Slidell neighborhood meeting about 'wild' dolphin that has bitten people


Posted on June 25, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 25 at 10:21 PM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
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A “wild” dolphin has been hanging out in a Slidell neighborhood, possibly since Hurricane Katrina nearly seven years ago.

But as it gets older, concerns are growing about its safety as well as that of the residents.

There have been recent reports of attacks on humans, but some believe people are to blame.

Over the past few years, the dolphin has gotten comfortable in the neighborhood, living in a channel that connects its waterways to Lake Pontchartrain.

Residents said the dolphin likes to be noticed and often swims alongside boats. But neighborhood leaders said in recent months he has bitten several people, sending three to the hospital.

Some suspect the change in behavior is a result of too much human interaction.

There are several signs posted warning against feeding or harassing the animal, but Durel Landry, who manages the Lakeshore Estates Homeowners Association, said folks aren't listening.

"He's like a friendly neighborhood dog, but the dog will bite,” Landry said. “…People (need to) understand he's a wild animal and you have to treat him like he's a wild animal and not jump on him, not go swimming with him. He's not Disney World."

And that's what officials from the State Wildlife and Fisheries Office as well as NOAA were expected discuss during a Monday night meeting.

As the warning signs states, it's illegal to feed or harass the dolphin, behavior that could provoke it.