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Man arrested for 'molesting' manatee in Florida

Ryan Waterman is alleged to have molested, harassed or disturbed the animal, who appeared to be enjoying the attention.
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A Florida man has been arrested for 'molesting' an endangered manatee. He was found out after posting pictures of himself hugging the sea cow on Facebook. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

A man in Florida was arrested after posting pictures of himself and his children hugging a manatee in Florida.

Ryan Waterman is alleged to have molested, harassed or disturbed the animal, who appeared to be enjoying the attention, said Reuters.

Waterman, 21, and his two children found the endangered sea calf in Fort Pierce, Fla.

He and his family took photos with the sea cow, even hugging it and then posted the photos on Facebook.

A concerned citizen contacted local authorities after seeing the pictures online.

Their behavior was likely innocent but scientists say it could have consequences.

"This was a young manatee, which was likely still dependent on its mother for food and protection. Separating the two could have severe consequences for the calf," FWC manatee biologist Thomas Reinert said in a statement, reported the Daily News.

"The calf also appeared to be experiencing manatee cold-stress syndrome, a condition that can lead to death in extreme cases. Taking the calf out of the water may have worsened its situation."

The manatee-hugging man is charged under the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act which basically says to not mess with the mammals, said Mother Nature Network.

He faces a $500 fine and possible jail time.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/man-arrested-molesting-manatee-florida

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