A bottlenose dolphin asks for help

This video was recorded during a night dive with floodlights filming manta rays near Hawaii.  A dolphin showed up, clearly wanting the divers’ help to get rid of a fish hook and line tangled in one of its fins.  How it knew they could be asked for help, and would respond, I don’t know . . . but they did.

Heartwarming, isn’t it?



  1. It knew because it is a USN trained dolphin that didn't come back to its handlers one time. There are several of them that have the same attitudes, pretty much all runaway strays.

    Said information heard from some folks that should be in a position to know. . . . .


  2. Smart mammals don't need training, they have observed and they have drawn concusions. This dolphin recognised a being which could help and used that knowledge.
    About twelve years ago I was staying in a Camp on the Lower Zambezi (Zambian side), night fell, dinner was taken and then it was drinks around a fire. Owner of the Camp (my nephew) suddenly told us all to be still and to continue talking quietly. He gestured slowly for us to look around. We were surrounded by elephants, as far as we could see by the light of the fire and the paraffin lamps lighting the pathways, there were 20 – 30 elephants visible. They were just standing. Just the odd foot-shuffle and ear-flap, nothing else. After about an hour my nephew took his .458 rifle, put a round 'up the spout' and told us to follow him. As we walked towards our tents we passed within just a few feet of some really big elephants. Apart from some foot-scuffing, head shaking and trunk-sniffing they didn't move.
    We were undisturbed the whole night and the Game Guards who'd seen the elephants arrive said that they left at first light. They had counted over forty.
    The following afternoon we received reports that two big tuskers had been poached about ten miles away.
    We can only presume that the herd matriarch 'knew' that she and her herd would be safe within the confines of the camp and had sought a safe refuge.

  3. Yes, that group of Ele knew that YOUR group of humans with vehicle and firearm smells, campfires, the sounds of pots and pans and smells of cooking meat, etc., was safe, while that OTHER group of humans was dangerous.

    Since poachers are usually local, are you suggesting that the herd of Ele knew that white people were safe, and black people were dangerous? That Elephants are racist?

    Or is it just likely that particular herd of Ele wasn't afraid of humans? 10 miles away on the lower Zambezi, there could be 10 herds of Ele between your camp and the poachers. When I was hunting a few miles away from where you experienced your “encounter” in the Lower Zambezi (about 9 years ago) we ran into 3-4 herd of Ele daily on our stalks. We had members of our party hunting them. They never exhibited any fear unless we were shooting, and then they would settle down after running a few hundred yards. These are not animals that are so skittish that they will seek shelter from a danger 10 miles away.

    When my wife spent a couple days in the main camp, she had groups of Ele go through on two different occasions. Walked right between the huts and the cooking and dining tents, and milled all around the skinning shed full of skins, hides, skulls boiling in alkali water to remove the meat, tagged trophies waiting to be shipped out. Maybe they all had colds and couldn’t see or smell the other DEAD ELEPHANTS.

    Or maybe you are a product of a generation that has seen too many Disney movies and not enough stockyards and hunting camps. It takes a special kind of “innocence” to believe that those Ele were looking to you for protection. Speaking of protection, what the heck were you guys doing in dangerous game country with UNLOADED rifles? Dangerous game attacks tend to happen in a span of seconds measured in single digits or even fractions. Anyone wandering around (or camping) who has bothered to bring a stopping rifle, but is too naïve, unsure of their skills or experience to keep it loaded, has got some screwed up thinking going on. And, yes, magazine loaded but chamber empty on a bolt action rifle is “unloaded” in the context of protection in lion, buffalo and elephant country.

    Those dolphins in Hawaii are almost certainly stray USN Marine Mammal Program animals (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Navy_Marine_Mammal_Program). Regarding rumors that there are stray trained animals that are capable of attacking humans, you might note that the Navy says they’ve never trained them to attack humans, not that there were never strays. There are a number of incidents of these dolphins approaching humans, and several knowledgeable folks reviewing the videos have said that they exhibit training behaviors to the humans they approach, and seem frustrated that the humans don’t know how to respond.

    This is not magic, and it is not some 6th sense of wonderfulness that animals are endowed with. These are smart animals that were trained to work with humans, who approach a group of humans when injured. No different than a stray cat going to the nearest house and crying at the door because it’s hungry, which happened to me just last month. Took the critter in, fed and de-flea’d him, took him to the humane society, and low and behold, it was a stray with a microchip, not a feral that figured out that humans are neat and helpful.


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