Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Watch as gorilla saves her sister from moat at Israel zoo

There is growing evidence that animals are compassionate as this video shows

Neela Debnath
Wednesday 01 April 2015 09:16 BST
Anya is filmed trying to carrying her younger sister Emilia out of the ditch
Anya is filmed trying to carrying her younger sister Emilia out of the ditch

Who says that animals don’t have empathy?

This is the moment a female gorilla attempted to save her little sister after she fell into a moat at a zoo in Israel.

Three-year-old Emilia tumbled down the five foot trench in the gorilla enclosure in The Zoological Center Tel Aviv - Ramat Gan.

In footage captured by a passing tourist, another gorilla is filmed trying to rescue Emilia from the pit. The second gorilla is older sister Ayna, who climbs down and tries to take Emilia back to the enclosure.

In the video Anya is seen carrying Emilia back up the side of the ditch but the pair fall just before they reach the top. It emerged that they were scared off by a power cable, which caused them to fall back down.

The other gorillas in the enclosure gather around the edge of the moat as they hear her screaming for help.

However, the eight-year-old gorilla eventually managed to get Emilia to safety by climbing out of the visitors’ area, according to staff at the zoo.

While Anya returned to the enclosure, Emilia was anaesthetised by zoo keepers before she was taken back later on.

This is not the first time animals have been seen helping each other. Last year footage emerged of a monkey in India resuscitating his friend at a railway station after he was apparently electrocuted by a power cable.

In another video, a dog moved his fellow canine to the side of the road after he was fatally wounded in a traffic accident. The dog is noticeably distressed by the situation and is seen experiencing anguish as he pushes the corpse.

After the videos emerged last year, The Independent spoke to Dr Frans de Waal from Emory University, who specialises in primate behaviour and psychology.

He explained that “there is increasing evidence” that mammals and birds are compassionate to others and “react to distress in others by attempts to ameliorate their situation or rescue them”.

Dr de Waal went on to say, “There are experiments showing the same, so these videos are to be taken seriously as illustrations of this tendency.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in