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Was This Whale Trying to Save a Diver’s Life? | National Geographic ctm magazine

Biologist Nan Hauser believes that when a humpback whale approached her and started nudging, lifting, and covering, it was acting to protect her from a nearby tiger shark.
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A biologist who’s spent nearly three decades studying humpback whale, Nan Hauser never experienced an encounter like the one in September 2017. For ten minutes, the barnacle-knobbed humpback nudged her, lifted her out of the water, and swept her under its pectoral fin. She thought the whale might kill her. But once she was aboard her boat, she saw a tiger shark in the vicinity. Hauser thinks the whale was trying to protect her. The claim was met with skepticism by Hauser’s peers, and she understands their hesitation. But humpback whales do rescue animals—both other humpbacks and other species—from predators. The reasons for this behavior aren’t fully known. Her first-person footage puts you right where Hauser was. But it’s nearly impossible to know the humpback’s real motivation.

Read more in “Whale Allegedly Protects Diver From Shark, But Questions Remain”

Was This Whale Trying to Save a Diver’s Life? | National Geographic

National Geographic



  • National Geographic on January 12, 2018

    Even three decades of research couldn't explain this intimate encounter between a biologist and a whale. Do you think this humpback whale's actions were motivated by altruism?

  • Karan Khatri on February 1, 2021

    Plot twist
    Whale was actually trying to feed the diver to the Shark in exchange of its baby whale

  • ACTAN0NVERBA on February 11, 2021

    We are not worthy

  • Alex Rivers on February 21, 2021

    I’m not gonna say it wasn’t protecting her but it’s hard to say why it did it. It could’ve been just a coincidence that the shark was in the area while the whale was very curious about seeing a human.

  • Fridericia heliota on February 23, 2021

    All I can say for sure is, if the whale wanted to kill her, she would have died there.

  • Plexpara on February 25, 2021

    i want to touch this big lifeform too.

    bet its amazing.
    they know we need air to breathe.they are not just stupid animals.
    we are just to stupid to realise how smart they are.

  • Fernanda Couto on March 11, 2021

    People waste time looking for intelligent life like that of human primates on other planets, while that intelligent life is right here, in the oceans.
    Whales are intelligent, altruists and able to empathize.
    Whales are actually much better than us humans, do not commit violent acts against their own and other species.
    In many cases, this approach to divers is an attempt at communication. But we are too primitive to understand.
    We all have an obligation to combat whaling and ocean pollution.

  • Arshiam Nadeem on March 13, 2021

    When God wants to save no one can take lives

  • redlander55 on March 22, 2021

    Benevolent giant ❤

  • Héctor Monclova on March 27, 2021

    Temperature? Do they feel us, and other mammals as something close to them, therefore the “duty” of protecting us?

  • ZeJuank on March 27, 2021

    empathy, us, humans needs more of this

  • Sy Matzar on April 2, 2021

    Thank god the whale did not say " lets not interfere nature "

  • Arabella Jumuad on April 3, 2021

    Me: whale can you make a bubble net?
    The whale: ok
    The whale: making a bubble net

  • alfred hutchinson on April 8, 2021

    Re 0:11secs*I don't recall
    Dr.NHauser saying that🤔
    Unfortunate u seek 2 make this aquatic hero 2 b a
    m👺nster.Ne1 s👀ing this:go 2 The Dodo site 4 the REAL st📝ry🦈🐋
    B🇧🇧 dos

  • James Colpas on May 17, 2021

    Beautiful thank you so much

  • Baby Teano on May 18, 2021

    I just watched her Ellen DeGeneres guesting, it's amazing, this is amazing!

  • username on May 19, 2021

    animals are so precious and do nothing wrong! I love them so much! ❤️ people are horrible! people are the problem! 😤

  • alexandra-natalia irimia on May 19, 2021

    Who would put a dislike to this kind of videos? And why?

  • Deepiga S on May 20, 2021

    If I ever see a whale I'm gonna try and talk like Dory did

  • YOYO YOOO on May 24, 2021

    What do you expect, diving to a whale who probably never saw a human, he comes to you very gentle, he is huge so he cant put his fin fast away. Like are you dumb?

  • Skylark Blue on May 30, 2021

    I once heard from a spiritual perspective that whales are gods that hold the history of mankind. They also hold grid patterns for the earth that are essential for our survival. I do beleive they are a species with a higher conscious ness than humans, so this altruistic behavior is not surprising.

  • Zealotes the Aussie on July 28, 2021

    A pod of dolphins saved my friend from a shark. They know what they’re doing.

  • Zealotes the Aussie on July 28, 2021

    In NZ maori culture the whale is higher than the human in regard.

  • BRONX BONEYARD on August 10, 2021

    If that whale wanted to kill, eat, hurt or maim HER THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN LITTLE SHE COULD HAVE DONE. THEY WOULD HAVE!

  • photometrik on August 18, 2021

    "I love you, too." That was the most wholesome response ever, and it is exactly what I would have said. Although, I might have been too busy crying tears of joy to form a coherent sentence.

  • BlueBirdPets on August 20, 2021

    This is so amazing. Let the love of God be filled in every thing that he created. For love is what holds us together! Even if we're not the same species

  • Anh Le on September 16, 2021

    Tell me pls, what do we do to deserve to live on the same planet with them.

  • Edith Tierce on September 17, 2021

    If a dogs are capable of wanting to do this for people they don’t even know as well as other animals smaller than them?? Why would anyone believe humpback whales couldn’t be capable of it too?

  • Haley on September 22, 2021

    She never felt threatened by this whale. Ever. This whale was so gentle with her. It was just as curious and loving towards her and she was with it.

  • mangekyusharingan88 on September 24, 2021


  • whizkid on September 24, 2021

    I cringed throughout this whole video !! regardless of what the whale was doing, I find this highly inappropriate ! just think about our reaction when we see a mouse ! you can't go touching like a maniac this wild animal in all the places where she can't even see you like her tail! and then on her fin ?! why !? and worst of all on her mouth literally onto her open wound! god knows what bacteria you just introduced to this wild animal who might just die because of it ! I bet its much less romantic if that poor whale actually died because of an infection produced by this pesky touchy touchy human who can't hold it together and the irony being of her having studied whales for so long on top of everything ! I absolutely understand her excitement but this is irresponsible at best and insane at worst ! and worse still, you're promoting this kind of behaviour on national TV…. I can't. Please stop touching wild animals who are curious about you but maybe don't want to be touched…If a whale touches you it will do so gently, but if you touch a whale and maybe take it by surpise with the tale and then accidently jerks you're practically dead in that instant. Luckily they are wonderfully calm and confident mamals but why violate that space to begin with? who gave you consent ?

  • GP1080HD on October 5, 2021

    For those who might have missed – watch her on Ellen show for this and more amazing story after a year with the same whale 🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋

  • Joey Malin on October 5, 2021

    She didn’t seem in too big of a hurry to get out of the water… just sat there with her legs dangling haha

  • The Food Goddess on October 5, 2021

    I believe Nan's reasoning for the whale's actions. It was protecting her and "cuddling" her.
    Anyone who has doubts, should watch "My Octopus Teacher" on Netflix. You will believe that other creatures care for us. We really should treat them better. (And as for sharks, they don't like human meat. They have very bad eyesight and sometimes mistake surfers/swimmers in wetsuits; as seals. They might bite us, but then they spit us out. They do not eat humans.

  • tommydingo1 H54 on January 8, 2022

    she's actually touching the whale like you can see her hand patting it like a dog this is incredible like the whale just swim up to her

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