Monkeys Giving CPR? Nope, There’s Much More To It

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William Steel, a wildlife photographer, was one who had immortalized the moment of drama through his camera lenses. The moment involved two monkeys that are unique to Africa – vervet monkeys. The incident took place in a Game Reserve in Botswana named Gaborone. He stated that one of the monkeys was apparently trying to give CPR.

In the series of pictures, one can see a monkey getting ready to give CPR to a female member of the troop. Just in case, CPR is an emergency medical procedure that tries to get the heart beating again. However, this is not a moment of medical acuity from our close relatives.

Their poses in the pictures make it seem like the monkey is trying to resuscitate its stricken fellow by breathing air mouth-to-mouth. However, the standing monkey is actually making use of the female lying down to groom her. In other words, he was carrying out his best interests in the opportunity that presented itself.

The Monkeys Were Imitating Us

The photographers had seen the complete sequence of events, from the start. The female had thrown herself and fell to the forest floor. She was possibly trying to attract attention by doing so. Luckily for her, the attention did not take much time to arrive.


28-year-old Steel described how “dramatic” the fall was. He said that he had no other words to describe the act. The female vervet monkey took to the ground and spread out both arms and legs. In the first moments, the photographer had no idea what was going on, but it would be interesting pictures regardless.

Read: Smile Along With The Comedy Wildlife Photography 2020 Finalists

So he went to pick up his camera. Just then, another monkey arrived in a sauntering swagger. Then this monkey grabbed the one that was on the ground by the mouth. It seemed to Steel that the new monkey would start giving CPR in the next moment.

However, the female monkey was in no such medical distress, and neither did she urgently need oxygen forced into her. Steel is of the suspicion that he had seen monkeys trying to replicate how the creatures may have seen humans behave.

William works from and resided in Botswana. So he is familiar with these animals and the area. But even for him, it was a unique scene. Nevertheless, he had given a further explanation of what actually happened after thinking about it. He said that this performance was possibly the female trying to get some attention!

Everything Is Not At It Seemed

He explains that in a troop of monkeys, an important and distinct hierarchy exists. Moreover, similar to humans, this community or society has an important and familiar fundamental – if you help me, I will help you as well. As such, grooming is one of the more common methods by which individual members form bonds. Steel explains that he has commonly witnessed such scenes of grooming. The act can help in cleaning wounds. It can even be a form of nursing members of the troop that has been injured.


In his opinion, individuals that seek attention can sometimes manipulate this compassion and kindness.

Perhaps the monkeys are learning quite a bit of human drama. It is not a rare scene in romantic drama scenes, where a female suddenly faints and the male grabs her to save her from falling to the ground. Neither is it an unknown incident, when such ailments are faked, just to make people turn their heads.

Read: Monkeys Face A Cruel Fate In Leaked Video Of Medicine Testing Lab

Be that as it may, the innocent monkeys are quite wily if it is so! Steel said that the captured moment was quite amusing.

Image credits: William Steel    

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