Chimpanzees and Gorillas
First on the list is Dorothy, a chimpanzee from Camaroon. After her mother was killed by hunters, Dorothy was sold to an amusement park where she would spend the next 25 years of her life chained up, forced to drink and smoke cigarettes for the amusement of humans. In May 2000, Dorothy was rescued and relocated to the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, where she lived out her years making bonds and forming relationships with other chimps. Dorothy died in 2008. She was in her late 40s.
“Her presence, and loss, was palpable, and resonated throughout the group,” a volunteer told Jeremy Berlin, author of The Story Behind National Geographic’s viral Chimp Funeral Video from the Huffington Post.
Dorothy’s chimp friends were allowed to see her dead body carried away, almost as if it were a funeral procession.
“Some chimps displayed aggression while others barked in frustration, but perhaps the most stunning reaction was a recurring, almost tangible silence,” the volunteer said.
This is one of many examples of animals who mourn. In some situations, zookeepers will leave the corpse in the caged area so animals could come touch the body and stay with it for days.
“All great apes feel sorrow when they lose someone in their family,” Patti Ragan, director of the Center for Great Apes in Florida, said to ABC News.
Ragan says that human and ape DNA sequences are 99 percent similar.
Another primate that makes its way onto our list is gorillas. Like chimpanzees, gorillas bare a striking resemblance to humans in many ways. A few years ago, another viral image of a primate made its rounds on the Internet that showed a mother grieving the death of her newborn baby.
Three-month-old Claudio died suddenly in the arms of his mother, 11-year-old Gana. According to The Daily Mail, who reported the incident, Gana, initially puzzled by his death, began to stroke and shake the corpse for hours in hopes of giving it life again. She then caressed the corpse before placing it on her back and walking around while stopping to stare back at it every few steps. Gorillas have been observed keeping their dead loved ones close to them sometimes until the body starts to decompose.
Man’s best friend also has feelings. It’s no secret that dogs have emotions. We see their happiness when they bark loudly, jump around and wag their tales. We know when they’re sad by how they hang their heads low and make weeping noises. Many have seen videos online of dogs taking court next to the grave of their owners. Dogs are also known to grieve their canine companions. They’ll forego food and sometimes fall ill.
It’s no secret that dolphins are one of the most intelligent animals on Earth. Like humans, they form bonds, have social structures and communicate with each other. In perhaps one of the most surprising cases of a dolphin grieving, photographers captured a mother dolphin holding her dead baby above water so it could get oxygen.
The Daily Mail reports that every time the dolphin fell off its mother’s back, she would pick it back up and continue taking it farther out in the ocean. Some speculate the dolphin was taking the calf out to lie it to rest in deeper water. The calf had a visible gash on its body, indicating it was hit by a propeller.