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Wildlife investigation launched after manatee found with ‘Trump’ scraped on its back

A wildlife investigation has been launched after a manatee was found in Florida with “Trump” scraped into its back.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is now seeking the person responsible for harassing the animal in Citrus County’s Homosassa River.

The slow-moving “sea cows”, which often have a large amount of thick algae growing on their backs, are regular visitors to the state’s shoreline.

They are protected from harassment by the Endangered Species Act, and the federal offense is punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and up to one year in federal prison.

Federal Wildlife Officer Craig Cavanna confirmed an investigation was ongoing, but told the Citrus County Chronicle he could not elaborate.

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“I cannot comment on a current, ongoing investigation,” said Mr Cavanna, who works for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

But he added that it was rare for boaters or swimmers to bother the mammals.

“It’s been my experience that this is very out of character for this community,” said Mr Cavanna.

“Wildlife conservation is a core value in Citrus County. That’s why it’s called the Nature Coast.We are following leads.”

The outgoing president is expected to move to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, when he leaves the White House next week.

The USFWS confirmed that “Trump” was written into the algae on the manatee’s back but that it “does not appear to be seriously injured.”

“West Indian manatees are essential members of the ecosystems in which they inhabit and are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act,” said Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

 “The US Fish and Wildlife Service is aware of this incident and is working closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.”

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