Grieving behavior in female bonnet macaques

From 2020 – 2022, 18 female bonnet macaques lost 19 infants and three juveniles in the Dam and Eco groups in Thenmala.  We documented the behaviour of these females before and after the death of their offspring and found interesting results. First,   after the loss of their infants, females became socially withdrawn, had fewer neighbours around them, and were seen more often on the periphery of the group. Additionally, females did not groom or hug other individuals as much after suffering a loss. Instead, the results show that these females initiated aggressive behaviour more frequently and showed more stress related behaviours such as yawning and self scratching. In this paper, we suggest that female bonnet macaques react to deaths of their infants in a manner that is consistent with the interpretation of grief in humans and other primates.

Arlet, M.E., Anand, A., Saikia, A. et al. Behavior of Mothers after Infant Loss in Bonnet Macaques (Macaca radiata). Int J Primatol (2023).