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Contact: Susan Gonshor, 305-230-1144, x3004
Contact: Didier Carod, 305-230-1144, x3075
Biscayne National Park rangers continue to investigate the mutilation of an adult male manatee found dead within the park on Friday, November 10, 2006. On Monday, November 13, 2006, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) made a preliminary determination that the manatee appears to have died of natural causes before someone mutilated it with a sharp instrument. The report by FWC also stated that there was no indication that the incision in the throat area and the removal of the manatee's flippers and a section of the tail occurred before the manatee's death. Further tests confirming this preliminary assessment are pending. Due to the manatee's advanced state of decomposition, scientists with FWC were unable to cite a more specific cause of death.
The West Indian Manatee is listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. This act states that it is illegal for any person to take, collect or possess any such species or parts of any endangered species, even if the animal had previously died. The fine for violating the Endangered Species Act is a maximum of one year in federal prison and up to $100,000 fine.
The Save the Manatee Club is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime. Biscayne National Park is asking anyone with information related to this incident to call 305-230-1144, ext. 3067 to leave an anonymous tip. The tip can be left in English and/or Spanish.