Saturday, 17 April 2010

A happy whale

I just received this very touching story via email.
If you had read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have known about a female humpback whale that had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed an environmental group for help.

Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.

She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently if thanking them.

Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
I found the original story in the SF Chronicle.


John said...

That is a fantastic story. Thank you for sharing it. It is amazing that an animal that is technically 'wild' can show caring and appreciation in a way that connects with human beings. It shows how the words 'wild' and 'tame' (tamed by whom?) are so inadequate when dealing with the fellow inhabitants of this planet.

Anonymous said...


If you liked it in short form, then you've got to listen to the RadioLab podcast on it. (In fact I think most RadioLab will blow you away :).

Go to

in the player on the right, select "Animal Minds", then settle back and listen for an hour... Oh, and keep tissues to hand, you'll need them. (when you select 'Animal Minds' the player will still keep its old episode title, don't worry, it will play the right one).

If you want more after that (and you will ;), try "New Normal" or "After Life".