Deputies searching for woman who rode on manatee's back, breaking Florida law

TIERRA VERDE, Fla. - UPDATE: The manatee rider, identified as 52-year-old Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, turned herself in Tuesday night. Read about it here:


Authorities are searching for a woman who climbed on the back of a manatee in Fort De Soto over the weekend.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has released a photo of the unknown woman, and once she is captured, she will face charges for violating the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, authorities say.

Authorities responded to reports of a woman riding a manatee in the waterway at Fort De Soto Park around 1:00 p.m. Sunday.

Witnesses were able to give a description, photos of the suspect and the place she was last seen.

The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act states, "It is 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".

The suspect faces a second-degree misdemeanor.

No manatees are believed to have been injured.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy Charlie Tita of the Environmental Lands and Marine Enforcement Unit at (727) 582-6200.

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