Issue 2, Winter 2019

Intelligent Wildlife Seeks Assistance

22 Aug 2019  | 

More and more videos are being shared on social media of harmed or trapped creatures approaching humans for help. These animals have enough intelligence to know when they need to trust a human to intervene. 

One of her many encounters with the majestic manta ray, underwater photographer Martina Wing - © Ron DeVries

They know they need help. They know they need a human hand to help.

This summer, a giant manta ray approached divers in Western Australia and flipped over so they could see the hooks embedded under its eye. Photographer Jake Wilton was diving on Ningaloo Reef with British marine biologist and TV presenter Monty Halls when the three-metre-wide ray approached. “That manta absolutely understood what was going on. Jake went down again and again and she just remained still for him,” says Monty.

Jake explains, “I’m often guiding snorkellers in the area and it’s as if she recognised me and was trusting me to help her. She got closer and closer and then started unfurling to present the eye to me. I knew we had to get the hooks out of her or she would have been in big trouble.” The video footage shows the incredible rescue by Jake who manages to get the hooks out. The manta then swims away.

We have to think differently about our shared cohabitation with animals, with our wildlife and sealife.

One of the most famous videos is of the bottlenose dolphin who approached scuba divers to remove fishing line tangled around its fin. The dolphin waits patiently whilst diving instructor Keller Laros cuts the line so the animal can swim freely.

Martina Wing was the underwater photographer who captured the footage in Makako Bay, Hawaii which has been viewed tens of millions of times. “I was at the right time at the right place," she says. "I am honoured to share the footage with all of you. Let’s make better decisions for the ocean and the creatures that inhabit it. I strive to make a difference and you can make one too.”

If we heed what we are being shown by these amazing creatures, what do we do to make a difference?

Perhaps firstly, we should appreciate that mankind has caused the problem in the first place. Our hooks, our fishing lines, our traps, our plastic. Anything we discard has a real potential of endangering wildlife. If you walk along the beach and see pieces of plastic or netting, collect them up and put them in the appropriate waste.

But it’s not just our rubbish in or near the sea that we need to think about. Animals can ingest and get entangled in any discarded waste. They can get limbs stuck in broken items, and even heads lodged in small gaps. Just the simple action of picking up what you see as you go about your day, could help avert a future catastrophe for an animal.

The increasing number of rescue incidents are examples of the animal returning to the source – mankind - to ease its pain. Calling on us to help them, offers us insight into the intelligence of these wonderful beings. We are the ones who should be learning from these incidents, for the good of all.

The intelligent consciousness of these creatures gives us the opportunity to put right the wrongs of humanity.

You can watch these amazing rescues by searching on YouTube:

‘Moment a manta ray approaches a diver to remove hook from its eye’ uploaded by 4Media Group

Original footage of the rescue of 'Notch' the dolphin

‘Bottlenose dolphin rescue’ and ‘Human and dolphin reunited after five years’, uploaded by Keller Laros

To find out more about the work of underwater photographer and manta ray advocate Martina Wing visit and

Facebook /mantarayadvocates