An 8-year-old Arizona boy captured truly rare footage while creating a science project.
Arizona elementary school student Dante de Kort captured what many believe to be the first-ever video of wild peccaries, pig-like animals, mourning the death of their own.
Using a camera gifted to him by his grandparents, de Kort set the motion-activated camera up outdoors after noticing a dead peccary near his home. The videos offer viewers an intimate look at the grieving process and habits of the highly social creatures, which showed several members of the herd returning to the body multiple times over a number of days.
In an interview with National Geographic, Mariana Altrichter, chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Peccary Specialist Group, said:
“It was pretty amazing because it wasn’t just an immediate reaction and then they moved on – it went on for 10 days.”
Altrichter, a biologist who has studied the social habits of peccaries, noticed de Kort’s videos at a local science fair, which she attended with her daughter.
The video shows peccaries nudging, sniffing, and even sleeping next to their fallen companion over the course of the ten days. The peccaries even worked together to chase away a pack of coyotes who approached the dead animal at one point.
While the animals displayed what we may perceive as mourning habits, it is still technically unclear whether grief plays a part in their process. However, Barbara J. King, who penned the book How Animals Grieve, says that sleeping next to the body provides strong evidence in favor of that argument.
Other animals have displayed symptoms of grief in the wild, such as elephants, who have been known to stand over their dead members for days at a time.
Have you ever witnessed an animal grieve the loss of a friend? Tell us in the comments!
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