The animal behaviour that struck me most profoundly in Uganda was how well the mothers cared for their young. I expect that most of those mothers would have battled to their death to protect their babies. It was especially evident in the primates, but we observed it in the elephants too. When a family of them stepped onto the road right in front of our jeep we watched in amazement as the adults quickly shuffled their positions so that they were surrounding the baby, keeping it safe, and then they resumed their forward motion, in a pack. There was no verbal communication, not that we could hear anyway, but each of the adults knew exactly what they had to do.
When we were on the gorilla trek, the only ‘incident’ we had with a gorilla was when a mother felt that we were a little too close to her baby. She bared her teeth, screeched, and put her arm up in a blocking fashion as she stepped towards us. It was clear that she was saying ‘back off tourist’.
Mother Nature (what an appropriate term) is simply amazing in the way she builds in these mother/baby bonds. Without these hyper-protective mothers so many species would not survive.