After posting footage of his attempt to touch a juvenile humpback whale, 65-year-old David Jiménez has been hit with multiple citations by Hawaii DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).
Reporting hotlines are one of the strongest sources our U.S. land and conservation agencies have to enforce laws and regulations. And yesterday, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) saw theirs light up.
“A man is pursuing humpback whales,” the March 6 calls cited. There was no arguing against it, either, as David Jiménez of Maui had posted footage of himself doing exactly that.
Authorities cited Jiménez yesterday morning at Kealakekua Bay on Hawai‘i Island after DLNR’s DOCARE division received “numerous calls reporting alleged wildlife harassment,” their Facebook report cites.
‘Jiménez was allegedly actively pursuing an adolescent humpback whale and dolphins inside Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park,’ FOOTAGE Shows
“Jiménez was allegedly actively pursuing an adolescent humpback whale and dolphins inside Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park,” the agency explains. The proof? “On Sunday, DOCARE officers received a video recording of a man snorkeling close enough to the adolescent humpback whale to almost touch the whale’s fin.”
The video, still available to the public on VIMEO, is viewable below. As officials arrived on the scene, they would then catch Jiménez in the act.
“When a DOCARE officer arrived on shore early today, they recorded Jiménez actively pursuing a pod of spinner dolphins. They recorded a video, in which they say Jiménez, in the black dive suit, was leading a group chasing the dolphins,” Hawaii’s DLNR says.
Both whales and dolphins are under the protection of Hawaii state and federal laws.
Jiménez, who refers to himself as “Dolphin Dave” on Facebook, told officers he’s “not going to stop swimming with whales and dolphins” as a result of the citations “because it’s magical and others do much worse things.”
As for those citations, the DLNR hit Jiménez with the following violations of Hawai‘i Administrative Rules (HAR):
- 13-124-3(b)(1) Prohibited Acts in Regard to Endangered Whale Species
- 13-146-41 Harassing Wildlife in a State Park
The Maui citizen has been summoned to appear in Kona District court at 8:30 a.m. May 11, 2023 as a result.
Harassing Wildlife, Protected or Not, Holds Consequences
Jiménez’s case illustrates how adamantly our U.S. state and national parks protect our wildlife. Land-based cases in Yellowstone National Park have recently resulted in jail time and fines.
Back in May of 2021, the internet watched as a woman left her car, walked straight for a grizzly bear sow and her cubs, and proceeded to take photos as she moved closer. Agitating the protective mother, the tourist stood with her phone pointed at death incarnate as the bruin charged to protect her cubs from a perceived threat.
The tourist – or touron, as she helped coin – got lucky. The Yellowstone grizzly chose to let her live with a bluff rather than maul. But her actions remain on camera, immortalized by another, farm more responsible visitor who watched from the comfort and safety of her vehicle.
For the full story, see our Yellowstone’s Most Documented ‘Touron’ Case Saw Woman Jailed, Fined, and Banned next.
To report wildlife harassment or suspected violations in Hawaii, call the 24-hour DLNR tip line at 808-643-DLNR. Or, report via the free DLNRTip app.