Bison midwives, first of 3. Two female bison help the mother (trailing afterbirth) with her newborn calf. The group surrounded the wobbly calf, helped it stand, and helped lick it clean. With coyotes, wolves, and grizzlies nearby, this cooperative protective behavior probably provided a survival advantage to the vulnerable young calf. In this photo the calf takes its first steps to emerge from the protective triangle of adults.
Bison midwives, 2 of 3. Still trailing fresh afterbirth, the bison mother checks her new wobbly calf while the other females keep watch. After it is cleaned up and dried off, the newborn will become a "red dog" like the other new calves.
Bison midwives, last of 3. The newborn is supported between its mother (on right) and a "midwife" mother (at left). Both mothers are cleaning the newborn calf (note their tongues extended). The red calf was born a few days earlier.