Hawaii authorities accuse swimmers of harassing wild dolphins

Hawaii authorities accuse swimmers of harassing wild dolphins
A group of swimmers allegedly harass a pod of wild dolphins in Honaunau Bay, Hawaii, U.S. March 26, 2023, in this screengrab obtained from a video, credit: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources/Handout via Reuters

A group of 33 swimmers face potential federal charges after allegedly harassing a pod of wild dolphins in the state of Hawaii. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLRN) said in a statement that the swimmers were actively pursuing a pod of dolphins in Hōnaunau Bay.”

“Drone video and photographs show a group of swimmers who appear to be aggressively pursuing, corralling, and harassing the pod,” DLNR said.

It is forbidden in Hawaii to swim within 50 yards (45 meters) of dolphins in waters close to the coast. The case has been directed to law enforcement, and the swimmers could face charges for violating this rule.

Wild dolphins are a beloved and iconic species in Hawaii, and the state has taken steps to protect them from humans. The state’s rules and guidelines aim to reduce the stress and disturbance caused by human activity, which can disrupt the dolphins’ natural behavior and potentially harm the animals.

This incident is not the first time that humans have been accused of harassing dolphins in Hawaiian waters. In recent years, there have been several cases of swimmers and boaters getting too close to wild dolphins, despite warnings from authorities.

DLNR has urged visitors and residents to respect the state’s wildlife and follow guidelines to protect dolphins and other marine animals. These guidelines include maintaining a safe distance from wildlife, avoiding sudden movements or loud noises, and not feeding or touching the animals.

   

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