Manatee harassment under investigation after the word 'Trump' was found on an animal's back

By Lauren M. Johnson, CNN

    (CNN) -- A reward is being offered for information that helps authorities find and prosecute whomever wrote "Trump" on a manatee's back.

The manatee was discovered Sunday in Florida's Homosassa River with the President's name in capital letters on its back, according to a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity.

It's not clear what was used to mark the animal.

The center announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction of the person responsible, according to a news release.

"Manatees aren't billboards, and people shouldn't be messing with these sensitive and imperiled animals for any reason," said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

"However this political graffiti was put on this manatee, it's a crime to interfere with these creatures, which are protected under multiple federal laws."

Officials with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are investigating. Anyone with information can call the commission hotline at (888) 404-3922.

Florida manatees are slow-moving plant eaters also known as "sea cows." The manatee is a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The animals are protected by the Endangered Species Act; harassing a manatee is a federal crime.

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