He plays with swimmers, specialists have been studying him for months… Who is this dolphin seen off the Côte d’Azur?

His nickname? Parbatt. Probably 3 years old, this bottlenose dolphin has been seen many times this summer along the Riviera coast.

As recently as the start of the week, the cetacean came into contact with swimmers in Cros-de-Cagnes and Villeneuve-Loubet. A situation that delighted swimmers, like Baghdad: “I was paddling with a friend when a boat came to warn us that there was a dolphin. We got closer, I dived to film it and it came towards me. It was a thing of crazy. He went between my legs so we played”relates this Niçois who claims to have lived “a child’s dream”. A scene worthy of a movie. Even if we must not lose sight of the fact that it is a wild animal.

“He was isolated from his group”

If Parbatt has a “atypical behavior”, as the veterinarian Adrien Gannier analyzes, swimmers must demonstrate “detention” and of “common sense” (read elsewhere).

This doctor – a member of the cetacean research group based in Antibes – has been following this specimen for several months, in partnership with the firefighters’ animal rescue group. Other bottlenose dolphins can come close to the edge but, thanks to the videos and photos received, Adrien Gannier attests to it: “It’s almost always the same.”

How to explain it? “He was very sick at the start of the year, he could no longer dive, move around. He was isolated from his group while he was in full social development. When he was sick, we didn’t couldn’t approach him, he didn’t like being close to humans. Then when he got better, he started being much friendlier to humans.” decrypts Adrien Gannier.

An unhappy ending?

In the spring, an old female of the same species took him under her fin. “She saw that he was in a bit of a bad way, she stayed with him for a few days.” Before, too, to take off. However, Parbatt’s situation can and should change in the coming months or even years. “It is likely that he will end up finding a group. Especially with sexual maturity, he may want to socialize with his congeners”, inform the veterinarian.

The case of this bottlenose dolphin is not isolated. Researchers have studied “worldwide” other specimens also exhibiting disordered behavior. “Unfortunately, these kinds of great stories end badly either for the animal or for the human.”


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