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'What are they thinking?' Reckless approach to whale caught on camera

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A dangerous and reckless act was caught on camera just off the coast of Puako Beach in Hawaii.

Video shows two people in a kayak and a paddleboarder getting dangerously close to a surfacing humpback whale.

Vancouver resident Shar Levine captured the footage and can be heard expressing astonishment over the paddlers' proximity to the whale.

“What are they thinking?" she's heard saying, later telling local media, "It’s a danger to you, it’s a danger to the creatures, it’s setting a bad example."

Levine told Storyful that humpback whales are known to frequent the popular white sand beach on Hawaii's Big Island.

She said both the kayakers and paddleboarder stayed in the location for “at least an hour,” sparking concern they were deliberately seeking a close encounter.

Rules in place to "protect humpback whales"

There are both state and federal regulations in Hawaii that make it illegal to approach within 90 metres of humpback whales --- known as the "100-yard or close approach rule."

This important regulation prohibits approaching humpback whales by any means within 100 yards (90 m) when on or in the water, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns.

"These regulations apply to all ocean users, year-round, within the sanctuary and anywhere within Hawaiian waters."

NOAA also warns that viewing wildlife can have "negative impacts for the animals" if not done properly and is asking anyone who sees violations to call the NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964.

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