Animals can sense when you mean them harm, and when you mean to help them.
This manta ray was injured by a fishing line that wrapped around her wing and cut her deeply, by more than 30 cm. She was obviously hurting when these divers found her. The first time he tries to cut the line, she flinches. She could have run away at that point, but she seemed to know that the divers meant to help her. So she lingered. They tried again.
It’s like she’s asking for their help.
Manta rays might not be the first animal to spring to our minds when we think of intelligence. Higher up on the list might be something like dolphins or orcas, but all animals have more intelligence than we usually give them credit for.
This manta ray had the intelligence to know she needed help. She knew how to ask and how to pick the right people to help her.
Even we humans don’t always know how to do those things. We tell ourselves that animals don’t experience the world like humans do, they don’t feel the same pain or have the same emotions. When we tell ourselves a story like that, it makes it easy to throw trash into our neighbors’ homes. But think about how you’d react if your neighbor threw trash in your yard and you wound up with a 30 cm cut. Well, that’s how the manta feels too.
The only difference is that she doesn’t have a voice. But you can’t watch this video and think she doesn’t understand what has happened to her.
Our oceans are not an empty space to dump our waste.