Whale shark tangled in rope seeks help from humans (video)

A few weeks back I posted an amazing video of a dolphin seeking help from a scuba diver, but this is every bit as interesting, and heart-warming.

Besides approaching the boat and practically calling for help, the whale shark (which is technically a shark) steadies itself along the surface for minutes so that the snorkeler can breath while cutting the thick rope tied around the body.  The shark actually waited the entire time for the man to do his work.

This is a stock photo of a whale shark, just to give you a sense of what these amazing animals look like:

Whale shark (stock photo) via Shutterstock

Whale shark (stock photo) via Shutterstock

There’s a podcast interview with the man who saved the shark, Joe Scibberas.

Here’s the description of the video on YouTube:

A whale shark – a true shark that is in no way related to whales – has the distinction of being the largest fish in the ocean. It is a filter-feeder and would never swallow a human being. This remarkable story is of a roped whale shark that sought help from three fishermen off the coast of Australia just south of Sydney in March, 2003.

The documentary is narrated by Mark Spencer with music and production support by Roger Faynes. You can also hear an interview with Joe Sciberras (the fisherman helping the shark) on Brisbane’s ABC radio (with Warren Boland) here.

Here’s another great stock photo of divers with a whale shark, the video follows:

Whale shark (stock photo) via Shutterstock

Whale shark (stock photo) via Shutterstock


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • Sandra Taramtamtam

    Amazing photography, here a wallpaper of one whale shark http://www.wallpapers2000.com/wallpaper.php?wid=6138

  • Ajay Prasad

    This is absolutely incredible. What could the whale
    shark be thinking when he approached the boat literally asking for help? How
    did he know that he needed help and he would get it here? It is amazing to
    watch how it stayed at the surface of the water as if making sure that his
    savior did not have to go too deep and could cut the rope easily while being
    able to breathe when he needed to! And yes he actually stood still patiently
    while the fisherman could cut away the rope. Well that is saying so much about
    animal consciousness.

  • Ninong

    What is amazing about this incident is that it’s the first such event involving a fish. There are many similar events involving whales and dolphins but they’re mammals.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    He watches YouTube. Or reads AMERICAblog!

  • hollywoodstein

    and it is still taught at university that animals have no mind. I remember dozens of papers of mine graded F or outright rejected positing animal consciousness.

  • Max_1

    My exact thoughts…
    … Nearing a “hundredth monkey” event, possibly?

  • http://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKarter Jeffrey Karter

    I wonder if the whale shark knows the dolphin that was helped by divers, as was recounted on this very website not so long ago.

    At the very least, methinks there’s an ocean grapevine thing going on.

  • Drew2u

    Anyone here read “Zoo” by James Patterson? If so, what did you think?

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