Dolphins prevent NZ shark attack
A group of swimmers has told how a
pod of dolphins protected them from a great white shark off New
The dolphins swam in a tight,
The lifeguards were training at
a beach near Whangarei on the North Island when they were menaced by a
3-metre shark, before the dolphins raced in to help.
The swimmers were surrounded by
the dolphins for 40 minutes before they were able to make it safely
back to the beach.
Marine biologists say such
altruistic behaviour is not uncommon in dolphins.
Lifeguard Rob Howes was in the
water with two colleagues and his teenage daughter.
It was an uncomfortable experience, as they
were circled by a great white shark, which came within a couple of
He said around half a dozen
dolphins suddenly appeared and herded the swimmers together. The
mammals swam in tight circles to create a defensive barrier as the
great white lurked under the surface.
The swimmers said the dolphins
were extremely agitated and repeatedly slapped the water with their
tails, presumably to try to deter the predator as it cruised nearby.
The drama happened in New
Zealand three weeks ago, but only now are the lifeguards telling their
It is a day they will never
forget, especially for one of the swimmers, who was on her first day as
They have no doubt that the
dolphins acted deliberately to protect them.
Researchers have said they are
not surprised. A marine biologist insisted that dolphins, which are
considered to be one of the most intelligent mammals, "like to help the
Nov. 4, 2004