Photo: Chimps mourn at burial of fellow primate


This extraordinary photograph from the November 2009 issue of National Geographic magazine is getting lots of attention this week.

The picture, taken at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Centre in Cameroon, shows more than a dozen apes gazing on as the body of one of their own is wheeled past them.

Dorothy, a female chimpanzee in her late 40s, died of heart failure, and her death seemed to have left her fellow primates stricken by grief.

Monica Szczupider, an employee who took the photograph, said: “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.”

This remarkable image gives a rare insight into how apes react when one of their family dies, showing very human-like emotions.