Apparently even dolphins get a little lonely.
A female bottlenose dolphin, who was separated from her pod off the coast of Australia in 2012, has become a regular sighting for beachgoers near Sydney. Recently, it seems, the dolphin has even sought out human friends, often playing with surfers and swimmers -- whether they like it or not.
"She is an attention seeker," National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Peter Bergman said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. "She goes out of her way to swim with people. She will come right up to them."
The bottlenose dolphin, who is distinguished from others by a distinctive nick on her dorsal fin, has not strayed far from the New South Wales coast since she became separated from her pod in September 2012, according to reports. The dolphin was left by herself after she became trapped in the Sussex Inlet. Rangers stepped in to help the dolphin, but the wild animal apparently never returned to her pod.
After several months, wildlife services decided to intervene again for fear that the dolphin had become too tame and accustomed to humans. A video posted to YouTube in May 2013 shows rangers catching and releasing the dolphin into the open ocean.
However, it seems the call of the sea was not strong enough to dissuade the dolphin from staying close to shore. In the past few weeks, the bottlenose dolphin has been spotted near several beaches along the southeastern coast of Australia, The Guardian reports.
The dolphin's fondness toward humans -- while entertaining for beachgoers -- has wildlife experts worried.
"Although this dolphin does seem to actively seek out human interaction we are becoming more and more concerned about the number of people swimming with it at once, and of reports of people attempting to ride the animal, poke it and feed it," Sydney Harbour Area Manager Michael Treanor said in a statement Monday.
"Ultimately, if that happens the animal may need to be taken into captivity, which is not what anyone wants and what we have been working so hard to avoid," he continued.
For the time being, the state's wildlife services are instructing swimmers to leave the dolphin alone -- even if she instigates interaction.
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