The chimps are from the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center in Cameroon. Locals from the village work as “care-givers” for the orphaned animals whose mothers were all killed for the illegal bushmeat trade.
The photo was taken by Monica Szczupider, who was working at the centre.
Speaking about Dorothy, Miss Szczupider, 30, said the chimp was a “prominent figure” within a group of about 25 chimps.
“Chimps are not silent. They are gregarious, loud, vocal creatures, usually with relatively short attention spans”, she said.
“But they could not take their eyes off Dorothy, and their silence, more than anything, spoke volumes.”
The scene, which can be seen in November’s issue of National Geographic, is reminiscent of the gorilla Gana, who grieved of the loss of her baby in her compound at Muenster zoo in northern Germany. Gana fiercely held on to the corpse of her three-month-old baby Claudio until zoo keepers were eventually able to retrieve his body.
Scientists have previously discounted opinions of those who claim animals feel emotions as overly anthropomorphic. But a number of have also recognised that we must be anthropomorphic when discussing animal emotions.
Dr Marc Bekoff, of the University of Colorado, previously wrote for The Telegraph: “That animals and humans share many traits including emotions is merely an extension of Charles Darwin’s accepted ideas about evolutionary continuity, that the differences between species are differences in degree rather than differences in kind. The seemingly natural human urge to impart emotions on to animals, far from obscuring the “true” nature of animals, may actually reflect a very accurate way of knowing.”