Authorities investigating manatee found in Florida with 'Trump' carved into its back

Eloise Marshall
January 12, 2021

The defacement of the manatee with "Trump" is anything but accidental.

Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission began investigating the crime after the manatee was found Sunday with serious scarring with the president's name.

USA state and federal wildlife officials are investigating reports of a manatee found with "Trump" scraped on its back in a Florida river.

Senior federal wildlife officer Craig Cavanna-who is leading the investigation for FWS-told the Citrus County Chronicle that the agency was "following leads", but could not comment on the ongoing investigation. He added that they are following leads in the case.

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The Center for Biological Diversity decried the incident and offered a $5,000 reward for information that led to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.

"West Indian manatees are essential members of the ecosystems in which they inhabit and are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act", USFWS Director Aurelia Skipwith said in a statement. The manner in which the letters were engraved was not immediately clear. "It is harassment regardless". The animals have nerves and sensory hairs in the skin.

As for potential charges, Cavanna explained that an act of harassment against a manatee is a Class A federal offense.

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