Saturday, March 15, 2008
Dolphin Rescues Whales
Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday on a whale rescue.
A dolphin guided two stranded whales to safety after human attempts to keep the animals off a New Zealand beach failed, a conservation official said Wednesday.
"I've never heard of anything like this before, it was amazing," Conservation Department officer Malcolm Smith said.
Smith had been working for over an hour and a half to save the two pygmy sperm whales which had repeatedly become stranded despite his attempts to push them back out to sea.
A bottlenose dolphin, named Moko by locals, appeared and guided the whales to safety after apparently communicating with them, Smith said.
The whales, a three-metre (10-foot) female and her 1.5 metre male calf, were apparently confused by a sandbar just off the beach and could not find their way back to open water.
"I was starting to get cold and wet and they were becoming tired. I was reaching the stage where I was thinking it's about time to give up here, I've done as much as I can."
In that situation, whales are often humanely killed to end their suffering.
Smith said Moko arrived on the scene and he could hear the whales and the dolphin making noises, apparently to one another.
"The whales made contact with the dolphin and she basically escorted them about 200 metres (yards) parallel with the beach to the edge of the sandbar.
"Then she did a right-angle turn through quite a narrow channel and escorted them out to sea.
"There's been no sign of the whales since Monday, they haven't restranded."
This is really cool. Nobody knew dolphins could speak Pygmy Sperm Whale. Of course, if they watched Finding Nemo, they'd have seen that Dory spoke Whale, so we know it's possible.
Good job, Moko!