4 People Attacked by Dolphins on Japan Beach

Officials are warning swimmers away from the water if dolphins are seen
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2023 2:30 AM CDT
4 People Attacked by Dolphins on Japan Beach
Stock photo of a dolphin.   (Getty Images / Madelein_Wolf)

Over the course of one day on a central Japan beach, four people were attacked by dolphins. Early Sunday, a man in his 60s was attacked a few yards off the popular Suishohama Beach in the town of Mihama, Fukui prefecture; he was left with broken ribs and bites to his hands, the BBC reports. Also that morning, a man in his 40s was attacked at the same beach and suffered bites to his arm, MSN reports. Later that day, two more people were hurt in dolphin attacks. That brings the total number of dolphin attacks for the prefecture this year to six; similar attacks were also recorded last year.

Such attacks are unusual, but experts have warned that bottlenose dolphins are stressed out when they must swim near humans, and that having to do so disrupts their behavioral routines. "Dolphins are wild animals and may see humans as a potential threat to their territory or prey. In some cases, dolphins may also attack humans as a form of play or amusement, which can be dangerous due to their size and strength," American Oceans explains. Signs at Suishohama Beach now warn swimmers not to touch or approach dolphins. "If you see them, don't go into the water," an official warns. (Read more Japan stories.)

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