Mothers Day Inspiration

Get ready for Mother's Day with these images of Smithsonian staff and their families caring for young animals.

It takes a village to raise a child. Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, teachers, and family friends are just some of the many individuals that contribute to the care and education of a child.

The same can be said of zoo animals. It takes a wide variety of staff to raise an animal from birth including keepers, nutritionists, veterinarians, exhibit designers, facility staff, scientists, and administrators.

As you prepare to celebrate your mother this weekend, take some time to remember all of the other women in your life who have helped you become who you are today. For inspiration, take a look at the various roles staff and their families have played in the lives of animals raised at the National Zoo and a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute project site.

Happy Mother's Day!

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Lucile Quarry Mann, wife of the National Zoological Park director William M. Mann, feeding a tiger cub named Babette from a bottle, 1949. The Manns raised the cub at home. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image Number 79-11710.

Christening ceremony for one month old male orangutan Bagong at the residence of Indonesia's Ambassador to the United States, Soedjatmoko, with foster mother Louise Gallagher, wife of the Headkeeper of the Division of Small Mammals and Primates at the National Zoological Park Robert Gallagher, and Ratmini Gandasubrata, wife of the Ambassador, April 7, 1970, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 11-008, OPA-1620-09.

Head Keeper William H. Blackburne with chimpanzee, Soko, at the National Zoological Park, circa 1915. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image Number NZP-1294.

Woman holding pacas, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Paca Project, March 1987. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image Number SIA Acc. 11-009 [89-11315].

. Mary Jane Sloth, 9 months, holding the finger of Marion P. McCrane, April 29, 1965, Photograph published in National Geographic School Bulletin, February 20, 1967, No. 1 and likely taken by Charles H. Sloan, Print and publication found in Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 01-157, box 1.

Woman bottle feeding pacas, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Paca Project, March 1987. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image Number SIA Acc. 11-009 [89-11254].

National Zoo Keeper Trooper Walsh checks on a baby emerald tree boa, coiled around a twig. This was one of six such boas reared in the spring of 1985 in the Reptile House. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image Number 97-9596.

Elizabeth Reed, wife of National Zoological Park (NZP) Director Theodore Reed, with two month old female white tiger cub Rewati at NZP for a reception for Friends of the National Zoo, June 17, 1969, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 11-008, OPA-1520-02.

William Temple Hornaday, the Smithsonian’s Curator of the Department of Living Animals and the first Superintendent of the National Zoological Park, with a baby bison known as Sandy, 1886. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image Number 74-12338.

National Zoological Park biologist JoGayle Howard with a clouded leopard cub, 1992. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession #17-101.

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