Heroic dolphin rescues stranded whales

Moko, a bottlenose dolphin in New Zealand who likes to swim with the locals, rescued a pair of pygmy sperm whales that were stranded and dying on a sandbar.
"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."



  1. “So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish.” Douglas Adams
    I do believe they be smarter than we.

  2. What makes them want to?
    Working with others is hard, but confers a huge benefit. Altruism is the bred-in result of surviving in a world too hard to make it on your own. Funny contradiction, that hardship breeds kindness. It’s just another benefit of intelligence: the ability to remember who’s been kind to you creates a strong selection pressure to reciprocate.

    However, like a dog humping a person’s leg, the instinct of altruism extends beyond the problem it was originally solving. Social beings have an urge to be kind to everything. (“Only be kind to certain things” is actually a harder rule to follow, being less general)

    Now, a lot of people will probably feel this is too dry, unmagical, or that it says that we should resist any urge to help others if they don’t have something to give us back. No no no! What it says is that being good is part of being a social animal. Being kind to creatures, or to people that will never know is as basic a part of mankind as being curious or in love. Feeling good about doing good, regardless of gain is another way to improve your own lot – you’ll be happier, because that’s part of being human.

    Now, go follow this dolphin’s example and pay attention to your instincts – help someone else.


  3. How do they know the dolphins name is really Moko? Did they check his ID? I mean no offense, but all of those dolphins look a like to me.

  4. “To the Dolphin alone, beyond all others, nature has granted what the best philosophers seek: friendship for no advantage.” – Plutarch

    Who was it that made the comment (I’m paraphrasing): “dolphins show a willingness to cooperate with other animals, an attribute that man has not yet managed”?

    Also, it’s not ‘disorientated’, it’s ‘disorientatimafisizedicated’.

  5. #5 –

    After he led the whales through the channel he came back and signed autographs. Although to be fair, his name might be Noko as his N’s and M’s are very similar – it’s hard to write underwater with a pen in your mouth.

  6. #5 – I know what you mean–I have that the exact same problem with cats. And yet my neighbors all seem to know which cat belongs to them (or so they claim). Weird, huh?

  7. Also, it’s not ‘disorientated’, it’s ‘disorientatimafisizedicated’.

    ‘Orientate’ is British and (some) colonial usage, as well as being Bush-speak.

  8. My favorite memory #4376: Halfway between Long and Crown Islands near Madang, Papua New Guinea, swimming with a pod of several hundred pygmy sperm whales.

    We parked my boat in front of the pod, got in the water, and just let them swim past us. They were bumping together and shedding huge sheets of silky grey skin – the water was full of it. You could clearly see their eyes moving to look you over as they swam past.


  9. #10-

    ‘Disoriented’ and ‘disorientated’ are both used regularly here in the UK. I’m a UK native, and I personally find ‘disorientated’ extremely ugly and unnecessary.

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