Dolphins are some of the smartest creatures on the planet. Yet tragically, due to nefarious whaling and fishing practices and pollution, our favorite aquatic friends are rapidly becoming threatened. One species, the Maui dolphin, for example, only has 55 members left in its population!
So after Keller Laros spotted something caught on the fin of a bottlenose dolphin during a night dive off the coast of Hawaii, he knew he had to do whatever he could to help. When he went to offer a helping hand, however, there was just one problem…
Dolphins are undeniably some of the most beautiful and intelligent animals on the planet. They’re also some of the smartest! Truly, there’s no doubting why most people care to much about them.
NASA / Wikimedia Commons
With their majestic qualities, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to contribute to their likelihood of becoming extinct. Yet, that’s exactly what happens more often than most people would like to think about.
It certainly was not what Hawaiian scuba diver Keller Laros was thinking about as he was enjoying a manta ray night dive. He was taking in the beautiful scenery of the Garden Eel Cove of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, when he got a surprise.
Beyond the rays swimming around him, Keller noticed that there was something bigger lurking in the distance. It didn’t take long before Keller realized that something was seriously wrong up ahead.
Suddenly, a bottlenose dolphin appeared right before Keller’s eyes. Even though dolphins can often be found swimming in that area of the cove, Keller hadn’t anticipated running into one on this particular dive.
Just as he paused to take in the sight, Keller had a startling realization. He noticed that something seemed off about the bottlenose dolphin—she wasn’t swimming the way she should. He couldn’t allow himself to ignore it. There was something about her pectoral fin…
In particular, the dolphin had been swimming in such a way that made it appear as if something was preventing her from moving as fast or as graceful as dolphins usually do. Keller and his diving partner kept their eyes—and their camera—locked on the struggling dolphin.
Dolphins are known to be incredibly intelligent and friendly marine animals, so it wasn’t long before the bottlenose became curious about the divers. She decided to swim up to examine them…
Keller took this as the perfect opportunity to shine his flashlight directly onto the animal to see if he could tell what was keeping her from moving properly. Was she sick? Had she been attacked by a shark or struck by the propeller of a passing boat?
Meanwhile, the bottlenose dolphin continued to swim sluggishly around Keller and his partner, who was filming all the while. In turn, the divers attempted to get a closer look at the animal. Soon enough, Keller saw it…
Keller realized that his first instinct—that there was something attached to the dolphin’s fin that was harming her and causing her pain—had been correct. Whatever it was, it was preventing her from swimming properly.
So, what was it? Keller took a closer look and realized the awful truth: this wasn’t an injury caused by a shark, but a much greater predator—humans. A fishing line was wrapped tightly around the dolphin’s fin and there was a hook in her mouth.
That’s when Keller knew that he had to do something to help—and fast. So he swam right up to the dolphin and motioned toward her to get her attention. He first wanted to offer her some comfort to calm her…
She was surprisingly relaxed as Keller reached out and attempted to untie the fishing line. It was really wrapped around her, and it was clear that setting her free wasn’t going to be an easy task. Amazingly, however, the dolphin seemed to recognize he was there to help.
All the while, the dolphin remained still and let Keller do his work. It was as if she was fully aware of the diver’s good intentions. He pulled the hook from her side, and then, step by step, he slowly worked to free her from her wiry snare.
As Keller struggled to remove the fishing line from the poor animal’s fin, it became clear that this was a life or death situation. Without proper mobility, she’d never be able to fend off predators or swim fast enough to catch fish. Still, Keller wasn’t going to give up.
He was fortunate that the dolphin was so cooperative. She couldn’t help but move around a little bit in order to keep herself afloat, but she mostly stayed put and allowed Keller to help her. She didn’t flinch, even when he was forced to use a pair of sharp scissors!
It was a delicate procedure, but it had to be done. After all, the only other option would have been to allow the dolphin to keep swimming with her injury, which would only lead to more pain—and perhaps even loss of life.
It was so sad that this poor bottlenose dolphin was in such a precarious situation in the first place. Obviously, this was further evidence of the effects that humans continue to have on the natural world. Hopefully, it would have a happy ending…
Thankfully, Keller was able to remove most of the fishing line from the dolphin’s fin and mouth—and it was all captured on video! The footage was a beautiful example of what can be accomplished when humans show extraordinary kindness to animals in need. Keller was a hero!
The fact that this dolphin knew enough to remain calm while Keller worked to free her is truly amazing. She knew that Keller wasn’t there to hurt her!
Share this amazing rescue with your friends who love animals!