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Man Tries to Body Slam an Orca, Gets Fined for ‘Stupid Behavior’

A New Zealand man leapt from a boat earlier this year and nearly “body slammed” an orca. The 50-year-old man did this on purpose, and his friends filmed him. Someone posted the video to Instagram. Months later, the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) discovered the video and fined the man $600.

In a press release, DOC staff say the unidentified man’s actions display “a shocking and stupid attitude to protected marine mammals.” In the video, you can see him very purposefully leap from the side of the boat where an orca is swimming off the coast of Devonport, Auckland.

After surfacing, the man yells out, “I touched it!” and asks his mates, “Did you get it?” Onlookers scream, laugh, and curse during the interaction, which also includes the man swimming toward the orca—a second attempt to touch it.

Hayden Loper, DOC principal investigation officer, says the man showed “reckless disregard for his own safety – and that of the adult male orca with a calf swimming near the vessel.”

Though the video is from February, DOC says a member of the public tipped the department off to the disturbing video. “The video left us genuinely stunned,” Hayden said in the press release. “This is stupid behaviour and demonstrates a shocking disregard for the welfare of the orca. It is extremely irresponsible.”

Watch a man intentionally “body slam” an orca here:

It’s Illegal to Disturb or Harass Orcas

“Orca are immensely powerful animals, and this really could have ended horribly – with either the startled whale being injured, or the man responsible being harmed by the aggravated animal,” DOC says.

The DOC further calls this incident “a very clear breach of the Marine Mammals Protection Act.” Under this legislation, it’s illegal to disturb or harass marine mammals like orcas and other dolphins and whales.

Orcas are the largest member of the dolphin family, and they’re apex predators in the world’s oceans. It’s very unwise to do anything that an orca might perceive as a threat. (And yes, that does include body slamming.)

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