"Beware of dolphins!"
is a sign posted at the
In the aquarium you can perform brilliant jumps and swim gracefully.
That dolphin was no way... I think there are many people who feel that, but there are many cases in Fukui Prefecture where beachgoers are bitten or hit by wild dolphins and injured.
To wild dolphins at the beach ...
Takasu Beach damaged
It was just after 1 p.m. on the 2st of this month.
On the beach near Takasu Beach in Fukui City, a man in his 20s who was a bather was bitten by a wild dolphin.
When he tried to climb out of the sea by stroking a dolphin that was approaching, he was bitten multiple times on his hand or leg and injured himself with 10 stitches to his calf.
The local Japan Coast Guard urges people to stay away from dolphins if they see them in the ocean and to get out of the sea immediately.
Even 4 days before at the same beach
At this beach, dolphins were also sighted on July 4, four days before the damage occurred.
Show up under the SUP board
A man who owns a board shop in Fukui City was standing on a board and was previewing a marine sport "SUP" course in which he walked on the surface of the water while paddleing, when a dolphin approached and swam around the board and dived underneath.
Ten people were injured this year, some of them seriously injured.
According to the police, dolphins have caused a series of injuries to people at two beaches in Fukui Prefecture this year, and at least 2 people have been injured as of March 3.
There are many cases of dolphin bites, but in some cases, there were serious injuries such as breaking the ribs after being hit.
In Fukui Prefecture, damage continued last year, and at least 10 people were injured.
There is a signboard at Crystal Beach in Mihama Town
The damage was caused by Takasu Beach in Fukui City and Crystal Beach in Mihama Town, about 50 kilometers away.
The two beaches are taking various measures following last year.
One of them is a device in the sea that emits ultrasonic waves, which dolphins hate.
Equipment that emits ultrasonic waves
When dolphins appear in the swimming area, they are asked to climb out of the sea, but a manual has also been created to quickly guide them to prevent damage. We are preparing for "what if" contingencies.
Field survey begins
Why do dolphins bite and bump into people?
On the 4th, Professor Masamichi Morisaka of Mie University, who is familiar with dolphin ecology, visited the site and began his survey.
Professor Morisaka had the experience of conducting surveys with local governments when dolphins were present at beaches in Mie Prefecture in the past, and on the 4th, he interviewed the person in charge of the Tourism Association that manages the beach about where and how often dolphins appear, and measures to prevent damage.
After that, in order to grasp the behavior and species of dolphins, we climbed to a hill overlooking the entire beach and checked the appearance of dolphins offshore rather than the swimming area.
Professor Morisaka conducting a field survey
It is not yet known in detail whether the dolphins that appeared at two beaches in Fukui Prefecture are the same individual.
When I asked Professor Morisaka about this point, he replied that it is necessary to actually look at dolphins up close and check their body scratches and other characteristics.
Professor Masamichi Morisaka of Mie University
says, "If you look at the time interval between dolphins that have been seen in Fukui City since they were no longer seen in Mihama Town, there is a possibility that they are the same individual.
And about how to prevent damage.
"First of all, it is necessary to recognize that there are dangers when there are dolphins, and I would like you to thoroughly take actions to avoid risks, such as not going as far offshore as possible if you are not good at swimming, not touching dolphins when they approach you, and staying in front of your mouth as much as possible."
"Are you interested in people?"
We spoke to one more expert.
Assistant Professor Gen Nakamura of the Cetacean Laboratory, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology watched a video of dolphins sighted at Takasu Beach in Fukui City last month.
Gen Nakamura, Assistant Professor: "Dolphins are highly intelligent and have a lot of interest, and they behave in various ways, such as playing and playing with them,
but I feel that this individual is particularly interested in people."
As for the dangers, he pointed out the following:
"Dolphins have lips that make them look cute, so it's easy to think they're adorable because of the image you see them in an aquarium, but they weigh more than 200 kilograms and swim at speeds of more than 40 kilometers per hour, so if you hit them, you will be seriously injured."
I don't touch coyotes, but dolphins...
Here, Mr. Nakamura explained the coyote skull and dolphin skull side by side for easy understanding.
The bones of the head of a canid-family coyote have sharp canines
"This is the skull of a coyote, a so-called canine companion, similar to a wild dog or a wolf. If there were a coyote, I don't think we would do anything about it. I think it's because I'm aware that I'm afraid of these canines and sharp teeth, but for some reason, dolphins get their hands on them. But dolphins also have very sharp teeth..."
Bottlenose dolphin teeth
"It's the skull of a dolphin called a bottlenose dolphin. As you can see, the canine-like teeth are lined up one above the other, almost the same as those of a coyote. Their teeth are very sharp so as not to let the fish escape, and many more have the same conical teeth. If you put your hand in the place where your mouth is open, you will be seriously injured. The human body is soaked in water, so if you touch your teeth in that state, they will be cut off by themselves. You have to be aware that you have these things in your mouth."
To coexist with dolphins
And what is necessary to prevent damage?
Assistant Professor Gen Nakamura, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
"It is good for humans to be careful in order to coexist with dolphins, so if you find dolphins, you can avoid injury by keeping your distance. I think it's best to watch them from a safe place."