A manatee was found with ‘TRUMP’ carved onto its back.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services is now searching for the person responsible as manatees are endangered species.
Attacking or harassing manatees is considered a federal criminal offense.
In the video obtained by the Citrus County Chronicle, the manatee in Homosassa River in Citrus County, Florida can be seen with ‘TRUMP’ etched onto its back.
The letters have been scratched into the algae growing on the creature’s back.
According to Dolphins.org, the algae growing on manatees help block out harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.
The US States Fish and Wildlife Service is now investigating the harassment, with investigating officer and senior federal wildlife officer Craig Cavanna saying that what was done to the manatee “is very out of character for this community” as “Wildlife conservation is a core value in Citrus County.”
Harassing manatees, which take sanctuary along Citrus County’s coastlines, could lead up to one year in federal prison and/or a $50,000 fine.
The Center for Biological Diversity announced a $5,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction for what the organization called “cruel and illegal” mutilation of the manatee.
Jaclyn Lopez, the director of the nonprofit conservation organization, said in a press release: “It’s heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
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