Facebook Post Of Harassing Manatees Leads To Guilty Pleas In Federal Court
March 7, 2014
Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Taylor Blake Martin (22, Alabama) and Seth Andrew Stephenson (22, Rockledge) pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory J. Kelly yesterday to taking (harassing) an endangered species. Each faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $50,000 fine. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
According to court documents, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service became aware of a video posted on Facebook that showed one individual luring two manatees to a dock with a water hose, and another individual jumping off of a boat dock, “cannonballing” an adult manatee and a calf. Further investigation revealed that Martin was the individual who “cannonballed” on top of the manatees. Stephenson was identified as the one who lured the manatees to the dock with the water hose. The video shows Martin landing on the back of the adult manatee as the manatees swim away. Stephenson then begins to use the water hose in an attempt to lure the manatees back as the video ends.
After the video was posted on Facebook, several people commented on it. In response to a post that expressed displeasure with Martin’s actions, Martin responded, “hahaha…in my debue [sic] as tayla the manatee slaya…im f---- ready to cannonball on every manatee living yewwww.”
2014 Student Junior Duck Stamp Program Wildlife Art Contest Entries Due Postmarked by March 15th
March 7, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently accepting student entries for the 2014 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp competition until the deadline for entries to be postmarked by midnight Saturday, March 15, 2014.
All students from public and private schools, home-schools and art studios statewide are invited to compete for recognition, prizes and scholarships in this fun activity that promotes the conservation of America’s waterfowl, wetlands and waterfowl habitat. Visit http://www.fws.gov/juniorduck/ for the 2014 contest information, rules, list of eligible species, entry requirements, contest rules, entry forms and an updated waterfowl curriculum.
Teachers and parents can use the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service integrated science and art curriculum as a basis for student research in creating original artwork of a duck, goose or other waterfowl species native to North America. All artwork submitted must be on paper and an original 9” x 12” horizontal image of an eligible North American duck, geese or swan species.
Service Announces 2014 Expansion of Hunting, Fishing Opportunities in National Wildlife Refuge System
March 6, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced the agency will expand hunting and fishing opportunities throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System, opening up new hunting programs on six refuges and expanding existing hunting and fishing programs on another 20 refuges. The proposed rule also modifies existing refuge-specific regulations for more than 75 additional refuges and wetland management districts.
The Service manages its hunting and fishing programs on refuges to ensure sustainable wildlife populations, while offering traditional wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands.
“Hunting and fishing are time-honored ways to enjoy the outdoors and teach people to value nature,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Our National Wildlife Refuge System has millions of acres of public land and water to provide quality hunting and fishing experiences. We hope these expanded hunting and fishing programs will allow more Americans to experience this connection with nature.”
President Requests $1.5 Billion in Fiscal Year 2015 for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
March 6, 2014
The President’s Fiscal Year 2015 discretionary budget request supports $1.5 billion in programs for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an increase of $48.8 million over the 2014 enacted level to fund the agency’s high priority needs. The budget also includes approximately $1.3 billion available under permanent appropriations, most of which will be provided directly to states to support fish and wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation.
“The Service’s budget request focuses our resources on providing outdoor opportunities for all Americans, protecting vanishing wildlife against illegal trafficking, and enabling economic growth through smart investments in conservation and landscape level planning,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “We are also proposing investments in our science programs to ensure we can make decisions based on the best available science.”
This budget funds administration, Secretarial, and Service priorities, including investing in landscape-level planning, supporting conservation and outdoor recreation through the America’s Great Outdoors program, and engaging the next generation through our public lands.
Go Birding on a Refuge This Month to Help Save a Species
Last updated: March 7, 2014