Humpback whale speaks, says “Thank you”

Well, maybe not in so many words. Not in English anyway. But to those who believe that animals don’t experience emotions–and I gather they still exist–I challenge you to watch this and tell me you don’t understand how the whale feels [Show starts about 6:30 in]


P.S. Don’t try this at home kids.



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13 responses to “Humpback whale speaks, says “Thank you””

  1. Chaz Ruckstuhl

    Extremely cool!

  2. Beautiful !!Thanks for sharing your emotion.

  3. Deborah in San Diego

    Thank you from me as well. A great job and a great organization.

  4. Mandie

    Oh wow, I’m crying a little bit right now! This is so beautiful!

  5. […] “We saved a humpback whale! WOOOO!” Absolutely wonderful video. […]

  6. Thanks for posting this great video. There are still people who care and act.

  7. Karen

    Reminds me of the even more emotional WNYC Radiolab story about freeing a whale from a net – much more under the water, having to cut into the animal to free it, but still it seemed to understand, tolerate and slowly carefully thank the humans involved afterwards.

    and the whale story starts at 4:24

    Just incredible 🙂

  8. My friend, environmentalist and sailor extraordinaire Marilyn McAteer tweeted me this. I always use the word awesome very guardedlybut this is an understatement. You are sea angels, you who could save this magnificent life. I know whales are as intelligent as we are (and a heck of a lot more wise) and that beautiful whale who knew what you were doing while you were cutting the net did show pure joy and rewarded you with an exhibition of her great power and her capacity for love and gratitude. I am convinced that is so. I do not anthromorphize as a rule but whales, dolphins, and many other species’ intelligence equals and often exceeds our own. It is just that we are the stewards of these great ones and it is our duty to preserve all life. This whale spoke her language perfectly, no need for guessing! Again, you are heroes.

    1. Emmett Duffy

      Thanks Andrea! Just to clarify, it was the team from Great Whale Conservancy ( who saved this whale. We are just reporting the good news!.

  9. That was beautiful! I wish they do more of that stuff around.

  10. Eadaoin

    While it was a delight to watch this fantastic animal being freed, I think we all need to step back and stop anthropomorphising. The whale clearly did show huge joy at being disentangled but to suggest that this display was to show gratitude to humans is pure ego.

    The whale did not “thank” the humans by “dancing”. They chased it while it swam away, for 4 miles. It did breach and play in exuberance but I see no evidence of “saying thank you”. The idea that it was performing for humans is absurd. Again, they followed this whale while it was swimming away. That alone discounts the idea. If the whale had followed the boat, maybe. But it didn’t. The child in the video got it right. The whale was glad to be free. Nothing more.

    However I sincerely congratulate the team on their efforts, they did a wonderful thing.

    1. Emmett Duffy

      You may well be right. Certainly, as a scientist, I would have to conclude that there’s no hard evidence that the whale was saying thank you. So I’ll admit the title was more or less marketing hyperbole.

      On the other hand, your conclusion sounds pretty definitive, which is equally unfounded. Everything we know points to whales being highly intelligent animals, with sophisticated emotions. How do you KNOW it wasn’t thanking the humans? Is that completely implausible? I don’t think so. Wouldn’t you thank someone who saved your life after struggling for hours or days in the near certainty that the end was at hand? To my mind, the jury’s still out.

  11. F*ckin? awesome things here. I?m very glad to peer your post. Thanks so much and i’m taking a look forward to touch you. Will you please drop me a mail?

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