Fancy looking at some very cute pictures of baby animals? Well look no further! To celebrate the BBC’s new four part series, ‘Nature’s Miracle Babies’, which explores some of the world’s rarest species and tells the story of their babies born against the odds, we thought we would highlight some of the species featured in the series.
Episode one featured the plight of the giant panda, one of the most well known endangered species in the world. These adorable babies have it tough, being born weighing only 0.001% of the female’s weight. The young panda will stay with the female for around two years! But then, who wouldn’t want to look after something as cute as that?
One of the most unusual looking species, the aye-aye is one of Madagascar’s infamous primates. This strange species is threatened by deforestation, but was also persecuted by locals who believed this bizarre looking animal was a bad omen. Even so, this is an incredible species which is now being bred in captivity in a few places around the UK. Beauty is definitely in the aye-aye of the beholder!
Awesome Amur leopard
One of the more adorable species on the series, the Amur leopard is Critically Endangered, with only 35 remaining in the wild. This beautiful subspecies of leopard is therefore in desperate need of help.
This weeks episode featured orphaned African elephants and followed how they are rescued, and later re-released into the wild. This takes an incredible amount of effort and commitment, as in the wild calves are dependant on their mothers for several years.
Tiny Tasmanian devil
Another endangered species featured in the series is the Tasmanian devil. Despite having a fierce reputation, this marsupial is actually quite shy and cautious. The female gives birth after being pregnant for just 3 weeks. After five months living inside the mothers pouch, four fully-furred young emerge. With many threats facing the Tasmanian devil, from deforestation to disease, this species is certainly in need of help.
The oddly named mountain chicken, so called due to its unfortunate likeness in taste to chickens, is one of the largest and most endangered frogs in the world. It is unusual in that it breeds and lays its eggs in underground burrows, and not in water. Captive breeding programmes are trying to form a safety-net population of this unique frog species.
Arguably one of the most fascinating species in existence, the western gorilla is a caring species, with the female looking after its infant for the first four to five years of its life. Because of this, and high infant mortality, population growth can be slow. Coupled with the threat of deforestation, gorillas are the rightful subject of conservation efforts. With some of the cutest babies, who wouldn’t want to help save this great ape.
Becky Taylor, ARKive Media Researcher