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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 21 November, 2019
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A new 'solitary' dolphin's moved to Irish waters... swimmers are being urged to keep their distance

Clet, who originated in French waters, is described as a “non-social solitary dolphin who does not seek out and engage with swimmers”.

File photo of a bottlenose.
File photo of a bottlenose.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

YOU MAY REMEMBER a series of warning being issued last summer after a number of swimmers were injured while interacting with a dolphin off Co Clare.

As many as five people were injured by the mammal known locally as ‘Dusty’. Warning signs were placed around Doolin harbour, a favourite spot for the animal.

Well — as we head into the summer swimming season once again, a new warning’s being issued concerning another dolphin who’s recently relocated to Irish waters.

The dolphin in question, known has Clet, has been spotted recently in scenic West Cork — in particular, Glandore, Schull and Baltimore harbours.

According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the mammal — who originated in French waters — recently moved the southwest coast from the Isles of Scilly.

Clet’s Photo ID profile

According to the IWDG’s Paul Kiernan he is a “non-social solitary dolphin who does not seek out and engage with swimmers”.

In an article on the group’s website this week, Kiernan set out the dangers posed by swimming with any wild dolphin, pointing out that the practice poses “significant potential to increase the risk to the health and safety of swimmers”.

He writes that while many dolphins “spend long periods of time in shallow waters facilitating encounters with small groups of people” their behaviour often changes as more and more people seek to share the experience — especially if they grab at the mammal or attempt to be towed along…

Natural, normal behaviours such as diving, feeding and resting behaviours decline in frequency in the presence of humans.

The animal seeks out interactions, becomes increasingly forceful in these interactions and begins to exhibit behaviour hazardous to swimmers in the water.

Documented behaviours include preventing swimmers from leaving the water by repeatedly swimming in front of them to intercept their exit, increased activity levels and force of activity, tail slapping and breaching in close proximity or on top of swimmers.

Dolphins have also been shown to bite or butt swimmers.

The point being…

As humans, we do not possess the power to communicate with these animals and therefore we cannot understand how our actions will be interpreted by a wild dolphin, regardless of whether that dolphin is seeking contact with humans or not.

Clet was spotted swimming around sail boats in Glandore harbour on Thursday. The IWDG is encouraging people to get in contact if the spot the mammal, as hope to monitor his movements around Irish waters.

Read: Swimmers in Clare are being warned “don’t swim with this dolphin!”

Read: Group of children free dolphin trapped in rockpool

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