Louisiana's Rogue Dolphin Entertains ... and Bites

3 people who got too close have been bitten by Katrina survivor

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 28, 2012 1:55 AM CDT | Updated Jun 28, 2012 5:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – Residents of an upscale New Orleans suburb have been warned to stay away from their friendly neighborhood dolphin. The young bottlenose dolphin, who arrived in a canal off the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain after Hurricane Katrina, is a big hit with boaters and swimmers, but has bitten at least three people who got too close to him. Wildlife officials have met with residents to tell them how to co-exist with the dolphin—and to remind them that feeding or harassing wild dolphins is banned by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Signs have been put up urging people to stay at least 50 feet away from the dolphin. "He’s like a friendly neighborhood dog, but the dog will bite," the manager of the local homeowner's association explains to King5. "He's a wild animal and you have to treat him like he's a wild animal and not jump on him, not go swimming with him. He's not Disney World." Officials say that relocating the dolphin could kill him—and if he survived, he would probably return to the canal he calls home. One resident has another solution. "Maybe they should find him a girlfriend," he says.

The dolphin jumps in the water in Sunset Canal in Slidell, Louisiana.   (AP Photo/Rosaria Sheppard)
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We observed people encircling and corralling the dolphin with their jet-skis and boats. They were also reaching out to grab his fins and flippers. - NOAA official Stacey Hortsman

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