8 May, 2024 @ 11:36
1 min read

Chimpanzee carries her dead baby around for months in heartbreaking scenes at a wildlife park in Spain

Chimpanzee carries her dead baby around for months in heartbreaking scenes at a wildlife park in Spain

A FEMALE chimpanzee at the Valencia Bioparc is still grieving over the death of her baby three months on, by carrying its body in her arms.

Natalia gave birth at the start of February but the baby died two weeks later.

Bioparc visitors have been shocked to see the mum still holding the youngster but experts say the ‘mourning phase’ has to be respected.



“This is a species where social bonds and group cohesion are critical, so all members are affected by these sad events,” Bioparc management said.

“Little by little they come to terms with reality and loss.”

Months later, Natalia still hasn’t let go of her calf and continues to hug and carry his body with her, even though she performs other tasks with the rest of the chimpanzees.

“Mortality in this species is very high and in fact, Natalia lost another baby in 2018,” said Bioparc Valencia’s technical director of animals, Loles Carbonell.

“When this calf was born, we contacted international experts, who advised us to give it natural products to help the mother give it milk and that’s what we did,” he added.

According to Bioparc, the baby showed ‘normal activity’ until the day before it died.

Staff tried to do their best to help but could do nothing to prevent what Loles Carbonell described as a ‘heartbreaking situation’.

Despite what happened, Natalia has what shown animal experts have long observed, namely that feeling grief is not exclusive to humans, and that many animals, particularly mammals, also develop it.

Besides chimpanzees it also prevalent in great apes like gorillas as well as in dolphins, orcas and elephants.

Alex Trelinski

Alex worked for 30 years for the BBC as a presenter, producer and manager. He covered a variety of areas specialising in sport, news and politics. After moving to the Costa Blanca over a decade ago, he edited a newspaper for 5 years and worked on local radio.

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