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Dolphins are known as some of the smartest and most sophisticated animals in the world. Although they are excellent hunters, they do not prey on humans. Instead, they seem to possess social skills and an ability to intuit what humans are thinking and feeling. Their attitude of compassion also extends to other animals in the wild, as this incident between a mother whale and her baby demonstrates.
14. Social Swimmers
Dolphins are one of the most social animals in the ocean. They are known for their interest in humans. But a recent video shows that they also have empathy for other species as well. When a female whale was swimming near Flinders Bay, Western Australia, she found this out firsthand. A dangerous pack of male whales was lurking.
13. Spirit and Her Baby
The situation was doubly dangerous for this female whale since she was swimming with her young baby whale. The whale’s name is Spirit, and she is well known off the coast of Flinders Bay. Five large male whales started moving toward her, fighting to attack and even mate with Spirit. The female whale tried to outmaneuver them because they were threatening her child. But it appeared as if the battle would be lost.
12. Spirit Tries to Swim Away
Spirit did not want to mate since she was raising the calf. Male whales have been known to kill baby whales in their pursuit of female whales. Spirit knew this and knew that she was outnumbered as they closed in on her. But then help arrived from a most unlikely source: a pod of dolphins.
11. Dolphins to the Rescue
The dolphins swam to the rescue, surrounding Spirit and her calf. They blocked the male whales from getting any closer. Unbelievably, members from Whale Watch WA happened to be in the water that day and they got video of the entire encounter. The dolphins knew the mother needed help so they stayed with her. Some dolphins even bared their teeth to tell the whales they meant business!
10. Guarding the Baby
The mother whale moved toward the Whale Watch boat in an effort to guard her baby. One of the male whales finally relented, swimming off. He even swam angrily at the other male whales in order to get them to back off the scared whale. This chivalrous whale then swam beside the mother and baby, as if escorting them to safety.
9. Life-Changing Events
Whale Watch members who witnessed the amazing encounter called it an amazing and life-changing event. They were surprised and elated to realize that whales and dolphins were close and knew how to communicate with each other. They witnessed a rescue on that day.
8. Saving People
Dolphins have also intervened to save people. There are hundreds of stories about dolphins saving swimmers and divers from dangerous conditions, like lack of oxygen or vicious shark attacks. Dolphins have even been known to pull people right out of the water to save their lives.
7. Stalked by Sharks
That’s what happened one day in New Zealand when some people were being stalked by sharks. A group of dolphins swam to their rescue, encircling the group until the sharks finally gave up and left the scene. The people probably would have lost their lives if not for the dolphins.
6. Great White
Lifeguard Rob Howes was there that day, along with his daughter and her two friends. He said, “They started to herd us up, they pushed all four of us together by doing tight circles around us.” According to Howes, it wasn’t clear to him if the dolphins were just playing, but then he tried to swim away. Suddenly the dolphins rushed in to usher him back to the safe area. Only then did he see a great white shark.
5. Protective Zone
“I just recoiled. It was only about two meters away from me, the water was crystal clear, and it was as clear as the nose on my face. They had corralled us up to protect us.” The four people had of course been involved in another magical dolphin encounter, forever changing the way they perceived the water and its creatures.
Why do dolphins seem to care for other species? Action for Dolphins says “A dolphin’s sonar penetrates a human body, making our skeletons, lungs, and heart visible (dolphins are even able to hear an embryo’s heartbeat, and are especially fascinated by pregnant women). As fellow mammals, it is possible that dolphins recognize similarities in humans, and understand that we are vulnerable to drowning and attacks from predators.”
Many have questioned how dolphins process information. As it turns out, dolphins don’t just possess genetic traits making them capable of learning, they are also able to pass on their new knowledge to others. This is an unusual level of intelligence for the animal world. This is why scientists have learned that they can actually train dolphins to perform tricks and to communicate with language.
Dolphins are also among the most playful of all creatures in the animal kingdom. They follow ships to catch fish which are churned up in the ship’s wake. However, they aren’t just following for easy hunting. They actually move from behind the stern to port and starboard. Why? So they can catch some bow-waves, same as any surfer.
Dolphins are some of the most beloved animals in the world. Their powers seem almost magical. If you ever have the opportunity to observe or swim with the dolphins, do not pass it up. This is an excellent opportunity to get to understand an amazing species.