Maine whale biologist says whale protected her from shark - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Maine whale biologist says whale protected her from shark

BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) - A marine biologist believes a humpback whale shielded her from a 15-foot tiger shark in the South Pacific.

Nan Hauser said she didn't understand the actions of the 25-ton whale that she met face-to-face in the Cook Islands. Then she saw the shark.

She's heard on a video telling the massive mammal, "I love you!"

The encounter took place in October, but Hauser didn't upload the video until Monday. It quickly spread via social media.

Hauser, president of the Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation, tells the Portland Press Herald that whales are "altruistic" and often hide seals from predators, but she has never experienced or read about anything about a whale protecting a human. "If someone told me the story, I wouldn't believe it," she said.

The Brunswick resident said she was oblivious to the shark during the tense, 10-minute encounter. The whale started to nudge her, and appeared to push her with its head. The animal also appeared to shield her with its pectoral fin.

Her research companions turned off an underwater video drone, fearing she was going to be mauled to death.

But Hauser kept her video rolling.

She suffered some bruises and scratches from the encounter, but was otherwise unscathed. She said that after she swam back to her boat, the whale surfaced nearby as if to check on her.

While Hauser credits the whale for protecting her, she acknowledges she can't know what the whale was thinking.

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. "The shark could have just been hanging around," he said. "There's really no way of knowing the whale's motivation."

___

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Congressman denies allegation in misconduct claim he settled

    Congressman denies allegation in misconduct claim he settled

    Saturday, January 20 2018 5:26 PM EST2018-01-20 22:26:27 GMT
    Saturday, January 20 2018 5:59 PM EST2018-01-20 22:59:15 GMT
    U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan used taxpayer money to settle a complaint that the New York Times reports stemmed from his hostility toward a former aide after she rejected his romantic overtures.More >>
    U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan used taxpayer money to settle a complaint that the New York Times reports stemmed from his hostility toward a former aide after she rejected his romantic overtures.More >>
  • Geysers yes, Ellis Island no: Some US parks open, some not

    Geysers yes, Ellis Island no: Some US parks open, some not

    Saturday, January 20 2018 12:16 PM EST2018-01-20 17:16:44 GMT
    Saturday, January 20 2018 5:58 PM EST2018-01-20 22:58:52 GMT
    The snowy mountains and frozen lakes of Rocky Mountain National Park are still accessible to visitors, despite the federal government shutdown.More >>
    The snowy mountains and frozen lakes of Rocky Mountain National Park are still accessible to visitors, despite the federal government shutdown.More >>
  • From Shreveport to Seneca Falls, a march for female power

    From Shreveport to Seneca Falls, a march for female power

    Saturday, January 20 2018 11:57 AM EST2018-01-20 16:57:26 GMT
    Saturday, January 20 2018 5:58 PM EST2018-01-20 22:58:31 GMT
    People line up on Central Park West as they wait for the start of a march highlighting equal rights and equality for women Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in New York.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)People line up on Central Park West as they wait for the start of a march highlighting equal rights and equality for women Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    Across the globe, people are hitting the streets on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration, marching against his policies and in support of the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment.

    More >>

    Across the globe, people are hitting the streets on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration, marching against his policies and in support of the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly