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Happy Mother’s Day to our Zoo Moms!

The ABQ BioPark Zoo has some fantastic mothers. Check out what these Zoo mothers are doing to prepare their young ones to become adults.

Elaine with Dezi and Rio Chimps 2015

Preparing them for life

Chimpanzee Elaine is mother to 1-year-old twins Dezi and Rio as well as Kianga. Visitors often are amazed at Elaine's parental skills—not only does she dote on her offspring, but she also prepares them for their future adult lives. For instance, when Dezi and Rio were newborns, she helped them strengthen their limbs. The babies would hang on Elaine's stomach as she walked around, and she'd let them hang independently—when they got tired she would expertly catch them before they fell to the ground. She also helps her male offspring exercise their growing independence.

Huerfanita gorilla croppedFilling in for biological mothers

Sometimes animal mothers are not able to care for their babies, and surrogates take over. The Zoo has a number of surrogate parents and surrogate-raised animals. Western lowland gorilla Huerfanita has been a surrogate mother for eight orphan gorillas, including Jack. 

Saving a species just by being a mom

The ABQ BioPark’s Socorro doves welcomed eight chicks in April 2016, with more to come. Socorro doves, which lived exclusively on Socorro Island off the coast of Mexico, are extinct in the wild. The Socorro Dove Project is an international endeavor of zoos to return these doves back to their native home. The ABQ BioPark is home to about one-third of the entire Socorro dove population. The ABQ BioPark has a very successful breeding program, and biologists are sending birds to other zoos to help increase genetic diversity. In fact, the Zoo is planning to send some chicks to Mexico early this summer for breeding and eventual release on Socorro Island.

Other Zoo moms

  • Niara the giraffe, mother of Neelix
  • Johore the siamang, mother of Tika and Eerie
  • Sarah the orangutan, mother of Pixel
  • Rozie the elephant, mother of Jazmine and Thorn