Federal charges filed in Central Florida manatee 'cannonball' case

Published On: Oct 30 2013 03:00:41 PM EDT
Updated On: Oct 30 2013 03:06:15 PM EDT

A video re-posted to Facebook has prompted wildlife officials to investigate a man seen jumping onto the backs of a manatee and her calf.

ORLANDO, Fla. -

Federal prosecutors last week filed charges against two men they say “cannonballed” onto a manatee and her calf from a Cocoa Beach dock in March 2012.

Taylor Blake Martin and Seth Andrew Stephenson each face a misdemeanor charge of prohibited acts on an endangered species, punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 or a year in prison.

The incident, captured on video and posted to Facebook, shows the duo spraying water from a hose toward the drifting manatees and one of them then jumping off the dock onto the sea cows.

Prosecutors cited the Endangered Species Act and Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act in a court filing.

No hearing date has been set in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

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