Animal love

Wandering Albatross

Today is Valentine’s Day, the day where people show their love to the people they love. How does this work in the Animal kingdom? They don’t seem to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but do they love each other? Some animals only come together to reproduce. Polar Bears only come together to mate and the males leave soon after they fertilized the female. After that the females are on their own, In fact, the male might kill the cubs for a meal when he accidentally meets with them again. The female will become receptive again then and they might mate again. Not a sign of true love…

Other animals however mate for life. This are often the animals who have to spent a lot of time and effort in raising their offspring. By combining their efforts they maximize the chance of survival of their offspring. Wandering Albatrosses are such animals. They spent the first five years of their life at sea, circling Antarctica several times in these years. After this five years they come back on land and try to find a mate. The first seasons they are often successful and the first successful breeding attempt might only take place at the age of 22. However, when a pair bond is established, after an elaborate courtship ritual, it is often for life. Incubation is done by both male and female and when the  partner returns to the nest after a period of feeding, they always reestablish their bond, as is shown in the picture above. Is this just done to make sure the partner will come back the next time, or can we call this true love? I guess we’ll never know…

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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