx.

That baby was taken away from her by wildlife officials because once again Larsens stopped hunting in order to protect her oryx. Both her and the oryx were starving (the baby because it could not nurse from its mother). So what did Larsens do? She started following a large heard of oryx, from which she picked another baby to adopt.

It appeared that Larsens was learning how to be a good inter-species mama though because this time she allowed the baby to make visits to its biological mother to nurse. She herself took up hunting again and wildlife officials, completely stymied by the lioness' refusal to quit adopting little oryxes, just gave up and let them be.  See? A happy ending after all.

And of course, here's a video. It does contain the sad part of the story though, so you might want to stop watching around 5:30. It's not graphic, but it's does recount what happens to that first oryx.

Mothers just don't give up. They are a blessing without disguise and though you might get sick of hearing how you need to get married, eat better, get your haircut, takes a lot of work to be a mom; a lot of dedication and a lot of heart. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Your work is appreciated.

And happy Mother's Day to my mom especially. Without you I'd...well I guess I wouldn't would I?

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