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New Zealand Man Attempts To 'Body Slam' Orcas, Government Body Calls It 'Stupid Behaviour'

The clip was recorded by other passengers on the boat.

A man has been criticised on social media for jumping from a boat near two orcas, or killer whales, in New Zealand. The video of the man’s act has been shared on Instagram by the Department of Conservation (DOC), which has called the incident “shocking and foolish”. The DOC said that it appeared to be a deliberate effort to touch or “body slam” the marine mammals. The department also announced that the 50-year-old diver has been fined New Zealand $600 (Rs 30,600).

The incident took place off the coast of Devonport in February, but the department shared the video now.

“The man showed reckless disregard for his own safety – and that of the adult male orca with a calf swimming near the vessel,” DOC said in the accompanying Instagram post.

The clip was recorded by other passengers on the boat. In the clip, the man is heard saying “I touched it” and asking “Did you get it?” in apparent reference to the filming of the incident.

“This is stupid behaviour and demonstrates a shocking disregard for the welfare of the orca. It is extremely irresponsible. 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,” the DOC said in a statement.

It added that it is illegal to swim with whales, or disturb or harass any marine mammal. “It’s a very clear breach of the Marine Mammals Protection Act.”

Orcas are apex predators and the species’ population found around the waters of New Zealand is estimated to be between 150 and 200 individuals.