2010

Authors

  • Rob Appleby Rob Appleby
  • Bradley Smith Bradley Smith
  • Darryl Jones Darryl Jones

In contrast to several species of cetaceans and primates, behavioural responses to dead conspecifics have rarely been reported in wild canids. Here we provide details of the responses of an adult female and littermates to a dying and subsequently dead pup, including what appeared to be four instances of transport of the deceased pup by the mother over a two-day period, one of which was directly observed and filmed. We tentatively propose that, in the absence of any evidence of consumption of the pup, its transport by the mother could be interpreted as care-giving behaviour emating from an enduring mother-infant bond, in a similar vein to what has been suggested for several other species exhibiting such behaviour.