Top Ten Greatest Animal Heroes

Animals Rescuing Humans: Top Ten Greatest Animal Heroes


We have compiled a list of extraordinary tales of animals who have saved humans from deadly situations. This list not only proves the intelligence of our animal brethren, but their astonishing capacity for love and compassion.



My Green World Animal Heroes

Meagan Howard was looking after her housemate’s 2 year old daughter one morning in her house in Denver. Quickly ducking into the bathroom, Meagan was disturbed by her pet parrot, Willie, who was loudly squawking and shrieking. Willie, usually a highly intelligent, friendly and chatty Quaker parrot, was going berserk in the kitchen. The parrot was squawking ‘Mama! Baby!’ over and over. Meagan bolted out of the bathroom to find her housemate’s baby in the kitchen, holding a partly eaten Pop-Tart, gasping for air, her face and lips a terrifying shade of blue. Willie continued shrieking and flapping around the room, until Meagan realized that the baby was actually choking on a pop tart that she had grabbed from the table. Meagan immediately performed the Heimlich maneuver until the piece was dislodged from the baby, and all was well.

Willie had saved the little girl’s life.


My Green World Animal Heroes

Long known for their intelligence, this particularly erudite pig went rushing out of her home one morning after she had noticed her owner, JoAnn Altsman, lying still inside their home. Lulu, the pot-bellied pig situated herself in the middle of the road, stopping traffic and trying to get the attention of someone who could provide assistance.

JoAnn Altsman had suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the ground, motionless. The pig tried relentlessly to get help, returning to the house to check on JoAnn, only to rush back to the street to desperately try to get help. Finally, one concerned person stopped and followed the determined pig back to the house, where the good samaritan found Altsman in pain on the floor. She was immediately rushed to a hospital where she was treated and her health was restored.  It just goes to show that pigs are much more valuable as companions than as garnishments on our burgers.


My Green World Animal Heroes

In 1919, a ship called Ethie crashed into some rocks, leaving 93 sailors stranded amid stormy seas. When one sailor drifted far out to sea, the sailors turned to their dog, Tang, to pull them to safety. With a rope in his mouth, the loyal dog leaped into the water and proceeded to drag the remnants of the boat that the sailors clung to to safety. When the valiant pooch reached land, onlookers were amazed to discover that Tang’s jaw was still determinedly fastened to the rope, saving all 92 of the remaining sailors.


My Green World Animal Heroes

Farmer Noel Osborne was undertaking his usual farm work when he was accidentally knocked into a pile of manure, shattering his hip. Too far away for anyone to hear his calls of help, and rendered immobile by his injury, he was stranded outside. For five long days, his loyal goat, Mandy, huddled by his side providing warmth and comfort in the frigid cold nights. Remarkably, Mandy even allowed Osborne to milk her for sustenance.  He was able to survive until he was finally discovered and given assistance, thanks to Mandy’s compassion and companionship.  


My Green World Animal Heroes

Diver, Yang Yun, was taking part in a competition in China, in which she was supposed to hold her breath for as long as possible amid a pool of beluga whales. Everything was going smoothly until she tried to move her legs, and realized that she was completely immobile. That’s when Mila, one of the beluga whales, came to her rescue. Despite being kept in captivity and enduring a life of servitude, Mila sensed that something was wrong and immediately swam to the drowning diver, taking her leg and lifting her to the surface to breathe.

Mila, the captive beluga whale, saved this human’s life.


My Green World Animal Heroes

In 2004, four lifeguards were swimming off the coast of New Zealand when a pod of dolphins surrounded them underwater. Initially fearing the frenzied pod of dolphins, the lifeguards soon realized that the dolphins were protecting them from a 10 foot long great white shark that was preparing to devour the unsuspecting lifeguards.

The dolphins protected them for close to 40 minutes, while the grateful lifeguards swam to safety.


My Green World Animal Heroes

After 5-year-old Levan Merritt fell into a gorilla enclosure at Jersey Zoo, fracturing his skull and breaking limbs, Jambo, a silverback gorilla, immediately came to his aid. The silverback stood protectively next to the young boy and even stroked his back, comforting  him and shielding him from danger. When Levan woke up and began to cry, Jambo led his entire troop away so human rescuers could reach the boy.


My Green World Animal Heroes

When a tsunami struck Thailand in 2004, 8-year-old Amber Mason was caught in a perilous situation. Just as the wave was about to strike Amber, a 4-year-old elephant took Amber on its back and ran for higher ground. As the wave crashed around them, the elephant even turned its back to the water, creating a protective wall from the impact. 

This young elephant saved Amber’s life.


My Green World Animal Heroes

A 12-year-old Kenyan girl had been missing for a week, and it was soon discovered that she had been abducted by several men who were trying to force her into marriage. When authorities finally found her, she was alone, save the three lions that were guarding her.

The police said that the lions had been guarding her for about half-a-day when they got there, not only abstaining from munching on the little girl themselves, but also making sure that nothing else got close to her. 


My Green World Animal Heroes

In 2012, 69-year-old Robert Biggs finished gazing at an adorable family of black bears and  continued on his day-hike in northern California.

Distracted by the spectacle of a mother bear caring for her newborn cub, he didn’t realise that he was being stalked by a mountain lion, until it was too late. The mountain lion pounced on Robert’s backpack, knocking him to the ground.

Bracing himself for death, Robert was confused when he heard a tremendous screech, followed by growling. Glancing up, Robert saw that the mother bear had ripped the mountain lion from Robert’s backpack, leading to a bloody fight between the two beasts.

 The bear won the battle, and the mountain cat ran back into the woods, admitting defeat. Once the danger had passed, the bear stood on all fours, observing Robert, before regrouping with her young.

Robert believes that he owes his life to this bear. “I’m 100-percent sure it did want to save my life,” he said. “We made eye contact. I’d seen the bears before and I know she knew who I was.”

-Natalie Kyriacou

Director, My Green World

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