One of the world’s rarest primates is seen here mourning the death of her baby shortly after giving birth at a zoo in Germany.
The sad photo was shared by staff at the Green Zoo Wuppertal where the eight-year-old female drill monkey named Traceuse was pictured with the body of her infant two days after giving birth.
On the photo on their social media page, zoo spokesperson Claudia Philipp said that the baby had been born in the night and was already dead when it was found in the morning.
She added: “For the 8-year-old female, which has lived in the Green Zoo in Wuppertal since 2017, it was the first baby. First births in particular often end in stillbirth.
“The mum ‘Traceuse’ carried her deceased cub around with her for two days and cared for it until she finally put it down yesterday afternoon.
“Since then, ‘Uyo’, the second female of the drill group, has carried the lifeless body around and carefully touched it again and again. In this way, she also learns how to deal with a young animal.”
Claudia said that the primates were showing a perfectly natural behaviour also seen by monkeys in the world where mothers and other members of the group get the chance to say goodbye to the dead and come to terms with death.
She added that zookeepers respected this mourning process and would only remove the body when it was clear that none of the members of the troupe were interested in any more and had completed the mourning process.
Out of respect for the loss, the monkey enclosure was also closed to the public for the time being, although they can still be seen when they emerge in the outdoor area.
Claudia added: “Even though we are very sad about the loss of the cub, it makes us happy to see how caringly ‘Traceuse’ took care of her lifeless offspring.
“So the chances are good that if she gets pregnant again and then hopefully gives birth successfully, she will raise her young animal in an exemplary manner in order to contribute to the preservation of this highly endangered monkey species.
“In addition, this first offspring shows us that the young breeding group harmonizes well and is capable of reproduction.”
Drills are among the most endangered monkey species in Africa.
The Green Zoo Wuppertal, together with the Zoo-Verein Wuppertal eV, has been supporting the Rettet den Drill eV association for many years, which is committed to preserving the drill in its natural habitat.
There are currently four drills living in the Wuppertal Green Zoo: the two females Traceuse and Uyo and the two males Kano and Raul.
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