A Guntersville man was sentenced in Florida after pleading guilty to harassing an endangered species.
According to the U.S. Attorney in Florida, 22-year-old Taylor Blake Martin was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and sentenced to 175 hours of community service and two years probation.
He was also ordered to post an apology and a statement of remorse on Facebook.
In a video posted on YouTube, Martin and a friend lured a manatee and her calf to a dock with a water hose. That's when Martin jumped off a boat dock and "canonnballed" the adult manatee. The video shows Martin land on the manatee as the animals swam away.
"The U.S. Magistrate Judge sent a clear message with this sentence that manatee harassment is a serious crime which will be dealt with harshly," said Andrew Aloise, Resident Agent in Charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Florida. "If there had been evidence of physical damage to the manatees he would have put them in jail."
the video was posted on Facebook, several people commented on it.
In response to a post that expressed displeasure with Martin's actions,
Martin responded, "hahaha…in my debue [sic] as tayla the manatee slaya…im
f---- ready to cannonball on every manatee living yewwww."
Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They are found in marine, estuarine and freshwater environments.
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