THIS is the heartbreaking moment when a mother dolphin refused to let go of her dead calf and desperately pushed her body across the ocean.
Tragic images show the grieving dolphin clinging to the lifeless body of its dead baby in the sea near China.
The heartbreaking video shows the mother balancing the calf’s carcass on her head while swimming, or using her nose to push it away.
When the calf’s body slides below the surface, it dives to rescue it without hesitation.
A pod of dolphins is seen swimming near the devastated mother.
Chinese white dolphin could carry calf’s body for days, animal rights group researcher Asia map said.
The clip was shared by CGTN, with the caption: “Heartbreaking video: mother dolphin refuses to let go of dead calf.”
Li Min, a dolphin expert who took the video, said the act of carrying the calf through the water was a mourning ritual.
Li said the calf’s cause of death is unknown without an autopsy.
The poignant sight has reignited the debate that humans may not be the only mammals capable of suffering.
This is not the first time that dolphins have been seen that appear to cry for their dead calves.
Heartbreaking images show a mother dolphin carrying the body of his dead calf across the waterway in Indian Shores, Florida.
And in 2019, a dolphin was photographed carrying its dead baby after becoming entangled in a crab net off the coast of Australia.
The image of Moon the dolphin was shared by a wildlife organization in Perth.
In 2018, a study found that whales and dolphins have trouble letting go of loved ones and holding “vigils” for the deceased.
Researchers from Dolphin Biology and Conservation at Oceancare in Cordenons, Italy, found that the creatures mourn the deaths of their friends and family in a similar way to humans.
The study analyzed 78 records of the treatment of aquatic mammals to their dead between 1970 and 2016.
More than 90 percent of the dolphins studied were attentive to their deaths, and grieving females made up three-quarters of these interactions.
About 75 percent of the incidents involved adult women caring for their dead calf, with some carrying decomposing bodies for up to a week.