Swedes enjoy rare Baltic dolphin sight

A dolphin has been wooing well-wishers along Sweden's east coast in recent weeks, but experts warn that the creature is unlikely to hang around in the bracing Baltic for long.

Swedes enjoy rare Baltic dolphin sight
Photo: Aude Steiner
The dolphin, which is rapidly gaining a national following, has popped up at a slew of locations around Blekinge on Sweden's east coast recently.
The bottlenosed animal was first spotted early last week outside of Verkö in Karlskrona. A few days later a Danish canoeist caught the around three metre long dolphin on film, and since then the sightings have continued.
"Normally it belongs in the North Sea, and especially just west of Scotland," according to Mats Amundin, dolphin expert and director of research at the Kolmarden animal park.
The dolphin has been busy turning heads wherever it wanders. Gun Lejhall, who lives on Aspö, saw it when she took the ferry earlier this week.
"Then the dolphin came, swimming back and forth, fascinating," she said. 
"There are several people saying that the dolphin is following the ferry that runs between Aspö and Karlskrona."
While it is a relatively rare occurrence, dolphins do stray periodically into the Baltic. There are several reasons for this, the most likely being that they follow shoals of fish and then decide to hang around as long as there is food available.
Mats Amundin warns that while bystanders might welcome the dolphin, throwing fish at them is not to be recommended.
"They should be left alone. They are extremely sensitive to bad fish, and fish in human hands quickly becomes rancid," he said.
The brackish Baltic water is far from ideal for dolphins and the winters are generally a little too cold for them to stick around for long. Amundin however said that, judging by the photos, the dolphin would appear to be having a good time at the moment.
"If you catch sight of it you should seize the moment. Had I the time I would have gone down there with a hydrophone to listen and see what it is saying."

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