Manatee in Florida had ‘Trump’ scraped on back

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 12, 2021

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is investigating after federal officials discovered that someone had "scraped" the word "TRUMP" across a manatee's back in Florida, the Citrus County Chronicle reported Monday.

The animal was found in the Blue Hole spring on the Homosassa River in northern Florida over the weekend. Manatee are also protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978, which states: "It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee". The large, seagrass-grazing mammals are found throughout the Caribbean Basin, from the southeast U.S.to northeastern South America.

Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would not comment on the investigation as it is now ongoing, the report says.

Officials are asking for anyone in the area or elsewhere who may have pertinent intel on this vandalized manatee to pass their tips to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He added that harassing a manatee is a crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a US$50,000 fine.

The Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity said it was offering a $US5000 reward for information "leading to a conviction for the cruel and illegal mutilation". "It's clear that whoever harmed this defenseless, gentle giant is capable of doing grave violence and needs to be apprehended immediately". Anyone with information may call the FWC hotline at 888-404-3922.

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