Nari's Shark Bite

In February 2009, a bottlenose dolphin named Nari swam up to the Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort on Moreton Island off Australia’s Queensland. 

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef (an unusual nickname for Jennifer) got her master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses. After four years of diving off the Gulf...

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Dec 1, 2011

In February 2009, a bottlenose dolphin named Nari swam up to the Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort on Moreton Island off Australia’s Queensland. Dozens of wild dolphins, including Nari, routinely entered an adjacent bay every night for dinner—hand fed fish by tourists and resort staff. But on this night, the workers immediately noticed something was wrong: Nari was missing a huge chunk of blubber from his dorsal surface, just behind his blowhole. As Trevor Hassard, director of the Tangalooma Marine Education and Conservation Centre, came rushing down to the wharf, he knew immediately that Nari’s injuries were the work of a shark—and this was one of the worst bites he had seen in his 19 years at the facility. But in just over a month, Nari underwent a remarkable recovery, leaving researchers wondering just how dolphins heal so quickly with no swelling, infection, and seemingly little pain.

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