In Pinellas County, Florida, a video posted to a social media page quickly went viral and has drawn the ire of residents across the state. The drone video, shared on the Facebook page of See Through Canoe on Sunday, showed a boat with at least five people aboard pass through an area of swimming manatees.
A man wearing a red jacket used a pole to poke at the animal apparently scaring the manatee and causing panic in the water. The other manatees were frightened by the man’s actions and began to swim away. After the sea cows left the area in pure fright, the man could be seen giving a high-five to another person on the boat.
“After the boater startled the manatees, the large aggregation of manatees left the area they were resting in just moments before. Most of them eventually came back,” the Facebook post stated.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have been notified and are investigating the disturbing incident. In Florida, manatees are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Manatee Sanctuary Act. Anyone convicted of violating state laws relating to feeding, harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding et al can be fined $500 or 60 days in jail. Conviction of a federal protection law is punishable with fines up to $100,000 and/or one year in prison.
Check out the drone video:
Guy harasses a manatee, scares it, and in turn causes the rest of the manatees to panic. Way to go man. Edit addition… This video has been given to the proper authorities and they are looking into it. There is no need to contact FWC because they have the original video already. It's great to see the level of concern most people have for these defenseless animals. Manatees often gather like this on cold days because they don't have blubber to keep them warm like many marine mammals. Manatees will sometimes leave a location because of too much human pressure, even though they need the warm water to survive. One of the leading causes of manatee deaths is cold stress. That is just one of the reasons it is important to have some respect for the manatees and not just drive right through a group of them in a big boat. After the boater startled the manatees, the large aggregation of manatees left the area they were resting in just moments before. Most of them eventually came back. . #jerk #dontbea____ #setanexample #havesomerespect #nature #animals #harass #manatees #florida #manatee #stpete #tampa #tampabay #wildlife #drone #aerialphotography Nat Geo Wild #boat Save the Manatee Club #boating #badboater
Posted by See Through Canoe on Sunday, February 23, 2020
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