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True stories: dolphin answers whales' SOS call; pod of dolphins save severely-injured surfer from becoming shark bait


By WcP.Story.Teller - Posted on 08 September 2009

dolphin with locator; inset: dolphins nap with one eye open

(quote)

Dolphins save surfer from becoming shark’s bait - a pod of bottlenose dolphins helped protect the severely injured boarder

Surfer Todd Endris needed a miracle. The shark - a monster great white that came out of nowhere - had hit him three times, peeling the skin off his back and mauling his right leg to the bone. That’s when a pod of bottlenose dolphins intervened, forming a protective ring around Endris, allowing him to get to shore, where quick first aid provided by a friend saved his life. “Truly a miracle,” Endris told TODAY’s Natalie Morales on Thursday.

dolphin watching in Goa: dolphin leap in the open sea

Dolphin answers whales' SOS call

The dolphin – nicknamed Moko by local residents, who said it spent much of its time swimming playfully with beachgoers – helped two pygmy sperm whales, facing imminent death after becoming stranded on a sandbar, swim to safety. Until Moko's arrival, rescuers feared the mother and calf would have to be put down to prevent them suffering a prolonged death on Mahia beach, about 300 miles north-east of Wellington. Malcolm Smith and his team from the New Zealand Conservation Department had tried in vain to rescue the animals for an hour-and-a-half. With their effort faltering, it seemed only a matter of time before the operation was called off. "They kept getting disoriented and stranding again," Mr Smith said yesterday. "They couldn't find their way back past (the sandbar] to the sea."

The name ‘bottlenose’ comes from this dolphin’s elongated upper and lower jaws that form what is called the ‘rostrum’. It communicates through squeaks, whistles, and body movement.

Just as it seemed all hope was lost, Moko appeared. The dolphin approached the whales, leading them 200m along the beach before navigating them out to the open sea. Mr Smith believes the dolphin heard the whales' distress calls and came to their aid. "It was looking like it was going to be a bad outcome for the whales ... then Moko came along and fixed it," he said. "They had arched their backs and were calling to one another, but as soon as the dolphin turned up, they submerged and followed her.

"I don't speak whale and I don't speak dolphin, but there was obviously something that went on, because the two whales changed from being quite distressed to following the dolphin willingly and directly along the beach and straight out to sea." Another rescuer, Juanita Symes, added: "Moko came flying through the water and pushed in between us and the whales. She got them to head toward the hill, where the channel is. It was an amazing experience. The best day of my life."

Dolphin Discovery Center: opened in 1994, it’s the first Center in Australia dedicated entirely to dolphin research. The Center is located in Bunbury.

Anton van Helden, a marine mammals expert at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, said the reports of Moko's rescue, while "fantastic", were believable because the dolphins have "a great capacity for altruistic activities". He cited evidence of dolphins protecting people lost at sea, and their playfulness with other animals. "We've seen bottlenose dolphins getting lifted up on the noses of humpback whales and flicked out of the water just for fun," he said. "But it's the first time I've heard of an inter-species refloating technique. I think that's wonderful." Since the rescue, Mr Smith said, the whales had not been spotted, although Moko soon returned to the beach and joined in games with local residents. "I shouldn't do this, I know we are meant to remain scientific," he added, "but I actually went into the water with the dolphin and gave it a pat afterwards, because she really did save the day."

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of Photographer's Mate 1st Class Brien Aho. / US Navy, answersingenesis.org. discoverycove.com, dolphindiscover.com.au / Dave & Fiona Harvey, and goaecotourism.com

Original Source: MSNBC and news.scotsman.com

The arguments of the proponents of the continued mistreatment or slaughter of whales and dolphins are akin to saying that because humans are not endangered, and because we have been killing each other for millennia, we should respect cultures who continue the practice of genocide. How cold. How sad. How misinformed. Please read my blog at https://whaleanddolphintalk.blogspot.com/

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