New Zealand man fined for attempting to ‘body slam’ killer whale

Orca killer whale
Credit: Pexels/ Reference Picture

A New Zealand man has been fined for attempting to ‘body-slam’ an orca, a type of killer whale, which was deduced from a social media video of the incident that took place.

In the video, the man is heard inquiring to his peers on the boat filming the encounter in Auckland, “I touched it” followed by “Did you get that?” signaling if they caught the moment in the video. After this initial encounter, the man is seen trying to touch the animal again. He is met with roars of appreciation from the people on the boat as their enthusiasm can be heard throughout the video.

The video of the incident was captured by one of the members of the boat and posted to their Instagram in February. This video was then viewed by the public who shared it with the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC), who then posted the video on their Facebook Page on May 21. The DOC noted that the footage shows “what appears to be a deliberate effort to touch or ‘body slam’ the orca.”

The DOC further shared in their social media post, “The incident showed a shocking and stupid attitude to protected marine mammals,” adding, “The man showed reckless disregard for his safety – and that of the adult male orca with a calf swimming near the vessel.” The conservative body further reported that the man has been fined 600 New Zealand dollars (about $365) for his indiscretions.

Man who attempted to 'body slam' an orca in New Zealand fined $600

A DOC principal investigation officer, Hayden Loper addressed the incident on Tuesday in a statement acquired by NBC News, and proceeded to inform the public that orcas are protected marine species and it is illegal to swim with them.  Speaking of the magnificent creatures, Loper explained, “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.”

Orcas weigh 12,000 pounds and are predators with their numbers in New Zealand ranging from 150-200. NBC News reported that these marine predators have headlined New Zealand news in the past few months over a series of boat-ramming incidents off the Iberian Peninsula, including one that took place last week. Orca experts predict that the animals are in a playful and curious mood rather than vicious with the intent to attack.