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Japan: Swimmers warn of dolphin bites

Japan: Swimmers warn of dolphin bites

Swimmers in central Japan have been warned of a dolphin suspected of biting several people, as local authorities have encouraged visitors to stay away from the marine mammals.

On Wednesday, officers on a beach in Fukui Prefecture, where the dolphin was seen several times, installed an ultrasonic device to repel it, a local official said.

A sign was also placed inviting visitors not to touch the dolphin on the beach.

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

A local official told AFP that firefighters were contacted about two incidents involving two men in their forties who were bathing in the area.

While the injuries recorded so far have been minor, the authorities warn of “potentially serious injuries.”

“Dolphins tend to be considered cute, but if you approach them carelessly they can bite and hurt you,” Fukui police warned on Twitter on Monday.

“If you see one, don’t go near it,” police warned, citing the example of a man who bit him on the hand last Sunday.

According to local authorities, this series of attacks is the work of a single dolphin, whose presence was first noticed off another beach in April, said Mr. Masaaki Yasui, who is in charge of tourism in Fukui.

“Dolphins do not like to touch certain parts of their bodies such as the tip of their nose and spine,” he said, noting that videos on Twitter show swimmers touching those parts.

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