Cocoa Beach, FL (Florida Today) -- Wildlife investigators are considering charges against two Cocoa Beachmen after a video surfaced online of one man jumping onto a manatee andher calf.
It's another case when a voluntary social media post couldlead to an arrest: The Facebook video first posted more than a year agowas reposted to YouTube on Monday, catching the eye of state fish andwildlife officers.
The amateur video shows the men apparently luring in the manatees before one leaps off a dock on a canal in Cocoa Beach.
"I'm going to do it, I'm gonna do it," one man tells the others.
FloridaFish and Wildlife Officer Lenny Salberg said FWC's Internet crimes unitimmediately tracked the video after seeing it Monday. He said it wasfilmed in Cocoa Beach, and two men in the video have been identified. Athird adult, who is out of state, will also be questioned for hisalleged involvement in the video.
"It's sad," Salberg said. "Youcould see they were targeting them. They were trying to lure (themanatees) in by spraying the water, and they were cannonballing rightonto them."
Investigators with FWC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife arereviewing the video to see if charges can be filed and what theappropriate charges may be. Manatees are protected under the EndangeredSpecies Act, as well as state laws.
"The charges are molesting ofa manatee," Salberg said. "At a state level is a second-degreemisdemeanor, which the fines are up to $500 or six months in jail. It's acriminal offense."
Any federal charges could result in fines up to $50,000.
Salberg said investigators are also reviewing the statute of limitations, which could prevent them from charging the suspects.
Hesaid many manatee deaths are caused by blunt force trauma, for example,after being hit by a boat or jet ski. That could have been the casehere, had one of the manatees suffered a direct hit.
"It's no different than jumping on a human's back," Salberg said.
Last year a St. Petersburg woman made national headlines after photos showed her riding on top of a manatee.
PHOTOS:Woman seen riding on manatee
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