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Dolphin to the rescue

Two beached whales in New Zealand have been rescued by a dolphin which piloted them back out to sea.

The two pygmy sperm whales - a mother and her calf - had become stranded in the shallows at Mahia beach on the east coast of the North Island, a location notorious for whale strandings.

Volunteers had given up hope after the whales repeatedly beached despite an hour and a half of attempts to encourage them to head back out to sea. Local conservation officer Malcolm Smith said he was about to get his gun to end their suffering when a friendly dolphin known locally as Moko suddenly appeared, swam straight up to the whales and communicated with them. They immediately followed her back out to sea through a channel.

"She came directly to where we were and established contact, and immediately those two whales seemed to relax," said Mr Smith, adding that this was the first such recorded incident in his 30 years of whale rescue work. "I don't speak whale and I don't speak dolphin," he said, "but there was obviously something that went on because the two whales changed their attitude from being quite distressed to following the dolphin quite willingly and directly along the beach and straight out to sea."

The whales have not been seen since, he said, but Moko was back in the bay, playing with swimmers as she has been doing for the last year. "I shouldn't do this I know, we are meant to remain scientific," Mr Smith said, "but I actually went into the water with the dolphin and gave it a pat afterwards because she really did save the day."
(Source: BBC-tv, UK)
Editorial note

from: Share International, April 2008

Watery wonder continued

First there was one - 'Oscar', the wonder fish, whose silvery white scales bear the words Allah on one side and Mohammed on the other. Now there are two more miracle fish, one which carries the word Allah and another on which the word Mohammed can be seen. (see Share International March 2006 for the report on the miracle Albino Oscar fish.)

Muslims from all over Britain are flocking to see the new miracle fish in a home in Liverpool, England. The owner, Mr Ali Al-Waqedi, had taken his children to their local pet shop to show them the animals. "We started to have a look at the Oscar fish because they had such an unusual colour. Then I saw that one of them had the word Allah. It was so clear, and it made me very happy," he said. "Then we saw that another one had the word Muhammad, and that was even better…. but to have the Allah and Muhammad fish in the same tank was unbelievable."

Muslim leaders from local mosques are quite convinced that both fish are miraculous signs from Allah. Sheikh Sadek Kassem, a local religious leader,
said: "This is a proof and a sign not just to Liverpool's Muslims, but for everyone."

Mr Al-Waqedi said: "This is a message from Allah to me, a reminder, and now my faith is stronger. Everyone is so excited by the discovery."
(Source: Liverpool Echo, UK)
Editorial note from: Share International, June 2006

Sign of the fish

"Oscar" is a fish with a special message. He lives in a fish tank in Water Aquatic, a petshop in Waterfoot (about 30 miles north of Manchester, UK). The two-year-old Albino Oscar fish has been receiving a great deal of attention since Muslim members of the Waterfoot community noticed that markings on Oscar's scales spell out the word 'Allah' in Arabic script.

Moreover, it seems that Oscar carries not just one message but a further miraculous sign on the other side of his body the word 'Muhammad'. Oscar,
who was imported from Singapore, has been filmed and photographed, and has appeared in newspapers and on television. Locals are flocking to see the special fish. "There.s no doubt about it," said Mohammed Riaz-Shahid, manager of a neighbouring business. "The markings are clear to see. Allah on one side, Muhammad on the other. Christians, Jews' they all believe in God, so God's showing a sign to everyone, a sign that he's here".

One visitor says the night before news of Oscar reached the media, he had dreamt of a whale with the words 'Muhammad' and 'Allah' on its head. "It's
real, it's real," he said. "As soon as I heard I came running. I didn.t think twice about the dream until I saw the fish on the television." He inspected Oscar's scales and was convinced that the markings are genuine. He said he believed it was a sign from God.
(Source: The Guardian, UK)
Editorial note from: Share International, March 2006

Leopard befriends cow in Gujarat village

In a rare case of predator-prey friendship, a leopard coming to 'visit' a cow at night has literally become the talk of the town. The incredible ways of the
two animals at Antoli village in Waghodia Taluka district have attracted the attention of one and all, including wildlife activists. Honorary wildlife
warden Rohit Vyas has visited the village several times with other enthusiasts.

He reports: "The leopard has been visiting the cow from October last year [2002] at regular intervals. After the villagers informed us about frequent visits of the leopard to the sugarcane field for its close encounter with the cow, our team, comprising forest conservationist H.S.Singh and wildlife specialists Manoj Thakkar and Kartik Upadhyay, visited the village for verification. It was unbelievable. They approached each other at very close proximity and the fearless cow would lick the leopard on its head and neck". Vyas added: "The dogs would start barking when the leopard came to meet the waiting cow every night between 9.30pm to 10.30pm."

The Forest Department, which was trying to capture the beast, gave up its efforts after learning about the friendship. Moreover, said Vyas, the leopard
has not harmed other animals in the village and its visits have benefited villagers as other animals kept away from damaging crops in the fields and crops yields went up by 30 per cent.
Editorial note from: Share International, July/August 2003

Extraordinary elephant behaviour
The matriarch of a herd of South African elephants deliberately opened a gate to free antelope being held at a camp in the east of the country.

The South African Press Association reported that a private company had rounded up the antelope near Empangeni to relocate them for a breeding programme. At first, members of the capture team thought the elephants were attracted to the alfalfa being used to feed the antelope.

But the team watched in amazement as the herd's matriarch, known locally as Nana, carefully undid all the gate's metal latches with her trunk, swung the gate open and stood back to watch the antelope run into the night.Local ecologist Brendon Whittington-Jones told the news agency: "Elephants are naturally inquisitive, but this behaviour is certainly most unusual and cannot be explained in scientific terms."
(Source: Earthweek, USA)
Editorial note

from: Share International June 2003
Elephant "Nana"

Holy bull

Could a bull's lick heal? In Cambodia the sick are flocking to the little town of Bat Treng where two bulls are said to be healing people by this extraordinary method. The blind are reported to have regained their sight after being licked by the bulls; the lame are said to be able to walk again. The bulls recently escaped the butcher's knife because their owner, a farmer, dreamt that they were well-known figures in traditional legends.

On their return from the slaughter-house one of the animal-stars licked a lame man who immediately got up and walked. According to reports that was the first in a long series of healings.
(Source: Trouw, the Netherlands)
Editorial note from: Share International, January/February 1998

Red heifer a sign from God?

The birth of a rust-coloured calf in Israel is being hailed as a miraculous sign of the coming of the Messiah - and labelled a potential threat to Middle East peace.

The red heifer, of a variety believed extinct for centuries, was born to a black and white mother and a tan-coloured bull on a northern Israeli farm run by a religious high school for troubled and orphaned students. In ancient times, the ashes of a red heifer, butchered in her third year, were mixed with water and used to purify Jews before they could approach Jerusalem's Holy Temple on Temple Mount. Not since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in AD 70 has a red heifer been born in Israel, scholars say. Some Jews see the heifer's birth as sign from God that the coming of the Messiah is near. Many Muslims, and some less observant Jews, are concerned that extremists might take the red heifer as a signal to destroy the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques, which now occupy Jerusalem's Temple Mount. That would clear the way for the construction of a third Jewish temple - and be likely to provoke a war.

"Traditionally, there have been only nine such red cows in our history. The first was prepared under the direction of Moses and Aaron in the desert. The
second was officiated over by Ezra upon the Jews' return from the Babylonian exile. Seven more were prepared during the period of the Second Temple. According to [the 12th century Jewish philosopher] Maimonides, the 10th and final red heifer will be prepared by the Messiah."

A dozen rabbis have examined the calf and said she is the long-awaited ritual heifer, meeting, so far, all the criteria described by the ancients. If the calf
lives unblemished for another 18 months, she can theoretically be put to use. "It is written that it is the 10th heifer that the Messiah will discover and here
we have the 10th heifer. This is a clear sign that the Messiah is near," said Rabbi Ido Weber Erlich of Jerusalem in an interview on Israel Radio.
(Sources: Boston Globe; Newsweek Magazine; Washington Jewish Week, USA;)
from: Share International, July/August 1997

"The fish are coming!"

Some years ago an evangelical group called "Youth with a Mission" bought a ship, called Anistasis ('resurrection' in Greek), "to spread the word of Jesus in word and deed". The ship has been transformed and is fully equipped as a hospital and a dental surgery, and has all facilities and supplies on board for the building of houses, schools and entire clinics in developing countries. Over the years, the ship and its crew (all volunteers) have been able to offer much practical help in many countries in the Third World.

Buying the ship was no problem, but because of a shortage of both personnel and finances the ship lay unused in a Greek harbour for three years. The project's director suggested that he and the entire crew fast for 40 days, following the example set by Jesus, to show that they were willing to make sacrifices and were serious in their intentions.

Towards the end of the 40 days of fasting a series of miracles started. They began as a Moroccan crew member was walking along the beach and 12 fish leapt out of the water at his feet. Later a large fish sprang out of the sea at the feet of the then chief engineer and his family as they walked by the water's edge. On the 38th day of the fast, an American girl (a member of the volunteer crew) was sitting on the beach when 210 fish landed near her.

The following day, while the crew was praying for Greece and the needs of the world, one of the crew members shouted: "The fish are coming!" Everyone rushed outside. No fewer than 8,301 fish had jumped out of the sea and on to the beach. All efforts were made to return the fish to the sea to no avail -- they simply leapt out again landing at the feet of the crew. Eventually the fish were collected, cleaned and salted. For the following six weeks
the crew ate fish at least once a week.

The "miracle of the fish" so encouraged the crew that the ship was soon able to sail and shortly thereafter experienced another miracle -- donations totalling $600,000 flowed in to support their project.
(Source: Evangelical Broadcasting Company, the Netherlands)
Editorial note from: Share International, March 1996

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