Amorous dolphin targeting swimmers
WEYMOUTH, England -- Swimmers are being warned to stay away from a "sexually aggressive" dolphin that has made its home at a popular tourist resort on the English south coast.
Georges the male bottlenose has become a tourist attraction since arriving in Weymouth harbour, Dorset, in April. Thousands of people have gone out in boats to watch him and swim with him.
But the 10-year-old, 400 lbs (180 kg), dolphin became the cause for concern last month when his behaviour suddenly became erratic.
He appeared to be trying to harm himself by swimming into boats' propellers and began showing an unhealthy interest in divers.
Such was the concern that Ric O'Barry, who worked as a trainer on the U.S. TV show "Flipper," was called in to try to get Georges to swim out to sea.
But attempts to lure Georges away from the busy harbour and return him to a secluded area near Cherbourg, France, where it is thought he originated, failed.
Now experts have warned swimmers to avoid him, the Press Association reports.
O'Barry, who works with the World Society for the Protection of Animals, said: "Georges's well-documented sexual aggression poses a real threat to the thousands of swimmers who will be descending on Weymouth over the summer."
He told the London-based Times newspaper: "This dolphin does get very sexually aggressive. He has already attempted to mate with some divers.
"When dolphins get sexually excited, they try to isolate a swimmer, normally female. They do this by circling around the individual and gradually move them away from the beach, boat or crowd of people."
O'Barry said the dolphin would get very excited and rough before trying to mate with a swimmer, possibly causing them to drown.
The WSPA wants to relocate Georges to France because it is illegal there for people to swim or dive with a dolphin and it would be possible for a French group of experts, the Cetacean study group, to continue monitoring him.
Bid to save over-friendly dolphin
May 28, 2002
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
WORLD TOP STORIES:
Blix: 'Iraq could do more'
N. Korea warns of nuclear conflict
Serb hardliner refuses to plead
NASA: Flight-deck video found
Caracas tense after bombs
|Back to the top|