Man who rescued baby whale plans to donate fine funds to marine charities
Django Hopkins didn’t think twice when he saw a baby whale calf tangled in shark netting and rescued the whale in his tinny.
However, as Hopkins is from Queensland, it’s illegal to interfere with equipment used for shark control and he could have received a possible fine of up to $26,900.
A fundraising page was set up to cover the costs of the fine and it quickly raised more than $20,000.
"The GoFundMe page is by two guys I don't even know – they started it, and I think it's about $24,000 today," Hopkins said.
He’s made it clear he’s not planning on pocketing the money, as a Department of Fisheries investigation has cleared him of any serious breaches.
"It can either go to Sea Shepherd or it can go back to them - I'm not just going to get it and go to the pub when they open."
The whole experience of saving the calf was “the best part of the whole thing”, according to Hopkins.
"I'm a typical Aussie male, I do stuff first and think about it later. There was no real thinking, I saw it and that was it, you just get going and get in the water," Django told 2GB's Ben Fordham on Thursday.
"(Saving the calf) was the best part of the whole thing. Because of the adrenaline going through the whole experience, I can barely remember any of it."
He also holds no ill will towards the Department of Fisheries and said they’ve done the right thing.
"It's hard to put yourself in the position where you're going to break the law or help something or someone, but they have pulled bodies out of these things - so I get it on their behalf."
The whole experience wouldn’t stop him from helping another animal in distress but warns others not to do the same.
"I was going straight in. I'm not scared of it, to be honest," he said.
"I wouldn't recommend everyone go and do it, its highly dangerous."
Join our community of over 400,000-plus members today and get the latest Over60 news, offers and articles.
Get all the latest Over60 news, offers and articles.