Incredible moment a massive 50,000-pound humpback whale saves a marine biologist from a shark, while revealing how he thought he was going to die
- Nan Hauser, 69, spoke about the 2017 match against the Cook Islands
- She explained the range of emotions she went through as she was left in tears.
- The clip has been released as part of National Geographic’s Sharkfest event.
A marine biologist relived the emotional rollercoaster ride of a 50,000-pound humpback whale saving it from a shark.
Nan Hauser, 69, spoke about the encounter off Muri Beach, Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, which left her in tears.
The footage has now been released as part of National Geographic’s annual Sharkfest event.
It shows Hauser fearing that the whale would kill her, before realizing that the gentle giant was, in fact, her savior.
Nan Hauser, 69, spoke about the shark and whale encounter at Muri Beach, Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, which left her in tears.
Nan Hauser, 69, spoke about the encounter as part of National Geographic’s annual Sharkfest event.
The marine biologist described that at one point, all she could see was the white belly of the beast, as she was dragged along.
In the footage, Hauser can be seen trying to avoid colliding with the whale’s massive pectoral fins on its sides.
As expected, a creature of this size has tremendous power, but instead of dealing damage to the marine biologist, it saved her.
“Suddenly I realized that the shark was coming right below me,” he continued.
The scientist said that when she saw the shark approaching, she and the whale knew “that this is a serious situation and that it wanted to get out of the water.”
The predator was a 15-foot tiger shark, well known for attacking humans.
Hauser’s rescuer successfully pushed her back into the boat using the front of her head, and she gratefully climbed aboard.
Taking a deep breath as she explained those final moments, Hauser recalled, “I looked over and he was right next to me, protecting me… And I cried.”
The whale then departed with a spray of recognition from its blowhole as Hauser was overwhelmed with relief.
The behavior experienced by Hauser is very similar to that of a mother humpback with her calf.
But this isn’t just reserved for the family, as scientists have found examples of species that also protect others from attack.
Although the shark posed a great threat, Hauser also had to be aware of the power of the whale during the encounter.
The behavior exhibited by Hauser’s savior is very similar to that of a mother whale towards her calf.
Experts can’t know exactly why mammals would risk their own survival for a different species, but the accepted view is that altruistic behavior is ‘spillover’.
The scientists explain that the humpback whale could exhibit this characteristic, as it is an extension of its drive to protect its own young.
Mammals are immune to many predators in the ocean, so instead of being defensive, they have learned to attack head-on and drive off prey more proactively.
The researchers believe that rather than protecting a specific species, it may be an act of dominance over predators, to try to make sure they don’t return when hatchlings are around.