Public warned over swimming with dolphin

5th Sep 2002 Story:

Wildlife experts have warned the public to stay away from a boisterous dolphin because they fear someone could be injured.

Georges the dolphin has entertained crowds along the south coast but he has hurt several people with his tail after they entered the sea to play with him.

The friendly 800lbs mammal has been coming into beach areas to interact with humans but his behaviour has become more erratic.

One swimmer was reportedly taken to hospital for shock after being tossed out of the water by Georges.

The dolphin is also called Randy by locals because he gets very excited in the presence of women.

Mark Stevens, from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, took photos of Georges with humans but blames people for not heeding the warnings to keep away.

"People get into the water to swim with him but he is a large wild animal. People don't understand it's part of his natural aggression and interaction with his own species but if he does it with humans he doesn't know we are not built for it," explained Mr Stevens.

He said he had seen the dolphin stand on its nose in the water, put its tail into the air and then crash it down onto swimmers.

He added: "It's quite obvious that people are getting hurt and they are getting out of the water but 15 minutes later they are getting back in. You wouldn't do that if it was shark."

Vanessa Williams, from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said: "It seems there common sense goes out of the window when they see Georges and they climb over him. It's likely that if he gets hemmed in he might lash out but whether that's deliberate or an accident is a moot point."

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