A French village last week banned swimming after an overly playful dolphin reportedly tried to rub against humans and boats. The dolphin, called Zafar by locals, appears to be "sexually frustrated," the Telegraph reported.
The frisky dolphin has tried to block several swimmers from returning to land at the western seaside town of Landevennec, according to France's Le Telegramme, with one woman requiring a rescue boat to retrieve her. The bottlenose dolphin also has bumped up against boats and even flew over one kayaker, the newspaper reported.
Zafar's ease initially charmed locals as the 10-foot dolphin swam alongside boaters and wowed children, but mounting safety concerns prompted Mayor Roger Lars to take action.
A bylaw issued last week states that "swimming and diving are banned on the village shoreline" whenever Zafar's presence is confirmed, according to the Telegraph. The ban also forbids moving within 164 feet of the dolphin.
"I took this decree to preserve the safety of people," the mayor told Oust-France. "Many bathers were very frightened. He even raised a bather last Thursday with his nose."
Elizabeth Hawkins, lead researcher of Dolphin Research Australia, told the Washington Post that Zafar appears to be a "social solitary dolphin" left with an unfulfilled "yearning" for social contact.
“It’s been observed that dolphins and different whale species will rub themselves against objects with what appears to be some type of sexual satisfaction coming about,” Hawkins told the Post.
In addition, Zafar's tail fin could cause "serious injuries" to humans, as Sami Hassani, a marine mammals specialist at the nearby Oceanopolis sea park, told Paris-based AFP.
At least one resident in the region disagrees with the ban: Erwan Le Cornec, a lawyer, told AFP he planned to file a petition to overturn the ban, arguing the dolphin has caused no accidents and isn't "a ferocious beast ... able to drown people."
As of Monday, however, Ouest-France reported that the ban had been lifted after Zafar's apparent absence from the area.