To say that President Trump hasn’t won many plaudits from environmentalists during his time in office is an understatement.
But now, a horrifying act has given critics of the outgoing commander-in-chief an image which, in their view, may well sum up his presidency’s harmful effect on the natural world.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has launched an investigation after a manatee was found in a Florida swimming hole with the word “TRUMP” scraped on its back.
The defenseless animal and its sickening manmade political inscription were sighted over the weekend in the Blue Hole headwaters of the Homosassa River in Citrus County, around 80 miles northwest of Orlando, the Citrus County Chronicle reported.
Witnesses reported the poor creature to federal authorities.
“It’s been my experience that this is very out of character for this community,” Craig Cavanna, a senior federal wildlife officer leading the investigation, told the outlet.
“Wildlife conservation is a core value in Citrus County. That’s why it’s called the Nature Coast.”
Manatees are protected by the Endangered Species Act, and harassment of the animals is a Class A federal crime punishable by a $50,000 fine and/or up to a year in federal prison, Cavana said.
The wildlife officer told the outlet that his team are hunting for the person, or people, responsible for the senseless act of harm and are currently “following leads.”
The West Indian manatee is a well known visitor to Florida’s Nature Coast. The slow-moving, warm-blooded mammals migrate seasonally to the spring-fed waters along Citrus County’s coastline, making them easily accessible to people on boats or swimmers, the outlet reported.