Wildlife authorities in the United States have launched an inquiry after a manatee was discovered with the word “Trump” etched on its back, reported BBC on Tuesday. The mammal was spotted on Sunday in the Homosassa River in Florida with the American president’s last name scribbled on its body.
Visuals of the animal was first shared by local newspaper Citrus County Chronicle, and have gone viral on social media. The West Indian manatee is a species categorised as “threatened” under the US wildlife protection laws, according to Reuters. The mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is leading the investigation. The Centre for Biological Diversity, a conservation charity, has also offered a $5,000 (approximately Rs 3,66,437) for any information leading to the conviction of people responsible for this incident. “It is heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act,” said the centre’s director Jaclyn Lopez.
Harassment of manatees is a federal offence, penalised with a fine of up to $50,000 [approximately Rs 36,62,852], and/or up to one year imprisonment, reported Reuters.