The nation saw a Florida law that makes it illegal to injure, harm, harass, capture or attempt to capture a manatee in action in November when a woman was arrested and faced up to 60 days in jail for a photo showing her riding the sea creature.
Now another Floridian seems to be in the same boat after he took pictures of he and his two small children playing with a manatee calf and posted them on Facebook.
The commission was alerted to the photos, which were taken Taylor Creek in St. Lucie County last month, by a tipster. The pictures show Waterman pulling the calf partially out of the water, letting his children pet it and even sit on it.
“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.
“The calf also appeared to be experiencing manatee cold-stress syndrome, a condition that can lead to death in extreme cases,” said Reinert. “Taking the calf out of the water may have worsened its situation.”
Waterman was charged with one count of violating the manatee protection law. If he is convicted, the Palm Beach Post reported FWC spokeswoman Katie Purcell saying, he could face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
Watch this report about the incident: