Final week was a cacophony of horrible Trump-related news, however that is the one which hit house hardest for me: a manatee along with his title scraped into its again was discovered within the headwaters of Florida’s Homosassa river (via Citrus County Chronicle). In the meanwhile it’s unclear whether or not the animal was truly injured, or if the title was simply scraped into the algae on its again, nevertheless it’s a criminal offense both means.
Whereas US Fish and Wildlife officers informed 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 Middle for Organic Range is also offering a $5,000 reward for info that results in a conviction.
An investigation could possibly be troublesome, although — manatees are, in fact, stay creatures, and whereas this explicit one was discovered close to a neighborhood swimming spot known as Blue Gap, it’ll be onerous to determine the place the manatee was when somebody did this to it.
If the particular person is caught, nevertheless, it received’t be excellent news for them. Manatees are classified as threatened, and are due to this fact fall below the federal Endangered Species Safety Act. If somebody is discovered to have criminally harassed a manatee, they could possibly be going through as much as a $50,000 wonderful, a yr 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 rather a lot. If there’s one factor that’s terribly clear, it’s that you just mustn’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 informed 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 can provide 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.