While you dream of quitting your job and moving to a new place to follow your passion, I bet becoming a mom of a group of animals is the last thing that comes to your mind!
It is a privilege, no doubt, but it is certainly not an ordinary story! A couple of months ago, young zoologist and wildlife photographer Dani Connor moved to northern Sweden, to a small, rural village.
She quit her customer service roles at a zoo and museum in London, and decided to try and see “where she can take her wildlife photography”!
Although she has been there for a short amount of time, she is already a significant part of the local community. She accepted the role of a “mother” to a bunch of baby squirrels who were in desperate need of her.
Connor has always enjoyed photographing various animals there, and the forest is also the home of one of her most loved ones: red squirrels.
She has spent a lot of time watching them, so she became able to recognize each one of them, and she started giving them names. Yet, she developed a special bond to one of them, who he named Remy.
Remy enjoyed Dani’s model more than any other squirrel that she has encountered there. And the camera loved her back.
Connor says that it is due to her high confidence.
Sadly, one day, Connor found her dead body, and she had probably been hit by a car. Connor was devastated.
To pay respect to the squirrel, who was her friend by that time, Connor put Remy to rest in a bed of dandelions. Yet, Connor would not stop there.
She went on to do much more than that. Throughout the time spent with Remy, Connor had guessed that she had babies, and now she was worried about them.
She sat in the forest where she took photographs of Remy and waited.
All of a sudden, one small and red thing jump in front of her.
It was an adorable tiny red squirrel, and she said she was sure that the baby was Remy’s.
The baby was afraid to get closer.
In fact, she “waited 7 hours in the forest that day to see if any adults would go up the tree.”
As no one came, she was sure that it was her duty to protect the babies of her beloved squirrel.
After she spoke to a wildlife expert, Connor concluded that the baby was likely still not old enough to forage on his own. So she put out a pile of food to make sure he wouldn’t be hungry with Remy not being there.
Yet, when she went to the same spot a few hours later, Connor realized that Remy had three more babies!
The squirrel babies were eating the food she had left for them, so she was too happy and relieved!
Since then, Connor became their loving caretaker. She spent 4-6 hours every day in the forest with them, and they “ slept for most of the day but when they were awake, I was with them.”
Over time, they have become more relaxed, they learned to recognize Connor’s voice and followed her around.
They got used to her taking photos of them, and seem to enjoy her company.
“Even though they don’t have a mother to teach them how to forage, I have already seen them find their own food. I am highly optimistic that they will survive. And I am very glad they have stayed in the wild.”
In the meantime, she documents their life, and her work is adorable!
Her video of the sound squirrels make while snacking went viral!
“I did not expect to be a squirrel mum at all. It is quite rare to see baby red squirrels in the wild. So I feel privileged to have found them and to have been with them as they grow up. They have provided me with so much entertainment and joy.”