Flipper vs. Jaws: Amazing Dolphins Stage a Rescue After Swimmer Is Pursued by Shark

The mammals warded off a great white and kept swimmer Adam Walker from becoming an afternoon snack.
Apr 28, 2014·
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

It’s not unusual for athlete Adam Walker to come across marine life during his open-water swims. But last week, as he spent a grueling eight hours and 36 minutes swimming in Cook Strait, New Zealand, a pod of dolphins saved his life.

What appeared to be a six-foot-long great white shark was lurking beneath the surface when about 10 dolphins started swimming alongside Walker. The predator then split, and the pod stayed with him for more than an hour.

“I’d like to think they were protecting me and guiding me home,” Walker wrote in a Facebook post. It’s a fitting assumption, considering he was swimming to support Whale and Dolphin Conservation, a nonprofit working to save the marine mammals across the globe.

This isn’t the first dolphin rescue to make headlines—for years, the animals have been known to save humans from shark attacks. In 2004, a pod of cetaceans circled four lifeguards off the New Zealand coast to fend off a shark. Seven years ago, surfer Todd Endris survived a shark attack thanks to a school of bottlenose dolphins. They formed a ring around him, warding off the shark and letting Endris swim to shore, where a friend could administer first aid.

Now only if more humans would reciprocate. Dolphins are believed to be the world’s second-brainiest animals, and their intelligence levels come close to our own. Scientists have found that the mammals display self-awareness and process complex emotions, which hasn’t stopped theme parks from keeping them in tanks and hunters from slaughtering them.

“The charity works extremely hard to prevent the butchering of these beautiful creatures,” Walker says. So far, he has completed six long-distance swims as part of a seven-part challenge to raise funds for whales and dolphins.