The mayor of a town in France has banned swimmers from a local beach because of the rutting behavior of a dolphin known as Zafar.
The dolphin, called Zafar by local residents, has been in the area for months and become an attraction, with adults swimming out to play with him...
Children in sailing schools were delighted when the dolphin would suddenly turn up and frolic around their boats, and Zafar sometimes let swimmers grip onto his dorsal fin and go for a ride with him.
"Approaching within 50 metres of the dolphin is also forbidden", said the new bylaw.
A French village last week banned swimming after an overly playful dolphin reportedly tried to rub against humans and boats. "He (Zafar) even lifted up a woman swimmer last Thursday with his nose".
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The last straw appeared to come last week when the dolphin tossed a young woman bather in the air with its nose.
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 risky.
The mayor not only banned swimming in the bay when the dolphin was around, but also moved to prevent people approaching the dolphin or swimming within 50m of the male.
"The dolphin is a wild mammal, it lives in a [group] normally, with precise social rules [and] will still seek contact, rubbing against boats, or people", says Sami Hassani, a marine mammal specialist who spoke with Ouest-France.
Breton lawyer Erwan Le Cornec denounced the restrictions and complained that they were excessive. "How many accidents have there been with a dolphin in Finistère since our two species existed?"
"With this decree, the mayor is trying to make out that the dolphin is nearly like a ferocious beast, something that's completely unpredictable and able to drown people".