Someone apparently scraped ‘TRUMP’ on back of protected Florida manatee, investigation started

Published 5:55 pm Monday, January 11, 2021

A reward has been offered after a report has surfaced that someone scraped the word “TRUMP” onto the back of a Florida manatee, a threatened species.

The Center for Biological Diversity today announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction for the cruel and illegal mutilation of a threatened Florida manatee.

The animal was apparently spotted in north Florida’s Homosassa River, a local newspaper reported.

“It’s heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center. “It’s clear that whoever harmed this defenseless, gentle giant is capable of doing grave violence and needs to be apprehended immediately.”

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 discovered Sunday with serious scarring in the form of the president’s name.

Anyone with information can call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation hotline at (888) 404-3922.

Protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1963, manatees are slow-moving plant eaters with no natural enemies. Most years boat mortality makes up about 20% of known human-caused deaths.

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