Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Surely no one is really surprised?

Park officials had separated Pansy from the other chimpanzees for treatment when she became ill in November 2008. But when her breathing became erratic a few weeks later, the other three chimps were allowed to join her.

In the 10 minutes before she died, the three animals – an elderly female named Blossom, Blossom's adult son Chippy and Pansy's adult daughter Rosie – frequently groomed and caressed Pansy. They crouched in close, and Chippy shook her arm, apparently testing for signs of life.

When they got no reaction, "they appeared to arrive at a collective decision that something had changed, and she was no longer the same as she was beforehand," said lead author James Anderson, who studies primate behavior at the University of Stirling. "It seems they are clearly able to distinguish the difference between being alive and unresponsive."

Soon, both Blossom and Chippy left Pansy's side. Even though it was not her usual sleeping area, Rosie stayed by her mother's corpse almost the entire night, sleeping fitfully.

Sixteen hours after Pansy's death, zookeepers removed the body, with the three chimps watching quietly. For several days afterward, the group was subdued, refusing to make a nest on the platform where Pansy had died. They also demanded more attention from the keepers.

Picture found here.


Apuleius Platonicus said...

The really sad part is that if they had allowed the others to visit sooner Pansy might still be alive.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

But they do act surprised.
Sometimes I think this civilisation needs a cuff around the head.
Terri in Joburg