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LEADER RESOURCE 1: Animal Altruism Stories

Dolphin Heroes 1: Shark Rescue

One time, a man named Todd was surfing in the ocean in California. Just as he hit a really good wave, a very big shark appeared out of nowhere and knocked into him on his surf board. It came back and bit him twice, once on his back and once on his leg. Fortunately, there were some bottle-nose dolphins in the area. They quickly surrounded Todd and swam in circles around him, keeping the shark away so it couldn't attack him again.

Todd's friend came and helped him swim to shore. He went to the hospital and they sewed him up where he had been bitten. He was very badly injured but the dolphins had saved his life.

Dolphin Heroes 2: Saved from Drowning

Another time, a 14-year-old boy named Davide fell off his parents' boat into the ocean. Davide could not swim and his parents did not know he had fallen into the ocean. As he struggled, a dolphin swam to him and helped to keep him above the water. Davide held onto the dolphin until his father noticed what was happening and was able to pull him back onto the boat. The dolphin saved him from drowning.

Dolphin Heroes 3: Saving Whales

One time a mother pygmy whale and her baby calf swam too close to the shore. They got "beached," which means they were stuck in the sand. When this happens to whales, they die. People were trying to help the whales get back out to the ocean but it wasn't working. The whales were very agitated and they could not seem to find their way past a sandbar. Then a dolphin named Moko came to the rescue, seeming to be responding to their distress calls.

Moko swam around the whales while the people watched. The whales calmed down and within minutes Moko had led the whales through a narrow channel back to the ocean. Moko saved the whales' lives!

Optional: use together with this video clip: (Dolphin saves pygmy whales that are beached and leads them back to ocean.)

Tuk the Polar Bear

Tuk was a polar bear that lived in the Vancouver Zoo in Canada. One day a man ran past his enclosure and threw a tiny baby kitten into the pool in Tuk's cage. Everybody watched with horror wondering if the kitten would drown or if Tuk might kill it. Instead, Tuk slipped quickly into the water and carefully pulled the kitten out of the water, carrying her carefully in his teeth. He lay down with her by the water and gently licked her clean.

Elephants Free Antelopes

In South Africa, some scientists were rounding up antelopes as part of a breeding program. The antelopes were being kept in a big enclosure with locked gates. As the scientists watched, a herd of 11 elephants came over to the enclosure. The scientists thought the elephants wanted some of the alfalfa which they were feeding the antelopes. Instead of trying to eat, however, the matriarch of the herd came over by the enclosure and used her trunk to open all of the metal latches which were holding the gate closed. The elephants watched while the antelopes escaped and then walked away themselves.

Gorilla Helps Toddler

At the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, a three-year-old boy climbed up the wall of a gorilla enclosure. He fell in and was knocked unconscious. People were very afraid the gorillas might hurt him. Instead, Binti Jua, a Western Lowland Gorilla female, came over to the boy. Carrying her own baby as well, she lifted him up gently and carried him to the door where zoo keepers could come and help him.

For more information contact web@uua.org.

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Last updated on Friday, May 17, 2013.

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