Woman Arrested After Riding Manatee In Florida; Tampa Police Say 'Take A Jet-Ski'
By IB Times Staff Reporter | November 26, 2012 5:29 AM EST
Florida police have arrested a woman who was photographed two months ago riding a manatee. Witnesses took pictures of Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, 53, as she swam with the endangered animals during a visit to the beach on Sept. 30.
Gutierrez was arrested while working at her job at Sears department store in Tampa. Prosecutors were initially hesitant to press charges because police did not witness the incident, but the second-degree charges were forwarded to the state’s attorney office.
ABC News reported that the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act states, “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.”
Manatees have been on the endangered species list since 1967 as populations have dwindled as leisure boating has become popular in recent decades. Manatees swim slowly near the surface and are often seen with scars that clearly as the result of run-ins with motorboat propellers.
Gutierrez told police she was new to the area and did not know touching manatees was illegal. She faces up to six months in jail and a maximum $500 fine, according to the Los Angeles Times. Police say the manatee was not injured but Gutierrez did interfere with a mating ritual.
Manatees can grow up to 12 feet and weigh up to 1,800 pounds. The sherriff’s office told the Tampa Bay Times that the animals are an essential fabric of Florida society and should not be bothered.
“Go ride a Jet Ski,” the sheriff said. “Don't use animals.”
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Forever Lost: Indescribable Anguish for Malaysia Airlines MH17 Families, Remains of Some Victims May Never Be Found (PHOTOS)
- Global Aviation Accidents: UN to Form Safety Task Force, Gov'ts Should Share Intelligence Info to Avert Future Incidents on Flying Over Warzones (PHOTOS)
- Lunch with the Gods: Pope Francis Eats with Vatican Workers in Cafeteria
Join the Conversation
- The Burka Avenger Educates Children While Fighting For Girls' Education Rights In New Pakistan TV Show
- Christopher Walken To Play Mob Boss In Film Adaptation Of Four Seasons Musical 'Jersey Boys'
- William Cantrell Mistakes Human Ashes For Cocaine, May Have Snorted Remains
- Giant Alligator Eats 80-Pound Dog In North Carolina, Gator May Still Be Alive
- Steve McQueen's Last Ride, 1952 Custom Chevy Pickup Truck, Hits The Auction Block
- Samsung Galaxy S5 Alpha Leaks Online: Release Date, Five Features to Wait for New Smart Phone
- Photos of Motorola Moto X+1 Prototype and Specs Leak Online, Release Date, Four Fresh Features Revealed
- Sony Xperia Z3: Release Date, Five Features to Expect from New Android Smart Phone
- 5 Food Scandals That Shocked The World
- Iran Leader Asks Muslims to Supply Arms to Palestine, Calls Israel ‘Rapacious Wolf’
- Nexus 6 Likely Confirmed as Motorola 5.9-Inch Phablet on Release Date – Report
- Apple on 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Release Will Not Happen Until 2015 with Stocks Poised to Soar