Saturday, March 15


Two pygmy sperm whales, a mother and her calf, were found stranded on Mahia Beach. According to CNN, rescuers "worked for more than one hour to get the whales back into the water, only to see them strand themselves four times on a sandbar slightly out to sea. It looked likely the whales would have to be euthanized to prevent them suffering a prolonged death."

Note that humans' magnificent intellect and mastery of tools led us in this case to one viable option: Using our tools to kill the animals, who "kept getting disorientated and stranding again They obviously couldn't find their way back past (the sandbar) to the sea." Then along came Moko the dolphin, who "approached the whales and led them 200 meters (yards) along the beach and through a channel out to the open sea."

Altruism is one of the now-discarded "things that separates us from the animals," as this example illustrates. But the altruistic impulse is moot if there's no capability to carry it out. Just as there are things we can do on land that dolphins can't, we must acknowledge there are underwater activities in which their intelligence will always outstrip ours because it's paired with knowledge and capability.

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