Manatees are an endangered species, which is just one of the many reasons you should not pose for the camera while riding one.
The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act makes it a second-degree misdemeanor to intentionally “molest, harass, or disturb” any manatee. We’re not legal experts, but we’re willing to bet that includes riding one like a horse. However, Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, 52, of St. Petersburg, Florida, claims she was unaware of the law when she was photographed riding a so-called sea cow like a body board.
Police were called to Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County, Fla. on Sunday to investigate reports of a woman riding a manatee, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Witnesses were able to describe the event and show police photographs of the woman, but officers did not witness the misdemeanor themselves. The deputies then turned to the media to help find the woman in the photographs.
The manatee the woman was riding was not thought to have been harmed, the Sheriff’s Office said.