Florida Men Who Cannonballed Onto Manatees and Posted It on YouTube Sentenced
Last May, we told you about a couple of Cocoa Beach dudes who decided it would not only be a good idea to cannonball themselves onto a manatee and her calf but also to post it on YouTube.
photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons
Now, a little over a year later, those manatees are getting justice!
The two men, Taylor Blake Martin, and Seth Andrew Stephenson, both 22, have each been ordered to pay hefty fines and serve 175 hours of community service.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was able to nab the two after they posted a video of them jumping into a manatee mother and calf as they swam in the canal behind one of the men's homes.
The video shows the men luring the two manatees over, as one of them waits for the right moment to leap into the animals.
At first, only the mother is visible, swimming just below the surface.
"It's a huge one," the one with the camera says.
But then the second manatee appears, and it's clear it's a baby.
"Oh there's another one," the man points out..
"I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it," the other man says, before plowing into mother and calf and cackling with delight.
Both the FWC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife reviewed the video soon after it was posted online.
In March of this year, the two men pleaded guilty to taking or harassing an endangered species.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Orlando said the man who jumped into the animals -- Martin -- was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine. Stephenson, meanwhile, was ordered to pay $2,000.
Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act, which is a second-degree misdemeanor that usually carries penalties of up to $500 or six months in jail.