With a moniker like Dolphin Dave, you’d think the individual bearing it would be a marine life conservationist or even a cetacean activist. You know, one who takes the health and safety of aquatic animals to heart and does everything they can to protect them from harm or stress. Apparently, that’s not necessarily the case for Maui resident David Jiménez, aka Dolphin Dave.
So, just what did he do to get cited recently by Hawaiian officials who said he was harassing a humpback whale and a pod of dolphins?
Hawaii’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) received a number of calls from concerned citizens who reported that someone was harassing local wildlife. Officials there were told an older man, later identified as 65-year-old David Jiménez, was witnessed pursuing a juvenile humpback whale inside the Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park on the island of Hawaii.
It didn’t end there, though. As with everything these days, there was video footage to back up the claims. DOCARE officers reportedly received a clip of Jiménez snorkeling close to the young humpback, almost touching its fin in the process.
After DOCARE officers arrived on shore, they were able to record Mr. Jiménez leading a group of swimmers that were allegedly chasing a pod of spinner dolphins. Spinner dolphins are a small type of dolphin found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. They’re famous for their acrobatics in which they rotate around their longitudinal axis as they leap through the air.
According to NOAA Fisheries, they “are probably the most frequently encountered cetacean in nearshore waters of the Pacific Islands.”
But back to Dave. Jiménez was cited for violating Hawaii Administrative Rules. Those include prohibited acts in regard to endangered whale species and harassing wildlife in a state park. With the citations came a summons to appear in court.
Jiménez, who’s said to go by the name of “Dolphin Dave” on social media, told officers that despite receiving the citations, he will not abstain from swimming with whales and dolphins, “because it’s magical and others do much worse things.”
In addition to Hawaii state laws, humpback whales are protected under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. Numerous species of dolphins are also protected by Hawaiian statutes, as well as other marine life found in and around the archipelago.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cautions people to always keep a safe distance from whales and other animals and to definitely NOT touch them.
This article by Rebecca West was first published by The Animal Rescue Site. Lead Image: PIXABAY/12019.
What you can do
Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.
Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.