Marine biologist says humpback whale saved her from tiger shark attack

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A marine biologist, Nan Hauser, travels all over the world doing research as the president for the Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation. This week she shared an encounter that happened in October in waters off the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. Hauser, 63, had been on a routine dive searching for whales when she spotted the 25-ton humpback.

According to the Press Herald, the experienced diver knows not to touch or get too close to the whales, and had been shocked when on this particular dive, a whale actually swam up to her and gently nudged her with its head and covered her with its pectoral fin. As told to the news reporter of the Herald, Hauser admitted had someone told her this story, she likely would not have believed it happened.

“His eye was so wide, I was just waiting to get whacked,” Hauser recalled as she just stayed still and waited for the whale’s next move. “But it was clear it was trying to communicate something.”

As Hauser’s companion continued to video the strange encounter, the next ten minutes were crucial for Hauser’s survival, or so she thought. When close enough to the research boat, she was able to return to safety. The story, however wasn’t over. Within moments, Hauser understood what the “dance” had been about; a 15-foot tiger shark had been watching the diver and possibly planning an attack. The whale had protected her.

Although it obviously can’t be proven the whale was looking after her welfare, it has been documented that whales often protect seals from predators. Could the whale have been the research scientist’s special angel around at the right time keeping her safe? We do know there is a scientist who believes this – how about you?

(Videos and photos via screenshot and YouTube Portland Press Herald)

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2 replies
  1. Darla G says:

    I haven’t watched the video yet….just reading the story gave me goosebumps. Animals are so much better than most people.

    • Diana Roby says:

      It’s beautiful. I saw another video that had her describing the incident. It was amazing to watch. Such beautiful creatures.


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