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Five animal dads worth celebrating this Father’s Day

This Sunday is Father’s Day – a time to celebrate the many fathers or father figures in our lives. Dads sacrifice great measures to keep their children and partner secure and happy, and it’s no different in the animal kingdom. From providing food, shelter, companionship, and love, they can never be appreciated enough.  Here are five amazing dad species.

1.  The Great Horned Owl: A Provider

Great horned owl, Canada © J. D. Taylor / WWF-Canada

Great horned owl, Canada © J. D. Taylor / WWF-Canada

Great Horned Owl mates stay together for a very long time, perhaps for life. The female is usually heavier than the male and takes all responsibility to incubate the eggs and young while the father provides food and protection for his family. Pairs call to each other and can easily tell their voices apart from other owls. When the male is out hunting for his family, he is able to take down prey two to three times heavier than him.

2. Golden Lion Tamarin: The extended family

Golden lion tamarin © David Lawson / WWF-UK

Golden lion tamarin © David Lawson / WWF-UK

High up in the tree tops of Brazil’s coastal region, these small marmosets raise their young with relatives. This species keeps to one partner and usually give birth to twins. The father takes on many responsibilities of the babies by carrying them most of the time, unless other relatives wish to help. He must do this for six to seven weeks until they are mature. In this group, the males are the less territorial peace keepers of the family.

3. Atlantic Wolffish: The protector

Atlantic wolfish, Saltstraumen, Norway © Wild Wonders of Europe /Magnus Lundgren / WWF

Atlantic wolffish, Saltstraumen, Norway © Wild Wonders of Europe /Magnus Lundgren / WWF

This handsome dad is can be found in the Davis Straight in the Arctic, the North Atlantic Ocean, southern Newfoundland and Barents Sea. Atlantic Wolffish eggs are among the largest eggs of any fish, measuring at six millimetres in diameter. Once they are laid, the male will guard and protect the eggs until they hatch. This species is under protection by the Canadian federal government, as it is listed as a species of Special Concern under the Species at Risk Act.

4. Gentoo Penguin: The cool dad

Gentoo penguins, Antarctica © Wim van Passel / WWF

Gentoo penguins, Antarctica © Wim van Passel / WWF

These Antarctic penguins create an equally balanced family with both the male and female sharing the responsibly of making a nest together and raising the chicks. They form strong bonds that last well beyond raising their chicks. They are about three feet tall and live entirely off of small fish and krill.

5. Denise’s Pygmy Seahorse: Small Dad, Big Heart

Denise's pygmy seahorse, Tulamben, Indonesia © Jürgen Freund / WWF

Denise’s pygmy seahorse, Tulamben, Indonesia © Jürgen Freund / WWF

The denise’s pygmy seahorse is one of the tiniest seahorse dads in the water.  Seahorses are one of the only animals where the male is the one who carries the eggs. The eggs are brooded in a pouch located on the male’s tail.  Throughout the first few days they are born, young seahorses begin to gain their colouring from the environment around them. For this reason, the species has a wide range of colour, and even textures, depending on where they are born, and it’s the reason why this little seahorse is an expert in camouflage.  Can you spot it in the picture above?