According to Istrian police, at around 3:30pm on Thursday the Macedonian national was among swimmers in Gortanov Bay, which has a marked area warning visitors that the harassment of the strictly protected species of monk seals is prohibited. The man reportedly approached the area, which is cordoned off, and repeatedly slapped the monk seal on the back and chased it back into the sea from the shore.
Police arrived at the scene and the man was charged with an offence against the Environmental Protection Act and fined 1,500 kuna on the spot, which he paid immediately. It was also revealed that the man was unlawfully in the country and was sent back to Macedonia. He has been banned from entering Croatia for the next five years. Maximum fines of 30,000 kuna (4,000 euros) can be imposed on those caught mistreating Mediterranean monk seals.