Woman Wanted For Riding Manatee No Longer Terrorizing the Seas
Floridians and sea mammals can rest easy today, as Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, the woman who was photographed riding a manatee at Fort DeSoto Park has turned herself into the authorities.
Gutierrez, 52, claims she is “new in town,” and thus didn’t realize it was against the law to catch a lift on one of the 1,000 lbs “sea cows.”
So that’s exactly what she did Sunday afternoon. Concerned onlookers called the police, but by the time they arrived Gutierrez had left the scene. Luckily, somebody took a photo of Gutierrez during her crime, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department released the pictures in hopes that somebody would have more information.
Florida’s Manatee Sanctuary Act states “activities may not, either intentionally or negligently, molest, harass, collide with, injure or harm manatees.”
Despite this, it looks like Gutierrez will get off scot-free. She wasn’t arrested, because deputies didn’t actually see her ride the manatee. She did, however, get some harsh words from Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
“This is manatee mating season and there are a lot of manatees around but people need to just leave them alone and not molest them and certainly not try to ride them,’ Gualtieri said during a press conference. ‘It’s pretty outrageous when somebody does that.” Another photo of the manatee-surfing is below.