Florida Man Arrested After Posting Facebook Photos of Manatee Harassment: FWC

Ft. Pierce man arrested for violating Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    FWC
    This photo was released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    A Florida man who posted Facebook pictures of himself playing with and handling a manatee calf is facing charges for violating the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    Ryan William Waterman, a 21-year-old from Ft. Pierce, allegedly approached the manatee in Taylor Creek in St. Lucie County last month, according to the FWC.

    Investigators later received a tip that Waterman had posted photos on Facebook, in which Waterman and the children are petting the manatee and Waterman lifting the calf partially out of the water, the FWC said.

    Raw Video: Manatees Off Brickell

    [MI] Raw Video: Manatees Off Brickell
    Check out aerial footage of manatees swimming in the waters off Brickell.

    Florida Woman Arrested on Charge She Rode Manatee

    One photo even showed a child sitting on top of the manatee, the FWC said.

    Wildlife Officials Rescue Manatee With Red Tide

    [MI] Wildlife Officials Rescue Manatee With Red Tide
    Manatee and sea turtles are being treated at Miami Seaquarium.

    The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act makes it illegal to injure, harm, harass, capture or attempt to capture a Florida manatee. According to the FWC, an interaction that may seem harmless could have serious effects on the manatee.

    "This was a young manatee which was likely still dependent on its mother for food and protection," FWC manatee biologist Dr. Thomas Reinert said in a statement. "Separating the two could have severe consequences for the calf."

    Injured Manatee Calf Rescued in Key Largo

    Reinert said the manatee appeared to have cold-stress syndrome, and taking it out of the water may have worsened its situation.

    Waterman was arrested Sunday and later released on $2,500 bond. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.

    Last year, a St. Petersburg woman was arrested for violating the act after authorities say she rode a manatee.

    The FWC is asking anyone who witnesses manatee harassment to call their hotline at 888-404-FWCC.

    More Local Stories: