Hawaiian swimmers chased and disturbed a pod of spinner dolphins. The drone footage shows the moment when people aggressively chase the animals, trying to swim up to them. State and federal agencies took immediate action.
Thirty-three swimmers have been charged with harassing a pod of spinner dolphins in Hawaii’s Honaunau Bay. Some of the animals were very young.
“They pursued, cornered and disturbed”
The Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources discovered the activities of a group of swimmers Sunday morning while on patrol in South Kona County. They were detected thanks to a recording made with a drone that flew over Honaunau Bay.
According to the officers, the people immortalized in the video “aggressively pursued, herded and disturbed the animals” as they fled in all directions. The guards immediately intervened and ordered the swimmers to return to shore. It didn’t end with a caution, however, as state and federal wildlife agencies launched an investigation.
Under the Marine Mammals Act in the US, it is illegal to feed or disturb them in their natural habitat. The services also reminded that dolphins are wild animals, which means that they can be aggressive. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that violations of the law could result in fines of up to $11,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.
The incident came just weeks after another swimmer in Hawaii was charged with disturbing humpback whales and dolphins. He posted a video online showing him diving right next to a young humpback whale off Hawai’i, the archipelago’s largest island. The man almost touched the animal’s fin.
Main photo source: ENEX/DLNR