Oh Flipper, no, no, no!! You are beautiful, playful, and so friendly; but you’ve definitely got the wrong idea! Even if you left your pod of other bottlenose dolphins, and prefer interacting with humans here at the beach, there are certain behaviors we simply have to say, “No buddy, it’s not going to happen”.
The seaside community of Landevennec, France, has had to call for a ban on swimming, because Zafar ( the dolphin’s real name) has been frightening the tourists with displays of amorous intentions. While being in a state of dolphin sexual arousal, he has been observed rubbing up against small boats, pushing some swimmers out of the water, and keeping some from leaving the water. He kept one woman in the water so long, she had to be rescued by boat.
The challenge Zafar faces is he ordinarily would have sex with a dolphin from his own social group, which they do year round; however, he has been a solitary social dolphin for so long, he is just as happy finding “social fulfillment” from his human friends at the beach. Since that will never happen, and the safety of all concerned is of utmost importance, tourists and locals have been banned from swimming or diving from the shoreline, or getting within 50 meters of Zafar when he is in the area.
The long term effect of the ban from humans interacting with a sexually frustrated dolphin are not yet known. There are scientists who have stated this action is unnecessary, as dolphins often are playful, and will rub up against a boat or a human, even when they are not looking for a sexual partner.
Word has spread a lawyer may file suit to have the ban overturned. He states the purpose of the ban was just to make dolphins look like ferocious sea animals, and there is no danger to the public.
More will be reported as Zafar’s predicament either passes, he finds a lady dolphin with similar intentions, or he and swimmers are able to stay separated. However it is resolved, safety for all involved still is the main concern.
(Photo courtesy of Sciencing)