If you are a fan of the action and not-stop-adrenaline-fueled-feeding-frenzy of Shark Week, this video below may seem a bit slow. 50,000 pound animals rarely move quickly. Yet there’s something touching in the footage of this old humpback whale as it seems to protect a diver from the approach of a tiger shark.
[Scroll Down for Video]
“The hypnotizing footage was filmed in the waters off Muri Beach, Rarotonga, of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific,” The Daily Mail reports.
Whale biologist Nan Hauser was diving with the whale when the shark approached. The whale seemed to draw her in, under its flipper, and even pushed her out of the water at one point.
“Nan said the incident, which occurred in October, is proof of the whale’s intuitive nature to protect other species of animal – including humans – something she believes has never been captured on film,” the mail reports.
Researchers are curious about the displayed behavior. Whales are known to protect their young, and there are many stories of dolphins and porpoises attacking sharks, but this is the first time Hauser experienced the protective behavior from a whale.
While this whale was shielding Hauser and her team, a second was slapping its tail on the water nearby. The team thinks it was attempting to divert the shark.
“I wasn’t sure what the whale was up to when he approached me, and it didn’t stop pushing me around for over 10 minutes,” Hauser said.
“I’ve spent 28 years underwater with whales, and have never had a whale so tactile and so insistent on trying to tuck me under his huge pectoral fin.”
“In my head, I was a bit amused since I write Rules and Regulations about whale harassment – and here I was being harassed by a whale.”
“It’s funny how the tables are turned here: I’ve spent the past 28 years protecting whales, and in the moment, I didn’t even realize that they were protecting me!”