Police in the US are investigating reports of a man known as 'Dolphin Dave' repeatedly harassing a humpback whale and a pod of dolphins while snorkeling in Hawaii.
David Jiménez has posted videos of himself on social media which show him pursuing the whale in local waters, and has said that he won't stop.
Hawaii's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement has received calls from the public reporting the alleged harassment inside Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park, and officials have now charged Mr Jimenez with violating state law that protect whales and dolphins from humans, which can result in fines of up to $25,000 or imprisonment.
At one point in his video, Mr Jiménez comes close to the whale and attempts to 'high five' him or her.
We understand how some people might be excited by the idea of swimming with whales and dolphins, but the fact is that this disturbance can be a really intrusive and stressful experience for these amazing creatures. They may have their young with them, be relaxing, search for prey or socialising with their pod members. They are also wild creatures and unpredictable, even when trained and held in captivity. Swimmers have been known to incur bruises, scratches, abrasions, bites and even broken bones. We are raising awareness of disturbance issues in the UK, calling for stronger laws to better protect whales and dolphins against this issue.
We would always advise people to go whale watching with a responsible operator as a wonderful alternative that can benefit people, as well as the whales and dolphins.