Swimming With Dolphins 'Traumatizes Them'

Harassed dolphins spend less time feeding, nurturing young
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2010 2:13 AM CDT
A newborn dolphin calf, center, swims alongside its mother.   (AP Photo/National Aquarium)

(Newser) – Zanzibar's dolphins are becoming incredibly stressed out by the steady stream of tourists swimming with them, British scientists say. The researchers found that dolphins become stressed when people swim close to them or touch them. The dolphins also become unsettled when tourists boats are around and spend less time resting, feeding, or nurturing their young, the Telegraph reports.

The researchers urged the local government to regulate the industry to avoid driving the dolphins away. "The current situation in Zanzibar is unsustainable," one scientist warned. "The local community is dependent on tourism—and thereforeon the dolphins—but unless the activity is regulated the animals will leave." (Read more cetaceans stories.)

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