Dolphin Heroes

by Rebecca on November 9, 2007

in Animals in the News

Dolphin Heroes Save Swimmers

Last November four lifeguards were on a training swim about 100 yards off
shore at Ocean Beach in New Zealand when a pod of six or seven bottlenose
dolphins suddenly appeared. “They started to herd us up,” said Rob Howes,
one of the four swimmers. “They pushed all four of us together by doing
tight circles around us, rather like a sheepdog rounding up sheep.”

Then they saw why. A great white shark was cruising toward the group only 7
ft below the surface, “as clear as the nose on my face.” The dolphins had
moved in to protect the swimmers, slapping the water with their tails,
presumably to deter the shark. They surrounded the swimmers for 40 minutes
and did not open their circle to allow the lifeguards to swim to shore until
the shark had disappeared. The four swimmers were saved thanks to the heroic
efforts of these gentle mammals. Auckland University marine mammal research
scientist Rochelle Constantine said that the dolphins’ altruistic response
was normal. “They like to help the helpless.”

http://www.openexchange.org/archives/AMJ05/AMJ05_HLN.html


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