Do animals grieve?

Published by Chapster on 2006/7/18 (11203 reads)

Such stories could be repeated over and over. Across so many species, perhaps all, there is pain in loss. There is a profound understanding of what has occurred and nearly immediate recognition that all the world has changed in every way that we can imagine.

Jim Metzner, host of National Geographic's Pulse of the Planet, interviewed Katy Payne, author of Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants. In that interview, Katy states: ""What I have seen though is that whenever an elephant comes to the bones of another elephant, it will stop and sniff and touch and roll over and fondle and carry and move and displace and pick up again and again those bones. And particularly tusks. Whether there's individual recognition of the source of the bones I don't know, but the bones are very interesting to other elephants. How they respond when other animals die is with obvious symptoms of grief, despair and distress initially. They are called back and back to explore the corpse, called back by their own desires to return. And eventually when they leave the corpse there is obvious evidence of grieving. A female having lost a calf stayed with the herd which accompanied her near to standing next to the corpse for several days and left reluctantly with a herd and then fifty kilometers away, turned back and went back to the calf. So there's all this kind of memory and grief."

Tags: grief   bereavement   elephant   dog   animal  

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