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Dolphins rescue stranded whales


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Dolphin rescues stranded whales

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A dolphin swam up to two distressed whales that appeared headed for death in a beach stranding in New Zealand and guided them to safety, witnesses said Wednesday.

The actions of the bottlenose dolphin -- named Moko 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 Mahia Beach, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) northeast of the capital of Wellington, on Monday morning, said Conservation Department worker Malcolm Smith.

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.

"They kept getting disorientated and stranding again," said Smith, who was among the rescuers. "They obviously couldn't find their way back past (the sandbar) to the sea."

Along came Moko, who approached the whales and led them 200 meters (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 The Associated Press. "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 Moko responded after hearing the whales' distress calls.

"It was looking like it was going to be a bad outcome for the whales ... then Moko just 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 into the water and followed her."

After the rescue, Moko returned to the beach and joined in games with local residents, he said.

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Here is another amazing dolphin story. I've seen it on "Animal Planet". Simply amazing.


Dolphins saved us from shark, lifeguards say

12:00AM Wednesday November 24, 2004

By Ainsley Thomson


Veteran lifeguard Rob Howes says the dolphins protected his group from the great white shark. Picture / John Stone


A pod of dolphins is being credited with saving a group of lifeguards from a circling great white shark.

Lifeguard Rob Howes, his daughter Niccy, 15, Karina Cooper, 15, and Helen Slade, 16, were swimming 100m out to sea at Ocean Beach, near Whangarei, when seven bottlenose dolphins sped towards them and herded them together.

"They were behaving really weird," Mr Howes said, "turning tight circles on us, and slapping the water with their tails."

Mr Howes and Helen Slade had drifted about 20m away from the others when a dolphin swam straight at them and dived a few metres in front of them.

"I turned in the water to see where it was going to come up, but instead I saw this great big grey fish swim around me," said Mr Howes.

The veteran lifeguard said it was undoubtedly a 3m-long great white shark.

"It glided around in an arc and headed for the other two girls. My heart went into my mouth, because one of them was my daughter. The dolphins were going ballistic."

The 47-year-old said the dolphins herded the swimmers - who are all members of the Whangarei Heads Surf Lifesaving Club - back together and circled protectively around them for another 40 minutes, fending off the shark.

"I swim with dolphins perhaps three or four times a year here at this beach and I have never in six years seen them behave like that."

Mr Howes decided not to tell the three girls a shark was sharing the water with them.

Lifeguard Matt Fleet was patrolling out from the surf beach in a rescue boat and saw the dolphins' unusual behaviour.

He dived out of the boat to join the group and also saw the great white.

Mr Fleet said the water was clear and he had a good view.

The encounter occurred on October 30, but Mr Howes has spoken publicly about it only this week.

"I sat on it for three weeks, purely because I did not know quite how to handle it.

The only reason he went public was "I didn't want anyone to get chomped [by the shark], so I couldn't be accused of not having made people aware there was a shark out there".

Dr Rochelle Constantine, from the Auckland University School of Biological Science, said it was a rare event, but she had heard of similar things happening overseas.

She said sharks were not normally a threat to New Zealand's bottlenose dolphins, but the dolphins would attack them if they felt at risk.

"From my understanding of the behaviour of these dolphins they certainly were acting in a way which indicated the shark posed a threat to something. Dolphins are known for helping helpless things. It is an altruistic response and bottlenose dolphins in particular are known for it."

Ingrid Visser, who has studied marine mammals for 14 years, said there had been reports from around the world of dolphins protecting swimmers.

"[The dolphins] could have sensed the danger to the swimmers and taken action to protect them."

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Brightened my day, and I really needed it. :)

Yea, we need more positive stories like this.......to compensate for the countless horror stories, such as guys setting their girlfriends on fire, and then chopping up their body, and cooking it, and eating their flesh.

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Dolphins are one of only a few species that have sex for pleasure as opposed to simply for the purposes of reproduction, according to scientists. How they determine that, I cannot say.

They don't call it "flogging the dolphin" for nothing... :paranoid:

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Dolphins are one of only a few species that have sex for pleasure as opposed to simply for the purposes of reproduction, according to scientists.

Do the Dolphins consider it pleasure when a guy from West Virginia tries to have sex with the Dolphin ?

How they determine that, I cannot say.

The orgasmic sound that they're able to translate, I assume

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Do the Dolphins consider it pleasure when a guy from West Virginia tries to have sex with the Dolphin ?

Now you're asking me to comment on Dolphins' reaction to beastiality. I'm sure there's a niche of Dolphins that enjoy it.

The orgasmic sound that they're able to translate, I assume


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