Recognising wild fathers this Father’s Day

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Recognising wild fathers this Father’s Day

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It’s dad world today. In the non-human world, dads have taken up the role to be more than protectors of their families. This is not just a human behaviour as father’s all across the animal kingdom have interesting fatherly characteristics that have aided certain species to enhance strong genes. In the animal kingdom, it’s all about survival for the fittest and in most cases, survival and progeny depend on the male species.

Astounding fathers in the animal kingdom

Emperor Penguin Father

One of the best dads around. Endurance is his number one best quality. Down south, in Antarctica, the coldest place on earth lives the Emperor penguin. During hatching season, when the female lays the eggs, it becomes the male’s job to keep the egg warm. Why? It’s feeding time for the mom who goes out to sea for two months to build back her fat reserves which were depleted during hatching. The male has to balance the egg between the top of his toes and his belly in sub-zero temperatures. The species has been known to hurdle together during the two months to keep themselves and the eggs warm until the egg hatches or the mothers come back. Once the egg hatches, the male emperor penguin feeds the chick its first meal awaiting the mother to come back with fish from the ocean.

Nyika silika fathers day

Emperor Penguins ©

Seahorse Father

Talk about breaking the stereotypical life bearing norm! One, this species is monogamous. Two, the male seahorse gets pregnant carrying, not one, but up to 1000 eggs at a time. The female lays the eggs inside the male during the mating season. Since the seahorse is not a mammal, he develops a sort of pouch displaying a rounded belly which holds the fertilized eggs until they hatch within 45 days.

Seahorse © Pixabay

Gorilla Father

If the gorilla father was human, he would be the elder. The alpha male heads a family which can be as large as 30 gorillas. His role is protecting the territorial boundary and feeding all the gorillas within the group. Whenever another male from outside the territory challenges the male, he is ready to fight for his family since infanticide is common among gorillas where another male can kill the young offspring seared by another male. The male is keen on raising the young ones teaching them dos and don’ts of living in the forest until they are of age to start their own families.

Nyika Silika Fathers Day

Western Lowland Gorilla © Lynn Griffiths

Lion Father

This should be a surprise considering the male lion is known for relaxing enjoying the African sun as the female goes out to hunt. But when it comes to fatherhood, the male lion will fight for his pride to the death. Male fathers have been known to fight off a pack of young male lions who want to take over a pride. He knows that if he does not win, his offspring risk being killed and his genes might as well disappear. It’s all about intuition and the strongest will always survive. The animal world can be quite ruthless.

Nyika Silika - Fathers Day

Male Lion

African Wild Dog Father

The African Wild dog dad is responsible for feeding his puppies. After a successful hunt, the male will regurgitate food to the waiting mouths of the puppies who are unable to eat solid food until they are 10 weeks. This prevents them from running off to hunt for food since they face the dangers of predators such as lions and even other wild dogs.

Nyika Silika Fathers Day

African Wild Dog © Flickr

The Human one

Nurturing an interest in animals would be impossible without one person who is part of my passion for all things wild. Not many people understand why I can simply talk about wildlife like it’s part of me. Especially, when I say we shouldn’t kill snakes, at least I know I’m not the only one concerned about the life of the snake and not just the people. To every father who supports their child’s dreams and ideas no matter how big and inconceivable they seem, happy father’s day!

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Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui is a believer in all things beautiful. A believer in spreading information in regards to environmental awareness. A believer in sharing all that is good in Kenya's natural world. A believer in speaking truth with no boundaries. Do you have a story, photo, experience or message you need to share? Send your work to or

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