Wild Chimp Grief
It’s not only humans who grieve, chimpanzees do to which has opened up a whole avenue of research and understanding into the emotions of many different animals. With the death of a loved one, chimps have been observed acting very human-like in their mourning.
They can become depressed, something which was observed by Jane Goodall with her Gombe Chimps. Flo and her son Flint were very close. When Flo died, Flint became very depressed. He stayed beside her body for a long time, occasionally trying to rouse her. When he knew that she was gone he retracted from his community. He stopped eating and slept a lot. Not long after, Flint passed too. Jane associated his death with the grief of his mother.
The important bonds between chimpanzees can also be seen when the grieve for their dead. Those who were closest to the deceased are visibly more upset and spend a lot more time in the process of mourning. Mothers will carry their dead babies around; others will groom their friend. This shows their diverse and complex emotions, and most importantly, their ability to love.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while studying, the public will be able to meet individual animals. This will help them to realise that there are apes with unique personalities, thoughts and emotions. The loss of one individual is just as devastating as losing an individual human.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save the great apes.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #ChimpsAreFamily to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect the great apes you can adopt a chimp and help them via the WWF: https://www.worldwildlife.org/