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Grieving chimpanzee carries dead baby for months at Spanish zoo

The ape, named Natalia, lost her child when it was only a few days old. She has clung to the inert body ever since, seemingly unwilling to separate.
Last Updated : 21 May 2024, 08:55 IST
Last Updated : 21 May 2024, 08:55 IST

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Valencia: Visitors to the Bioparc zoo in the Spanish city of Valencia have been greeted over the past three months with the moving sight of a grieving chimpanzee carrying around her dead baby.

The ape, named Natalia, lost her child when it was only a few days old. She has clung to the inert body ever since, seemingly unwilling to separate.

"This is a conduct that has been previously observed in chimpanzees, not only in zoos but also in the wild," Miguel Casares, the Head of Bioparc, told Reuters.

Like humans, chimpanzees may mourn the deaths of those close to them, but it is unusual for the process to be so stark or so long. Nevertheless, Casares said it must be respected, just as in humans.

"Our visitors, who at first are quite shocked by the sight of a dead baby, understand as soon as we explain to them why we have left it and why we keep it under observation."

Natalia had already lost one of her offspring in 2018, so she has been closely monitored this time.

Chimpanzees are among the most endangered primates in Africa, where a wild population of 1,00,000 to 2,00,000 is suffering from hunting, habitat loss and disease.

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Published 21 May 2024, 08:55 IST

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