Wildlife authorities in Florida have begun an investigation into a manatee who had appeared in local waters, after it was discovered that the animal has ‘Trump’ etched into its back.
As per The New York Times, the manatee was sighted in the Homosassa River on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and footage and photos taken of the creature show that someone has notched ‘TRUMP’ into its skin.
Can this even be real? A manatee was discovered in Florida with the word “Trump” scraped on its back. pic.twitter.com/PH8YcmGRnz
— George StroumbouloPHÒulos ???? (@strombo) January 11, 2021
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has now called for anyone with information to come forward. It also said the animal did not appear to be seriously injured, and it looked as though the letters were scraped into the algae that typically live on the skin of manatees.
The Centre for Biological Diversity said it will offer a $5000 USD reward for information leading to the conviction of the person who mutilated the animal, which is a state and a federal offence.
Harassment of a manatee is a federal criminal offense punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to one year in prison.
Call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation hotline at (888) 404-3922 with any info. https://t.co/oGqhBOywHA
— Center for Bio Div (@CenterForBioDiv) January 11, 2021
Nearly ironically, Donald Trump signed a federal animal cruelty bill into law in late 2019, and anyone found guilty of violating the law could face up to seven years in prison.
At a state level, manatees are protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, and federally by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. Harassing or harming a manatee can carry a fine of up to $50,000 USD and/or up to one year in federal prison.
As the images and footage of the gentle giant emerged, people were fast to declare that this is just beyond comprehension, and the act of harming an innocent animal for any reason was absolutely unacceptable. Twitter, unsurprisingly, is out for blood.
I hope you know that if I ever see you fucking with a manatee, I will help it drown you.
— Ashley C. Ford (@iSmashFizzle) January 11, 2021
when I find the person who carved up a manatee pic.twitter.com/j4dV51eBET
— Emma Berquist (@eeberquist) January 11, 2021
I will never forget, forgive, or get past the manatee.
Don’t come to me for unity with evil.
— Lincoln's Bible (@LincolnsBible) January 12, 2021
Trump’s cult will rival that of Nazis in their cruelty, its a like guerrilla warfare on all sentient beings. The cruelty is the point, he has united every idiot in our nation and they will vandalize in his name for years to come. If I find who did that to the Manatee, god help u.
— NoelCaslerComedy (@CaslerNoel) January 12, 2021
God help that absolute fool who thought this was a good idea because if the authorities don’t get you, the internet absolutely will.