After the terrible death of a dolphin in Argentina last February, here comes another example of the incredible stupidity people come to for a few “likes” on social media.
A 21-year-old Florida man was denounced to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after posting photos of himself and his two daughters harassing a manatee on Facebook.
The images show Waterman hugging a baby manatee, as well as his daughters petting and sitting on the animal.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, “Manatees are protected under federal law, which makes it illegal to harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine mammal. Manatee are also protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978, which states: ‘It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee.’ Violating this state law can lead to a maximum fine of $500 and/or imprisonment for up to 60 days. Conviction on the federal level is punishable by fine of up to $50,000 and/or one year in prison.”
Waterman was released from jail on $2,500 bond, reuters reports. The man was apparently unaware that it was illegal to touch manatees and meant no harm to the animal.
Here’s a tip for those who are not smart enough to figure out by themselves that they’re not supposed to do whatever they want to/with wildlife: give the poor animals some space. Always.