Sunday, June 24, 2007

Boaters bitten by wild dolphins!

You expect it from sharks, but marine researchers are concerned about the growing number of dolphin bite cases.

Most of the problems are happening in the same area, near the Albee Street Bridge in Sarasota County.

Mote Marine Laboratory researchers say a dolphin named Beggar bit a woman from Lakeland June 7th when she reached out of the boat to pet him. And they say it’s not the first time.
Boaters have been illegally feeding Beggar for years and researchers say the wild dolphin is becoming more aggressive around people.

Jason Allen, Sarasota Dolphin Research Program: “It seems more reasonable to understand why you wouldn’t feed a bear or something more dangerous appearing but these are wild animals. They are wild animals with lots of sharp teeth. It’s dangerous for the animals to feed the animals, and it’s dangerous for the people when you feed the animals.”

Based on years of studying Beggar, researchers believe he is the only dolphin in the Bay area that reaches up to boaters and sometimes bites them.

It’s illegal to feed, harass, swim with, or follow wild dolphins. You could face a misdemeanor charge.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"