Woman Arrested After Riding a Manatee

Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez says she didn't realize it was illegal

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 25, 2012 11:13 AM CST

(Newser) – Not a good idea: Riding an endangered sea animal. Really not a good idea: Allowing yourself to be photographed while doing so. After pictures surfaced of Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, 53, riding a manatee in Florida two months ago, she was arrested yesterday at the Sears where she works, the Los Angeles Times reports. Authorities had asked for help identifying the then-unknown woman in the photo last month.

Gutierrez says she didn't realize it is illegal to touch a manatee, which she has admitted to doing. The manatee is fine, but Florida's Manatee Sanctuary Act prohibits any accidental or intentional attemps to "annoy, molest, harass, or disturb ... any manatee." The maximum penalty is six months in jail and a fine of $500.

CC Baby, right, and Turner, bottom, two new manatees at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, make their way around Manatee Springs, Thursday, April 1, 2010, in Cincinnati.
CC Baby, right, and Turner, bottom, two new manatees at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, make their way around Manatee Springs, Thursday, April 1, 2010, in Cincinnati.   (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Ernest Coleman)
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