Officials in Brest, a northwestern town in France, are concerned that a dolphin, nicknamed Zafar, is getting too close to swimmers. Zafar, the 10-foot (three meters) rutting dolphin that has been hanging around the Finistère coast since the spring, has been so frisky lately that it prompted the mayor to ban swimming and diving at local beaches in the area.
The ban, said Mayor Roger Lars, was issued “to protect people’s security.” Local news site Le Télégramme reports that while Zafar has not been aggressive with beachgoers, the dolphin has been rubbing up against swimmers and boats. The lively dolphin has also been at the center of several incidents, including one instance where a swimmer needed to be rescued, but Zafar obstructed her return to shore. A Spanish vacationer also complained about being confronted by the dolphin, who was overly anxious to interact. And the BBC reports that, last week, “the dolphin tossed a young woman bather in the air with its nose.”
The beaches won’t be closed indefinitely. The ban will only be enforced whenever Zafar is confirmed to be present, and in such instances, getting within 15 feet (50 meters) of the dolphin will be prohibited. Swimmers not respecting the ban will be subject to a 46 USD (39 EUR) fine.
It’s possible for a dolphin to hurt humans with its tail fin, but Brest officials are also worried about the possibility of swimmers seeking interaction and hurting this endangered animal in its natural environment.