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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Swimmers warned away from 'dangerous' Doolin dolphin

Published 23/03/2014 | 02:30

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Dusty the Doolin dolphin
Dusty the Doolin dolphin

A DOLPHIN who became a celebrity and tourist attraction is now too dangerous to swim with, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has warned.

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Last summer, 'Dusty', a powerful bottlenose dolphin, attacked a female swimmer who had to be dragged to the pierside in Doolin, Co Clare, after she was hit in the ribs in an unprovoked but deliberate attack.

The young woman sustained significant injuries and footage of the incident went viral on the world wide web.

That show of aggression by the dolphin followed a number of unsavoury incidents in previous months, during which the female adult dolphin was abused.

One of the incidents included an attempt by a group of drunken young campers to pour cider down the dolphin's blowhole.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group issued the advisory after a newspaper report suggested that only those who "had developed a relationship" with Dusty should swim with her.

This, the group said, is wrong and dangerous advice.

"The IWDG strongly urges all members of the public to avoid entering the water or trying to swim with Dusty.

"Dusty is a wild animal, and as such her behaviour cannot be predicted. Any suggestion that it is at all possible to 'build up a relationship' with a wild animal such that interacting with that animal becomes safe and risk free is irresponsible and ill-informed," they said.

"Any perceived 'relationship' between a human and a wild animal is a projection of human values on to the wild animal."

They added that Dusty is both large and powerful and this species has been shown to demonstrate aggressive behaviour in the wild.

"Bottlenose dolphins routinely attack and kill both harbour porpoises and the smaller common dolphin. They are known to engage in infanticide and there's at least one documented case of a bottlenose killing a human.

"Dusty has demonstrated the potential to carry out aggressive behaviour towards humans at several sites in Co Clare over a number of years."

Sunday Independent

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