Dolphin's Love for Human Ended in Suicide

Interspecies sex tale first appeared in Hustler
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2014 3:07 PM CDT
Dolphin's Love for Human Ended in Suicide
A dolphin swims in wetlands at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach, Calif.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Margaret Howe Lovatt's relationship with a dolphin in the 1960s became fodder for Hustler in the '70s—and ended in tragedy. Lovatt was working with scientist John Lilly, on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, to better understand dolphins, and she hoped to teach one of them to speak English. To that end, she began living with a dolphin named Peter for 24 hours a day, six days a week, writes Christopher Riley, who recently filmed a documentary about Lovatt's story, in the Guardian. The young Peter had sexual urges: "He was very, very interested in my anatomy," Lovatt says. Getting him to other dolphins was a cumbersome effort, so she relieved his urges manually.

"It would just become part of what was going on, like an itch—just get rid of it, scratch it, and move on," she recalls. "It wasn't sexual on my part. Sensuous perhaps." After six months, the experiment ended, and Peter was shipped to another facility. Shortly afterward, he committed what experts say was a suicide; dolphins are known to intentionally stop breathing. The cause, says a vet who was involved in the project, was lost love. Riley's documentary, The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins, airs on the BBC this month. The story, it seems, isn't unique: A man tells Britain's Mirror about his own sexual relationship with a dolphin; he believes her death afterward was a suicide, too. (A happier dolphin story: Researchers recently found a new river species for the first time in a century.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.