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A mother's sorrow: Macaque monkey spends days carrying her dead newborn baby
in heartbreaking display of grief
Female macaque was spotted cradling her dead newborn baby in arms
Spent days carrying around child at national park in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Could be seen clutching baby to her chest, while gazing mournfully at it
She even fended off a male macaque who tried to reach out and touch it
Heartbreaking moment captured by photographer Andrew Walmsley, 31
Sophie Jane Evans
11 May 2014
This is the heartbreaking moment a female macaque monkey cradled her dead
baby in her arms.
The grief-stricken mother spent days carrying around the tiny newborn at
Tangkoko Nature Reserve and National Park in Sulawesi, Indonesia.
She could be seen tenderly cradling her baby - before fending off a male macaque
who tried to reach out and touch it.
Heartbreaking: A female macaque cradles her dead newborn baby in her arms at
an Indonesian national park
The poignant moment was caught on camera by wildlife photographer Andrew
Walmsley, 31, who described it as 'very hard to watch'.
Both mother and newborn are crested black macaques, which are classified as
Critically Endangered due to hunting and habitat loss.
Footage shows the female macaque spending days looking after her baby, who
passed away just a few weeks after its birth.
She can be seen pressing her child tightly against her chest, before grooming,
sniffing and gazing mournfully at it.
Grief-stricken: The mother spent days carrying around her tiny child at
Tangkoko Nature Reserve and National Park in Sulawesi. She even fended off a
male macaque who tried to reach out and touch the baby (pictured)
Tragic: The poignant moment was caught on camera by wildlife photographer
Andrew Walmsley, from Oxford
She even pushes away another male macaque who tries to reach out and touch the
baby, while baring her sharp teeth at him.
Mr Walmsley, from Oxford, said he and a team of researchers had first spotted
the grief-stricken mother clutching the baby to her chest at around 11am.
'I first saw the mother walking past me and noticed that she was clutching
something to her chest, but that the legs were dragging against the ground, not
gripping her belly,' he said.
'She sat alone, cradling her baby, looking down at it and not moving for maybe
'Occasionally she would actually hug him, groom him slowly then return to
cradling him between her legs.
'A short while later, a young male approached and tried to touch her baby. But
the mother bared her teeth and grabbed his wrist, thrusting it away time and
He added: 'It was very hard to watch really. We were with her for about an hour,
just sitting there watching her. It is a mother whose child has died, it’s
almost irrelevant what species it is.
'You realise there’s so little difference between us and them when you see
that kind of behaviour.'
After Mr Walmsley left the national park, the macaque continued to carry her
dead newborn for two days, before finally letting go of it.
Tangkoko Nature Reserve and National Park is the main stronghold for the
remaining population of crested black macaques.
The main threat to the species is from humans hunting them for bush meat, which
is considered a delicacy in Indonesia for special events such as Christmas and