Wildlife group warns not to approach dolphin pods of North East coast
Wildlife groups along the North East coastline have urged beachgoers to not approach dolphins for the safety of man and beast.
Pod sightings have reportedly risen in recent years, so as warmer weather arrives various bodies have spoken of the dangers of bothering the aquatic mammals.
Dolphins are curious animals known to approach boats, kayakers, paddle boarders and even swimmers.
But Victoria Sinclair of Newbiggin Dolphin Watch said incidents of boats actively seeking out dolphins have increased, posing a risk on both sides of the species divide.
"The amount of boats now that are going out deliberately to get with the dolphins, cutting through full pods," she told ITV Tyne Tees.
"It’s against the law and it’s dangerous and somebody or something is going to get seriously hurt."
Marine life rescue volunteers in the region also discourage such behaviour.
Darren Martin of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said that propelled vehicles such as boats and jet skies will usually kill dolphins if they hit them.
Mr Martin also spoke of the risk posed to humans.
"Dolphins are a wild animal. If dolphins want to approach you, it’s down to them," he said.
"Two things might happen: t won't like you, it might attack you, it can do some nasty damage with its beak.
"Males can get a bit amorous, and it that happens they will be aggressive towards you," he continued.
"You need to stay a minimum of 50m away and if they’ve got a calf with them, a minimum of 150m."
Northumbria Police Wildlife Officer Peter Baker reminded the public that it is a crime to harass dolphins:
"It is illegal to harass, feed, chase or touch many marine mammals in the wild and as ever we ask all water users to be vigilant and respectful."