An organization for the defense of animals in the United States on Thursday increased to 8 thousand dollars the reward for any information that leads to the capture of the person who engraved the word “TRUMP” on the back of a manatee in Florida waters.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF, in English), in Citrus County, increased from $ 3,000 to $ 8,000 the amount of the reward for the capture of the person or persons who wrote the name of the former US president on a manatee, which was discovered on the January 10 on the Homosassa River.
“It is concerning that someone has interfered with an endangered species. We hope that the additional reward will reinvigorate the case and present a witness,” Stephen Wells, ALDF executive director, said in a statement.
According to officials of the Fish and Wildlife Service and other organizations that continue to investigate the event, said word “seems to be written in algae and not carved on the manatee’s back”, which does not seem to be in danger.
These mammals are considered a threatened species and are protected by laws that prohibit “harassing, injuring or disturbing” manatees.
“Harassment” includes any act that potentially injures or disturbs an animal or causes a disruption to the normal behavior of a manatee.
Dave Bautista, star of the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy”, offered in January a reward of $ 20,000 also for information that allows the arrest of the person responsible for this crime.
Bautista, former wrestler of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), is not the only one offering a reward for catching the vandal who engraved the former president’s last name on the mammal’s skin in the Homosassa River, on the northwest coast of Florida.
These aquatic mammals are plant eaters and have no natural enemies.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), 674 manatees have died between January 1 and April 14, 2020, much more than half of the 824 that died during all of 2018, so far the worst year for this herbivore.
Most years, the mortality of these animals involves boats, which account for about 20% of known human-caused deaths, according to the St. Petersburg Center for Biological Diversity, on the west coast of Florida.
Each year about a hundred manatees are killed by boat collisions, as recreational boating in Florida continues to increase.
A report from this center found that the government’s fast-track authorization of boat access projects without analyzing their collective impacts is likely a key factor behind boat strikes, which remain the leading cause of manatee deaths.