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Sunday 21 September 2014

Swimmers beware – angry dolphin Dusty's on the move

Pat Flynn

Published 15/07/2014 | 02:30

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Dusty the Dolphin
Dusty the Dolphin

A DOLPHIN who attacked swimmers in Co Clare has relocated herself to the Aran Islands, sparking fears s he could attack again.

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'Dusty' had frequented beaches in north Clare since 2000 and in recent years had been a huge attraction at Doolin.

However, she had been teased by some swimmers while at least four people have been hospitalised in recent years after she became aggressive and attacked them.

Since major works, including blasting, began on a new pier at Doolin in April, Dusty has moved across to Inis Oirr where she is now entertaining locals and tourists.

Although the bottlenose dolphin is widely known as Dusty, locals on the island call her Sandy. She shows no fear of humans and is reported to be "actively seeking out swimmers" to interact with.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has warned: "While many people claim to have had fantastic encounters with Dusty, others are reporting aggressive encounters and are being hit by the dolphins tail or less occasionally rammed."

IWDG executive officer Dr Simon Berrow said: "There is great concern on the island that Sandy might cause serious injury. The sandy beach at Inis Oirr is really the only place people swim and during the summer up to 120 students attend the summer school and swim at the beach.

"In July, swimming lessons for children are also held on the beach and again real concerns are being expressed that Sandy might injure swimmers.

"The IWDG recently attended a meeting on the island with representatives of Galway County Council and Comhar Caomhan Teo, Inis Oirr. It was decided that doing nothing was not an option and people visiting Inis Oirr need to be warned of the potential dangers of swimming with Sandy."

Irish Independent

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