Man harasses a baby manatee, puts pics on Facebook, gets arrested

Illustration for article titled Man harasses a baby manatee, puts pics on Facebook, gets arrested

A 21 year-old Florida man, Ryan William Waterman, is facing a misdemeanor charge that could see him pay a $500 fine and face six months in jail. He was arrested by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after being alerted to pictures on Facebook showing Waterman hugging a baby manatee.

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According to the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, it is illegal to molest, harass, or disturb manatees — a highly sensitive aquatic mammal that's endangered in Florida. Federal laws also protect the species.

Illustration for article titled Man harasses a baby manatee, puts pics on Facebook, gets arrested
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The pictures, which were taken at Taylor Creek (near Fort Pierce in southeast Florida), showed Waterman partially removing the baby manatee from the water and hugging it. Other pics showed his two young daughters petting it — and even sitting on it.

Waterman, who was released from the St. Lucie County Jail on $2,500 bond, told a local television station that he meant no harm and did not know it was illegal to touch a manatee.

Waterman's actions could have induced severe stress in the young calf. And according to manatee biologist Thomas Reinert, "The calf also appeared to be experiencing manatee cold-stress syndrome, a condition that can lead to death in extreme cases. Taking the calf out of the water may have worsened its situation."

Source: Reuters.

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DISCUSSION

A fine, sure. Prison time, no. He's a dad helping his daughters experience the world. Not many dads do that any more. Don't punish the man. What the fuck. It's not the last manatee and he didn't break into a preserve to find it. How many murders in Florida that day? How many corporations spent a century dumping effluent and byproduct into the water these things live in who never paid fines and still do business? What about fisheries?