A dolphin described as “friendly” and “lonely” appears to be engaging swimmers in the Baltic Sea close to Kiel, Germany. The dolphin’s behavior has led many to think it wants to play with children swimming in the sea. While it’s not yet known exactly where the dolphin came from, researchers think it could have been washed into the inlet during 2014 winter storms.

According to The Guardian, “hundreds of children” have now splashed around with the dolphin, who has allowed the children to hug it and even seems to pull them through the water on rides. It has also been seen nudging children, as if asking them to play, according to onlookers.

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Marine scientist Boris Culik told German publication Kieler Nachrichten (translated by The Local Germany), “It’s not normal that a dolphin trusts humans so much. But one does find dolphins who seek human company. Perhaps he is just lonely.”

While many have swum out in the sea to touch the dolphin, the local police say too many people at once could overwhelm the dolphin. Culik said human hands carry germs the dolphin may not be able to handle. The dolphin has also been swimming through locks, and police are asking people to not swim too close to the locks.

The Waterways and Shipping Office’s Mathias Visser told The Guardian the dolphin has been “merrily making its way in and out of the sluice” and “gives the impression that it’s in a good way.” The Institute for Baltic Sea Research told The Guardian the dolphin likely arrived in the inlet when storms swept water from the North Sea into the Baltic Sea.

Via The Guardian

Image via Reinhard Link on Flickr