A breathtaking glimpse into the lives of the youngest members of the world’s most majestic and endangered wild mammals.
About New on Earth: Baby Animals in the Wild
Over the past twenty years, Suzi Eszterhas has dedicated her life and work as a wildlife photographer documenting the home lives of wildlife species worldwide, extraordinary focus on endangered species.
Often spending weeks, months, or even years with a single family of animals, she captures many unique moments in the lives of young animals. New on Earth is her most breathtaking collection of photographs — from groundbreaking images of tiger cubs in their dens in India to cheetah newborns in the African savanna to bear cubs seeing for the first time seeing the world in the Alaskan wilderness.
Her experience of meeting Kabatwa, and the twins Isango Gakuru and Isango Gato, was one of the best moments of her career. Twins between any great apes are extremely rare.
Her biggest challenge working at a wild tiger den in India was getting the cubs to accept my presence. While she was very comfortable with people, her cubs had never seen a human.
It’s hard to describe what it feels like to swim with a 40-ton intelligent mammal and its babies. Being in the water with something so big and powerful, yet so friendly, is truly a spiritual experience.
This mother and sloth lost their home tree to logging and were rescued and rehabilitated by a local sloth reserve. Suzi took this photo shortly after they were released back into the wild, in an area that is permanently safe from logging and other forms of deforestation.
In the Canadian Arctic, Suzi hid a scientist collecting data on the effects of climate change on polar bears. He gave her mother a sedative to safely weigh her and take blood, hair, and fat samples. Her precious cubs climbed on top of her for safety.
In the photo, a ring-tailed lemur mother is holding her baby while another adult woman cares for it. The baby seems less nervous. His facial expression is priceless.
When it comes to cute baby animals, it’s hard to line up with baby otters, as this little guy from Monterey Bay, California, proves. His newborn coat is warm, soft, and bouncy. He spends most of the day sleeping on his mother’s belly wrapped in his arms or grooming.
This one and a half-year-old Sumatran orangutan is playfully dangling and spinning in Gunung Leuser National Park. Orangutans are critically endangered due to deforestation from the palm oil industry.
In this photo, the baby is biting on his mother’s nose, which makes me laugh because the species is named for its schnoz: the “sparrow” is a long mammalian nose. These monkeys have such big noses due to sexual selection, i.e. females think it’s sexy.
In the golden morning light of Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, a lion cub meets his father for the first time. The daughter in the photo looks at her father for a few minutes, almost embarrassed, before climbing up. Her raised paws showed that she was hesitant. She didn’t have to worry — Dad approved of her.
Here, a leopard rubs its mother’s chin in what is together, jump on top of each other, or explore together in a small group. They are happy to take pictures. used to calling a big cat’s snout. It’s widespread behaviour, but you’ll only see it between mother and cubs among leopards because they live alone.
At birth, kangaroo joeys are about the size of a grape; pink, hairless and blind. They live completely in their mother’s pouch for the first four months. This joey is eight months old, and while still enjoying the bag, he has spent much longer outside.
When these jackal pups are one year old, they will go find their mates and start a family of their own. One thing that’s really special about the jackal family is that the adult puppies don’t always walk away. Sometimes they stick around and help mom and dad raise the next litter.
We rarely see three brown bears; Singles and doubles are much more common. It’s June, and Suzi is looking for a way to cool off. At first, cubs about five months old followed her inside, then quickly climbed onto her back as they began to flood.
Mother elephants use their trunks to communicate with their calves, providing reassurance or, in the case of this one-month-old baby in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, simply moving the baby along. African elephants live in matrilineal societies, and the bond between mother and child is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom.
African wild dogs live in packs and are extremely sociable, which means the puppy game is non-stop. They continuously howl together, jump on top of each other, or explore together in a small group. They are happy to take pictures.
Cheetah cups are among the most playful of all mammals, meaning their mothers are among the most tolerant. By pouncing on their mother’s head, these eight-week-old cubs are improving their hunting skills and coordination as well as building strength.
For a capybara infant, it is common to lie on or next to the mother during naps. And without even having to be a mother: Capybaras live in groups and practice parenting, a system where adults other than the parents help raise the babies.
With baby-animal play, parents don’t always show appreciation for the encounter. But many, like the female bison in Yellowstone National Park in Montana, clearly enjoy it. The mom went head-to-head with the baby for several minutes, much to my delight.
While working with a family of bat-eared foxes, Suzi observed some interesting behaviours: The fathers were just as involved as mothers in raising their children. Pictured here is dad, holding his two-week-old babies. Since then, we have learned that strong fatherhood is characteristic of dogs, including jackals and coyotes.