Clare dolphin attacks fourth swimmer in a month as Dusty protects her patch
Swimmers urged to stay away from animal after latest attack
Swimmers have been warned to stay away from a dolphin in County Clare after the animal injured another bather.
The dolphin, known as Dusty by locals, has been involved in four such incidents in the past month in Doolin harbour.
Authorities have repeatedly issued warnings not to swim with the female bottlenose dolphin.
Dusty charged a woman as she left the water on Sunday night with some reports claiming she suffered back injuries.
The Irish Times says the dolphin is believed to have struck the woman in the kidney area with its nose, knocking her over and leaving her winded.
Coast Guard officers treated the woman at the scene before she was taken by ambulance to the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick.
The paper says she was left badly bruised and shocked by the incident.
Dusty, believed to be about 14 years old, arrived in Doolin pier from the Fanore area of north Clare in 2011.
Locals say the three-metre long mammal has been responsible for injuring a number of people over the past two years, with several of those being hospitalised with significant injuries.
She struck a 40-year-old woman in the abdomen earlier this month.
In response, lifeguards now fly the red danger flag any time the dolphin enters the area.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has also erected warning posters at Doolin pier.
IWDG coordinator Dr Simon Berrow said: “It is our policy to discourage people swimming with whales and dolphins in Ireland.
“We’ve drafted a poster recommending people do not swim with Dusty, but if they must, then they should respect her as a wild dolphin and not grab, lunge or chase after her.
“If she shows aggressive behaviour or is boisterous they should leave the water.”
Experts say the dolphin has become territorial about the slipway and steps at Doolin.
Clare council’s water safety development officer Liam Griffin said: “People continue to ignore repeated warnings about swimming with the dolphin.
“You can never be sure how the dolphin will react. It’s best to stay away from her because people have been injured in the past.”
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