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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Beware of the dolphins! Expert tells swimmers not to 'act the maggot'

Dolphins are living off Donegal – but an expert has warned the species has killed people “if they act the maggot”.

A bottlenose dolphin
A bottlenose dolphin
Image: CHRIS O'MEARA/AP/Press Association Images

A LARGE COLONY of bottlenose dolphins has taken up residence off Donegal – but a marine expert has warned swimmers and sailors to “be wary” of the pod.

Around 100 of the mammals – an unusually large number – have been spotted regularly in recent days in Donegal Bay between Rossnowlagh beach and Doorin Head, the Irish Independent reports. One expert said July to November is the height of the dolphin season, and the bottlenose often swims closer to shore than other dolphin species, giving wildlife spotters an especially good view.

However, Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said people shouldn’t get too close to the “big and robust” animals. He told Ocean FM the dolphins are “wild creatures living in an environment that is totally alien to us. You should be wary of them.”

Speaking to Highland FM, Dr Berrow added: “They’re very boisterous and active and will approach boats and people. Don’t get in the water with them. I’ve been working with them for 18 years and I’d be frightened to get in the water with them. They’re big, strong animals.”

He said there would only be a serious danger “if the person didn’t behave properly” in the water with the dolphins. “Bottlenose dolphins have killed people before, but only when people act the maggot,” he said.

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Michael Freeman

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