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Manatee with “Trump” scraped in the back calls for federal investigation

This week the US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) launched an investigation to identify all parties involved in the harassment of a manatee that had the word “Trump” scraped on the seaweed on the animal’s back . Local media issue Citrus County Chronicle first reported the manatee was spotted swimming in the Blue Hole headwaters of the Homosassa River in northern Florida on Sunday. The USFWS currently classifies manatees as an “Endangered” species, which it downgraded from “Endangered” in 2017. The animals are protected under the Marine Mammal and Endangered Species Protection Act (which also protects threatened species and critical habitats) and can be harassed up to a $ 50,000 fine and one year imprisonment.

“This heinous act goes beyond what is considered cruel and inhuman,” said Elizabeth Fleming, a senior official with the Florida nonprofit animal rights group Defenders of Wildlife, in one Explanation. “I am disgusted that someone would harm a defenseless creature to send what I can only assume is a political message. We will do everything in our power to find this coward, arrest him and to be followed successfully. ”

The USFWS urges the public to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation hotline at 888-404-3922 for information about the person (s) involved in the harassment of this manatee. The Center for Biodiversity is offering a $ 5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person (s) responsible for this crime.

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