A humpback whale protected a scuba diver from a shark attack and won her heart. Humpback whales are known for their intelligence and empathy towards other species.
Details of the Encounter
Marine biologist Nan Hauser, who has been diving with whales for more than 30 years, was with a crew off Muri Beach, Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands. They were filming her interacting with humpback whales when one of the whales began to push her out of the water with its mouth and chin. The whale’s action was quite persistent, and Hauser couldn’t help but worry about her.
“He just wouldn’t stop touching me. I tried to pull away over and over again, but she kept on doing it. She finally pushed me out of the water with her fin. She kept putting her eye on her right next to me and I couldn’t understand what she was trying to tell me,” Hauser said.
For almost 10 minutes, the interaction between the whale and the woman was very tense. In this situation, negative thoughts invaded Hauser, who even believed that his end had come.
“I thought the camera crew was going to end up filming my death. One lash from a whale’s tail, and the pressure would break his bones.”
However, the whale’s actions were far from resembling an attack. Hauser discovered that the whale actually wanted to protect her from a shark that was lurking nearby. The whale was trying its best to keep her safe by apparently trying to get her under her pectoral fin.
At the scene was another humpback whale who from a distance seemed to be watching everything around him, repeatedly hitting his tail against the water to scare away the shark.
“I finally took my eye off the whale and saw something swimming very fast with its tail swinging from side to side. Whales swim with their tails bobbing up and down. That’s when I realized it was a tiger shark, and it was one of the biggest sharks I’ve ever seen,” Hauser said.
Fortunately, after a few long and intense minutes, the whale managed to protect the woman and bring her back to the surface. Incredibly, the moment Hauser got on the boat, the whale came back to make sure she was safe.
Whale Behavior Studies
Marine biologist Robert Pitman analyzed this behavior for more than 6 decades and concluded that humpback whales band together to disrupt killer whale attacks, developing rescue behavior capable of ramming when they perceive a calf to be in danger. The encounter with Hauser is the only one that shows his protective behavior towards a human being.
Hauser presented some bruises in the encounter with the whale, but that did not limit her from continuing to share with these majestic animals. Now more than ever, she feels committed to continuing her work and raising awareness of the issues facing the world’s whales.
“The oceans and the whales are in a lot of trouble. The ocean is the earth’s amniotic sac, and what is happening to the creatures in the ocean will soon happen to us if we are not more careful. We need to be a voice for them,” Hauser said.
This protective behavior is really surprising, without a doubt, we have a lot to learn from the animals that surround us. I wish we understood that the Earth is the only common home we have, and it is up to all of us to protect it.