Animal TalesBloom

Dolphins save man from shark

Published on Sunday, October 10, 2010 by

SWIMMERS have told how a pod of dolphins protected them from a great white shark off the northeastern coast of New Zealand.

Rob Howes and three other lifeguards were on a training swim about 100 metres offshore at Ocean Beach, near Whangarei, when the dolphins raced in and herded the group together.

“They started to herd us up, they pushed all four of us together by doing tight circles around us,” Mr Howe said.

When he tried to drift away from the group, two of the bigger dolphins herded him back.

He then saw why. A three metre great white shark was cruising toward the group about two metres below the surface.

“I just recoiled. It was only about two metres away from me, the water was crystal clear and it was as clear as the nose on my face,” he said, adding he then realised the dolphins had moved in to protect the swimmers.

The group were surrounded by the dolphins for 40 minutes before they were able to reach the shore.

Another lifeguard, Matt Fleet, was patrolling nearby in a rescue boat when he saw the dolphins’ unusual behaviour.

When he dived out of the boat to join the group he also saw the great white.

Mr Fleet said he was keen to get out of the water after the sighting, but didn’t panic.

“I just kept looking around to see where it was.”

The incident happened about three weeks ago, but Mr Howes and Mr Fleet said they had kept the story to themselves until they had a chance to catch up and confirm what they had seen.

Auckland University marine mammal research scientist Doctor Rochelle Constantine said dolphins were normally vigilant in the presence of sharks.

The altruistic response of the dolphins was normal, she said.

“They like to help the helpless.”







37 Responses
    • i love dolphins!!! :)

    • It’s good site to kill your time.

    • Wow is all I can say and Dolphins are cool, I had Dolphin come up too me when I was little.

    • Dolphins are one of the greatest creatures of this planet :)

    • That’s an amazing story. Altruism is a fabulous trait to celebrate, in both dolphins and people. I actually wrote a children’s fiction book for homeschool when I was 10 that shared dolphin facts and taught lessons about ecology and conservation. I’d love your feedback on my blog!

    • I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A number of my blog audience have complained about my site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this issue?

    • An analysis of dolphin interventions in shark attacks on humans concludes that dolphins have less than honorable motives.

      Dolphins have earned a reputation for protecting humans from shark attacks, is this reputation deserved or has their behaviour been misinterpreted?
      or google the above for more

    • Your site is te best, this is just what i was looking for.

    • i love dolphins… wish I could have one… wish i was reach so that all dolphins will be saved by these cruel people who killed dolphins for food… sad to hear it that god made creatures were killed by stupid human beings…

    • This is the true story. . . . . .

    • The dolphins were surrounding them, and bumping them, to get them away from the shark, to attack them themselves, dolphins are basically the skinheads of the ocean. They eat other fish, and attack porpoises and other, weaker dolphins.

    • the pictures and wall papers good and nice thanks all

      • This is a great story about dolphins intelligence but a mixed message by posting a photo of a person swimming with one in what looks to be a “swim with dolphins” program that hotels and resorts offer.
        Those dolphins used in those programs are taken from the wild, away from their families (which are sometimes killed right in front of them) and then forced to live a rigorous and unnatural life swimming with humans which is a stressful and cruel environment for them. Their life span is usually cut in half in captivity.

    • Harvey…your comment is so ignorant. Do you know the strength of even a bottlenosed dolphin? They could tear us apart just as easily as a shark. They choose not to, we don’t know why. They eat fish (and they are mammals) and sometimes young males will bully porpoises and each other. Kind of like young human males. The fact remains that they help us and are interested in us, despite us having nothing to offer them.

    • It’s funny, because Dolphins are mean creatures that often gang rape their own females (and males), are unnecessarily cruel to food and kill for fun.

      Of course they’re friendly to humans, humans ALSO kill for fun and are intelligent, like dolphins. They don’t protect the helpless, they just want to be seen as good.

    • Us chimps and dolphins are some of the only homicidal creatures on the planet due to the fact that we kill for fun we really shouldn’t look down on other creatures for natural selection and stuff we are just animals with a higher intelligence than most other animals but we still are the same as them exact same purpose mate, eat, sleep, die repeat

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