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Sully the Pilot Whale (HD) | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

Sully the Pilot Whale (HD) | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Coming up next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, a stranded pilot whale is rescued in the Caribbean! Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and
welcome to my world! ( ♪ music ) The ocean is full of
fascinating animals, and
stories. I love to investigate
and film these stories, and sometimes I
get lucky. On a recent
expedition, I learned about an amazing story of survival. And that story involves a ten
foot long pilot whale that was
stranded here on the Caribbean island of Curacao. The pilot whale’s name is
Sully, and his story began in
July of 2009, when he stranded on a Curacao beach. But he was
incredibly lucky to land there,
since it’s home to the Curacao Sea Aquarium—one of
the few places in the entire
Caribbean with the facilities and expertise to care for him. George Kieffer, the president
of the Southern Caribbean
Cetacean Network was quick to
respond when he got a telephone call
alerting him to the stranded
pilot whale on a beach only ten minutes from his office. I could tell right away it was
a pilot whale, but I didn’t
know if it was a male or a female but wow, it was a
skeleton. It was emaciated as a
whale or dolphin could possibly be and still be swimming. I
mean skin and bones. He had swam right out of the
bay and could come back in the
bay again, so I don’t think he was disoriented. I think it
was one of those situations
where this animal is physically incapable of keeping himself at
the surface so, I think a lot
of times these animals will strand because they just don’t
want to drown, you know? And if
they can support themselves in the shallows, that’s what
they’re looking to do. The Sea Aquarium staff
immediately sprang into action.
Because Sully was too weak to stay afloat on his own, they
used foam pool floats to help
support his weight, and lots of human helpers. Next, they needed to get some
fluids into him because he was
so dehydrated. Using a funnel attached to a plastic
tube in his mouth, they poured
fresh water right into his
system. Although Sully lives in the sea
and is surrounded by water, he
can’t drink any of it because it’s salty. He gets all his
fresh water in the fish and
squid he normally eats. If he hasn’t been eating, he
hasn’t been drinking either.
Without lots of water fast, his kidneys would fail. Once Sully was hydrated, George
decided to see if he would eat
anything. The dolphins at the Sea Aquarium like
Herring, so George brought over
a bucket of herring to try on Sully. He wasn’t sure if the
whale would accept food from
him. But Sully was hungry and he
gulped down the fish from
George. He got so excited that
they had a hard time keeping a hold
on him! Soon, they set up a makeshift
pen, mostly to keep Sully safe
from boats and curious swimmers. Sully had become a celebrity,
and the crowds started
gathering. Volunteers took
turns not just helping to keep him
afloat, but making sure he was
safe. Within only a few days, Sully
gained a lot of strength and
looked like he was ready to swim by himself. George: “Okay? Amy, drop off.
Drop off.” The floatation devices were
removed one at a time, and
Sully swam on his own! George: “Good kicks of the
tail.” But his road to recovery had
only just begun. Up until that point, the
volunteers were still calling
calling him “the whale.” George decided the pilot whale needed
a name. I started calling him Sully as
a nickname. I thought we ought
to be calling him something other than “the whale” so I
thought pilot whale, who’s a
famous pilot? Then I thought of the pilot who landed his
plane in the Hudson and kept
all 155 people alive after
falling out of the sky with no engines
and I thought that’s pretty
cool: “Sully.” Within a few weeks, Sully was
strong enough that he was
getting rambunctious. George
felt he needed so get some exercise.
So they trained him to follow a
boat. They started by feeding him
fish from the boat inside his
pen. Once he was used to following
the boat around for food inside
the pen, they took him just outside the pen and continued
the training. Sully learned very quickly, and
within a few days he would
follow the boat way offshore at high speed. This daily
exercise helped him get his
strength back so he could return to the wild. Male voice on boat: “He’s in
charge of us. He tells us when
it’s time to go.” By the time I arrived on the
island 3 months later, Sully
was back to full strength. He was being fed lots of fish
several times a day. And every day or so, George
would give Sully a rub down, to
get the dead skin off. Sully really enjoyed that! George
would lie out on a board
suspended above the water and
Sully would come right over. George: This is the only time
we touch him and it’s to rub
off all that loose skin. But nobody ever went in the
water with the whale because
they didn’t want to acclimate him to humans. If he became too
friendly towards people, they
might never get him to go back to his own kind! He might just
start hanging around the beach
looking for people to play with. But one question that
constantly lingered in George’s
mind was: why did Sully strand in the first place? What was
wrong with Sully, and was he
better now? I joined George one morning as
he took Sully out for his daily
exercise swim. He seemed completely rehabilitated. Sully
could keep up with the boat
easily. George decided Sully was strong enough to go back to
the wild. George: “So we took him
straight out to sea and we
figured once we get out there
we’ll just toss a few fish away from
the boat and we’ll leave him.
And we did that—it took us about an hour offshore—we
figured we were at least 10
miles out there. Well, okay its deep ocean water, this is
their habitat, hopefully he’ll
come across some pilot whales, and we’ll head on back! So
we’re coming back at full speed
and that boat, I’m estimating you’re talking about 30 MPH, so
maybe 45 KPH, we’re moving! And
so as we’re heading back towards the island, a few
minutes later one of the crew
on the boat—there are two other trainers with me, Naomi
and Junior—and Naomi says ‘I
think I see him back there!’ ” What they discovered is just
how fast Sully can swim. Even
at full throttle, they couldn’t lose him, and he followed the
boat all the way back to his
pen. Why wouldn’t he go back to the wild? Maybe he didn’t want to be
alone. So, George decided the
only way they would ever get
Sully back to the wild would be to
hook him up with a pod of pilot
whales. For weeks, every fisherman on
the island, and even the coast
guard, were keeping an eye out for a pod of pilot
whales for Sully. Soon they
found a pod. George and the Sea Aquarium staff led Sully out to
the pod to make an introduction. ( voice off camera: ) “Go, go,
go, go! Go man go. Go man. Go
buddy go!” Unfortunately, Sully had no
interest. He looked at the pod,
and swam right back to the boat. Once again, he followed them
straight back to his pen.
Clearly, Sully had no intention of going back to the wild, but
nobody knew why. Unfortunately, Sully couldn’t
stay in his pen. First of all
it was designed to be temporary, and the volunteers couldn’t
watch him forever. And, he was
eating 60-70 pounds of fish
every day. The Sea Aquarium couldn’t
afford to keep feeding him!
They had to find another facility to take care of Sully.
Someplace with the space and
resources to handle a hungry pilot whale. Fortunately, Sea World in San
Diego offered Sully a permanent
home. Soon George and his staff were preparing Sully for
his first airplane ride. Using a sling, they loaded
Sully onto a truck carrying a
custom-made tank that would keep Sully in the water for his
entire journey—over 3,000 miles! Soon the truck departed from
the Curacao Sea Aquarium for
the airport. Sully was loaded onto a FedEx
jet for his $100,000 private
charter directly to San Diego. George and several volunteers
went along to help out. During
the flight, they took turns pouring water onto Sully to
keep him cool and relaxed at
30,000 feet. Six hours later, Sully arrived
in San Diego, where they took
him straight to Sea World. George was there too, and
helped get Sully acquainted
with his new home. Soon he was swimming around—none the worse
for wear. George: “Good Boy Sully” In an effort to learn why Sully
stranded, the Hubbs SeaWorld
Marine Institute got together with the U.S. Navy Marine
Mammal Program to test his
hearing. Using sophisticated
gear, they found the answer. Sully
can’t hear above 10 kHz. A
normal pilot whale should be able to hear up to at least
100 kHz. So basically, Sully is
hard of hearing. And without being able to hear those really
high frequencies, he can’t hunt
using his echolocation in the deep ocean. Without being
able to catch anything to eat,
Sully was slowly starving to death. Since Sully’s life depends on
being fed, he can never go back
to the wild. It’s a good thing Sea World
volunteered to take care of him. I head out to San Diego to
visit my buddy Sully, and as
soon as I see the Shamu-mobile, I know I’m in the right place! Sea World is known for their
incredible dolphin and whale
programs that bring thousands of people to appreciate life in
the oceans. But what many people don’t
realize is that Sea World also
has a huge rehabilitation
program for stranded animals. I catch up with Sully in one of
the rehab tanks, far from the
crowds out front. He smiles for my camera. I wonder if he
remembers me? Jonathan: “We’ve been following
his story.” Jen: “OK” Jonathan: “This is the
completion of his story.” Jen: “Yeah!!” Soon I’m introduced to Jennifer
Shorney, one of Sully’s
trainers. Jen: “We all love Sully. Sully
has a special place is
everyone’s heart.” Jonathan: “Is he a ham? He’s
hamming it up for the camera
over here.” Jen: “Yes, yes, he absolutely
is a bit of a ham.” Jonathan: “So tell me—what are
you feeding him?” Jen: “Sully gets a wide variety
of fish. A big bulk of his base
right now is squid, but he’s also getting some
herring, he’s learning to eat
capelin as well as sardines, so he’s eating all different
types of fish.” Jonathan: “Can I try feeding
him?” Jen: “Absolutely!” Jonathan: “Wow, so what do I
do? Just a couple fish?” Jen: “Yeah, just take a couple
fish and toss them right on in!
Perfect. He’s not particular about which way,
front or back. You’ll see him
sometimes when he’s rearranging the food he’ll definitely push
out all the water. He gobbled
those down real quick.” Jonathan: “So 65 pounds a day?” Jen: “Yes.”
Jonathan: “You’re doing this a
LOT.” Jen: “A lot. This is what we
do!” Jonathan: “How many times a day?”
Jen: “A Lot!” ( sully blows mist onto
jonathan ) Jonathan: “Oh thanks buddy!” Jen: “We’re going to be
stepping down numerous numerous
times a day to him.” Jonathan: “Oh yeah, squid! Look
at him, he’s like ‘ah ah ah I
want the squid, I want the squid!’ Alright,
here it comes!” Jen: “Oh Sully, you’re so good!” Jen: “Sully’s favorite time of
the day, that he absolutely
loves…he loves to be rubbed down. So we call it the
line of love, he loves it, and
what we’ll do is line ourselves up back there and you’ll see
him, it’s almost like a car
wash, he’ll go back and forth and back and forth and
just absolutely loves it.” I get the chance to join in on
the line of love and give Sully
a little rub. Sully has put on over 200
pounds since arriving at Sea
World—he’s a growing whale,
eating 65 pounds of fish and squid
every day. Jen: “So as you can tell, he’s
a pretty happy guy.” Jonathan: “Well how could he
not be? He’s got three ladies
giving him a rub down!” Jen: “I know! I know!” Soon, its play time. To keep
Sully intellectually
stimulated, his trainers give
him a rotating selection of toys to play with.
This one is his favorite. They
call it the sausage links. He likes to grab it in his
mouth and pull it under water, which takes quite a bit of
force. Jonathan: “He can pull that
thing under!” Jen: “I know, right?” Jonathan: “That thing must have
50 pounds of positive buoyancy” Jen: “It’s amazing and looks so
easy for him. Doesn’t it?” He also likes his beach hat. Jen: “He loves to collect his
toys and bring them all
together.” Jonathan: “He’s like, ‘this
would be easier if I had
thumbs!'” Jen: I know, right, but he’s
quite good at maneuvering them
all. Jonathan: “Oh, for a thumb!” Jen: “Oh Sully. What’s going
on? He’s quite animated. There
he goes” Jonathan: “Like the last one?” BOTH: “There he goes” Jen: “Now we’re moving. Now we
got it.” So with his hearing damage,
Sully just can’t go back to the
wild. And how lucky is he that all the way from Curacao, he
made it to Sea World in San
Diego, probably the best place in the world for him. And he’s
going to be taken care of for
the rest of his life. And get rub downs! One day Sully will probably
perform at Sea World, and
anyone will be able to go meet him. Sully owes his life to the
people who vowed to save him:
the staff at Sea World San Diego and the Curacao Sea
Aquarium. To these people, this
isn’t just some stranded whale. He’s Sully, the
determined pilot whale who,
like his namesake, refused to
give up even in the face of
overwhelming odds. ( ♪ music )

100 comments on “Sully the Pilot Whale (HD) | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. Wow! You made Curaçao Sea Aquarium and Sea World San Diego famous. Jonathan, please visit Bihar and make a documentary on Gangetic dolphins! The water is too polluted that gradually the evolution has made the dolphins almost blind. With your good cameras perhaps you may reveal many secrets about the animals. Your documentary will educate many and will help this endangered dolphins. Also you are welcome to my native place Odisha to explore the few left Irrawaddy dolphins in our Chilika lake. Please consider it. I hope your videos and narrations will help the animals a lot.

  2. This is one of my favorites of Jonathon Bird's Blue World. I'm a homeschooling mom and I have my daughter watch these as a part of her science curriculum. I've told other homeschooling parents about this channel. I hope other homeschoolers find this channel as it's amazing! Thank you, Jonathon, for putting such amazing content out there!

  3. in a way it is a good thing he went to seaworld because than he would've died or breeded with the other whales and spread his bad genetics

  4. Big mistake taking him to Sea world. Instead they should have charged visitors to go on a boat ride . By doing this , it would have a provided for his upkeep.

  5. pls dont put him in seaworld all there is in sea world is ABUSE,PAIN and BAD TREATMENT btw RIP sully 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

  6. Sully was rescued when I was one years old and hes still alive today! I just hope they DON'T put Sully in a trick thing and tricks for food

  7. Rather than just giving him toys to play with, they should have an animal linguist come down and get a modulator which generates the pilot whale language, whether it be different clicking sounds, or high pitched, low pitched, what ever it is… and start stimulating him intellectually. Whales have complex languages and if you can teach a Gorilla sign language, you can write a program transcribing the different sounds into their real meanings, and with a speaker/microphone have conversations, grammar exercises, and just communicate with Sully in a whole new way, giving him an opportunity to really say, "Hi", and let people know what he really wants. With sign language, one of the gorillas was able to tell the story of his mother being shot and him being captured when he was little. Imagine what a pilot whale could tell us, they have much larger and more complex language centers and visual processing centers as well as abstract though centers in their brains than we humans do.

  8. I wish I could go to San Diego because they have a Lotta things with animals like do you have the aquarium and the zoo

  9. Poor sully didnt realize what he was getting hisself into at SeaWorld 😥 He should have chosen the wild

  10. Kinda sad he has to live at sea world but with his condition he would die without ppl taking care of him.

  11. Morgan the orca has similar issues 2 Sully, she’s also partially deaf so I’m glad she now has a 4ever home at Loro Parque where she has all she needs 2 live – she even has a BABY now❣️

    (NO Anti-Captivity comments please!)

  12. First of all even though he didn’t return to the wild they did a good job trying not to get him too used to humans but letting him go to Seaworld made me really sad. Seaworld is such a horrible place and I just hope he didn’t get abused

  13. Funny SeaWorld said this about the orcas Morgan about her being deaf. She beaches herself on cement. Watch the videos. There is a website Free Morgan. But they gave her hormones to get pregnant and she did . She will never be released. SeaWorld gave her away to the Canary Island after backlash.

  14. I liked the story until he went to SeaWorld. Poor whale had to suffer in a pool, and before he was swimming in the wide ocean next to his boat. This topics so sad, no wonder that he died. I can't believe that you support places like SeaWorld

  15. Sea world was this whales death sentence. They would have done better to let him die on that beach. At least he wouldn’t have been burned and starved to death.

  16. Sea World is EVIL !!! They only care about money. Tilamook killed 3 trainers, he and all the other orca's are unhappy and unhealthy. Tilamook should have been returned to the wild,… I feel sorry for these poor intelligent orca's, don't visit sea world,,,, Look for all the other evil things they do to these whales.. GOD Bless these animals

  17. Do a dive with Da Vinci’s Diving suit. If you cannot find one you can make it. The suit and mask are made from leather but you can use modern waterproof fabrics if you want. The mask uses two long snorkels that are jointed, they connect to a large cork float shaped like a 🔔. The bell has two holes one on each side. You can stick an are hose in one and let the extra gas flow out the other. And there are glass lenses to protect your eyes. Thank you. P.S. the float is hollow and water/ airtight.

    😉 good luck

  18. I'm so mad this turned into such a pro SeaWorld video. That water poor sully is living in now is going to make his skin peel, his eyes burn and leak. He will get sunburn because he can't dive Down deep enough to avoid the sun. I get he had no where else to go but why can't they use something else besides chlorine? They make saltwater pools now…

  19. This is the problem with listening to the mainstream media. they painted sea world in such a bad light over killer whales and dolphins being captive that they totally neglected the fact that sea world is one of the biggest rehab facilities for marine animals in the world. Not to mention the majority of marine animals that sea world has, can't be released back into the wild due to their disabilities like in sully's case.

  20. People think that sea world should release there animals but in reality they would be able to hunt so it would be like releasing sully into death.

  21. When i heard sea world i shuddered……..i scrolled the comments for news and hear that over exposure to the sun ended it`s life. Clap Clap C World

  22. Everything turned sad to me when Sea World came into the story. You can see his skin coming off from the chemicals in the water. Poor whales slaves at Sea World.

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