October 27, 2009

Is this haunting picture proof that chimps really DO grieve?

United in what appears to be deep and profound grief, a phalanx of more than a dozen chimpanzees stood in silence watching from behind the wire of their enclosure as the body of one of their own was wheeled past.
This extraordinary scene took place recently at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center in Cameroon, West Africa.
When a chimp called Dorothy, who was in her late 40s, died of heart failure, her fellow apes seemed to be stricken by sorrow.

As they wrapped their arms around each other in a gesture of solidarity, Dorothy's female keeper gently settled her into the wheelbarrow which carried her to her final resting place - not before giving this much-loved inhabitant of the centre a final affectionate stroke on the forehead.  

Chimpanzees appear to console one another as Dorothy is carried to her final resting place in a wheelbarrow
Hard not to feel emotional at this picture...
what do you think they are doing?


  1. It does make one wonder what goes on in their minds.

  2. I think they're nicer than a lot of humans, bless 'em. xxx

  3. What a touching photo. I really do think animals grieve. May not be the same ways as humans, but they seem to really understand that their friend is gone.

  4. I know that some animals have a sense of loyalty that far outstrips most humans. Consider the verified stories of dogs who waited for their deceased owners to show up, refusing to be moved from the spot by anyone. Or of cats who make amazingly harrowing and long journeys to reunite with families who left them behind when moving.

    Are the monkeys grieving? Why wouldn't they be grieving is a better question.

  5. Nothing will ever convince me that any animals don't grieve.
    Listen to the Bobby calves, & their mothers when they are taken.

  6. Animals can show varied emotion, they aren't different from us humans. i even saw a butterfly watching over her dead mate and won't leave her side.... very touching.

  7. That brought tears to my eyes, they seem to be standing watching one of their own pass them by..very touching...

  8. Too much evidence out there to ignore it.

    Walter Donovan
    Veterinary School Adminstration
    Veterinary College Abroad

  9. What an amazing photo.

    We have often seen Pukeko's standing around examining a squashed dead comrade on the road. And we wonder if they are grieving or merely curious.

  10. This photo originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of National Geographic magazine. The chimp Dorothy had lived for 25 years as an amusement park mascot, chained to the ground, before being rescued. Backstory here at NGM Blog Central:
    http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_centra...ing- chimps.html

  11. Thank you everyone
    and especially Marilyn
    gret background to that!

    just in case people couldn't use your link - I found it with good ol google...


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