May 12 2014

Mother Macaque Holds Onto Dead Baby For 2 Weeks Before Letting Go

The macaque is one of the closest species in relation to humans and they demonstrate many of the same behaviors and tendencies. When a first time macaque mother lost her first born, she had a very heart-wrenching and dramatic response, as most humans would. In the tearing photos below, you can see the young macaque mother cradling her lifeless offspring after it died only a few weeks after its birth.


The mother held on to her dead child for two days before finally letting go. She continued to cradle the dead baby macaque, groom and hold it for the entire time. When a male macaque approached her in attempts to touch or possibly confiscate the small carcass, she barred her teeth, shrieked and shoved his hands away from the small, lifeless creature. According to the photographer, it was an undeniably sad and heart-wrenching event, and the cries of the mother macaque could be heard from far away distances. “It was very hard to watch,” admitted the photographer.

male and female macaques

The macaque has a very wide range as to where it is located in the world. They are found all the way from Afghanistan to Japan and many places in between. This particular sighting occurred at the Tangkoko Nature Reserve and National Park in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

mother and baby

This event was even more saddening because the macaque are currently an endangered species. The park in which this happened is currently the home to the largest population of this particular primate. There are many threats to this species currently, including disease, as well as humans hunting them for bush meat, which is considered a delicacy in Indonesia for special events such as Christmas and Easter.