The Brazilian federal police are currently looking into the actions of Jair Bolsonaro, the former president, for another possible wrongdoing. It is believed that he may have harassed a humpback whale while riding his jetski on a public holiday.
Bolsonaro’s policies against the environment led to his nickname “Captain Chainsaw” during his four-year term known for the significant destruction of the Amazon. However, the former far-right president’s recent suspected environmental violation allegedly took place in the waters near São Sebastião on Brazil’s southeastern coast.
In June, a man who appeared to be Bolsonaro was reportedly seen and recorded near a surfaced humpback whale, approximately 15 meters away.
The news website iG reported that a man, possibly Bolsonaro, was using a mobile phone to record a video while a whale displayed aerial movements that indicated distress or discomfort.
According to Brazilian law, it is illegal to intentionally harass any type of cetacean, including dolphins and baleias jubarte (humpback whales) in the country of South America.
As per regulations implemented by the environmental organization Ibama, it is prohibited for boats with active engines to approach within a distance of 100 meters from these creatures. Sailors are also not allowed to pursue or intrude upon groups of dolphins or whales, or create “excessive” sounds, such as music, percussion, or any other noises, within 300 meters of any cetacean.
A different conservative leader was recently penalized with a fine of 2,500 reais (£410) for committing a similar violation in the same area. Approximately ten years ago, Bolsonaro also received a fine for engaging in illegal fishing in a marine reserve near the coast of Rio de Janeiro. As the president, he faced criticism for intentionally dismantling environmental safeguards, resulting in disastrous effects on the environment.
After being removed from office for one year, Bolsonaro is currently under scrutiny for various alleged offenses, such as attempting to overthrow his successor from the left, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, embezzling valuable jewels, and falsifying records of receiving the Covid vaccine. There is speculation that the politician, who is prohibited from running for office until 2030, may ultimately face imprisonment.
On Saturday, the ex-president dismissed the humpback whale inquiry as another example of political persecution from Brazilian politicians and environmentalists. “Every day they accuse me of some kind of mischief. Yesterday it was hounding whales,” Bolsonaro told supporters, before making a disparaging remark about Brazil’s justice minister, Flávio Dino, whom he likened to a whale.
Bolsonaro’s followers mocked the accusations of aquatic behavior on various social media platforms, with one person suggesting that the humpback whale must have been a supporter of the ex-president and asked for a photo with him.