We humans like to flatter ourselves that we are the only creatures on Earth with complex emotions, and that non-human creatures have neither feelings, nor free will (have you watched your pet dog or cat deliberate between two choices?), nor moral sentiments.
This is how narcissistic humans justify our disregard, neglect, abuse, and outright cruelty toward non-human creatures.
But science more and more is discovering that animals not only love and mourn (elephants would return to elephant graveyards to caress the bones of dead family members), have a sense of right and wrong, of justice and fairness (see “Animals can tell right from wrong“), they are also capable of acts of altruism — selfless acts to advance the wellbeing of another.
How else are we to interpret the selfless act of a mute turtle in the Taipei Zoo patiently laboring to flip another turtle whom (some malicious human?) had flipped onto its back?
Now we have more evidence of animal altruism, from India. The AP reports on Dec. 25, 2014, that onlookers at a crowded train station in northern Indian city of Kanpur watched in astonishment as a monkey (#1) came to the rescue of another monkey (#2).
Monkey #2 had made the mistake of touching some high-tension wires on the railroad track, was electrocuted, knocked unconscious, and appeared to be dead.
The good Samaritan monkey #1 administered monkey first aid to his friend by biting and sucking its head and neck, lifting the friend’s motionless body, shaking it, then dipping his friend into a mud puddle.
Finally, after 20 minutes of first aid, the electrocuted monkey, now covered in mud, regained consciousness, opened its eyes, sat up and got its back massaged by hero monkey.