Florida to Manatee Killer: No More Boat
Nursing mother killed in high-speed collision
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2011 12:22 PM CST
A manatee is seen at a zoo in this file photo.   (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Ernest Coleman)

(Newser) – A Florida man became the second person in nearly 40 years to be convicted of killing a manatee yesterday, after a neighbor caught him in the act. Joseph Miata Jr, 62, hit the unfortunate sea cow while blasting through a manatee refuge at a recklessly high speed, the St. Petersburg Times reports. The impact was so powerful that his boat careened into the air, the manatee’s fluke still sticking up behind its motor.

If that wasn’t sad enough, the manatee had been nursing a calf when she was run down. The boat sped off, but a neighbor who was out fishing recognized it and called the police. Miata was sentenced yesterday to a year of probation and a $600 fine—and ordered to give up his boat. Manatee advocates hope the prosecution will serve as a warning to boaters everywhere. "That's bound to get their attention," says a manatee advocate.