Men seen harassing manatee in Facebook video - WNCT

Men seen harassing manatee in Facebook video

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An unidentified man is seen jumping on manatees in a Facebook video An unidentified man is seen jumping on manatees in a Facebook video

Two men can be seen and heard on camera as they spot a manatee.

"Watch. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do it. Then come over here. It's right there" says a man off camera.

While one man uses a hose to spray a canal in Brevard county, another man plots his move as a manatee and a calf swim near a sea wall.

Again, the off camera narration continues.

"It's right here. Look. It's a huge one. Oh there's 2 of em" as he watches what is likely a mother and her calf glide by. 

A moment later the video shows a man leaping into the water right on top of a manatee.

"My first reaction was that these people are basically ignorant of the laws and the responsibility to wildlife stewardship," said Gary Morse with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

It's not the first time we've seen people harass the state mammal. In February, a Central Florida man posted pictures of a crime in progress. They show Ryan Waterman and his two daughters with a manatee calf in Port St. Lucie. They are seen petting and riding the animal, and in one shot, Waterman is actually picking up the manatee.

"You can't interact with a manatee by your own action. If the animal comes up to you, that's one thing. It's another thing if you attempt to touch it. That's against the law," said Gary Morse with FWC.

Another woman was caught on camera last September riding a manatee at Fort De Soto Park. Gary Morse has an idea why the violations keep happening. "There's a lot of ignorance among the general public about conservation issues."

An investigation is underway based on the video. Investigators say, they have a pretty good idea who is behind it. No word on if the manatees were injured. But the men who put the appalling video on the internet in of March of last year, could face serious charges and fines.

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