Do Animals Fall in Love ?
Do animals fall in love? Do animals know what love is all about ? Do they experience the passion and devotion to the other half? Humans believe they know what love is and human’s life revolves around it. However, many animal behaviourists are cautious about saying animals experiencing love. These interesting stories below may suggest they do know about love, but read on and decide for yourself.
Does animal has the right to choose the partner?
Many species of the animals will not breed with just any other animal of their species. According to the Zookeeper in Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Timmy, a gorilla refused to mate with two female gorillas introduced to him. However, when Timmy met Kate, another female gorilla, they accepted each other immediately. However, after some time, despite a few attempts, the couple was not producing any offspring. It was then assume that Kate was infertile due her old age. The zookeeper decided to send Timmy to another zoo where he might have a chance to breed with other female gorilla, and increased the numbers of this endangered species. An activist group filed a court case over this intense controversy in 1991, seeking to block Timmy’s impending transfer to Bronx zoo in New York city. The plaintiffs contended that separating Timmy from his infertile female companion would be detrimental to his health. Defending the zoo’s decision to separate the animals, the zoo director said, “It sickens me when people start to put human emotions in animals and it demeans the animal. We can’t think of them as some kind of magnificent human being; they are animals. When people start staying animals have emotions, they cross the bridge of reality.” Despite of years working with animals, witnessing the joy in the gorilla couples, his vehement statement showed how much they fear the subject of anthropomorphism - any attribution of human characteristics (assumed to belong only to humans) to animals.
About Timmy, the Gorilla from Western Africa
Timmy was born in Cameroon, Western Africa in 1959 and was brought to Memphis Zoo in 1960. He lived there until he was transferred to Cleveland in 1966. In the wild of Western lowland where Timmy came from, these gorillas are critically endangered. Gorillas are vulnerable to illegal capture, habitat loss due to deforestation and outbreak of diseases such as the Ebola virus. Hence, Timmy’s wild born status made his gene extremely valuable to zoos. Since arrival in America, he has never produced any offspring and the Zoo thought that moving him to a more natural social setting with several breeding-age female gorillas might improve his chances.
A federal court judge approved the transfer of Timmy and he left Cleveland for the Bronx on November 1, 1991.
Any fears about Timmy's health disappeared when he began to produce offspring in his new home. In between year 1992 and 2004, Timmy fathered 13 offspring - eight male and five female gorillas - at the Bronx Zoo.
He suffered chronic medical problems in recent years including heart disease (cardiomyopathy), heart arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation) and osteoarthritis, according to Louisville Zoo veterinarian Dr. Roy Burns, and was euthanized on Aug, 2nd , 2011 morning at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky when his health deteriorated.
Nevertheless, if we observe further, there is evidence of love and devotion of animal couples. Field biologists have told us that geese, swans and mandarin ducks are all symbols of devotion and marital fidelity.
Goose is very loyal to its partner. They are well known for the long-term pair bonds they form. As much as one likes to attribute to their undying love, such mating system is believed to maximize the animal breeding opportunities. In the case of monogamy, such relatively exclusive relationship appears to be the optimal arrangement for both sexes. What is interesting is, despite the fact that socially monogamous animals create strong domestic partnerships with one mate, they are not always faithful to each other. Studies have shown that, just like human relationships, a large percentage of these "monogamous” birds occasionally engage in extra-pair mating. Such adulterous behavior could also incite his partner to either desert him or avenge herself by having a fling of her own -- thus reducing his paternal contribution to the upcoming offspring. [source: Gill].
Swans often mate for life. They will normally engage a new mate when their partner gets lost or dies. A swam begins its courtship when it is 2 to 3 years old. It shows off to another swan by dipping and turning his or her heads. Swans may also kiss their bills, and when they do so, their necks form a heart shape.
Mandarin ducks do not mate for life, but over a few mating seasons. Male duck is sometimes promiscuous while the female is incubating, and engages a second temporary partner during this time.
During the breeding period, which is winter season, the male body feathers will turn very beautiful with strong colour contrast. When it is off-breeding season, the male will shed the colourful feathers and resemble the female.
In India, Sarus Crane is considered a symbol of marital fidelity, believed to mate for life and pine the loss of their mates to the point of starving to death. In parts of Gujarat, Sarus Cranes is regarded as a symbol of marital virtue. It is a custom to take a newly wed couple to see a pair of Sarus Cranes.
The idea of love among animals has been generally rejected by Science. However, what we cannot deny is the fact that evidences do exist, that show some animals do experience joy, love and heartbreak in their relationship with their partners, just like human beings.
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