Big Island Now’s poll #11: What would you do if you see swimmers, snorkelers too close to whales, dolphins?
David Jiménez of Maui, who calls himself “Dolphin Dave,” will appear in Kona District Court this week for a hearing regarding criminal citations for prohibited acts in regard to endangered whale species and harassing wildlife in a state park.
On March 6, Jiménez was recorded on video snorkeling close enough to an adolescent humpback whale to almost touch the whaleʻs fin at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park on the Big Island. He also was seen by officers with the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement leading a group in the water that was chasing dolphins.
Jiménez told the officers he was not going to stop swimming with whales and dolphins because “it’s magical and others do much worse things,” according to a state press release.
He was cited for prohibited acts in regard to endangered whale species and harassing wildlife in a state park.
Also in March, state resource officers patrolling the South Kona district initiated cases against 33 people who were in Hōnaunau Bay actively pursuing a pod of dolphins. They also could face federal charges under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
For Big Island Now’s 30-second poll #11, we ask: What would you do if you see people swimming/snorkeling too close to whales or dolphins?
The results of Big Island Now’s poll will be published on Sunday.