Hers is the inconsolable grief of all mothers who lose a child.
Anyone who doubts the bond between the great apes and humans has only to look at these moving photos to see the emotions of love and loss that bind us together.
Gorilla Gana, 11, was left shattered in her compound at the zoo in Muenster in northern Germany at the weekend when her three-month-old baby Claudio suddenly died.
Grief: Mother Gorilla Gana clutches the body of her dead three month old baby Claudio
Visitors wept as Gana held her lifeless child up in the air, vainly seeking to restore movement to his lolling head, his limp arms.
She put the baby on her back and walked around, stopping to look at him after a few paces to see if he had recovered.
Gana carries the lifeless child with her at the zoo in Muenster
“Claudio died in his mother’s arms, with think from some heart defect,” said zoo director Joerg Adler.
“On Wednesday he gave the impression to keepers that he wasn’t feeling too well. On Friday he wasn’t eating or drinking properly and seemed to be growing weaker. We were keeping a close eye on him but suddenly, on Saturday morning, he died.”
The death of Claudio is a double tragedy for Gana; for reasons known only to the animal kingdom, she rejected her six week old daughter Mary Zwo last year. She was moved to a zoo in Stuttgart where she is healthy and one of the star attractions.
By Monday morning the zoo keepers were still unable to get to the body of Claudio, so fiercely is Gana guarding him.
“In the wild a gorilla mother can keep hold of a dead baby for weeks,” added Herr Adler. “We will carry out an autopsy on the body when we can.
“Gana doesn’t know it, but the whole of Germany is mourning with her. She is so sad right now.”
The universality of a mother's grief: Gorilla cradles her dead baby | Mail Online