Many of you will have seen recent press reports about Dusty injuring a swimmer at Spanish Point last weekend.
The facts, as far as we have been able to ascertain, are similar to those of several previous incidents we have commented on in previous years.
What we have heard is that the man in question, a visitor from Germany who is an experienced scuba diver and photographer, was warned by the regulars before he entered the water that Dusty was likely to be interested in separating him from his camera, and that he should not take it with him unless he was prepared to lose it. He was also told that if she wanted any of his accessories, it was best to give in to her. He ignored these warnings. He also ignored or failed to read Dustyís body language as she started to snap at him and prod him. Naturally Dusty came off better in the brief commotion which ensued, and the unfortunate photographer ended up in hospital with internal injuries. We donít really have reliable information how serious these are. An ambulance was initially called by the people watching from the beach but the injured man refused their attentions at that stage. He has now returned to Germany. The fate of his camera is unknown.
As usual there have now been calls for all swimming with dolphins to be banned.
We call instead for everyone concerned to take responsibility for their own concerns.
Swimmers, listen to the Ďregularsí on the beach and donít take toys in the water with Dusty, unless you are prepared to lose them. If she wants something from you, give it to her or get out of the water. She does not talk English or even Irish, so pay attention to her body language; this has to be your primary communication tool. If you get into trouble, you will be glad if there are other people in the water, so donít swim on your own. And donít butt into other peopleís games or interactions with Dusty!
Clare County Council, now itís high time for you to provide truthful and useful information about the possible dangers of swimming with a wild dolphin in the Atlantic ocean. Instead of scaremongering, trying to ban swimming altogether or blaming the dolphin for our failure to manage the situation, letís have some sensible guidelines (as suggested by irishdolphins.com over five years ago! (click here to read guidelines) displayed on a noticeboard on the beach, which people can use to make their own decisions. Then you will have done your bit and it will be at swimmersí own risk if they choose to go in the water.
Duchas, please remind everyone (including officers of Clare County Council!) that dolphins are a protected species and it is no good threatening Dusty or attempting to interfere with her in any way.
The Irish media has a great knack for stirring up controversy and yet so far has shown little talent in presenting the actual facts of the Dusty saga. Is there no journalist out there somewhere who can see a good story in the joy and delight Dusty has brought to so many thousands of people, instead of only being interested when they can focus on injuries and conflicts?
We believe Dusty is gentle and generous soul who brings a great gift by choosing to interact with us. She is also a powerful and unpredictable wild animal, capable of causing us a lot of damage if she doesnít like the way we behave in her environment. For both of these reasons, the one essential state of mind which is required for people who want to swim with her is RESPECT.
[click here] to read the article "Is Dusty Dangerous"