Thursday, 22 February, 2018


Whale biologist says whale protected her from shark

Humpback whale in Cooks Island that Maine marine biologist Nan Hauser said shielded her from a tiger shark while in the South Pacific Humpback whale in Cooks Island that Maine marine biologist Nan Hauser said shielded her from a tiger shark while in the South Pacific
Bennie Garza | 10 January, 2018, 03:23

A video making its way around the internet shows a humpback whale protecting a woman from a threatening shark.

The whale biologist told the Daily Mirror that she believes the moment in September reveals the whale's intuitive instinct to protect another species of animal.

Marine biologist Nan Hauser did not realize she was answering this question last October when a giant, perhaps 50,000-pound (22,700 kilograms) humpback swam up to her in the waters off the Cook Islands, and began lifting her out of the ocean with its massive head.

"I've spent 28 years underwater with whales, and have never had a whale so tactile and so insistent on putting me on his head, or belly, or back, or, most of all, trying to tuck me under his huge pectoral fin", Hauser was quoted by the Mirror as saying.

It's a well-noted phenomenon that humpback whales, often in duos, protect smaller animals who are hunted by marine predators like orca whales.

"I wasn't sure what the whale was up to when he approached me, and it didn't stop pushing me around for over 10 minutes". Only after finally surfacing and returning to her team's research vessel did she notice another unexpected visitor swimming nearby: a 15-foot-long tiger shark, lurking on the other side of the whale.

They have been known to save seals from killer whales by hiding them under their fins. "I never took my eyes off him which is why I didn't see the shark right away".

The whale clearly knew there was a shark nearby and protected Nan by shielding her underneath his pectoral fin and pushing her through the water to safety. "They truly display altruism - sometimes at the risk of losing their own lives", she says.

She added: 'It's amusing how the tables are turned here: I've spent the past 28 years protecting whales, and in the moment, I didn't even realise that they were protecting me!' The video already went viral and shocked everyone.

"It's amusing how the tables are turned here", Hauser told The Mirror.

Hauser was pushed around by the whale for almost 10 minutes, as the whale also used its head and mouth to keep her away from the shark. However, he said he was not convinced that the whale saved her life. Hauser herself thought that the shark was just another whale until she saw its tale moving from side to side, rather than up and down.

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