RWS dolphin 'nibbled' man's toes out of playful curiosity: Trainer

Jalelah Abu Baker MyPaper AsiaOne 23 Aug 16;

PLAYFUL NIBBLE? Dental surgeon Lim said he stayed calm when the dolphin bit the second toe of his right foot.

The last thing dental surgeon Michael Lim expected in a chance to get up close to the dolphins at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) was to be bitten.

Dr Lim, 48, was sitting at the edge of a lagoon at an attraction for the public to interact with the bottlenose dolphins, with his legs in the water, when he was bitten on the second toe of his right foot.

He told The Straits Times yesterday that he was at an "encounter programme" at Dolphin Island, an up-close experience without getting in the water, two weeks ago.

He wanted to cool himself on that hot afternoon, and got permission to dangle his legs in the water from the dolphin trainer.

Shortly after the dolphin did a trick of jumping high into the air, flipping and swimming backwards, he felt a painful bite. Dr Lim, who had gone to RWS with his 22-year-old daughter, said he stayed calm.

"I have had dogs and cats before, so I know that when animals bite, we are not supposed to pull away or scream," he said.

He added that the trainer did not see what had happened until he got her attention.

Twenty minutes later, a nurse came and bandaged the toe. He stayed until the show, for which he paid about $100, ended at 6pm. A doctor gave him a seven-day course of antibiotics.

The bite marks looked like razor cuts and Mr Lim said they measured 13mm and 15mm. Though his wound is healing well, he is now wary.

"We have the idea they are friendly and harmless but they are still wild animals."

Brittney Iverson, the dolphin trainer, described it as an "isolated incident where one of our dolphins nibbled the toes of a guest during an interaction programme".

She said: "We believe the dolphin behaved out of playful curiosity, rather than hostility, as it explores its surroundings."

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