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Bid to save over-friendly dolphin

Georges, swimming with members of the Dorset public
Georges, swimming with members of the Dorset public  

WEYMOUTH, England -- Animal charity workers are trying to save the life an over-friendly dolphin that has wandered too close to a harbour.

The 10-year-old male bottlenose dolphin, nicknamed Georges, is in constant danger of being struck by boat propellers in his adopted home of Weymouth, in southwest England, says the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

International dolphin expert Ric O'Barry told the Press Association: "The most important thing I can tell you is this dolphin is doomed. We are racing the clock.

"There's no question this dolphin will die some time in this marina this summer unless it's relocated into the wild."

O'Barry said Georges had a potentially fatal attraction for boat propellers which had already caused him to be injured several times.

The WSPA has called on the former trainer who worked on the children's classic TV show, Flipper, to devise a plan to lure Georges back to his home waters, are believed to be off Cherbourg in northern France.

In order to lure Georges, who is also attracted to humans, O'Barry plans to be towed behind a boat to keep Georges's attention while he is lured across the English Channel, a journey which is expected to last up to eight hours.

O'Barry said he would go into the water during any points when the dolphin seemed to lose interest in the rescue boat.

He said: "This is a new situation, this has not been done before, there are some unknowns here.

"The same dolphin followed the same boat for 20 km (30 miles) from this harbour and hung around with the fishermen all day long, which is the same distance (as the Channel crossing) so we know it can be done.

"We will have to wait to see if the story ends there or if it will go on, like a Flipper episode."

He added: "There are many dolphins in this area, but he's the only friendly one. They stay away from people, generally. He's lost his fear of humans which is a problem.

"He doesn't need a psychiatrist or a doctor, he needs a chauffeur to lead him home."

The rescue is due to take place as soon as the weather allows.


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