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Marine police: Florida man arrested for posting pictures of kids with manatee

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Florida man was arrested Sunday after posting Facebook photos of himself and his children playing with a young manatee.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission filed charges against Ryan William Waterman, of Fort Pierce, for violating the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act.

The act makes it a second-degree misdemeanor to intentionally "molest, harass or disturb" any manatee, WPTV reports.

"An interaction that may seem harmless and innocent may ultimately have serious consequences for manatees and other wildlife," FWC officials said in an announcement.

One of the pictures show Mr. Waterman lifting the manatee completely out of the water. Others show his two daughters petting and sitting on top of the mammal.

"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 the release. "Separating the two could have severe consequences for the calf."

WPTV reports that a woman was arrested in October on similar charges, for "taking a joyride" on a manatee.

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