Members of conservation group, Dolphin Day Ireland, spent the Bank Holiday weekend in Doolin, warning the public not to get into the water with the bottlenose dolphin.
This follow a number of incidents last summer when two swimmers were hospitalised following separate incidents with the dolphin; one suffering broken ribs and four broken vertebrae, while the other suffered injury to her kidney after being rammed.
Genetic evidence has also emerged that suggests that Dusty probably gave birth to a calf, which washed up in Doolin in 2010. This has opened up the possibility that Dusty could be in-calf, which may also be contributing to her change of behaviour.
Dolphin Day Ireland issued a statement over the weekend warning anyone who has not already built up a relationship with Dusty not to swim with the dolphin. “She is definitely more jumpy and easier to startle than she used to be. The incidents of last summer do seem to have had an effect and her behaviour has changed,” said Vanessa Fagan-Vanhorn of Dolphin Day Ireland.
“I was last swimming with her in October, but I have been swimming with her in Doolin for more then eight years now. What was noticeable in October was when I put my hand into the water, she flinched. After a moment she recognised me from my camera and then we swam together for two hours.
“Really, people should sit on the rocks and enjoy watching her from there,” said Ms Fagan-Vanhorn.
“It’s not that people want to cause her harm, but they just don’t understand the species.”