Technology & Science

Wild manatee found with 'Trump' drawn on its back

State and federal wildlife officials are investigating reports of a manatee found with "Trump" drawn on its back in a Florida river.

Word was written in algae that had grown on the animal's back, not scratched into its skin.

In this March 16, 2015 photo, a lone manatee swims in the discharge canal next to the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center, Big Bend Power Station, Apollo Beach, Fla. Wildlife conservation authorities are investigating after a manatee with the word 'Trump' drawn on its back was found this weekend in a Florida river. (Scott Keeler/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

State and federal wildlife officials are investigating reports of a manatee found with "Trump" drawn on its back in a Florida river.

The aquatic mammal was spotted over the weekend in the Homosassa River in Citrus County, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed. The area is about 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of Tampa.

"West Indian manatees are essential members of the ecosystems in which they inhabit and are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act," USFWS Director Aurelia Skipwith said in a statement.

The manatee does not appear to be seriously injured, officials said. It appears that the word was written in algae that had grown on the animal's back, not scratched into its skin.

Wildlife officials are looking for any information regarding the animal's harassment. Tips can be reported at 888-404-3922. The Center for Biological Diversity, a non-profit group that protects endangered animals, is offering a $5,000 US reward for information leading to a conviction in the case.

Harassing a manatee, a federal crime, is punishable by a $50,000 US fine and up to one year in prison.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now