Florida pols are starting to respond to the image of a Florida manatee with the word “TRUMP” carved into its back.
Tampa Rep. Kathy Castor tweeted, “Nothing is sacred to a certain craven element. Let’s find who did this and bring them to justice.” Pinellas County Rep. Charlie Crist called the act “sickening” on Twitter and urged anyone with information to speak up.
Nothing is sacred to a certain craven element.
Let’s find who did this bring them justice. https://t.co/5KUa4b8m7C
— US Rep Kathy Castor (@USRepKCastor) January 11, 2021
The manatee was discovered Sunday in the Homosassa River with scarring in the form of the name Trump, according to a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are investigating the crime.
Florida manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act, in effect since 1963. Harassing a manatee is a federal criminal offense punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to one year in prison.
The Center for Biological Diversity announced Monday it will be offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction for the mutilation of the manatee, which is a threatened species.
— Congressman Charlie Crist (@RepCharlieCrist) January 11, 2021
The animals are slow-moving plant eaters with no natural enemies. Most years boat mortality makes up about 20% of known human-caused deaths.
Anyone with information can call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation hotline at (888) 404-3922.