Florida police said they arrested a man for harassing a manatee after he posted Facebook photos of himself and two children petting and holding the animal.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission charged Ryan William Waterman, 21, with the second-degree misdemeanor of violating the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, which makes it illegal to intentionally "molest, harass or disturb" the marine mammals, WPTV-TV, West Palm Beach, Fla., reported Monday.
Manatees are considered an endangered species in Florida.
Officials said Waterman and two young children approached the manatee calf in Taylor Creek in St. Lucie County in January. Photographs showed the three petting the animal, Waterman partially lifting it up out of the water and one child even sitting on it, WPTV reported.
"An interaction that may seem harmless and innocent may ultimately have serious consequences for manatees and other wildlife," FWC officials said in a release.
"This was a young manatee which was likely still dependent on its mother for food and protection," said FWC manatee biologist Dr. Thomas Reinert in the release. "Separating the two could have severe consequences for the calf."
Most Popular Stories
- Bipartisan Budget Deal Gets Key Support in House
- Bitcoin Clones Lurch Onto Financial Scene
- Clinton to Keynote Annual Simmons Leadership Conference
- Scotch Whisky Sales Raise Distillers' Spirits
- Budget Deal Will Cut 220,000 Californians Out of Jobless Benefits
- Holiday Shopping Off to a Slow Start This Season
- Fake Deaf Interpreter Was Hallucinating, Has Schizophrenia
- Tea Party Glum in Face of Bipartisan Budget Deal
- Futures Fall, Holiday Spending and Unemployment Up
- Health Coverage Disparities Emerge Among States