Meet Wayne Pacelle in Ann Arbor, this Monday, August 8th, at Nicola's Books

Animals and People, Saving Each Other - From the Blog of Wayne Pacelle, President HSUS Posted: 03 Aug 2011 03:57 PM PDT I watched a stirring video on YouTube last week. A team of whale advocates and scientists in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico came across a humpback whale hopelessly entangled in a gill net, disabling the animal so severely that she could not have survived much longer without intervention. One member of the team swam over to her and tried to disentangle her. Eventually, the team pulled the boat beside her and everyone labored to cut away the net and free her, fin by fin—celebrating after more than a half-hour of cutting and straining to finally allowing the leviathan to swim. The whale was gentle during the ordeal, even though she was in a life-threatening situation with people she did not know. She quickly learned these people were friends, and were trying to help. The team stuck around to bask in the wonder of the encounter, and soon got a second unexpected surprise: a display worthy of any July 4th celebration in our nation. It wasn’t a fireworks display, but a display of breaching and splashing that signaled to the team that this whale was not only euphoric but deeply appreciative. You can judge for yourself by watching the full video here. (If you come across an injured marine mammal or other wild animal, your first response should be to contact personnel with a marine mammal stranding or rescue center). Credit Pete Markham via Flickr Dolphins have come to the aid of many swimmers. In our field, there are people who save animals every day, though not that often the biggest animals who have ever lived on the planet. But what many people don’t realize is that animals exhibit some mighty acts of altruism toward us, too. It’s not uncommon for us to read in the papers about dogs fending off an intruder or alerting a family to a fire in the middle of the night. But wild animals have also been known to come to our aid. In The Bond, I wrote about several of these stories, such as a pod of dolphins in New Zealand who protected a group of swimmers from a great white shark in 2004. The dolphins herded the swimmers together and formed a circle around them, slapping their tails and keeping the shark at bay until a rescue boat arrived. Another rescue that captivated people around the world took place at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago in 1996, and I open the second chapter in the book with this story. A 3-year-old boy climbed a fence and tumbled nearly 20 feet into a pit, hitting his head and falling unconscious. Not only was he injured, but he had fallen into an enclosure with seven lowland gorillas—powerful animals who can grow to be more than 400 pounds. But as the crowd watched, a mother gorilla named Binti Jua gently picked up the boy and carried him to the door of the exhibit, where zookeepers and emergency personnel could reach him. The child received treatment and recovered, and Binti Jua was hailed as a hero. You can find many other accounts of dolphins saving swimmers, dogs and cats alerting their families to danger, and other animals such as parrots and horses helping people in trouble. These acts of bravery and selflessness are another reminder of how much we have in common with animals, and how much people have often underestimated the intelligence, emotions, and altruism of other creatures. Book Tour Schedule "The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them" In April 2011, Wayne Pacelle began a series of public speaking engagements to talk about his book, "The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them," published by William Morrow. Order your copies now. For tour dates visit: http://www.humanesociety.org/about/events/the_bond/the_bond_book_tour.html
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