The Institute of Cetacean Research caught this amazing scene on film while doing research on whales in the Sea of Japan. At the risk of anthropomorphizing, it is difficult not to share the pain of this pod of dolphins as they seek in vain to rescue the life of a fellow pod member. Our natural curiousity about the motives for this remarkable rescue attempt will certainly drive scientists trying to answer the obvious question this footage raises:Just how intelligent are dolphins? This question is central to protecting a species which is threatened by inhumane hunting methods. Or is that threatened by human hunting methods, which are "indolphine"?
In the video, about 20 dolphins separate from a pod of 400, to take turns swimming underneath a flailing dolphin, pushing it towards the surface so it can continue to breathe. Sadly, after about an hour of persistant attemtps to save the dolphin's life, the injured pectoral flipper proves fatal. The video clip does not show the dolphin sinking into the depths, as described by witnesses from the Institute of Cetacean Research.
There is precedent for dolphin rescue efforts, a case in which a dolphin was credited with saving the lives of two beached pygmy sperm whales. Before humans drive further species of these intelligent aquatic mammals to extinction, we should at least give serious thought to the lessons which might be learned from this video.
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Reuters via Mixx
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