As I was walking through an area in the Toronto Zoo that I normally don’t go to, I spotted an African Barbary Sheep (Ammotragus lervia) apparently just gave birth in the past little while. Judging from the fluids on the ground and the fact that the infant is still totally wet, I think the birth actually took place probably half to an hour ago. First thing came to my mind was: Only if I could been there just a little earlier.
First order of business is to stand up and able to run from danger. The mother was very patient and try to help the little sheep by giving her a little support from her nose. As you can see from the photo on the right the umbilical cord of the little sheep is still there. The first few hours of a sheep born in the wild are very important as the new born and her mother are most vulnerable at that time.
The little sheep still cannot really stand up very well. Falls down most of the time. But the mother never gave up. Pushing and licking her until she stands up again. The mother give some encouragement by standing a bit father after she stands up, and trying to get the little one to learn the art of walking quickly.
Of course, like any new born, as soon as the little sheep can stand, it tries to suckle. This little one’s technique needs some improvement; she is surely trying at the wrong spot. I think she will get a hang of it eventually.
This is about 2 hours after birth. The little one is standing up okay now. Walking and running still takes a bit time to master. But hey, look, I can now stand up tall just like my mom! The mother was constantly licking her coat dry during all these time. There’s only a little patch left that’s still a bit wet now.
Almost 3 hour after the birth. The little one is moving well. Her fur coat is almost all dried up. The mother gives a sign of relief. Finally she can have some rest.
No family is complete without the proud father. African Barbary Sheep herds have one male guarding a group of females. Here is a shot of the father standing, guarding across some rocks from the new born. Hmm, I think the little one got his nose. Well a happy ending to a new life to this new world.
Speaking of magic of parenting, also caught this shot of a mother macaque comforting her little one when the little monkey was startled by some loud bird.