Plants and Animals

Up To $100,000 Fine for Person Who Etched “Trump” Onto a Manatee’s Back

A different strain of politically charged crime has been found far away from Washington since the U.S. launched its violent attack on the capital last week. A different dimension of politically charged crime has been found far away from Washington since the United States launched a violent attack on the capital last week. The latest in a series of attacks on wildlife to somehow mark an animal in a strange and depressing series with political messages, a bear was found in 2020 with a Trump sticker attached to the tracker.

Florida manatees have been given special protection due to their vulnerability as two endangered and slow-moving (easily accessible) animals. These gentle giants are protected under the U.S. Marine Mammals Protection Act of 1972, the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978 and carry a hefty penalty for interfering with them. Anyone involved in interfering with, injuring, or scattering these animals has been found to be involved and, if convicted, could be fined up to,  $100,000. President Trump himself signed into law the Prevention of Torture and Cruelty to Animals Act of 2019, which makes federal crimes punishable by up to seven years in prison for intentional cruelty to animals.

The most recent crime against manatees was discovered on January 1, 2021, in the Homosassa River, North Florida. The scratched letters on his back take up a significant amount of space on the animal’s skin, probably indicating the degree of injury by the animal and the intensity of its charge that will be brought to those involved.

Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), said in a news release, “Manatees are not billboards, and for some reason, people should not mess with these sensitive and diseased animals.” “But this political graffiti was forced to comply with this, interfering with these animals, a crime that is protected under multiple federal laws.”

The CBD said in a release that it was offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of a man. It has met with officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Anyone with information can reach them at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Hotline (888) 404-3922.

Manatees, also known as sea cows, are one of the most unusual and charismatic aquatic animals in America. They feed cows on water grass, weeds and algae and can equivalent one-tenth of their own body weight in just 24 hours. This type of diet produces large amounts of methane in their intestines and manatees were developed to use this gas as a means of controlling bias. By holding it, they can make passive bobs on the surface like floating potatoes, and when it’s time to dive, they can detach and sink to the bottom. It is easy to see why such a gentle and bizarre creature has won the hearts of so many people. We must protect these gas blips at any cost.

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