Federal investigators are searching for the person who carved the President’s name, “TRUMP” on the back of a Florida manatee.
Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1963.
Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission began investigating the crime after the manatee was found Sunday with the president’s name carved through the layer of algae that covers the manatee’s back.
“It’s heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida Director at the Center. “It’s clear that whoever harmed this defenseless, gentle giant is capable of doing grave violence and needs to be apprehended immediately.”
According to officials, Hailey Warrington found the manatee on Sunday during a manatee swim tour in Homosassa Springs. She was able to capture video of the manatee:
Harassment of a manatee is a federal criminal offense punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to one year in prison.
On Monday, the Center of Biological Diversity announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction of the person responsible.
Anyone with information on the incident can call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation hotline at (888) 404-3922.