( dpa )- A friendly dolphin saved two pygmy sperm whales stranded off a New Zealand beach, steering them out to sea, according to a Conservation Department worker quoted in a news report on Wednesday.
"It was amazing," Malcolm Smith said. "It was like she grabbed them by the flipper and led them to safety."
He said he had worked for over an hour off Mahia, on the east coast of the North Island on Monday, trying to refloat the mother whale and her one-year-old male calf. After four unsuccessful attempts, he feared they would have to be euthanised.
Smith said the whales were getting tired and he was getting cold when a dolphin who regularly plays off the beach, called Moko by local residents, turned up, the New Zealand Press Association reported.
"The whales were sitting on the surface of the water quite distressed, they had arched their backs and were calling to one another, but as soon as the dolphin turned up they submerged into the water and followed her," Smith said.
He said the whales could have been confused by a large sandbar just off the shore but Moko led them about 200 metres along the beach and escorted them out to sea through a channel.
"She obviously gave them enough guidance to leave the area because we haven't seen them since.
"The things that happen in nature never cease to amaze me," Smith said.