September 30, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Japan: Bathers warned of dolphin bites

Japan: Bathers warned of dolphin bites

Swimmers in central Japan are being warned that dolphins are more likely to bite them, with local authorities urging visitors to stay away from the marine mammal.

Officials deployed an ultrasonic device on Wednesday to repel the dolphin after it was spotted several times on a beach in Fukui Prefecture, a local official said.

A sign has also been placed on the beach urging visitors not to touch the dolphin.

According to local media, at least ten incidents of dolphin bites have been reported to agents at the beach, which has been officially open for the tourist season since July 9.

Firefighters were contacted about two incidents involving two men in their 40s who were bathing in the area, a local official told AFP.

While the injuries reported so far are minor, officials are warning of “potentially serious injuries.”

“Dolphins are considered cute, but if you approach them carelessly, they can bite and injure you,” Fukui police warned on Twitter on Monday.

“If you see one, don’t go near it,” police warned, citing an incident where a man was bitten on the hand last Sunday.

Mr Masaki Yasui, in charge of tourism in Fukui, said the series of attacks were the work of a single dolphin, whose presence was first spotted at another beach in April, according to local authorities.

“Dolphins don’t like to have certain parts of their bodies touched, like the tip of their nose and spine,” he said, adding that videos on Twitter showed swimmers touching those parts.

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“We encourage visitors to observe a dolphin from a distance if they see it,” he cautioned.