Betty on the News: Chimps Grieve for One of Their Own
Primates at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center mourn companion’s passing.
At the end of September Dorothy, a female chimpanzee in her late 40s who spent eight years at Cameroon’s Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, passed away due to congestive heart failure.
Dorothy had previously been sold as a “mascot” to an amusement park in Cameroon after her mother was killed by a hunter. For 25 years she was forced to drink beer and smoke cigarettes for sport while being tethered to the ground by a chain which was wrapped around her neck. In May of 2000 she was saved and taken to the rehabilitation facility, where she flourished upon receiving the care she so desperately needed.
Following her death, National Geographic Magazine featured a touching photo of Dorothy’s fellow primates observing the burial of own of their own.
“Her presence, and loss, was palpable, and resonated throughout the group,” photographer Monica Szczupide told NGM.com. “The management at Sanaga-Yong opted to let Dorothy’s chimpanzee family witness her burial, so that perhaps they would understand, in their own capacity, that Dorothy would not return. Some chimps displayed aggression while others barked in frustration, but perhaps the most stunning reaction was a recurring, almost tangible silence. If one knows chimpanzees, then one knows that [they] are not [usually] silent creatures.” (NGM.com)