Do Not Ride the Manatee, Lady

As a Florida woman learned, it violates the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act.
Staff Writer

It’s all fun and games at the beach until someone rides a manatee.

Onlookers at Fort De Soto Park in Florida snapped a photo of a woman hitching a ride on the back of this endangered species last Sunday.

When law enforcement  officials saw the picture, they began a manhunt to find the offender. As publicity grew, Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, 55, came forward claiming to be the person in the photo. Gutierrez said she touched the manatees, but did not know that it was illegal, according to an article in the Tampa Bay Times.

The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act states that “It is unlawful for any person at any time, by any means, or in any manner, intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any Manatee."

Gutierrez now faces second-degree misdemeanor charges that could result in 60 days of jail time and a $500 fine.



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