Deputies search for woman seen riding manatee in West Florida

Riding a manatee is 2nd degree misdemeanor

Published On: Oct 02 2012 02:32:33 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 02 2012 10:06:16 PM EDT
TIERRA VERDE, Fla. -

The hunt is on in West Florida for woman who was photographed riding a manatee.

Take a look at the above picture. It was taken Sunday in the water off Fort Desoto Park in Pinellas County.

Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies said they responded after getting calls about a "female subject 'riding' a manatee in the waterway just north of the Gulf Pier."

If she is found, the state says she will be charged with violating the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. That 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."

A violation of this statute is a second-degree misdemeanor.

No manatees are believed to have been injured.

If you recognize this woman, call the Environmental Lands and Marine Enforcement Unit at 727-582-6200.