chimpanzee funeral picture

© Monica Szczupider / National Geographic

When a loved one dies, it's not only humans who grieve. This was proven when more than a dozen chimpanzees gathered to witness the burial of a member of their ape family, reports the New York Post.

Dorothy, a chimpanzee in her late 40s, died of heart failure at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center in West Africa, and according to the New York Post, was a respected member of the chimpanzee community there. When her caregiver brought Dorothy's body to her final resting place, the group of apes came to the edge of their enclosure to watch.

chimp funeral

National Geographic

The chimpanzees quieted their usual chatter and simply stood, holding one another silently as they bid goodbye to their friend. Understandably, human onlookers were touched, particularly since they knew this wasn't the first emotional separation the chimpanzees had experienced.

All the chimpanzees are orphans whose mothers were killed by hunters for illegal bushmeat, reports the Post. According to the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, "the practice of commercial, illegal and unsustainable hunting is causing widespread local extinctions in Asia and West Africa." Hard to believe hunters can be so cruel and irresponsible, especially after seeing just how "human" these chimpanzees can be.

The photo can be seen in the November issue of National Geographic magazine, on sale now.

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