US officials probe abuse of manatee with 'Trump' carved into its back

Federal Officials to Investigate Florida Manatee with ‘TRUMP’ Etched onto its Back. Yes, a MANATEE.

Florida wildlife officials are appealing to the public for help after a manatee was found with U.S. President Donald Trump's last name carved into its back. It was discovered in the Blue Hole on the Homosassa River, according to the newspaper. The large, seagrass-grazing mammals are found throughout the Caribbean Basin, from the southeast northeastern South America.

"It's been my experience that this is very out of character for this community", Craig Cavanna, a senior federal wildlife officer and current investigating officer, told the regional outlet. They were considered endangered until 2017. It is illegal to feed, harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, annoy, or molest manatees.

Harassment of a manatee is a federal offense punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to one year in prison.

Officials are asking for anyone in the area or elsewhere who may have pertinent intel on this vandalized manatee to pass their tips to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit group that protects endangered animals, is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the case.

"It's heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act", said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center. Anyone with information may call the FWC hotline at 888-404-3922.



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