Who is Hailey Warrington? $5,000 offered to find culprit who etched 'TRUMP' on manatee after scuba diver's video
A video taken by Warrington is now circulating across social media that closely shows a manatee with the word ‘TRUMP’ etched on its back
In a shocking incident of cruelty towards animals, a manatee was discovered on Florida’s Gulf Coast with the word ‘TRUMP’ scraped onto its back. A video is now circulating across social media that closely shows a manatee with ‘TRUMP’ etched on it.
The video was shot and uploaded by tour boat captain and scuba-diver Captain Hailey Warrington. While diving in the Homosassa River in north Florida on Sunday, January 10, Warrington spotted the abused creature. The animal was spotted around 60 miles north of Tampa Bay.
Wildlife officials are searching for the person who scraped the word "TRUMP" onto a manatee's back in the Homosassa River in north Florida.— FOX 35 Orlando (@fox35orlando) January 12, 2021
🎥: Hailey Warrington pic.twitter.com/rbKO9we7eo
Warrington immediately shot a video of the manatee and later reported it to the wildlife authorities. At present, The Center for Biological Diversity has launched an investigation and announced a $5000 reward for information on the culprit’s whereabouts.
Who is Hailey Warrington?
Hailey Warrington is an alumna of University of South Florida with dual degrees in Zoology and Environmental Science and Policy. She started her career as a wildlife tour guide, specializing in spotting water scallops and manatees. Her expertise earned her the unofficial title ‘Scallop Queen’ from tourists. It is no surprise that Warrington’s Instagram profile shows her life mantra as #livecoastal.
In winters, the 25-year-old works as a manatee tour guide, advocating for the conservation of the species that she lovingly refers to as ‘chubby mermaids’. It must be mentioned in this context that harassment of a manatee is a federal crime, punishable by a penalty of $50,000 and up to one-year imprisonment. Since 1963, manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
During one such manatee tour on January 10, Warrington spotted one with ‘TRUMP’ etched on its back. She identified the manatee as a regular visitor in that area of the river. Reportedly, the word was not etched deep onto the animal’s skin, but on the layer of algae coating its skin. Nevertheless, Warrington revealed that the animal looked visibly upset, if not wounded. She also added that it was an uncharacteristic thing for anyone to see.
How can you report about the culprit?
The motive of the perpetrator is still unclear — whether they committed the cruel act in favor of President Donald Trump or as an act of rebellion against him. In any case, nothing can ever justify the cruelty doled out to an innocent creature to send out a political message. Ironically, this inhuman act is not the first incident of violence centering around Trump in recent times as the US is still reeling from the horrors of the Capitol riot by Trump supporters on January 6.
After Warrington reported the incident, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation started a hotline at 888-404-3922 for information about the perpetrator, offering a hefty reward of $5000.
Jaclyn Lopez, director of Florida Center for Biological Diversity, warned people against messing with these ‘sensitive’ and ‘imperiled’ aquatic animals. She said that manatees are not meant to be used as billboards. “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,” she added while speaking to BuzzFeed News.
In a press release, US Fish and Wildlife Service Spokeswoman Christina Meister stated, "The US Fish and Wildlife Service is aware of this incident and is working closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. If you have any information regarding this case, please call our wildlife crime tips hotline at 1-844-397-8477 or email us at [email protected]”