For kids who love animals by a kid who loves animals
Suicide is among one of many things that is widely believed to be something only humans (despite the fact that humans are animals) are capable of. However, after a bit of research, I managed to find four examples of animals committing the act of suicide, which is, in the dictionary, described as “the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally”. If you’re wondering why I didn’t include any of those cases of animals such as dogs, sheep, or deer seemingly jumping off bridges and cliff on purpose, I found that those animals had motives other than the will to end their own lives. Enjoy (Or… maybe not)!
4. Hugo the Orca
Unless you are a small child/gullible parent, or live under a rock, you’ll know that zoos and aquariums in general can be pretty bad news (but I’ll save that for another day). Along with having many controversies around unsafe conditions for the marine life and the trainers, some of the orcas at Miami Seaquarium were forcefully taken from their families in the wild, to be put in their exhibits. A particular story highlighting Miami Seaquarium’s abuse of its animals is of Hugo. Hugo was an orca at Miami Seaquarium (ugh, such a super long name) that was taken from the wild in his early teens. He killed himself by smashing his head into the walls of his small enclosure until a brain aneurism ruptured, which is, by definition, a suicide. Oh yeah, and Hugo was never even commemorated for his 12 years of service at the Seaquarium! If you want to know more about all the bad things many (but not all) aquariums have done and continue to do, go to http://www.seaworldofhurt.com.
A certain type of aphid, the pea aphid, will sometimes explode when threatened by a hungry ladybug. This chemical explosion is powerful enough to kill the ladybug, but it also kills the pea aphid in the process. As it turns out, pea aphids do this to allow their comrades a chance to escape while they heroically sacrifice themselves for the good of their colony. Some pea aphids, the ones that live long enough to develop wings, simply fly away from the ladybug and leave their friends behind, and the winged aphid lives while its comrades don’t (that would totally be me). It’s strange actually, because it appears that not all winged aphids fly away, despite being capable of doing so, but instead some stay and explode anyway. Perhaps this means that winged pea aphids actually make their own decision to be selfless or selfish, and choose differently depending on personality, not just instinctive drive, which is an alarmingly human thing to do.
2. A Newfoundland Dog
This one is particularly interesting, because I wasn’t able to find any other cases of Newfoundland dogs specifically committing suicide, so this case seems to be a bit of an outlier. The dog was reported to have been less excited and bright than normal. The dog tried to kill itself when encountering water, by jumping into the water and deliberately sinking to the bottom for long periods of time. After trying this a couple times and being rescued each time, he finally succeeded in drowning himself, and died (I guess the person who kept rescuing him was on lunch break). Now, if the dog had only tried to commit suicide once and succeeded, we could infer that, perhaps, the dog saw something interesting in the water, and wanted to get it. However, the dog tried to kill itself multiple times, before finally succeeding, which points to it’s actions being very deliberate, and not a mistake of any kind. In addition, the newspaper article explicitly stated that the dog had not been feeling like himself for days before it actually committed the act, which something a depressed human might do too.
Here’s a case about an animal that’s a bit more closely related to humans committing suicide. A five-year-old gorilla was found hanging from the ropes in his cage by her zookeepers. Now, I’m not trying to start a conspiracy or anything, but this case sounds a bit more suspicious, since the story doesn’t mention the gorilla acting depressed before then, and the circumstances in which she was killed are a bit…odd, to say the least. They claim that she unwound one of the play ropes in her exhibit, then put it around her neck, resulting in her dying. The zookeepers also say that one of Tatu’s friends (I guess…I’m not entirely sure) was trying to resuscitate her when they arrived on the scene. It’s a very strange case, because, not only was the suicide itself super-duper humanlike, but also there are no clear signs (I know of, at least) that Tatu was depressed or had the intent to kill herself.