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Dolphins help scientists rescue drowning girl

Posted on Sunday, 1 June, 2014 | Comment icon 37 comments

Can dolphins save lives ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Vince Smith
A young girl's life was saved when a school of dolphins lead a research team to her location.
Ocean Conservation Society researcher Maddalena Bearzi had been following a school of dolphins off the coast of Los Angeles when, while feeding near the shore, one of the dolphins suddenly turned around and headed out in to deep water, prompting the others to do the same.

Perplexed by this behavior, the researchers turned their boat and gave chase to see where the animals were going.

After traveling about three miles out in to the open ocean the school stopped swimming and instead started forming a ring around something in the water. As the team got closer they could see to their horror that the object of interest was in fact a human being.

Without delay the researchers moved the boat in to range and brought the person, who turned out to be an 18-year-old girl, up on to the deck. She was hypothermic and close to death, but thanks to the team's efforts they were able to keep her alive long enough to get her back to shore.

So did the dolphins really intentionally lead the researchers out to rescue the girl ?

There has been a lot of debate among scientists as to whether dolphins really are capable of understanding and reacting to someone in trouble. While there are no studies that prove that these remarkable ocean mammals really can act to save lives, there have been so many similar stories over the years that it seems unlikely to be mere coincidence.

Source: National Geographic | Comments (37)

Tags: Dolphin

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #28 Posted by Dark_Grey on 2 June, 2014, 22:06
So everyone (you, me, scientists, etc) agree that dolphins/orcas display an incredible amount of intelligence. Remind me again why we continue to lock sentient creatures in swimming pools and force them to perform tricks for our amusement? I bet in another 50 years, places like SeaWorld will be a strange part of our past.
Comment icon #29 Posted by OverSword on 2 June, 2014, 22:10
I was watching a animal rescue show last month about sea world in Florida rescuing 2 deep water infant dolphins that had beached themselves with some kind of infection that affected their equilibrium. This particular breed is rarely seen by man. After nursing them back to health they took them about ten miles out to deep water to release them realizing that it was likely they wouldn't survive without a pod. Before they had even set up the rig to lower them into the water a pod of over 100 individuals surrounded the boat seemingly in anticipation of these dolphin pups release. I believe tha... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by OverSword on 2 June, 2014, 22:11
No they won't, Seaworld does alot more than simply force animals to do tricks. They are great participants of research of the environment, biology of the sea, conservation, etc.
Comment icon #31 Posted by Dark_Grey on 2 June, 2014, 22:23
Netflix the documentary "Blackfish". Complete expose' on the penny-pinching, feed-the-shareholders mentality that causes the animals much suffering. The employees are fed misinformation about the animals so nothing they witness registers as "abnormal behaviour". It's gained a surprising amount of traction - enough that SeaWorld has had to react several times to the allegations in the film. Back to my first post, it's not SeaWorld specifically that I am questioning, it's the ethics that we should be revisiting in light of new information. It seems lately mo... [More]
Comment icon #32 Posted by Junior Chubb on 2 June, 2014, 23:19
I can't help feeling the day's of Sea World performances are numbered too... If I remember correctly there are/were two legal cases running, one to allow trainers back in the pools with the Killer Whales, while the other is to stop the Killer Whales being kept in captivity altogether. Despite enjoying a recent visit to Sea World and being wowed by the shows this kind of entertainment is from the past and needs to end, especially the Killer Whales.
Comment icon #33 Posted by OverSword on 2 June, 2014, 23:51
I'm in partial agreement, yet thank to marine biologists and marine vets being able to interact with and study various creatures of the sea . And this is one of many stories of sea rescues, becoming more and more frequent, that without the close interaction with and understanding of the animals would never been possible, so there is a reverse side of the coin which may be to the benefit of species in the future.
Comment icon #34 Posted by Junior Chubb on 3 June, 2014, 0:06
Great story, thanks for posting Almost a reverse of the story from the original article...
Comment icon #35 Posted by OverSword on 3 June, 2014, 1:33
I followed it pretty closely when it was happening and thought it was cool how alpha pod just showed up outside the pen the first night she was there. She's had babies since too.
Comment icon #36 Posted by libstaK on 3 June, 2014, 3:29
Now that story really made me tear up - what a beautiful scene, humanity bringing precious dolphin pups back to the dolphins. It makes you realize that we are so similar when it is our compassion that is working. Dolphins bring humans to their suffering "pup" and we bring pups back to their dolphins. I really want to hug a dolphin right now.
Comment icon #37 Posted by Rei4ever on 4 August, 2014, 15:17
This proves that dolphins are much genius than scientists lol.....

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