Shira the gorilla of Frankfurt Zoo in Germany gave birth to a baby daughter one week ago. Tragically, her young is now dead, and a series of heart-wrenching photographs have gone viral.
That’s because the mother gorilla cannot say goodbye to her little one. Zookeepers tell the Daily Mail that as of last Thursday, the baby gorilla was fine, but shortly thereafter she died, and Shira has yet to come to terms with it.
She carries her daughter around as if she’s still alive and even tries to wake her up. Handlers have been unable to remove the body from Shira’s living area because the mother won’t let her little one out of sight.
Shira is said to have a “perplexed” look on her face when she tries to waken the baby and it doesn’t respond.
Images, which you can view at this link if you’re able to fight back the tears, show Shira holding the limp form as she makes her way through her habitat at the zoo.
She has, understandably, captured the hearts of mothers and fathers everywhere with many humans hurting right along with her.
“Poor sweetheart,” wrote one commenter. “Animals have deep souls. Deep love.”
“Aww. Poor momma,” wrote another. “Very sad for her.”
A third commenter said that despite these animals’ amazing strength, they “are such gentle creatures and only really show anger when their offspring are in danger!”
And this mother was truly crushed.
“This is sad beyond words — I hope those in authority will perhaps consider not letting her become pregnant again — her face speaks a million words — beyond heartbreaking.”
This commenter’s remark speaks to a good point. Shira had one other baby prior to this and lost her last year.
It’s perhaps because of this connection that Shira has been unable to face reality with her second daughter.
Regardless, it’s one of the most heartbreaking things you can see as a parent, human or otherwise.
In a separate report from the Mirror, zoo director Manfred Niekisch had this to say about Shira’s loss:
“Last Thursday she was OK in the morning but in the afternoon she suddenly and without warning died. We have as yet no idea what caused it. This is often the case with gorillas. The bond between mothers and their babies is particularly close. Shira needs time and space to come to terms with her loss.”
Do you think stories like that of Shira and her baby are proof that animals feel emotions as deeply as people?
[Image of Shira the Gorilla via YouTube screen grab]