The emotional lives of non-human animals are intricate and deserving of our respect, even if we can’t always see these moments. We know when our household companion animals are happy, sad, angry, hungry, or perplexed, so it’s not far off that other animals experience these emotions as well.
We know that elephants have burials and mourn the death of those they know and loved. In 2012, a herd of wild elephants mourned the death of the “elephant whisperer” who had helped many of their kind. It was said that, “Following Anthony’s death, the herds of elephants embarked on a 12 hour journey to visit his wife and children at their home. According to Anthony’s son, in the year and a half they had lived there, the elephants had never visited their home.”
It has always seemed easier for humans to identify with four legged animals as they remind us of our typical companion animals, dogs and cats. However, birds are just as capable of complex emotion.
The following video shows a heartbreaking scene of a mother penguin grieving the loss of her baby, and her attempts to wake him. It can be hard to watch for some, and we hope that in taking the time to view this moment in the penguins’ lives, we can begin to understand the depth of feeling that all the creatures of this world possess.