By Mark McConville
A MOTHER’S love is clear to see in this set of adorable pictures as a chimpanzee clings onto her baby.
Heart-warming photos show mother and child embrace as the baby chimp bursts into a huge smile and laughs while looking at the camera.
Other cute images show the baby clinging to mum as she walks around, finding its feet by taking its own unsteady steps and sucking its thumb.
The fun photographs were taken in Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia by photographer Mandy Creighton (49), from Wollongong, Australia.
“The chimpanzees are always entertaining especially when there are babies and young chimps about so I always stop to capture some photos whenever I visit the zoo,” she said.
“No one can resist a cute baby animal. Zoo photography allows you to get up close with animals that aren’t easy to see in the wild but it also has challenges, Taronga is a busy zoo so there are always crowds to deal with.
“The light can be variable and patience is required to capture an interesting pose or facial expression.”
Chimpanzees live in large multi-male and multi-female social groups, which are called communities. Within a community, the position of an individual and the influence the individual has on others dictates a definite social hierarchy.
Female chimpanzees also have a hierarchy, which is influenced by the position of a female individual within a group. In some chimpanzee communities, the young females may inherit high status from a high-ranking mother.
Dominant females will also ally to dominate lower-ranking females: whereas males mainly seek dominant status for its associated mating privileges and sometimes violent domination of subordinates, females seek dominant status to acquire resources such as food, as high-ranking females often have first access to them. Both genders acquire dominant status to improve social standing within a group.
Community female acceptance is necessary for alpha male status; females must ensure that their group visits places that supply them with enough food. A group of dominant females will sometimes oust an alpha male which is not to their preference and back another male, in whom they see potential for leading the group as a successful alpha male.