Someone Etched ‘Trump’ on a Florida Manatee
The sighting in Florida this week of a manatee with “Trump” etched in block letters on its back has prompted an investigation and a plea for help from a nonprofit conservation group.
Wildlife authorities are investigating and announced that the harassment of the manatee is illegal under state and federal laws. (The manatee enjoys protection in state and federal law)
Manatees are herbivores and eat over 60 different freshwater and saltwater plants. Manatees inhabit the shallow, marshy coastal areas and rivers of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Amazon Basin, and West Africa.
The main causes of death for manatees are human-related issues, such as habitat destruction and human objects. Their slow-moving, curious nature has led to violent collisions with propeller-driven boats and ships. Some manatees have been found with over 50 scars on them from propeller blades.
Manatees are slow-moving plant-eaters with no natural enemies. Most years, boat mortality makes up about 20% of known human-caused deaths.
The Center for Biological Diversity said it was giving a $5,000 reward for information driving to a conviction “for the cruel and illegal mutilation” of a threatened manatee in the Homosassa River in Citrus County, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, And the center’s Florida director added Jaclyn Lopez: “It’s heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act, I’m disgusted that someone would harm a defenseless creature to send what I can only assume is a political message. We will do everything in our power to help find, arrest, and successfully prosecute this coward.”
Anyone with information can call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation hotline at 888-404-3922.
And don’t worry, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials said the manatee does not appear to be seriously injured as it seems that the word was written in algae on the animal’s back.