Belly-Flopping Moron Startled Orca With Its Calf, Pays The Price

271 0

After being captured on video purposefully startling an orca that was swimming with its calf, a belly-flopping man was forced to pay the price for “body slamming” the marine mammal. Was it enough? You decide.

Hayden Loper
This unnamed 50-year-old New Zealand man from Auckland caught the attention of Hayden Loper, principal investigation officer at the New Zealand Department of Conservation after a video was posted to Instagram. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Thanks to video footage posted to Instagram, a 50-year-old New Zealand man from Auckland caught the attention of Hayden Loper, principal investigation officer at the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC). In the video, the unnamed man is seen jumping into the water off the coast of New Zealand, close to an orca swimming with its calf, as his friends laugh, cheer, and egg him on. However, the DOC didn’t think it was a laughing matter.

The clip, captured in February 2024, shows the unnamed 50-year-old New Zealand man leap into the water from a boat off Devonport, Auckland. He appears to purposely belly flop into the water where an orca and its calf were swimming just below the surface, according to The Standard, which reported that he “body slams” the orca. “I touched it!” he shouts to other people on the boat at one point. “Did you get it?” he asks, wanting to know if his stunt had been captured on video.

“Yes, we got it! We got it!” people on the boat shout in response after the man splashed down just on top of the male orca with a calf, the NY Post reported. Little did the unnamed belly-flopper know, this wasn’t good news. Instead, it would lead to him paying the price after it was posted on social media, leading a concerned member of the public to tip off the DOC, which wasn’t amused by the dangerous stunt.

“The video left us genuinely stunned,” Hayden Loper admitted. “As well as the initial attempt to dive onto the animal, the man stays in the water and then swims toward it again in a second attempt to touch it. This is stupid behavior and demonstrates a shocking disregard for the welfare of the orca. It is extremely irresponsible,” Loper continued. “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.”

Hayden Loper called the man’s behavior “stupid” and “irresponsible,” warning that jumping into the water onto the orca could have ended badly. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Although the unnamed man swam away from the encounter physically unscathed, he was still made to pay the price when he was hit with a $600 fine. Sadly, this guy wasn’t the only idiot in the water that weekend. In fact, the DOC and Harbour Master had reportedly received multiple calls from concerned members of the public about how close people were getting to orcas on the same weekend the video was captured.

This is, of course, a problem for many reasons. “It’s a very clear breach of the Marine Mammals Protection Act,” Loper explained. “Orca are classified as whales under conservation legislation and it is illegal to swim with whales, or disturb or harass any marine mammal,” he added. What’s more, orcas are apex predators and are widely known as killer whales for good reason.

Hayden Loper
Sadly, the unnamed man tried to touch the apex predator a second time. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Ancient sailors dubbed orcas “killer whales” after witnessing groups of them hunting and preying on larger whale species. They are also known to “play with their food,” with many videos documenting them tossing seals back and forth along a shoreline. Although a formidable animal, orcas are usually friendly to humans or may be indifferent. Typically, they won’t harm you unless you do something to stress them out — like belly flop onto their backs. In other words, they are the Gen X of the sea, and you don’t want to f*ck around and find out.

After this ordeal, the DOC marine science staff highlighted recent incidents off the coast of Spain, where orcas had sunk several small vessels. With an estimated 150 and 200 orca living in the waters of New Zealand, the DOC warned that any sudden moves near orca significantly risk the chance of people being harmed. Therefore, social media users are encouraged to continue alerting the DOC to any content believed to breach legislation protecting New Zealand wildlife.

Hayden Loper encouraged social media users to alert the DOC to any content believed to breach legislation protecting New Zealand wildlife. (Photo Credit: Pixabay stock image)

“This is the third case in recent years in which social media content has led to a successful prosecution for DOC and we greatly appreciate the tip-offs we get from the public,” Loper said. I guess there is at least one positive that’s come from people’s obsession with internet fame — it can also lead to morons like this one being held accountable, at least to some degree.

Belly flopping onto a male orca swimming peacefully with a calf has to be one of the dumbest things a person can do. The risk far outweighs the reward. So, in my humble opinion, this guy got off lucky because $600 bucks is a small price to pay for disturbing an apex predator that was simply minding its own business. Hopefully, the added embarrassment of becoming internet famous for his bad behavior adds insult to injury and helps this guy and others make better life decisions. Leave the wildlife alone.