Intruders at the Zoo.

Today’s post is brought to you by Erica of Mommy’s Still Fabulous – my very first bloggy friend and an awesome blogger (and mom). If you haven’t already discovered her blog, well, go do it now! Well, actually, read this first. Then go.

Meet Batu.


Batu is a baby chimp, and in this photo, she’ s about 6 months old.

She’ s a permanent resident at the Philadelphia Zoo, and one warm weekend in the Spring, we took our own baby girl to visit her at the zoo.

I don’ t know too much about animal behavior, but I do know enough to know that the intelligent primates, chimps, orangutans and gorillas share a lot of the same behaviors as humans. In fact, the chimp is the human’s closest “ relative.” We share a lot of the same DNA.

The last time I was at the Philadelphia Zoo, I was in high school. I wasn’t in a mothering/nurturing state of mind back then. But this time, I was.

Tua, the Zoo’ s 16-year-old orangutan gave birth to the baby girl in 2009.

We saw Tua and Batu. They were in the Primate House, enclosed thick glass for all of us to see. They were alone, and Tua was cradling Batu – much like I cradled my own daughter when she was her age.

I was enraptured by what I was witnessing. This baby, this child clinging to her mother. It was beautiful. And I felt connected to these primates.

But then something happened.

Tua looked around. With this baby still clinging to her chest, she walked over to the wall, picked up a sheet, and draped it over her and her child.

She wanted privacy.

She wanted to protect.

At that moment, I felt something I normally don’ t feel at a zoo: I felt like an intruder. I felt like I was spying on something so sacred. I put myself in her position.

I began to tear up.

Imagine strangers peering through a glass wall as you nurse your child to sleep. Picture a group of people, hoarding around, watching as you play with your child in the bathtub.

We were those strangers. We were those intruders.

Tua and I might not share 100% of the same DNA, but I am guessing, after this experience, we share the important parts: The ones that protect, nurture, care for and love our children.

3 Comments on Intruders at the Zoo.

  1. Erin
    December 29, 2010 at 12:53 pm (5 years ago)

    Wow – I had no idea this post was going in this direction…:)

    This was fantastic – I’ll never look a zoo the same way!! Great writing – any friend of Ambers…well you know the rest!!

    Great stuff!

    • Erica
      December 29, 2010 at 4:47 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you, Erin!

  2. Rebecca
    December 29, 2010 at 7:48 pm (5 years ago)

    I saw something very similar at the Pensacola Zoo. I was so sad for the mother and baby.


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