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Dolphin Pod Found Swimming with Body of Missing Drowned Teen

Dolphin Pod Found Swimming With Body Of Missing Drowned Teen

A pod of dolphins was found off the coast of South Africa swimming with the body of a missing drowned teenager, officials said.

The 15-year-old girl, whom authorities did not identify, was apparently washed off the rocks of Llandudno Beach, near Cape Town, and into a rough sea last week.

Rescue workers discovered her body “floating on the water surface accompanied by a pod of dolphins near the rescue craft” about half a mile from shore, said National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson Craig Lambinon, according to Times Live.

Marine mammal experts differ on why this might have happened. Dolphins are extremely intelligent and social and have been known to help humans in difficult situations at sea. There are stories of dolphins protecting humans from sharks.

They also “clearly have a sense of death and loss,” Simon Elwen, marine mammal specialist at Stellenbosch University in the western Cape, told South Africa’s Independent Online.

“Dolphins have been shown to display mourning behavior for their own calves, and … carry the calf around for a few days. So, it is possible” that the dolphins recognized the situation with the dead teen as some kind of loss, he added.

Olaf Meynecke, a whale and dolphin researcher at Australia’s Griffith University, told Newsweek: “I am certain they would recognize a dead human body in the water.”

But while whales and dolphins have been known to exhibit altruistic behavior toward other species, a close encounter with people is often simple curiosity, he noted.

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