A humpback whale rescued by orcas?

An observation expedition of whales from Bremer Bay, South Australia witnessed a surprising event. The tail fin of a humpback whale was caught in the mesh of fishing gear when several orcas headed for the cetacean in trouble. The reputation of killer whales as whale killers evidently made viewers fear that the humpback whale did not constitute their meal, yet the interaction that took place was very different.

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The lines of peach were removed from the whale by the killer whales, who then moved away. It would be tempting to say that the orcas voluntarily saved the humpback whale because such behavior is easily assimilated to an intention of mutual aid that humans can lend to other animals. The rescue of the whale could however be the result of chance since the displacement of water generated by a simply curious killer whale removed the fishing equipment. This meeting therefore ended very well because the orcas, whose whales are among the prey, then moved away to the west while the surviving individual took the opposite direction.

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