Florida men sentenced in manatee 'cannonballing'

Published On: Jun 18 2014 03:24:16 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 18 2014 03:38:59 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.


Two men were sentenced Wednesday over an online video that shows one of them jumping onto two manatees.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Orlando reports that 22-year-old Taylor Blake Martin was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine, while 22-year-old Seth Andrew Stephenson must pay $2,000.  Both men must also serve 175 hours of community service.

The men pleaded guilty in March to taking or harassing an endangered species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials began investigating last year after the video was posted on Facebook. The video shows one man, identified by prosecutors as Stephenson, luring two manatees to a dock on a Cocoa Beach canal with a water hose, and another man, identified as Martin, jumping off the dock, "cannonballing" an adult manatee and a calf.

Manatees are protected by both state and federal laws.


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