Maui’s ‘Dolphin Dave’ cited for harassing dolphins, humpback whale at Hawaiʻi Island state park

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A 65-year-old man from Maui was cited by state resource officers Monday morning for actively pursuing an adolescent humpback whale and dolphins inside Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park on the Big island.

David Jiménez, who calls himself “Dolphin Dave,” was cited after the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement received numerous calls reporting alleged wildlife harassment.

On Sunday, state officers received a video recording of a man snorkeling close enough to the adolescent humpback whale to almost touch the whale’s fin. 

When a state officer arrived on shore early Monday, the officer recorded Jiménez actively pursuing a pod of spinner dolphins. The video shows Jiménez, in a black dive suit, leading a group chasing the dolphins. Both whales and dolphins are protected by state and federal laws. 


Jiménez told officers he’s not going to stop swimming with whales and dolphins “because it’s magical and others do much worse things,” according to a press release from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Jimenez, an “international visionary” artist and musician, said in his artist bio “his art embraces his dedication to the interconnectedness and evolution of Humanity, Dolphins and Whales. Dave has lived and played with dolphins for over 25 years.  His visionary artwork invokes remembrance of our connection to Nature, the Supernatural and Divine, and the Dreamtime, and expresses Dave’s deep personal relationship to the whales and dolphins.”

Screenshot of a video provided to the state Department of Land and Naural Resources of “Dolphin Dave” Jimenez swimming with a humpback whale.

His bio also said: He is involved with and participates in the whale revitalization efforts of,
and co-facilitates in playful Dolphin Retreats each winter on the Big Island. It is not clear if this incident occurred during a “Dolphin Retreat.”


His Facebook page is filled with art involving whales and dolphins.

Dolphin Dave Jiménez on his Facebook page

Jiménez was cited with the following violations of Hawai‘i Administrative Rules: 

  • Prohibited Acts in Regard to Endangered Whale Species 
  • Harassing Wildlife in a State Park

Jiménez was  summoned to appear in Kona District court at 8:30 a.m. on May 11, 2023.  


To report wildlife harassment or suspected violations, call the 24-hour DLNR tip line at 808-643-DLNR or report via the free DLNRTip app.

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