In one of our latest Instagram posts, we show a heartbreaking video of a mother dolphin grieving over her dead baby. You can see the video here:
The video was taken by dolphin expert, Li Min, on September 3 near Zhanjiang city in China. It shows a Chinese white dolphin using its body to keep the lifeless baby dolphin’s body afloat while she swims in the water. Whenever the carcass sinks, the sad mother dives to rescue it.
Lim Min works with the South China Sea Fisheries Research Institute and he reports that the cause of the calf’s death is unknown and won’t be determined without an autopsy.
Are Humans the Only Mammals That Can Grieve?
This agonizing sight has reignited the debate of whether animals are capable of grief or not. This is not the first sighting of its kind, though.
In 2019, a dolphin was photographed carrying its dead baby after it got tangled up in a crab net in Australia. In Florida, another dolphin was seen refusing to let her deceased calf go and pushing it through the Intracoastal waterway.
In 2018, a study on dolphins and whales was done by researchers at the Dolphin Biology and Conservation at Oceancare in Italy. 78 records of marine animals’ treatment of their dead from the years between 1970 and 2016 were analyzed.
The study found that both species had trouble letting go of their loved ones and even held “vigils” for the deceased. The study reported that the mourning of friends and family was done in a similar way to humans. More than 90 percent of the dolphins studied were attentive to their lost loved ones … and three-quarters of the interactions involved grieving females. 75 percent of the incidents were of adult females focused on their dead calves and some of them carried the carcass for about a week.
Animals Experience Loss Too
If you’ve ever experienced the death of a loved one, then you understand the heartbreaking feeling that comes when it happens. The study shows that animals experience this type of loss, too.
Dolphins are highly intelligent creatures with social skills. They are deep feeling and adept individuals that grieve.
At Karmagawa and SaveTheReef we are hurt whenever we see an animal grieve for a lost loved one. We believe animals feel and need love just like humans and that we need to do a better job of protecting them and the environment.
Also … please spread our information so that your friends and family are aware, as well.
Have them watch this powerful video …
The director of this video, Amir Zakeri, created a masterclass for anyone in the Karmagawa and SaveTheReef community who would like to tell visual stories about the causes they care about. If you’re interested, here’s 50% off.
What do you think about this poor grieving mother trying to keep her dolphin baby’s body afloat? Leave a comment below.
(Cover image: vkilikov/Shutterstock)