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Manatee-Riding Woman Charged In Florida
A Florida woman has been charged with violating state law by climbing onto the back of a manatee.
Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, of St. Petersburg, was arrested on a misdemeanour warrant on Saturday.
Pinellas County sheriff's deputies say she was photographed riding the manatee at Fort De Soto Park last September.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri held a press conference a few days later asking for the public's help in identifying the woman.
Gutierrez called deputies and allegedly admitted touching the endangered sea mammal.
She told them she was new to the area and did not know it was illegal to touch a manatee. The manatee was not hurt.
Interfering with the mammal is regarded as a second degree misdemeanour under the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act.
The Act states 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 maximum penalty is a $500 fine and six months in jail. Gutierrez was released on $1,500 bail.