Manatee Rider Found and Charged

Joyride was a second-degree misdemeanor

    Photo: USFWS Endangered Species/Flickr

In Florida, it is illegal to ride a manatee. Which is why 52-year-old Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez turned herself in to the authorities after she was photographed floating through the water on the back of one of the aquatic herbivores. After reports of a manatee-riding woman on Sunday at Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County, police released photos they’d obtained of the incident in hopes of identifying the joyrider. Gutierrez saw the photos and turned herself in, maintaining she was new to the area and unaware of the manatee-riding restrictions. (The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act states that it is a second-degree misdemeanor to “intentionally or negligently annoy, molest, harass, or disturb” the endangered species.) She was charged but not arrested, and the case will be forwarded on to the State Attorney’s Office for prosecution. The ridden manatee was not injured.

Via Orlando Sentinel

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