Japanese swimmers told to stay away from angry dolphin

·2-min read
File image: Japan has put up signs warning swimmers to look at the dolphins from afar   (Associated Press)
File image: Japan has put up signs warning swimmers to look at the dolphins from afar (Associated Press)

Beachgoers in Japan have been warned to beware of dolphins after several people were bitten while swimming.

At least 10 incidents involving dolphin bites have been reported in the region of Fukui and authorities have been forced to put up signs near the local beach warning swimmers not to approach them.

Masaki Tasui, who works for Fukui’s tourism department, said city officials believe the series of attacks are the handiwork of a single dolphin — which it says was first seen at Koshino beach in April.

The most recent attack was reported on 24 July, when a man in his 40s was bitten and suffered injuries to his hand, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

Local media reports 10 such incidents have been recorded by attendants at the beach since it officially opened for the summer on 9 July.

In addition to the warning signs on the beach, which read “never touch dolphins”, authorities are planning to install equipment that emits ultrasonic waves to keep dolphins away from the shoreline.

Mr Masaki said: “We understand that there are certain body parts where dolphins don’t like to be touched, like the tip of its nose and its back fin.”

It has also been reported that dolphins have also been spotted swimming in shallow water at the city’s Takasu beach — almost 10 kilometres northeast of Koshino beach.

The Fukui prefecture police posted on social media on Monday to say that “dolphins tend to be considered cute, but if you approach wild dolphins carelessly, you might get bitten and injured”.

Marine expert Tetsuya Matsuoka, who manages Notojima Aquarium in Nanao, told Asahi Shimbun: “People have this image of dolphins as cute creatures, but they are wild animals after all. You should not go near them or touch them because they have sharp teeth.”

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