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.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."