Seven Times Wild Animals Came to Humans for Help

On February 6, a SeaWorld San Diego rescue team recovered a sick sea lion pup who'd stranded herself in a local restaurant. They brought the frightened, hungry (and adorable!) little lady to the theme park, where she's now on the road to recovery.

There's no sign that the pup, dubbed "Marina," knew that the humans she'd find at the Marine Room restaurant would save her. There have, though, been instances where wild animals - from land, sea, and air - voluntarily approached humans, apparently seeking help.

It's impossible to say what really prompted each of these animals to think that the humans they'd meet would aid them. Whatever the reason, they all came to us for help. Ooh and ah over the following videos and photos all you like. The irony is that in all but one of the cases listed below (the wounded crow), these animals were suffering from problems that humans caused in the first place.

In September of 2014, Liam Borrough encountered an apparently orphaned rhinoceros in South Africa's Kruger National Park. He described the eight-week-old calf as "badly dehydrated, covered in wounds and clearly in desperate search of shade." He and his fellow travelers let the exhausted rhino lie in the shade of their caravan, and gave her water. They waited with her while rangers brought her to Care for Wild Africa, a nonprofit group that helps injured or orphaned wildlife.
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© Liam Burrough

Joe Sciberras and some friends were fishing near Sydney, Australia, in March of 2003 when a whale shark swam up to their boat - and waited. Curious, Joe jumped in the water and saw the desperate fish had a rope lashed tightly around its body. Amazingly, when Joe approached to cut the rope, the shark floated patiently for some twenty minutes while he straddled its back and removed the cord. The job done, the huge fish swam peacefully away.

This YouTube video, posted in June of 2013, shows a young fox with its head hopelessly stuck in a glass jar. Unable to free itself, the animal tentatively walked up to some men who happily oblige in removing the container. As the fox trots off into the forest afterwards, one of the Russian men asks, "Hey, where's our 'thank you?'" But the small mammal does look back at the men, perhaps giving a nod of gratitude to the pair who saved its life.

A group of marine photographers near Kona, Hawaii, got an unexpected visit from a distressed dolphin in January, 2013. The marine mammal circled several times, eventually swimming up to one of them and putting its left side in their spotlights. Its fin was painfully entangled in fishing wire and pierced by a metal hook. The dolphin waited patiently while diver Keller Laros cut away the wire digging painfully into the animal's flesh. Unfortunately, the divers weren't able to clip-off the metal hook before the dolphin swam away, but they say they were happy enough to have restored most of that fin's range of motion.

This YouTube video racked-up more than 3 million hits - and for good reason. It was posted in June, 2013, and the description pretty much says it all.

A wild raven perched himself on our fence and squawked for over an hour. I went to see what was up with him and saw that he had four porcupine quills stuck in him, three in the side of his face and one in his wing. This video shows my Mom taking out the ones in his face. Very bizarre he let us get that close and even more bizarre he let my Mom pull the quills out. He hung around for the day and was gone the next. Best of luck Wilfred (yeah, I named him) lol

Two teenagers near Sydney, Australia, will never forget the morning last August when a distressed southern right whale surfaced nearby. A twisted mass of fishing lines and plastic garbage was holding fast to the top of its mouth. The huge mammal bobbed up and down in the water several times near the boat. Eventually, it got close enough that one of the teens was able to reach out and snatch the pile of trash off the animal's face. The presumably appreciative whale slapped its tail against the water several times before departing back to sea.

A trio of elephants who'd been targeted by poachers trudged across the Kenyan savanna, last August, with poison-tipped arrows buried deep in their sides. Their apparent goal: the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust center. The pachyderms' only link to the aid group was that one of the elephants had mated with two elephants who'd been raised and released from the facility. A veterinarian and rescue workers rushed out to tranquilize the huge pachyderms and perform surgery to remove the darts and patch-up their wounds. "They all come [here] when in need," the Trust staff wrote on their blog about the rescue, "understanding that [here] they can be helped."
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© The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust