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No. 35: Sep-Oct 1984

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Dolphins to the rescue -- again!

September 1983. Tokerau Beach, North-land, New Zealand. A pod of 80 pilot whales ran aground and were stranded by the ebbing tide. Local townspeople followed a new technique developed for aiding stranded cetaceans. They waded out, talking soothingly to the whales, and keeping their skins wet. When the tide came back in and refloated the whales, the New Zealanders turned them around and tried to guide them to deeper waters.

Sometimes refloated cetaceans just turn around and reground themselves again, but this time the pilot whales were fortunate. A school of dolphins fishing offshore somehow apprehended the situation and swam into the shallows around the pilot whales. The dolphins then guided them out to sea. 76 of the pilot whales were thus saved. In a similar incident 5 years earlier at Whangarei harbor, a helicopter followed the dolphins and whales several miles out to sea, confirming interspecies aid. Such stories are reminiscent of those where drowning humans are helped by dolphins.

(Anonymous; "Dolphin Pilots," Oceans, 17:50, 1984.)

Reference. More instances where dolphins have come to the aid of humans are presented in BHX3 in Biological Anomalies: Humans III. Ordering information is located here.

From Science Frontiers #35, SEP-OCT 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss