Maui News

Man cited for pursuing wildlife at Kealakekua State Historical Park

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Whale and dolphin incidents at Kealakekua Bay (March 2023) VC: DLNR Hawaiʻi

A man who lives on Maui and refers to himself as “Dolphin Dave,” on Facebook, was cited Monday morning at Kealakekua Bay on Hawaiʻi Island after state conservation officers received numerous calls reporting alleged wildlife harassment.

David Jiménez, 65, of Maui was cited for the alleged active pursuit of an adolescent humpback whale and dolphins inside Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park. 

Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources received a video recording of a man snorkeling close enough to the adolescent humpback whale to almost touch the whale’s fin. 


“When a DOCARE officer arrived on shore early Monday, they recorded Jiménez actively pursuing a pod of spinner dolphins. They recorded a video, in which they say Jiménez, in the black dive suit, was leading a group chasing the dolphins,” according to a DLNR news release.

Both whales and dolphins are protected by state and federal laws. 

According to the DLNR release, Jiménez told officers he’s not going to stop swimming with whales and dolphins, “because it’s magical and others do much worse things.” 


He was cited with the following violations of Hawai‘i Administrative Rules (HAR): 

  • 13-124-3(b)(1) Prohibited Acts in Regard to Endangered Whale Species 
  • 13-146-41 Harassing Wildlife in a State Park

Jiménez was  summoned to appear in Kona District court  at 8:30 a.m. May 11, 2023.   

To report wildlife harassment or suspected violations, the public can call the 24-hour DLNR tip line at 808-643-DLNR or report via the free DLNRTip app. 

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