Watch Whale Reportedly Protect Diver From Nearby Shark

  • Watch Whale Reportedly Protect Diver From Nearby Shark

Watch Whale Reportedly Protect Diver From Nearby Shark

A ME woman claimed in a viral video that a 50,000-pound humpback whale protected her from a shark attack while she was snorkeling near the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.

She said the encounter may be proof of a whale's intuitive nature to protect other species, including humans.

A whale biologist, Nan Hauser, from ME was snorkeling alongside the 50,000 lbs. whale when it noticed another underwater visitor lurking nearby.

When Hauser was approached by a 15-foot tiger shark, a 50,000-pound humpback whale she was swimming with tucked her under his fin, shielding her from the shark, even going so far as to lift her out of the water to ensure her safety.

The encounter took place in October, but Hauser didn't upload the video to Youtube until Monday. The animal also appeared to shield her with its pectoral fin. Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News AppIt wasn't until later that the film crew told her what happened - a shark was in the area.

The biologist did not immediately realize why the whale acted this way.

James Sulikowski, a marine biologist and professor at the University of New England who has studied tiger sharks, said he's not convinced that the whale saved her life. It seemed like hours. "I was a bit bruised up", Hauser told the Independent. Hauser believes the whale's action was deliberately to protect her from the apparent danger.

Hauser says whales are "altruistic" but she has never experienced or read about anything like this before. After her encounter, she said she swam back to her boat and the whale surfaced nearby as if to check on her. Once endangered, humpback whale numbers are now steadily increasing and most of these animals no longer need endangered species protections, NPR reported.

On the biologist's nearby research vessel, Hauser's team was anxious about her, abandoning their drone footage because, as Nan describes the moment, they "did not want to film my death".

Humpback whales are best known for their underwater songs, which they use to communicate with one another, National Geographic reported.

"They truly display altruism-sometimes at the risk of losing their own lives", she said.