Here in Tampa Bay, we LOVE our manatees, a lot! They are the gentle giants of our waterways. They are some of the kindest and sweetest creatures on the planet (imo). So, when we hear about manatees being harassed or harmed, we get upset.
That’s what happened when I saw the BayNews9 story about of a group of Tampa Bay boaters who were recorded harassing a herd (or aggregation) of manatees. According to BN9, the incident took place off Weeden Island on Old Tampa Bay, (the Pinellas side of the Bay).
Below is the YouTube drone video posted by See Through Conoe (who was recording the group of manatees at the time). One of the boaters even tries to down the drone by casting a line from a fishing pole (to no avail).
Keep in mind, there are strict laws governing manatees. Florida law states in part, “It is illegal to feed, harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, annoy or molest manatees”.
Here’s what See Through Canoe posted on Feb 23, 2020…
“Way to go boat captain. First, you drove right through a group of manatees. Second, you tried to crash my drone with your fishing pole. It’s a good thing you can’t cast. But the biggest mistake you made, was reaching out and physically harassing that manatee and scaring it, in turn causing a stampede reaction in the manatee aggregation.”
Watch the drone video below….
We can all clearly see the boat’s registration numbers in this video… and so did the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, who is currently investigating the harassment. We’ll keep you up to date on the details of this investigation.
In the meantime, to read more about the Florida manatee from FFW you can click HERE.
Below are few photos that might help shed some light on the plight of our manatees…
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