NORTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – Dolphins may seem friendly, but up close, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there can be more than what meets the eye.
At least, that’s the case for one dolphin that’s been wreaking havoc in the North Padre Island area.
NOAA is warning beachgoers of an “aggressive” dolphin with “unpredictable behavior” that’s been spotted in recent days.
Due to human interaction, biologists say the dolphin has increased its aggression and separated children from their parents and pets from their owners while in the water.
The sea creature has been an issue for more than a year, according to NOAA. Biologists, law enforcement and area residents have discouraged others from interacting with the dolphin.
“While some have heeded the warnings, others continue to seek out the animal,” according to NOAA.
As the dolphin has grown to be more comfortable with humans, it posed a danger, as it “now seeks out people, boats and any form of interaction,” NOAA said.
With Memorial Day weekend coming up, for the dolphin’s safety and other beachgoers, NOAA has a few tips in case the dolphin is spotted:
- Avoid seeking out the dolphin; leave it alone. If you are on a boat and the dolphin approaches, NOAA says to avoid stopping and slowly move away by maintaining your course and speed.
- Do not try to pet the dolphin. If you are swimming and see the dolphin, leave the water to avoid any interactions.
NOAA reminds beachgoers that any interaction with the dolphin that may injure or change its behavior, or feeding the dolphin, is illegal. These violations are punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail, according to the NOAA.
If you see someone else violating these rules, you can contact NOAA’s Enforcement Hotline at 800-853-1964.