Mourning Chimp Mum Still Carries Mummified Baby Around With Her

A heartbroken mother chimpanzee is still caring for her baby’s mummified remains at a Spanish zoo, carrying the tiny corpse around with her since February.

The mother chimpanzee, named Natalia, cut a tragic figure as she carried her baby’s body everywhere with her in her enclosure at the Bioparc Valencia in the south of Spain.

The zoo said in a statement obtained by Newsflash on 10th May that the baby chimp died at the beginning of February, a common occurrence with the species which has a high infantile mortality rate.

Chimpanzees are known to mourn, but the mother chimpanzee’s grief is reportedly quite severe, with the zoo saying: “This is a species where social ties and group cohesion are fundamental, so all members are affected by these sad events.”

“They need a period of “grieving” and little by little they come to terms with reality and the loss, although the mother may still needs time to even let go of the inert body.”

The zoo said Natalia had her baby in February at the same time as another mother chimp, and fortunately the second baby is doing well.

Picture shows the sad mourning of a chimpanzee mother in the Bioparc of Valencia, Spain. She has been carrying the corpse of her baby in her arms for months. (Bioparc Valencia/Newsflash)

They said that they had hoped the presence of the other baby would cheer Natalia, but so far it did not seem to be having any impact on her grief.”

The zoo said that the group of chimpanzees are critically endangered and are part of a special programme to try to save them, saying: “The BIOPARCs of Fuengirola and Valencia are home to the largest group in Spain of chimpanzees of the subspecies Pan troglodytes verus, critically endangered according to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and have a prominent role in the European programme for their protection (EEP).

Bioparc Valencia said that it did its best to ensure that the species could live in an environment that mirrors their natural habitat as closely as possible, saying: “It should be emphasised that the animals housed in centres like BIOPARC are not pets nor are they domesticated. The objective is the preservation of the species, providing them with maximum well-being and, at the same time, favouring their behaviour and natural instinct.

“In this sense, it is necessary to assume the most tragic part, no matter how heartbreaking it may be for people. Now efforts are focused on providing the group with as much peace as possible, with the certainty that they have already overcome similar situations.”

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