Passionate Porpoise Shuts Down French Beach

Graeme Peto, Open Jaw

Hey swimmer, come here often?

We like to think of dolphins as our fun-loving, aquatic pals - but sometimes ‘Flipper’ can be a little too frisky.

This summer, the pretty coastal village of Landévennec in Finistère (part of France's northwestern Brittany region), has been frequented by an overly-amorous marine mammal that has been getting a little too friendly with swimmers.

Apparently, the dolphin's actions became so concerning that Roger Lars, Landévennec's mayor, issued a bylaw banning swimmers from getting closer than 40 meters from the dolphin.

The playful porpoise in question (nicknamed Zafar) is usually known for his docile behaviour. However, now that he has begun a desperate search to find a mate, he has become increasingly aggressive. In such a state, dolphins can get overly frisky or even violent with swimmers -- creating a potentially dangerous situation for both people and the animal. Officials stepped in and issued the ban on 20AUG over fears that swimmers may be in potential danger.

With the ban in place, some locals are stepping in to defend the dolphin's actions. One local lawyer, Erwan Le Cornec, sees the new edict as excessive and potentially vilifying for the species, pointing out that bylaws don't exist for other, less amorous (but potentially dangerous) sea animals like jellyfish.

As of Monday, Zafar has reportedly moved further down the coast, leaving beach-bathers safe to swim without having to endure porpoise pick-up lines. 

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