State and federal wildlife officials have opened an investigation into reports that a manatee was found in a Florida river with the word “Trump” carved into its back.
The aquatic mammal was spotted over the weekend in the Homosassa River in Citrus County, the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed. The area is located about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the city of Tampa.
The wildlife authorities requested the public’s help to provide any information regarding the animal’s mistreatment. The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit group that protects endangered animals, offered a $ 5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the case.
Mistreating a manatee is a federal crime and is punishable by a fine of $ 50,000 and up to one year in prison under the Endangered Species Act.