GEORGE the dolphin looks to be heading this way after his antics have been delighting people along the south coast.

The playful character was spotted in Lyme Bay and it’s quite likely he will return to his old cruising grounds on the Dorset coast.

The 12-year-old bottlenose dolphin, who has a distinctive nick in his dorsal fin, has been away for some years but in the past has stayed around Kimmeridge, Weymouth, Chesil Beach and Bournemouth Pier.

But if he is headed this way, marine photographer Steve Trewhella is urging people not to get into the water and swim with him, or put their children on his back.

“I was horrified to see photos of people holding onto his fins and being towed around off Beer in Devon this weekend,” said Steve. “I expect to see him around here soon.”

He said: “George is a wild, but solitary dolphin, he’s not Flipper, and although he likes human company, we must remember he is a large and powerful animal and could inflict great harm.”

Steve, who has spent many hours protecting George on previous visits, said a dolphin’s skin was fragile and easily broken and dolphins carried diseases transmittable to humans.

George, who has been visiting this coast for more than 10 years, had been known to single out young women in the water and take them out of their depth.

“They are mammals not unlike us in many ways,” he said. “The pheromones women give off are very similar to those female dolphins give off,” he said.

“It is an offence to disturb wild dolphins. Often jet skis and powerboats can be seen chasing the pods of bottlenose dolphins that show in Poole Bay. They tend to move on very soon after this illegal activity takes place.

“Although it is a fantastic site to see a dolphin so close, I would urge the public to show restraint on entering the water,” he said.

“Observe him from the shore or a boat. Do not chase him. It is an offence. Let him come to you, if he chooses,” he said.


Harassment and reckless disturbance to a wild animal are offences under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act and the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Successful prosecutions have been few and far between. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society notes one successful court case for disturbance to a dolphin in Scotland, and one in England under the Wildlife and Countryside Act for recklessly disturbing a lone dolphin.

“Part of the problem is defining ‘disturbance’ and part is the attitude of the prosecuting authorities that do not seem to take this type of offence seriously,” said the society.

“Such prosecutions are often not seen as serious by the law enforcement community.”