beluga-whale-eye-eric-kilbyflickr-jpb

Eye of Beluga whale. Photo: Eric Kilby/Flickr

In 2005 off the California coast,  a female humpback whale was found entangled in nylon ropes used by fishermen. As recounted by Frans de Waal in The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society: “The ropes were digging into the blubber, leaving cuts. The only way to free the whale was to dive under the surface to cut away the ropes.” The divers spent an hour at the task, an especially risky one given the sheer strength of the animal’s tail. “The most remarkable part came when the whale realized it was free. Instead of leaving the scene, she hung around. The huge animal swam in a large circle, carefully approaching every diver separately. She nuzzled one, then moved on to the next, until she had touched them all.”

Thanks: Aeon

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