After a Florida father was arrested for pictures showing he and his children playing with a manatee on Facebook, one might think people would refrain from having contact with the sea creatures, which are protected under federal law — or at least not post on the Internet any evidence of their activity with the animals.
Two other Florida men face now charges, which could lead to fines and jail time, over a video posted to Facebook showing them jumping on a manatee from a dock. Even though that event and the video happened more than a year ago, it recently resurfaced and the men can still be charged.
The video shows a few men peering at the manatees — there were two — in the water and discussing getting ready to jump on one. Then one of the men leaps into the water cannonball-style at one of the animals.
Here’s the clip:
WKMG reported the Florida Fish and Wildlife Office is involved in the investigation, which said the men from Cocoa Beach, who are not named, are being cooperative.
“It’s sad,” Lenny Salberg with Florida Fish and Wildlife told Florida Today. “You could see they were targeting them. They were trying to lure [the manatees] in by spraying the water, and they were cannonballing right onto them.”
Because the manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act, Salberg told WKMG, the men under “molesting manatee” charges face a fine of $50,000 with up to a year in prison.
Here’s WKMG’s report: