'Trump' Carved on Florida Manatee's Back

$5K reward offered for information leading to conviction
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2021 4:15 AM CST
Somebody Carved 'Trump' on a Manatee's Back
In this March 16, 2015 photo, a lone manatee swims in the discharge canal next to the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center, Big Bend Power Station, Apollo Beach, Fla.   (Scott Keeler/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Someone in Florida scraped the word "Trump" onto the back of a manatee. The animal (pictures here) was found in the Blue Hole on the Homosassa River, about 90 miles from Orlando, the New York Daily News reports. Fox 13 reports the word was scraped into the layer of algae and grime that develops on the slow-moving animals' backs. While the manatee did not appear to be hurt, "It did seem that the animal was very upset" and skittish, says the boat captain who stumbled upon her.

Manatees are a federally protected species, the harassment of which can result in a fine of up to $50,000 and a one-year prison sentence. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating, and a $5,000 reward is being offered by the Center for Biological Diversity for information leading to a conviction. "It’s heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act," says the center's director. "It’s clear that whoever harmed this defenseless, gentle giant is capable of doing grave violence and needs to be apprehended immediately." (More Florida stories.)

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