"Bram is a part of their herd and they respect him," said van den Berg. "The leader of the pack, the black and white donkey, bites him. Not because he's angry but because he wants Bram to get up. The donkeys are mourning deeply."
Such a display of sensitivity might come as a surprise to those who think of donkeys as lowly or simple sorts of creatures, but like all animals, they too have an emotional depth that defies stereotypes to the contrary.
"Every time I see the same reaction from the herd when a donkey dies. It's real mourning for a close friend. You can hear them cry. It's not the same sound as braying," van den Berg said. "Donkeys make friends for life, and they can even die of grief."