A Dolphin Caught in Fishing Line Asks for Human Help

Candice Gaukel Andrews December 25, 2013 40
Underwater rays

While on a dive to look for rays, some adventurers got to witness their instructors come to the aid of a bottlenose dolphin. © Asrid Frisch/Karel Beets

It’s not often that stressed wild animals trust us humans enough to ask for our help, but that’s exactly what one bottlenose dolphin did earlier this year.

On January 11, 2013, several snorkelers and divers on a winter trip to Hawaii were enjoying a night dive with their instructors off the coast of Kona. While watching manta rays feed off plankton in a lighted area, a bottlenose dolphin swam in close. The dive instructors noticed that the dolphin’s movements seemed unnatural. As the dolphin made a few passes, they saw that the animal had become entangled in fishing line that ran from its mouth to its left pectoral fin.

Although those involved in making the film footage, the dive instructors and camera operator Martina S. Wing of Manta Rays Hawaii, state that they do not advocate lay people trying to rescue marine life (instead they ask that you contact NOAA and/or local authorities), the dive instructors — who had thousands of hours of experience at this particular site — decided to render assistance based on the dolphin’s behavior and its approaching them.

What’s amazing is that the dolphin not only goes to the divers once for help but swims away to go up for air and then returns for more aid.

This certainly has my vote for one of the most stunning, uncontrived, and moving wildlife videos of 2013. What are your favorites?

40 Comments »

  1. Harbans singh nanray April 17, 2014 at 9:27 am - Reply

    The dolfin knew that fishing line was the creation of human beeing so with the natural instink,she came for help from the divers.Good video,thanks.

  2. Richard Carson March 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    What an incredible video. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  3. Marion Smith January 30, 2014 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    It is not uncommon in urban areas for mother ducks to ask humans for help, every year we hear stories like this, often when the ducklings fall through storm drains.

    Mother duck’s ‘bird brain’ saves ducklings

    She grabs police officer by pant leg to lead him to her brood trapped under grate

    http://uhoh.org/vancouver_sun_ducks.htm

  4. Denise Caiazzo January 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    This is incredible! So beautiful to see an interspecies encounter that leaves all in a better place. We need more of this in our world. Thank you for sharing, to the diver for helping in such a calm manner, to the cameraman for capturing it all.

  5. Saina Jeffrey January 12, 2014 at 9:56 am - Reply

    amazing how dolphins could ask for help from we humans…

  6. Elise Amariat January 10, 2014 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Beautiful!

  7. Maria-Victoria Solstrand January 10, 2014 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    Candice, thank you for posting. I have reposted to my FB page. A beautiful video with a powerful message.

  8. Janette Freeman January 10, 2014 at 10:56 am - Reply

    This is incredible. The fact that the dolphin knew that a human can help is stunning. The beautiful creatures in the ocean need to be protected and fishermen and others who use the beaches need to be more responsible and care about the future of nature.

  9. Vicki Bowen January 10, 2014 at 7:26 am - Reply

    This video made me smile. I Love the Dolphins.

  10. Carol Whalen January 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    This is beautiful! Great video!

  11. Lora Sharkey January 8, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Intriguing to see a wild animal approach humans similar to how we approach one another when in need.

  12. Venkatasamy Ramakrishna January 8, 2014 at 10:16 am - Reply

    There is now also evidence of dolphins being caught in floating plastics. Would there be anybody around to help them? Or should it be more important to consider the irresponsible ways we dispose of our plastic wastes, and at the same time realise how much environmental crime we are being responsible for.

  13. Aimee Leslie January 8, 2014 at 10:15 am - Reply

    Very moving

  14. Stacey Palmer January 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    this was amazing… if nothing else in my day forces me to become a better person, this certainly has. There are still some wonderful people in this world… AMAZING!

  15. Sabine Lepoultier Touré January 5, 2014 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    I love this video

  16. Phillip Lewis January 2, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Amazing video. A must see.

  17. James "Jim" O'Donnell January 2, 2014 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Thats incredible. Bad music but the footage is amazing.

  18. Husein Amiji - EIT January 1, 2014 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the heart warming article and video.

  19. OLEMA SADAM January 1, 2014 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    To my little understanding about dolphins, they are usually harmless, amicable and helpful. A dolphin once saved a woman who was almost drowning in the sea at Florida. this woman was helpless when she got herself being carried away by strong water currents off shores. Surprisingly it was a dolphin that ferried this woman from the deep sea, therefore the cry for help by a dolphin shouldn’t be astonishing, they are just like the humans who would also cry for help in time of danger and so they deserve the help when they need it.
    We as humans are the masters to all the living creature, what does this mean? they deserve help and protection.

  20. Larry Radeker January 1, 2014 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    I would like to believe that most people will help other beings on our planet, I try and do help animals always.

  21. Gerard Biles January 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful video Candice. As a diver and videographer, this was a very special interaction to watch, fortunate that the instructor was able to help. Hawaii is very high on my ‘To dive’ list of destinations also, mantas by night must be magical.

  22. Phillip Tureck - FRGS January 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    In 2013 I stated that I would go to the Great Bear Rainforest for myself and support the mission to preserve their habitat and the wildlife that lives therein. I am pleased to say of course that I did this in June of last year. http://www.pacificwild.org

    For 2014 the struggle goes on for survival of wildlife in it’s habitat and the world that we live in as continuing growth of population and encroachment on the world’s habitat continues at a rapid pace.

    I have said that I will do more with pushing both the conservancies that I promote and in the case of the Cat Survival Trust (snow leopards) visit. http://www.catsurvivaltgrust.org

    So the resolution for this coming year is to promote and continue to make aware to friends, relations and the wider populous in forums such as this of the need to preserve wildlife and the world’s habitat for future generations.

    I wish you all a healthy, peaceful and happy New Year.

    Extinction is forever.

    http://www.yosemitephilip.com

  23. Susan Nelson January 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Wow! Fantastic footage….

  24. Suzanne Davis December 30, 2013 at 11:49 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful footage. Inspiring for those of us involved in wildlife conservation.

  25. Bill Lauto December 28, 2013 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Amazing footage! Thank you for sharing… I will do the same.

    Bill, GTG
    GoingTrueGreen.com

  26. Russell Donnelly December 28, 2013 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Hello; This shows that we; as a species; can walk the right path and help; rather than hurt; this planet. Someday; sooner than later; My hope is that all humankind learn to live mutually as one with our planet ! Great story !

  27. Pat LaStrapes December 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Awesome video.

  28. Patricia Jansen December 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    beautiful !

  29. April Andujar December 28, 2013 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this Candice. I’ve been on that manta ray dive. Dolphins aren’t usually in the area because it’s close to shore, so I’m sure he sought out the humans to help him.

  30. Michael A. Vaughn December 28, 2013 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Amazing footage! Thanks for sharing.

  31. Tristam Sculthorpe December 28, 2013 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Once in a while some of us get something right!!!

  32. Carolynne Woods December 28, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Candice,
    That was a wonderful story. My sister-in-law returns tomorrow from the Kona area where she and her husband were diving with Manta rays. She lives in the Hilo area and is smitten with all the possibilities of interacting with sea life while diving on the Big Island. I’ll certainly forward this to her.

  33. Krsto Kraljevic December 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    I saw this video. And again, I watched with pleasure. Amazing & fascinating!

  34. Carol December 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Thank you for posting this lovely video

  35. Linda Plate December 27, 2013 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Candice,
    The dolphin was so smart to ask the divers for help but alot of the credit goes to the amazing diver for coming to the aid of the distressed creature. The video made me cry.

  36. Frankie Laney December 27, 2013 at 10:30 am - Reply

    This is an amazing video to watch and watch again. It was a blessing to see the help this one dolphin received from the divers. I can’t help but agonize over the thousands that live and die in pain because our systematic trashing of the oceans. Thank you for sharing this.

  37. Venkatasamy Ramakrishna December 27, 2013 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Interesting episode in the life of one dolphin Candice. We can only reflect on the thousands of others being killed, knowingly or unknowingly, everyday.

  38. Roya Talaei December 26, 2013 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Thank you for recording this event. I really enjoyed watching it.

  39. Dudley Danielson December 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    A very precious video of faith and trust. Thank you so much for finding this and sharing it.

  40. Diane M. Rousseau LHD, Ph.D December 26, 2013 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Thank you for this great Posting! Dolphins have remarkable awareness and to ask for help and have compassion is a sign of developed Higher Intelligence!

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