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21-Year-Old Man Arrested For Hugging A Manatee And Posting Photos On Facebook

Man sits on a manatee

Police have confirmed that a 21-year-old man has been arrested after posting photographs of himself on Facebook hugging a manatee.

Ryan William Waterman was incarcerated on Sunday after he put up pictures on the social network site, which also showed two young children being encouraged to, and then, sitting on the creature too. The children can also be seen petting and playing on top of the manatee.

Waterman, who is from Fort Pierce, Florida, was charged with attempting to harass, molest, or disturb a manatee, which is widely acknowledged as an endangered species.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who were tipped off by an anonymous caller that had spotted the photos on the website, stated, “An interaction that may seem harmless and innocent may ultimately have serious consequences for manatees and other wildlife.”

It is believed that Waterman committed the offense in January whilst he was in St Lucie Country.

This is the second such arrest to occur in Florida in the space of just a few months. Fifty-three-year-old Ann Gloria Garcia Gutierrez was charged with a misdemeanour and is currently out on bail after being caught riding the animal in Fort DeSoto Park.

Florida’s Manatee Sanctuary Act reads, “It is unlawful for any person at any time, by any means, in any manner intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any manatee.”

Any individual who is caught and prosecuted with the above faces up to 60 days in prison as well as a $500 fine.

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