Photo by: Hailey Warrington, a boat captain for a fishing charter company in Crystal River, Fla.
Following yesterday’s disturbing news that a manatee was found in Florida on Sunday with the word ‘TRUMP’ etched on its body, WAN talked to Christina Meister at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters who confirmed that they are currently investigating the situation.
While it is an open investigation and updates are limited, Meister did share with WAN that, “The manatee does not appear to be seriously injured as it seems that the word was written in algae on the animal’s back.”
“However,” continued Meister, “touching, harming or harassing West Indian manatees is still illegal and is a violation of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Touching, harming or harassing manatees does cause harm as it can cause stress and or interfere with their natural behaviors in the wild.”
In the meantime, the Center for Biological Diversity is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the cruel act of the threatened manatee in north Florida’s Homosassa River. According to the organization, harassment of a manatee is a federal criminal offense punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to one year in prison.
“It’s heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida Director of the Center, in a statement. “It’s clear that whoever harmed this defenseless, gentle giant, is capable of doing grave violence and needs to be apprehended immediately.”
Protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1963, manatees are slow-moving plant eaters with no natural predators. Sadly, boat mortality accounts for an estimated 20% of manatee deaths.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is aware of this incident and is working closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,” Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said in a statement sent to WAN. “If you have any information regarding this case, please call our wildlife crime tips hotline at 1-844-397-8477 or email us at FWS_TIPS@FWS.GOV.”
The post WAN Exclusive Update About Florida Manatee With The Word ‘TRUMP’ Etched On Its Back; $5,000 Reward Offered For Information appeared first on World Animal News.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally trapping a coyote in Essex County, Massachusetts.
The male coyote, who was approximately five months old, was caught in a Duke #160 Body Trap, which are illegal in Massachusetts. The barbaric and indiscriminate trap was placed, by a person or persons, in an area near a local golf course where wild coyotes sometimes roam. These lethal traps are often used for capturing smaller animals such as raccoons and groundhogs.
WAN talked exclusively with Sergeant Locke from the Swampscott Police Department this morning to find out the status of the investigation. While he was limited on what he could share since it is an ongoing investigation, he did confirm that the department and animal control are continuing to work on the case.
“There is no update yet, but we are looking for other instances of illegal trapping,” Locke told WAN, noting that they are also trying to find cameras that may contain useful footage. “Hopefully, this gets a resolution because the traps are not safe for animals or anyone.”
Once found, the person or persons responsible for setting the illegal trap will be charged with animal cruelty and illegal trapping. According to Locke, both charges are substantial.
As per Animal Legal Defense Fund, the poor coyote ran off after being trapped and it took authorities a few days to rescue the animal who was emaciated and suffered a broken jaw. In total, the trap was on his snout for about a week, which prevented him from eating. Tragically, the damage to his jaw was irreparable and the young coyote had to be euthanized.
This is yet another example of why the cruel and indiscriminate trapping of animals should be illegal, period.
“Much like the companion animals we consider family, wildlife animals are capable of feeling pain and deserve to be protected under the law,” Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director, Stephen Wells, said in a statement. “We commend the Swampscott Police Department for taking this case seriously and urge anyone with information about this crime to come forward.”
In Massachusetts, it is a felony offense to knowingly and willingly inflict cruelty to an animal. Under a recent amendment to the law, the maximum penalty for animal cruelty is seven years in a state prison or a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
If you have information related to this incident, please contact the Swampscott Police Department and Animal Control at (781) 595-1111.
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The post WAN Exclusive With The Sergeant Working On A Tragic Case Of Illegal Coyote Trapping In Massachusetts; $5,000 Reward Offered By Animal Legal Defense Fund appeared first on World Animal News.