By SHINKAI KAWABE/ Staff Writer
August 8, 2022 at 16:37 JST
A sign warns bathers against touching dolphins while swimming in Fukui. Photo taken July 26 (Keibu Horikawa)
FUKUI--Two adult bathers here suffered minor hand and elbow injuries after they were bitten by a dolphin, according to the Fukui Coast Guard Station.
The Aug. 7 incident followed a series of recent dolphin attacks at city beaches and warnings by the authorities not to approach the mammals in shallow waters.
A wildlife expert warned that dolphins not only bite but also sometimes resort to charging swimmers at high speed or forcing them into deeper waters offshore.
A female bather at a beach in Fukui’s Ayukawa district made an emergency call around 11:40 a.m. on Aug. 7 to report that “two people are being attacked by a dolphin.”
Coast guard station officials said a dolphin slammed into the back of a 39-year-old Fukui woman who was swimming about 15 meters offshore.
The mammal bit the palm of her left hand and left wrist as she tried to return to the beach. The dolphin kept attacking her by pulling at her swimsuit, the officials said.
A 50-year-old man from Sakai, Fukui Prefecture, swam close to the woman to rescue her, but the dolphin also bit him on the palm of his right hand and his left elbow when he tried to drive the mammal away.
The dolphin constantly poked the man with its snout as it chased the bather, who by then was swimming frantically back to the beach. But it swam away after the man managed to kick it, the officials said.
The man required three stitches to his right hand, which will take about a week to heal.
A number of other bathers were attacked and bitten by dolphins in prefectural waters in late July. Another beach in the city put up warning signs urging bathers not to touch or approach dolphins.
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