Yes, there is a “Manatee Sanctuary Act” that, according to NBC News, makes it “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.”
Less clear is how authorities determine if– by your negligence– you have annoyed a manatee.
Authorities added that the manatee was not physically hurt, but that the “psychological impact” of the encounter would be harder to evaluate, the Tampa Bay Times relates.
A 53-year-old Florida woman was arrested at the Sears where she works on Saturday after being photographed in late September playing with– and seemingly trying to “ride”– a wild manatee. She faces a $500 fine or sixty days in jail. She has been released from jail on $1,500 bail.