Image credit: TV3 NZ
A dolphin has guided two stranded whales to safety after human attempts to keep the animals off a New Zealand beach failed, a conservation official said.
[…] A dolphin, named Moko by locals, appeared and guided the whales to safety after apparently communicating with them, he said.
The whales, a three-metre female and her 1.5-metre male calf, were apparently confused by a sandbar just off the beach and could not find their way back to open water.
[…] “The whales made contact with the dolphin and she basically escorted them about 200 metres parallel with the beach to the edge of the sandbar,” he said.
“Then she did a right-angle turn through quite a narrow channel and escorted them out to sea and we haven’t seen those whales since.
“What the communication was I do not know, and I was not aware dolphins could communicate with pygmy sperm whales, but something happened that allowed Moko to guide those two whales to safety.”
Soon after, Moko was seen playing with swimmers on Mahia Beach, one of her favourite activities since she took up residence at the beach nearly a year ago.
The pygmy sperm whales would probably have ended up being euthanised by wildlife officers if Moko had not been able to guide them back out to sea. Apparently stranded whales are not uncommon in the area, and usually several dozen a year cannot be successfully rescued, and end up being put down to save them a death by slow suffocation. The conservation officer expressed a wistful hope that maybe Moko might be able to help them again, the next time they have a whale stranding. Obviously the occasions when they can’t help stranded whales are not his favourite part of the job, and he was hugely relieved that this time turned out so different.