- Ryan William Waterman, 21, charged with a misdemeanor in Florida
- Wildlife commission tipped off by an anonymous caller whose saw
A man has been charged after he posted photographs of himself on Facebook hugging a manatee, police said.
Ryan William Waterman, 21, was arrested on Sunday after he put up pictures of himself hugging the animal and allowing two young children to sit on it.
Waterman, from Fort Pierce, Florida was charged with trying to 'molest, harass, or disturb' a manatee which is an endangered species.
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Harmful: Ryan William Waterman, 21, was arrested after he posted this picture on Facebook of him embracing a manatee in Fort Pierce, Florida
Encouragement: Waterman also posted pictures of two young girls playing around with the manatee on Facebook
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission filed the misdemeanor charge against Waterman after they were tipped off by an anonymous caller who had spotted the photos online.
The 21-year-old also posted pictures of two young girls sitting on top of the manatee calf and petting the creature in the water.
Waterman's attack on the manatee happened in January in St Lucie County, according to investigators.
The wildlife commission told WPTV: 'An interaction that may seem harmless and innocent may ultimately have serious consequences for manatees and other wildlife.'
Disgrace: Waterman encourages the little girl to touch the manatee which is an endangered species in Florida
Bad example: The 21-year-old man encouraged the children to stroke the manatee calf
Arrested: Waterman has been charged with a misdemeanor after being accused of harming a manatee
In November a woman was arrested in Florida for riding a manatee in Fort DeSoto Park.
Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, 53, has been charged with a misdemeanor and is out on bail. She told police that she was new to the area and wasn't aware that she had done anything wrong.
Florida's Manatee Sanctuary Acts reads: '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.'
The second-degree misdemeanor for harming a manatee carries up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.