Final week was a cacophony of horrible Trump-related news, however that is the one which hit residence hardest for me: a manatee together with his identify scraped into its again was discovered within the headwaters of Florida’s Homosassa river (via Citrus County Chronicle). In the intervening time it’s unclear whether or not the animal was really injured, or if the identify was simply scraped into the algae on its again, however it’s against the law both approach.
Whereas US Fish and Wildlife officers instructed the Chronicle that they “[could not] touch upon a present, ongoing investigation”, they’re asking anybody who might have details about who did this to succeed in out to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee. The Heart for Organic Range is also offering a $5,000 reward for data that results in a conviction.
An investigation might be tough, although — manatees are, in fact, stay creatures, and whereas this specific one was discovered close to a neighborhood swimming spot referred to as Blue Gap, it’ll be laborious to determine the place the manatee was when somebody did this to it.
If the individual is caught, nonetheless, it gained’t be excellent news for them. Manatees are classified as threatened, and are subsequently fall underneath the federal Endangered Species Safety Act. If somebody is discovered to have criminally harassed a manatee, they might be going through as much as a $50,000 high-quality, a 12 months in jail, or each. Even simply chasing a manatee whereas it’s swimming is taken into account harassment, so think about scraping one thing into one’s again.
I lived in Florida for 15 years, and was on the water quite a bit. If there’s one factor that’s terribly clear, it’s that you simply shouldn’t mess with the manatees. There are indicators on each public dock telling boaters to be careful for manatees, and each pure science museum I went to had an exhibit on how manatees have been threatened by motorboats and human exercise. I vividly keep in mind tenting journeys the place rangers instructed us that we needed to cease swimming in Manatee Springs as a result of, shock, there have been manatees there, they usually have been to not be disturbed.
Attending to see them up shut was a actually superior expertise, and it offered the one good piece of stories that I may give you: manatees are powerful creatures, and I’ve seen many swimming round with scars from boat propellers. Regardless of somebody being so inconsiderate as to scrape something into its again, it ought to hopefully be okay.