Dolphin Swims To Diver To Have Hook Removed…Twice
by: Erica Bried
Ask most people to name 5 sea creatures that they know and I would bet that the Bottlenose dolphin would be atop the list. These creatures have large brains, with a brain to body mass higher than most other animals. They will allow humans to play with them and even to ride them. However, they are still wild animals and their behavior can be unpredictable. An incident at Garden Eel Cove, off the Kona coast in Hawaii on 13 January 2013 is an example of an amazing interaction between divers and a Bottlenose Dolphin.
Night Dive Leads To Unexpected Encounter
Kaulua-Kona on the west coast of Hawaii is famous for its Manta Ray population. They appear at night to feed on plankton. Professional divers had taken some snorkelers and divers out for a night dive to see the Manta Rays feeding. Powerful lights were used to attract the Manta Rays and they illuminated the whole area. While they were watching the Rays, a wild Bottlenose Dolphin showed up in the lighted area and from its restricted movement they could tell that it had a problem. Bottlenose Dolphins are known for their great speed and fluidity of movement and this one was struggling. It seemed to linger around the divers and as it came closer they saw that fishing line had become entangled between its mouth and left pectoral fin.
Perhaps this was one of those dolphins which had become used to being fed by tourists on boat tours. Tourists do this to attract the dolphins so they can see them up close. Unfortunately these dolphins become so used to the situation that they begin stealing fish off hooks, leading to many problems like the one experienced by this particular dolphin.
Dolphins Display High Level Of Intelligence
Diver, Keller Laros, said that the way the dolphin pushed at him, there was no question in his mind that it was asking him for help. He saw that the line was wrapped so tightly around the pectoral fin that there were cuts into the flesh. There was also line in the dolphin’s mouth. He started trying carefully to remove the hook, while the dolphin drifted patiently next to him. He then took out a pair of scissors and began to remove the line from the mouth. When he cut this line, the pectoral fin was freed.
With only a little line left in the wound itself, the dolphin swam gratefully away. One cannot help imagining what would have happened to this dolphin if this rescue had not taken place. It would have surely been more vulnerable to predators due to its restricted movement and would have had difficulty finding food as well. It could easily have developed infection in the wounds and died as a result. This would have almost certainly been its fate if it wasn’t for the actions of a caring and resourceful scuba diver and a little personality on the part of the dolphin as well. The irony of the situation is that the dolphin’s problem was caused by humans in the first place. The fact that he appeared to be asking for human help is what makes this story all the more intriguing.