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Dolphins form raft to try and save injured member

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RESEARCHERS at an institute in South Korea have filmed several long-beaked common dolphins forming a ‘liferaft’ to try and keep a dying member of their pod alive.

Barely a week after a dolphin was filmed apparently asking a diver for help to free itself from a fishing line, scientists at the Cetacean Research Institute in Ulsan filmed the unusual behaviour by the pod.

Around 400 dolphins were monitored by the CRI during the research.

In the video, 12 dolphins are seen swimming very close together, with one clearly in distress. The female dolphin is seen wriggling about on her back.

Her flippers appear to be paralysed, with the other dolphins forming a type of life raft trying to keep the dying member above the water, allowing her to breathe and regain her balance.

The dolphin died after a while but five of her companions were seen staying with her and continuing to touch her until she fell out of sight beneath the surface.

Although there have been past instances of dolphins helping others, most of these cases involve a mother and her calf or, in cases of dolphins trying to keep a deceased companion afloat, just one or two have been involved.

New Scientist believe this may be an indication that dolphins understand they are mortal, and could even be a form of mourning.

 

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