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Brazil’s Bolsonaro Faces Probe for ‘Harassing’ Humpback Whale in Latest Legal Woe

Brazil’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro, is once again under scrutiny, this time for allegedly “harassing” a humpback whale while riding a jetski during a public holiday.

This investigation adds to a series of probes into Bolsonaro’s actions, ranging from environmental offences to political misconduct, reported the Guardian.

Known as “Captain Chainsaw” for his anti-environmental policies during his four-year administration, Bolsonaro now faces allegations of environmental misconduct during a jetski excursion near São Sebastião on Brazil’s south-eastern coastline.

In June, a man resembling Bolsonaro was reportedly filmed within 15 metres of a humpback whale, using a mobile phone to capture the distressed behaviour of the whale.

Brazilian law prohibits the deliberate harassment of cetaceans, including humpback whales, and mandates a minimum distance of 100 metres for vessels with engines running.

Environmental agency Ibama enforces regulations that prohibit vessels from approaching marine animals too closely and engaging in activities that may disturb them. Such regulations include maintaining a distance of 300 metres from dolphins or whales and avoiding excessive noise in their vicinity.

Previous offences and fines

Bolsonaro’s environmental track record includes a fine for illegal fishing within a marine reserve over a decade ago.

Critics argue that, during his presidency, he dismantled environmental protections, resulting in severe consequences for nature.

Another right-wing politician was recently fined for a similar offence in the same region.

Since losing power, Bolsonaro has faced multiple investigations, including accusations of plotting a coup, misappropriation of expensive jewels, and falsifying COVID-19 vaccination records. Banned from seeking election until 2030, there are concerns that the former president may eventually face imprisonment.

Bolsonaro dismisses the humpback whale inquiry as political persecution, a claim he attributes to Brazilian politicians and environmentalists. 

Source : Wio News