World

Sexually ‘anxious’ dolphin is rubbing against humans. So French mayor bans swimming

The mayor of the seaside French town of Landevennec has issued a proclamation banning swimming when a frisky dolphin named Zafar is spotted in the waters. The mayor said the dolphin has scared bathers. Zafar is not pictured here.
The mayor of the seaside French town of Landevennec has issued a proclamation banning swimming when a frisky dolphin named Zafar is spotted in the waters. The mayor said the dolphin has scared bathers. Zafar is not pictured here. TNS

Beware, swimmers: There’s trouble in the waters off Landevennec, France.

But it’s not a shark, or a gaggle of jellyfish — it’s a frisky dolphin named Zafar, the BBC reported.

The dolphin has been frightening swimmers in the beaches of the Brittany town by getting a little too close for comfort, prompting the mayor of the city to ban swimming any time the lovesick dolphin is confirmed to be in the area, according to the site.

“Swimming and diving are banned on the village shoreline… whenever the presence of the dolphin is confirmed,” the bylaw says, according to The Telegraph. “Approaching within 50 metres of the dolphin is also forbidden.”

Mayor Roger Lars told the French newspaper Ouest France he enacted the measure “to preserve the safety of people.” He said people were afraid and that the dolphin had “raised a swimmer last Thursday, with his nose.”

The ban has been in place since Aug. 20, Agence France-Presse reported.

The French newspaper Le Telegramme wrote that once Zafar had started seeking sex, he did not seem to be dangerous but had a “tendency to rub against all that floats, boats and swimmers.”

The paper cited an incident in which a surprised kayaker complained when he was suddenly surprised by the sexually frustrated dolphin, which was “anxious” to interact with the boat and the man.

The aquarium Oceanopolis told Le Parisien bathers should “never get too close to a marine mammal at full sexual maturity” and that a strike with a fin could be dangerous.

Dolphins, who are so intelligent some countries have classified them as non-human persons, are one of the few animals thought to have sex for pleasure. At least 13 dolphins have exhibited “sexual behaviour towards humans” before, according to a study published in a Marine Mammals textbook.

But one man isn’t happy with the mayor’s ban, and told The Telegraph he plans to challenge it.

“The mayor wants to make dolphins look like almost ferocious beasts, completely unpredictable and likely to drown people,” Erwan Le Cornec said in a statement, according to the paper. “If you were to apply these rules across the board, whenever a pedestrian approaches a dog, even if it is on a leash, all the mayors in ... France should issue bylaws banning pedestrians in town.”

In a three-year study using mirrors, bottle-nosed dolphins were found to recognize themselves much earlier than other animals — even humans.

  Comments