... with one eye open.

By Chamaeleo

NHM Ecology

Here, we observe a juvenile NHM Visitor in its natural habitat: while older members of the species typically move slowly and consider their surroundings, younger individuals can often be seen leaping and gambolling through the terrain, oblivious to both the hazards and resources that they pass.

Their parents, or sometimes unrelated older members of the herd, may encourage them to look around and explore the territory in the hope that they may develop awareness of the riches that it holds, but often, frustrated, they leave them to their play-fighting and exuberant whooping.
Conflict resolution and assertion are, of course, skills that they'll need to master if they are to survive the perilous wilds independently...

The young, singly or in groups, may stray off out of sight of the rest, and then we can see their behaviour become more unrestrained and less predictable as they explore unmoderated by the watchful eyes of the adults. The parents may tolerate this distance, or sometimes seek out their young charging desperately and bellowing throughout the territory, until, reunited, they berate their young which then remain close to their parents, having realised the bounds of their independence.

Life is not easy for the young of the NHM: they lack the stamina of the older animals, and may become fatigued and weary. The adults press on, encouraging their young to keep up until a breaking point is reached, and then they resort to bribing their offspring with flimsy gifts and sugary solutions...

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