A mother’s sorrow: Macaque monkey spends days carrying her dead newborn baby in heartbreaking display of grief

This is the heartbreaking moment a female macaque monkey cradled her dead baby in her arms.
The grief-stricken mother spent days carrying around the tiny newborn at Tangkoko Nature Reserve and National Park in Sulawesi, Indonesia.
She could be seen tenderly cradling her baby – before fending off a male macaque who tried to reach out and touch it.

Heartbreaking: A female macaque cradles her dead newborn baby in her arms at an Indonesian national park
The poignant moment was caught on camera by wildlife photographer Andrew Walmsley, 31, who described it as ‘very hard to watch’.
Both mother and newborn are crested black macaques, which are classified as Critically Endangered due to hunting and habitat loss.

Footage shows the female macaque spending days looking after her baby, who passed away just a few weeks after its birth.
She can be seen pressing her child tightly against her chest, before grooming, sniffing and gazing mournfully at it.

Grief-stricken: The mother spent days carrying around her tiny child at Tangkoko Nature Reserve and National Park in Sulawesi. She even fended off a male macaque who tried to reach out and touch the baby (pictured)

Tragic: The poignant moment was caught on camera by wildlife photographer Andrew Walmsley, from Oxford
She even pushes away another male macaque who tries to reach out and touch the baby, while baring her sharp teeth at him.
Mr Walmsley, from Oxford, said he and a team of researchers had first spotted the grief-stricken mother clutching the baby to her chest at around 11am.
‘I first saw the mother walking past me and noticed that she was clutching something to her chest, but that the legs were dragging against the ground, not gripping her belly,’ he said.
‘She sat alone, cradling her baby, looking down at it and not moving for maybe 15 minutes.

‘Occasionally she would actually hug him, groom him slowly then return to cradling him between her legs.
‘A short while later, a young male approached and tried to touch her baby. But the mother bared her teeth and grabbed his wrist, thrusting it away time and time again.’
He added: ‘It was very hard to watch really. We were with her for about an hour, just sitting there watching her. It is a mother whose child has died, it’s almost irrelevant what species it is.
‘Occasionally she would actually hug him, groom him slowly then return to cradling him between her legs’
Andrew Walmsley

‘You realise there’s so little difference between us and them when you see that kind of behaviour.’
After Mr Walmsley left the national park, the macaque continued to carry her dead newborn for two days, before finally letting go of it.
Tangkoko Nature Reserve and National Park is the main stronghold for the remaining population of crested black macaques.
The main threat to the species is from humans hunting them for bush meat, which is considered a delicacy in Indonesia for special events such as Christmas and Easter.



  1. Anonymous says:

    WOW! Spent many years in Alaska and saw ice dogs, floating ice crystals and it got really cold sometimes. Saw many things involving ice and nature. But never anything that awesome and beautiful. Thanks for sharing AND explaining. Because I honestly thought you were going to say lights from town or something. But turned out to be a much more awesome thing.Thank you.

  2. Patty Arroyo says:

    Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing, and explaining, I live in the tropics, we have different kind of beauty here, but learning about this light pillars awesome !!!

  3. Emeline Donahue says:


  4. Pam says:

    Wow! Thank you for the pictures and the explanation! Beautiful!

  5. Neil S. says:

    I live in Minnesota and have seen light pillars once in my 63 years. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing at the time. I did research the phenomena with success.

  6. Anthony Peratt says:

    Light Pillars are the Plato’s Pillars of Heracles, now misnamed Pillars of Hercules. They are Birkeland Currents (electron currents oriented South-North; Peratt, Springer, Physics of the Plasma Universe). These, not high mountain peaks guided sailors (and surveyors) at and before the time of the ancient Greeks.

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  8. Swagata says:

    At first I was mesmerised by the narration on the Dukha tribe. The fascinating lifestyle and the sacred bond with nature is so great. And then the photography is mind blowing. Beautiful indeed.

  9. Lorilyn says:

    Nice thanks for sharing those

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