Dolphin seeks help

This amazing video shows some divers assisting a dolphin, who very obviously comes to them for help. Americablog reports...

It turns out that the dolphin had fishing line and a hook stuck on one of its fins, so it approached a group of divers who were watching manta rays at night near Kona, Hawaii. Fortunately one of the professional divers was able to help remove some of the fishing line that was restricting the movement of the dolphin, though in the end they were unable to remove the hook.



  1. Pretty big jump to get to “very obviously comes to them for help.”  I see a curious dolphin checking out some lights and some divers that just happens to be tangled in some line.

    1. Or maybe it just came to the divers to say “hey, look what the fuck you humans caused. fix this shit.”

      1. Given that this is a dolphin, the request is probably more along the lines of “Fix this shit before I beat you to death like a baby porpoise that owes me money.”

    2. But consider that the dolphin hangs out and lets them tug on the hook and the fishing line.  That had to HURT – have you ever had a fishhook stuck in you?  A natural animal response would have been to bite the guy.  Instead he comes back and lets them try again.

      1. I thought the bit at 3:50, where it hangs upside-down and presents its tangled fin to the diver was a pretty clear request for intervention. And yes, it seems it knew the humans were trying to help it.

    3. If my cat can lead me directly to its water dish and meow until I refill it, a dolphin (whose encephalization quotient is second only to mine) can seek assistance.

          1. You can’t put human thoughts and emotions into the mind of animals is the basic message of the hour long episode.

          2. Then I agree with the basic message of the episode.  The whale probably wasn’t performing a ritual thank you dance (or whatever it was purported to be doing).  But I don’t believe that the capacity to “ask” for help and (to an extent) empathy are exclusively human qualities.  Again, haven’t listened to the episode, but I’m not at all surprised that a behaviorist tried to explain away an internal mental state.

    4.  Do you watch much nature documentaries on creatures of the oceans? ‘Cause that reminded me a LOT of footage I’ve seen of fish submitting themselves to cleaner fish and seagulls for parasite removal. Especially the way the dolphin not only returns repeatedly, but rolls over and stops to drift belly-up next to the diver.

      1. Yes and it reminds me of many more shots I have seen of curious dolphins and seals.  That the problem with making these grand leaps, it’s very very open to interpretation and people are drawn to mistakenly trying to attach higher motivation to things.

        1. It just seems very dismissive to call it a “grand leap” and say seeking assistance for injury outside ones species is a “higher motivation” when we know simpler animals who do the same thing. Waving a plausible idea away as “humanizing” an animal just because there’s another possible answer that seems more “animalistic” just feels to me like a flaw of logic.

          Ultimately, I suppose the only one likely to know for certain, is a dolphin behaviorist.

          1. Ultimately, I suppose the only one likely to know for certain, is a dolphin behaviorist.

            Fixed it for you!

    1. No of course not. I’m glad the divers were able to remove the hook, and I’m sure the dolphin appreciated it.

    2. I’ve watched this twice now and both times I’ve teared up.  (Bah, I’ll try to be snarky later to make up for it.)

  2. Calling all Octonauts!

    Kwazii, Peso, Shellington, Dashi, Inkling, Tweak! 


    Ahem. Kwazii, Activate Creature Report! 
    Creature Report! Creature Report! (creature report!)


    The dolphin had his fin all stuck (check check check)
    It seemed that he was really fucked (check check check)
    Till scuba man could cut the line (creature report creature report)
    And now the dolphin’s swimming fine (creature report creature report)
    Thank god they got it all on tape (check check check)
    To prove that injured dolphins are smarter than some apes

    Dance Break! 
    Clap clap clap. Clap clap.
    Clap clap clap. Clap clap.
    Clap clap clap. Clap clap.

    Go dolphin! Go dolphin! Go dolphin!

    Creature Report! Creature Report! (creature report)
    We’re done with our mission, Octonauts at ease (clap clap) until the next adventure!

  3. I thought the “Leave this to the experts” stuff at the beginning was a bit much and uncalled for. But by the end I’m finding I’m genuinely worried about syndromes Munchausen-by-Proxy and Hero jumping a species barrier. Now I feel bad because I’m not normally that jaundiced about humanity.

    1.  The intro specifically warned against “lay persons” doing this and pointed out those in the video were “professional divers”.  I couldn’t help but think how lucky that dolphin was to encounter a group of priests being paid to dive.

  4. the manta rays would freak me out.

    There’s a scene in a recent submarine movie, I forget the title, where they have to go outside the hull to fix something and they get swarmed by giant manta rays. I thought it was preposterous but now that I’ve seen this footage, i think “ok, maybe…”

  5. I can believe the dolphin was curious, and if it’s ability to catch food was impaired, it may have been in a weakened state.  I can believe it understood the humans to be non-threatening and even helpful through past observations.  The dolphin may or may not have sought the humans out directly for help, but ‘allowed’ for the intervention or didn’t put up a defense, in that the diver seemed to be doing what the dolphin itself was trying to do – dislodge the hook.

  6. I suspect it was more like:

    “Hey you! Yeah, I’m talking to you Monkey Boy! Bring those opposable thumbs over here and make yourself useful for once. And if you sort this out for me my bros over there won’t beat you to death. Or molest you… Not today anyway.”

  7. Sick and wounded animals often come to those that they sense can help.
    Animals can sense allot about human character and intentions.

    My friends animal sanctuary has animals turn up from far and wide and nearly at deaths door.
    These are mostly birds but all kinds show up, wild pigs, etc.
    Its definitely some sort of phenomena.
    Sick and wounded animals find it and get help and get released back into the bush.
    I am not claiming that the animals know, what I know, but the “word” is out that her small sanctuary is safe.
    My beliefs were challenged but I can say for sure.

    There is some science behind it.
    Rupert Sheldrake has done some work on Human and Animal Telepathy that is stunning.

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