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As Mother’s Day approaches, what can we learn about parenting from the animal kingdom?

The St. Louis Zoo's David Powell and Anne Tieber discussed parenting in the animal kingdom on St. Louis on the Air on Wednesday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
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The St. Louis Zoo's David Powell and Anne Tieber discussed parenting in the animal kingdom on St. Louis on the Air on Wednesday.

Sunday marks Mother’s Day in the United States. In honor of the holiday, we’re talking about motherhood from a slightly different perspective: parenting in the animal kingdom.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by David Powell, director of research at the St. Louis Zoo, and Anne Tieber, curator of birds at the St. Louis Zoo, to talk about animal parenting styles.

“One of things we can learn is the diversity of the parenting styles, how each one is suited to the animal’s situation – each knows what is best,” Powell said.

Parenting styles shift according to species. In some cases, fathers aren’t present at all in animal-rearing. That’s certainly the case for the St. Louis Zoo’s critically endangered black rhino, which expected to give a birth by the end of June. The father rhino won’t be present for the birth or for raising the rhino after the fact.

“With mammals, it is common for mainly females to do all the parental care,” Powell said. “There are a few social animals, some of the primates, the male is there or to defend the territory or group. There is a lot of diversity across the animal kingdom that we’re only now beginning to understand.”

Listen to the full discussion about animal parenting styles here:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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