Across the animal kingdom, some of the most essential lessons — and the most extreme challenges — occur in the first moments of life. From ostrich to orangutan, egg sac to live birth, infanticide to matricide, the diversity of behaviors between parent and progeny is as great as the diversity of life on our planet.
As animal parents struggle to help their young survive their first days in the wild, they face seemingly insurmountable odds. Penguins travel literally the ends of the Earth to protect their infants, facing Antarctic blizzards while they incubate their eggs. Amaurobius spider mothers offer their own bodies for their newborns to feast on. Orangutan mothers face up to eight years of single parenthood raising their infants.
Understandably, the process of birthing and raising young is one of the most stressful experiences an animal can endure. And it is in these very trials that the most extraordinary glimpses of life in the wild come to light. This film premiered November 1, 2009.
Photo © Philippe Clement