DOC considers action against swimmer
Wed, 06 Mar 2013 6:22p.m.
By Adam Ray
The Department of Conservation says it is yet to speak to a man who broke wildlife regulations by swimming within metres of an orca and her calf in Wellington Harbour.
Marine biology student Sam Wild says orcas are his favourite animals, but he'll watch from shore next time he encounters them.
Mr Wild is a marine biology student but hadn't seen an orca in real life until yesterday. His brief but close encounter with a pod of them, including a juvenile, left him exhilarated.
“It was scary,” he says. “It was exciting. It was everything at once. It was incredible.”
Mr Wild was one of many who followed the orcas hunting stingrays in the harbour. He took his enthusiasm a step further and jumped into the sea.
“I'm not just an average Joe jumping in my jocks. I knew there are no recorded attacks in the wild.”
But he says he didn't know his close encounter was illegal.
In a statement, DOC says the public should be able to view marine mammals without causing them distress, and that is why we have regulations in place. Under the Marine Mammals Protection Regulations it is an offence to swim within 100m of a whale - this includes orcas/killer whales. The penalty for breaching the regulations is a $10,000 fine.
DOC wants to talk to Mr Wild before deciding if it will take any action.
“The fact is it has brought to light the law,” says Mr Wild. “Not many people know it’s illegal to swim with them.”
Mr Wild says orcas might be his favourite animals, but the next time he sees them he'll stay out of the water.
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29/03/2013 8:25:12 p.m.
Damon Ward wrote:
Good to see DOC had the common sense not to press charges on something so innocent and based on passion. i would not have known that law either.
Sam Wild. Your bluddy legend !
20/03/2013 10:33:49 p.m.
Over the top as usual wrote:
The arrogance of the DIC brigade shows no bounds, the Red Green fascists would have you NEVER eat a fish meal again let alone look in the direction of a creature of nature. Its the same rules and regulations presented in the CO2 fraud as fact shows these type are anti-human, anti-science and obviously queer.
14/03/2013 12:05:02 p.m.
What a dick! surely if he is a marine biology student he would have covered marine law in the past 3 years??? Just clearly showing off!
11/03/2013 1:02:52 p.m.
Jeff siegel wrote:
I am pretty sure that guy did not cause distress to the whale. It is shameful and immoral to say communing with nature and its inhabitants is illegal. The whale could have easily swam away. This is government oppression at its highest form!
11/03/2013 12:03:18 p.m.
Word of Wisdom wrote:
Wow, this influx of ignorance is astounding. It doesn’t matter what you think of the laws, they are the laws, and are in place for a reason. I may not like speed limits but I still observe them or risk getting fined. People need to take responsibility for their actions, if you break the law, you will pay the fine. The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1973 is in place to prevent humans from approaching ANY! marine mammal in US waters. It helps protect these creatures from ignorant people from trying to hunt or harass them. Harassment includes approaching within 100 m. because such an action may change or harm their natural behavior, which is why the law was enacted.
11/03/2013 9:14:30 a.m.
nova lan wrote:
Really monica maybe if he'd seen one before in a marine park he wouldnt have done such a stupid act. Marine parks do what they can to educate people even telling them to respect wild ones and such. Oh but you wouldnt know that because your stuck back in the 1970's when dolphinariums would just do silly behaviors and not educate the public properly. Get over yourself.
9/03/2013 12:13:59 a.m.
Monica Gilbert wrote:
It's a shame the DOC rules don't apply to dolphinariums to keep people away from captive cetaceans.
8/03/2013 5:40:33 p.m.
I think this person is quite spectacular.
8/03/2013 7:46:15 a.m.
DIC shouldn't be wasting taxpayer money on this. The guy wasn't aware that it was illegal to swim so close to Orca's. As far as I'm aware there are no signs around the Wellington waterfront stating that you could be prosecuted for being with 100 metres of whales and dolphins etc. Get a brain DOC!
7/03/2013 10:52:23 a.m.
Aww have a cry why dont we, muumy they got one i want onw wah wah wah!. Good on him, animals like this are intelligent, and no 2 have the same personality. Sure some might kill you and some might just let you swim with them cause alcool with them. Like whats obviously the case here! Nothing bad happened, i.e on this occasion nothing bad was going to happen. he wasn't harmed, the whales weren't harmed and everything is merry cherry! Leave him alone, get a life and grow up morons!!!
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