Anyone with information regarding the harassment of the manatee is requested to contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation hotline at 888-404-3922.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is seriously looking into a case of animal harassment after a manatee was spotted with the word "Trump" scraped into its back, according to PEOPLE. The marine mammal was spotted on Sunday in Florida's Blue Hole Spring on the Homosassa River in Citrus County, reports The Chronicle Online. A video shared on Twitter shows the manatee floating in the water and to be the U.S. President's surname etched into its back. The Hill added that other than the scraping on the back, the manatee seems to be uninjured. The USFWS, along with Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is looking to find the person or people responsible for the act.
“The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is investigating the harassment of a manatee...reported to federal authorities over the weekend discovered w/ words "Trump" scraped in its back ...discovered in Blue Hole on the Homosassa River” (via @CitrusChronicle )— 𝐄𝐱𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐫 𝐏𝐨𝐩𝐞 (@exavierpope) January 11, 2021
Insurrectioning wildlife? pic.twitter.com/PvzI3pZ5Xn
Craig Cavanna, senior federal wildlife officer, and the current investigating officer said that the harassment of a manatee is a Class A federal criminal offense punishable by a $50,000 fine and/or one year in federal prison, especially since it is protected by the Endangered Species Act. He also added that this is a rather unusual incident, especially in that area. "It's been my experience that this is very out of character for this community," Cavanna told the outlet of the incident. "Wildlife conservation is a core value in Citrus County. That's why it's called the Nature Coast."
I have called the service in the area directly to confirm this story. I gotta hear the service tell me this. Absolutely stunning.— 𝐄𝐱𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐫 𝐏𝐨𝐩𝐞 (@exavierpope) January 11, 2021
Since manatees are warm-blooded and slow-moving, they tend to seek sanctuary in the spring-fed waters along with Citrus County's, thus making them easily accessible to swimmers and boaters alike. However, anyone with information regarding the harassment of the manatee is requested to contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation hotline at 888-404-3922. It seems like the manatee will recover, but the same can't be said for two dolphins that were shot dead in Florida in February 2020. As reported earlier, the first dead dolphin was found off the coast of Naples last week with what seemed like a bullet mark on its face, along with injuries caused by what appeared to be a sharp object.
Humans cause so much pain, suffering, and destruction for innocent animals and this beautiful planet’s environment. It is heartbreaking— 𝐄𝐱𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐫 𝐏𝐨𝐩𝐞 (@exavierpope) January 11, 2021
The second dolphin was found with a bullet in its left side along Pensacola Beach, 600 miles away, by experts from the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge. Biologists strongly believe that humans trying to tame wild dolphins could be the reason behind this. So, when people on the boat try to feed these dolphins, they begin to associate humans on boats to food, thus endangering themselves. In addition, the dolphins are prone to fatal injuries due to entanglement, swallowing fishing gear and even boat strikes. For one person's entertainment, they are willing to put a dolphin's life in danger, reports Daily Mail.
"You can prevent harm to wild dolphins by not feeding or attempting to feed them," said a spokesperson for NOAA. Harassing, hunting, killing or feeding wild dolphins is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) says they actively enforce these prohibitions. A Kansas man was fined $1,250 for feeding a dolphin while in Florida on vacation last month. Violators can be prosecuted either civilly or criminally and are punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail per violation.
Oh my god !! :'( :'( 😭— Romu4400 (@romuald4400) February 12, 2020