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Surprisingly Tender Moment

The image shows a bonobo cuddling a little mongoose like a treasured pet.


Bonobo holding a baby mongoose
Credit: Christian Ziegler

Your first reaction may be to think the bonobo was simply keeping it as a handy snack - but that would be unusual as bonobos mainly eat fruit and only occasionally hunt.


The intriguing behaviour was photographed by Christian Ziegler in Democratic Republic of Congo.


His fascinating picture has been selected as a Highly Commended image in London's Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year (58th competition).


The shortlist was recently revealed (OGN will be publishing a selection of these in this Sunday's magazine), and the overall winners will be announced at London's Natural History Museum in October.


Christian had been tracking the group of bonobos "chest-deep through flooded forest" in the Salonga National Park for days when he spotted the young male holding a juvenile mongoose in his hand. "I was so surprised to see how he carried the mongoose with such care. I immediately started to follow him and document it," he told BBC News.


The ape held and stroked the small mongoose for over an hour, he said.

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