DEATH RIT­U­ALS IN THE WILD

Animal Scene - - ADVOCATE -

An­i­mals in the wild also deal with their loss in dif­fer­ent ways.

For ex­am­ple, Laura Parker men­tioned in her 2016 Na­tional Geo­graphic ar­ti­cle that ele­phants showed re­spect to their dead by guard­ing the body for a long time, and even go­ing back to the bones once the body had been dealt with by preda­tors — much like how hu­mans would visit the grave of their loved ones.

Dol­phins, just like ele­phants, would also guard their dead for a long time, only leav­ing the body when they had to

re­turn to the sur­face in or­der to breathe, as re­ported by Ja­son Gold­man in his BBC ar­ti­cle in 2012. Dol­phins would de­vi­ate from their usual rou­tines while mourn­ing by trav­el­ing slower, stay­ing in the area as long as pos­si­ble while push­ing the body with their beaks, and show­ing ag­gres­sion to­ward other an­i­mals who try to ap­proach the dead body.

Some an­i­mals, on the other hand, deal with grief dif­fer­ently when mourn­ing the death of their off­spring.

Or­cas have been known to

carry their de­ceased off­spring for a lit­tle while. Re­cently, there was news about an orca car­ry­ing her dead baby for more than a week -- a record time that caught ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion. [The griev­ing whale, known as Tahle­quah, be­longs to a crit­i­cally en­dan­gered orca species, ac­cord­ing to a 2018 re­port by Tom Em­bury-den­nis for The In­de­pen­dent. Rather ex­hausted, the mother whale’s fam­ily also helped carry her dead daugh­ter for her, re­ported Sarah Sch­weig in a 2018 ar­ti­cle for The Dodo. She car­ried her baby’s corpse for 17 days. -Ed.]

1 1. The 20-yearold whale, also known as Tahle­quah, is an im­por­tant mem­ber of the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered south­ern res­i­dent orca pop­u­la­tion ( AP ) Photo from in­de­pen­dent.co.uk

3 3. Whale J35 is seen sup­port­ing her dead calf. Photo from bbc.com

2 2. Tahle­quah, also known as J-35, is a fe­male orca whale whose calf died just 30 min­utes af­ter be­ing born. Photo from moth­er­hood­thetruth. com

4 4. The mother car­ries the calf. Also from bbc.com

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