All animals have a range of emotions that have proven to be more complex than most of us could have imagined.
When it comes to mourning, words hardly do justice in respecting the emotions of animals. That is when pictures and video’s prove to be much more powerful. With that said, here are some animals who have mourned family and friends in a way we can totally relate to. And it’s heart shattering..
Dolphins are known as highly intelligent animals and it’s no surprise that dolphins mourn when one of their own die. Researchers say that dolphins have a hard time accepting death, and will often stay with a deceased infant or pod member for days. This sad display is just further evidence for experts that dolphins are smarter and deeper animals than we may have expected.
The story of this particular chimp was best told to ABC by the photographer who captured the moment, Monica Szcupider: “Her presence, and loss, was palpable, and resonated throughout the group. The management at Sanaga-Yong opted to let Dorothy’s chimpanzee family witness her burial, so that perhaps they would understand, in their own capacity, that Dorothy would not return. Some chimps displayed aggression while others barked in frustration, but perhaps the most stunning reaction was a recurring, almost tangible silence. If one knows chimpanzees, then one knows that they are not usually silent creatures.” All apes essentially mourn the loss of loved ones.
This video says more than a thousand words..
Gorillas have been recorded exhibiting sadness and concern for their dead, sometimes even burying the bodies. One heartbreaking example is Gana, who could not accept the death of her child. Gana carried the infant’s body with her around a German zoo for days, trying to restore life to it multiple times, and protecting it from zookeepers. Here a Gorilla mourns her friend, a cat. It really is unbelievable (even though it should not be).
Elephants are known to shed tears, bury their dead, go into depression and starve themselves in reaction to a loss.
Geese are fiercely loyal, committing to one mate. Once that mate dies, they grieve tremendously. Some will even separate from the flock. Eventually many will find another partner but like humans, it’s not an easy process.
Cats are known as loaners but they’ve been documented grieving at the loss of owners, friends at a zoo and in the wild.
Sea lion mothers who witness their pup being killed by predators wail in anguish at their loss. This behaviour has also been seen in sea lions who witness their companions being taken by hunters.
Giraffes have been known to mourn deeply. In 2010, for example, in the Soysambu Conservancy in Kenya, a female giraffe and 17 of her girlfriends, spent four days beside the body of her one-month-old calf. Giraffes can hang around there for weeks. They are rarely alone, in life or in death.
The Polar Bears, Wang and GeeBee from the Jonannesburg Zoo, had spent their days together since they were cubs. After GeeBee died of a heart attack, Wang walked around his companion’s body, stared and kept watch the whole night.
Soon after, he lost interest in everything, including eating and swimming — his favourite pastime with GeeBee.
A few months later, Wang died from ‘broken heart.’
Two emperor penguins mourn the death of a tiny emperor penguin chick. An emotional scene from BBC series Penguins Spy in the Hudde (Waddle all the Way).
Humans have a responsibility to show the animal kingdom that we are truly the most intelligent not only intellectually but emotionally as well. Judging by some of the pictures and videos above, we have a long way to go.