Last week I visited Naturzoo Rheine. A wonderful zoo. Not that big, but many beautiful animals that you can see up close. The animals have a lot of space. Nice place to take pictures. It was a nice day, but there was also a sad moment.
The sad moment was the sight of a gelada with a dead baby. There is a large group of geladas in Rheine. There are a lot of youngsters who play and romp. Wonderful!
Among all that beauty is a mother with a dead young. How sad. She kept aloof from the other monkeys. Only a young monkey, I think an older young of this mother, occasionally stayed with her. She was busy taking care of the dead baby (grooming), picked it up and went on with the care a little further. She held the little one close all the time. After a while, she was completely alone.
Life goes on around the mother, as it always does. Other members of the group enjoyed hugging each other, chatting and grooming. Geladas communicate a lot, with sounds and very extensively with the face.
The youngsters are playing on the rocks. They are good climbers. They jump from brick to brick. It looks scary, but they don’t fall or get hurt.
The little ones also have “conversations” with each other.
Father eats grass. Geladas are the only monkey species that feed on grass. It seems as if he is smiling, but the facial expressions of monkeys are not the same as ours.
They are even working on new babies.
Meanwhile, mother is sitting alone with her dead child.
Why don’t the caregivers intervene you might ask? They do not intervene, because this is how nature works. A mother often carries a dead baby for several days. The zoo gives this mother time to mourn and say goodbye. Only when she chooses to leave the little one behind, will the dead baby be taken away.
In this example shows again that animals have feelings. That they know loss and sorrow. People who say that animals do not understand it and feel nothing do not have to come to me. Look at the photos and see for yourself.