Beached whales saved by – Moko the dolphin? Ask New Zealand
Earlier this week on a beach off of Wellington, New Zealand there were two whales beached to the point where euthanasia was contemplated, when once again, the true intelligence of cetaceans came to the fore, as –
The actions of the bottlenose dolphin — named by residents who said it spends much of its time swimming playfully with humans at the beach — amazed would-be rescuers and an expert who said they were evidence of the species’ friendly nature.
The two pygmy sperm whales, a mother and her calf, were found stranded on 300 miles) northeast of the capital of Wellington, on Monday morning, said Conservation Department worker Malcolm Smith., about 500 kilometers (
Rescuers worked for more than one hour to get the whales back into the water, only to see them strand themselves four times on a sandbar slightly out to sea. It looked likely the whales would have to be euthanized to prevent them suffering a prolonged death, Smith said.
Then like Clark Kent, a seemingly mild mannered dolphin came to the rescue –
Along came Moko, who approached the whales and led them yards) along the beach and through a channel out to the open sea… (
“Moko just came flying through the water and pushed in between us and the whales,” Juanita Symes, another rescuer, told . “She got them to head toward the hill, where the channel is. It was an amazing experience. The best day of my life.”
Anton van Helden, a marine mammals expert at New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, said the reports of Moko’s rescue were “fantastic” but believable because the dolphins have “a great capacity for altruistic activities.”
These included 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 getting flicked out of the water just for fun,” van Helden said.
“But it’s the first time I’ve heard of an inter-species refloating technique. I think that’s wonderful,” said van Helden, who was not involved in the rescue but spoke afterward to Smith.
Smith speculated that responded after hearing the whales’ distress calls.
Anyway – So what did the hero do later on?
After the rescue, Moko returned to the beach and joined in games with local residents…