Swimmer Caught Riding a Whale Hours Before It Was Found Dead

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Up-close animal experiences can be amazing, but it is always important to maintain a relationship of respect. According to the Daily Mail U.K., that respect for animals was not practiced by an unidentified swimmer spotted riding a weak sperm whale in Pompano Beach, Florida, hours before the endangered animal was found dead.



A federal investigation has been launched to look into the whale death. A videotape shows an individual repeatedly climbing onto a whale that was drifting near the beach. Experts are unsure of the cause of the whale's death, but believe the human rider was not the main factor. Instead, it is believed that the animal was dying before this encounter, which is why it was so close to the shore. Regardless, the free-riding swimmer is not cleared of all responsibility. It is a federal offense to harass a marine mammal. Additionally, sperm whales are an endangered species, putting the rider into potentially more trouble.

"This type of harassment could have caused more harm and added stress to an already stressed whale and ultimately cause its demise," Blair Mase, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's southeast regional stranding coordinator told NBC Miami.


Onlookers said the whale appeared to be struggling, fighting the rip tide with its fins. A rescue team was sent out to check on the sperm whale, but little could be done by the time they arrived. The whale washed ashore, deceased, soon after, and it was then towed out to sea so a necropsy could be preformed.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are waiting for the necessary approval from the NOAA to launch a criminal investigation into the unknown whale rider.

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Stephen O'Reilly

Given how he was captured and treated in captivity, I have nothing but profound sympathy for Tilikum. I went into the "Blackfish" documentary thinking that SeaWorld exploits intelligent wild animals that surely don't belong in a swimming pool. Having seen it, I feel vindicated . But more than that I now feel that SeaWorld also exploits naive, well-meaning trainers. It places these young men and women literally into the jaws of death and then blames them when fatalities happen. Shame on SeaWorld. How are these people allowed to stay in business. More to the point why to people pay money at the gate to keep them in business? SeaWorld is just greed, hiding behind a PR smokescreen that uses buzz-words like education and conservation to justify self-interest. A circus has more educational value. The world will be a better place when SeaWorld finally goes under.

November 23 2013 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stephen O'Reilly

Given how he was captured and treated in captivity, I have nothing but profound sympathy for Tilikum. I went into the "Blackfish" documentary thinking that SeaWorld exploits intelligent wild animals that surely don't belong in a swimming pool. Having seen it, I feel vindicated . But more than that I now feel that SeaWorld also exploits naive, well-meaning trainers. It places these young men and women literally into the jaws of death and then blames them when fatalities happen. Shame on SeaWorld. They knew Tilikum's track-record when they bought him. How are these people allowed to stay in business? More to the point, why to people pay good money at the gate to keep them in business? SeaWorld is just greed, hiding behind a PR smokescreen that uses buzz-words like 'education' and 'conservation' to justify self-interest. A circus has more educational value. The world will be a better place when they finally go under.

November 23 2013 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
FSU Seminole's

The only reason the Whale was there is because it was dying and the Whale knew it needed Oxygen to survive so it was staying at the top near surface of water. This is my opinion, but they probably know that they are becoming weaker and know that they have to be able to get Oxygen and go to shallower water. I know that I would much rather be in shallow water than trying to tread water to survive!

November 07 2013 at 6:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
keysdiesel2

No one in Miami is a Floridian. We are just stuck with them thanks to Carter. Whale riding is not legal, same as manatee's. I am really tired of people blaming Floridians for what usually turns out to be immigrants and tourists. This is primarily directed to hi Patti

October 23 2013 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lynn

Don't you just hate jiggaboos?

September 22 2013 at 4:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hi, Patti

What is wrong with Floridians?! They're so into riding whales and manatees. Sickos! Just leave these animals alone!!!!!

September 13 2013 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
allenhollowell

i would beat that whale rider to death.

September 05 2013 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
poppiscw

You really need special approval to find out why a sperm whale died. And the idiot that thought he was an ocean cowboy that tried to ride the poor thing, ought to be prosecuted.

August 07 2013 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
poppiscw

You really need necessary approval. Dumb stupid laws. Poor whale

August 07 2013 at 6:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
auctionsurplus

The swimmer was not the cause of this whale's death. If it was found dead so soon after the photographed incident it was so near death I doubt it panicked. A sperm whale is the most social whale of all whale species. The only time a human is a threat to them is through fishing them and killing them. While it is sad the whale died, this man, in no way contributed to its death by "stressing" it.

July 31 2013 at 8:34 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to auctionsurplus's comment
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