• Watch: Huge manta ray appears to ask snorkelers for help

    By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    There are times when animals know they must seek out a human for help. Amazingly one of those times was caught on video and it is something to behold. 

    Freckles is a giant manta ray who lives near Ningaloo Reef in the Indian Ocean near Western Australia, The Times reported.

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    And while Freckles is no stranger to swimmers in the lagoon, this visit was a little different. She was asking for help from the people in the water, The Independent reported

    She swam to Jake Wilton, a guide who was taking other divers through the bay.

    Freckles rolled over and stopped in the water showing Wilton three fishing hooks embedded near her eye.

    "She got closer and closer and then started unfurling to present the eye to me. I knew we had to get the hooks out or she would have been in big trouble. I went for a few dives down to see how she'd react to me being close to her," Wilton told The Independent.

    "She had to unroll her lobe to show me where the hooks were embedded," Wilton told The Australian. "She knew exactly what was going on. She had to show me, give me access. It's incredible for an animal to work that out so quickly," Wilton said according to The Times.

    "I'm often guiding snorkelers in the area and it's as if she recognized me and was trusting me to help her," Wilton said, according to The Times.

    Wilton grabbed his pliers and removed the hooks one by one as he dove in about 16-foot water without an oxygen tank over the course of about a dozen dives, The Times reported.

    The last dive he said goodbye to Freckles.

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    "I went down again, just to say goodbye and she actually stopped and just waited there. For the wildlife to completely embrace you, that's very special. I bawled my eyes out afterward -- that says it all," Wilton said according to The Times.

    Wilton though said that wasn't the last encounter with Freckles. Two weeks after he helped her, Wilton said he saw her again as she was feeding and she stopped and remained still for about 20 seconds. 

    "It was as if she recognized me," he said according to The Times.


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