Cue up the Jaws theme.
A French beach had to restrict its swimmers, but not over the threat of a shark attack. Instead, it’s a randy dolphin who’s causing a stir on the Brittany region beach. The normally friendly dolphin is behaving so aggressively in the water these days that local officials had to ban swimmers from the water when he’s around.
Known as Zafar by the locals in the Brittany area of Landevennec, this dolphin is typically happy to see people in the water nearby, greeting swimmers and boaters who happen across his territory and generally frolicking with the tourists. But lately, according to the Telegraph, he’s been seen “often clearly in a state of sexual arousal” rubbing up against boats and kayaks. He also reportedly tried to keep swimmers from getting back to shore and even reportedly used his nose to toss one woman out of the water and into the air.
While Zafar is clearly going through some issues, the local officials have set some rules in the hopes of keeping locals and tourists safe. Landevennec mayor, Roger Lars has issued a ban on swimming and diving on the village shoreline if and when the dolphin is around. They’re also forbidding people from approaching within 50 meters of the dolphin.
As much as it’s likely a thrill for people who might want to swim with Zafar in his natural habitat, it’s understandable that the local officials would want people to keep their distance while he sorts out his mating situation. Especially if he can’t tell the difference between a consenting dolphin and a human being or a kayak or whatever else he’s apparently targeting with his aggression.
Dolphins are known to mate year-round and are typically polygamous. One can only hope that Zafar will find a friendly dolphin who’s into him, if only so things can go back to normal on this Brittany beach, both for him and for the local swimmers.
In the meantime, there’s already a local lawyer in the Brittany area who’s planning to contest this ban, believing it to be an excessive reaction to the dolphin’s inappropriate behavior. So who knows how long this restriction will stick.
Sure, dolphins are typically known to be friendly toward humans, excluding that one recent dolphin that body-checked a surfer in Australia. But on the other hand, if Zafar’s keen on finding a mate and it’s causing him to be especially aggressive toward swimmers, maybe it’s for the best that the locals steer clear of him for the time being.
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Photo Credit: Flickr / Andy Morffew