How to Free a Whale

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I almost didn’t watch this video. Eight-plus minutes sounded like a long time to commit. But the lure of a group of people saving a whale from fishing net proved too much to resist. And once I pressed play, I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

Even though (spoiler alert) I had a feeling the ending was going to be a happy one, chills ran down my spine when everyone, including the person filming the footage, starting laughing and cheering after clipping the final piece of netting away from the gigantic animal.

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Even better: Seeing the freed whale breach and slap her tail and fins over and over again. It’s hard not to interpret the display as a cheerful thank-you dance, especially when you hear a young child’s voice in the background say, “Mommy, I know what she’s doing. She’s showing us that she’s all free!”

The video features the Great Whale Conservancy’s Michael Fishbach, who also narrates the edited footage.

The organization’s mission statement is to protect blue whales along the California coast. In this case, at least, it looks like their efforts have made a difference.

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