- A pod of dolphins saved a group of swimmers from a great
white shark off the northern coast of New Zealand, it was reported
- The incident happened when lifeguard Rob Howes took his
15-year-old daughter Niccy and two of her friends swimming near the town
of Whangarei, according to the Northern Advocate newspaper.
- Mr Howes told the newspaper that the dolphins
to herd us up, they pushed all four of us together by doing tight circles
around us". He explained that, when he had attempted to break away
from the protective group, two of the bigger dolphins herded him
- He then saw what he described as a three-metre great
white shark cruising toward them - but it appeared to be repelled by the
ring of dolphins and swam away.
- "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. At that point, he realised that the dolphins "had corralled
us up to protect us".
- Another lifeguard, Matt Fleet, who was on patrol in a
lifeboat, saw the dolphins circling the swimmers and slapping their tails
on the water to keep them in place. He told the newspaper he also had a
clear sighting of the shark.
- "Some of the people later on the beach tried to
tell me it was just another dolphin - but I knew what I saw," he
- Expert Ingrid Visser, who has been studying marine
for 14 years, told the Northern Advocate that there had been reports from
around the world about dolphins protecting swimmers.
- She said that, in this case, the dolphins probably sensed
the humans were in danger and took action to protect them.
- Ms Visser, of the group Orca Research, said dolphins
would attack sharks to protect themselves and their young.
- Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited