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In December, a woman snapped pictures at Pompano Beach, on Florida's Atlantic coast, of swimmers who might have been trying to ride a sickly sperm whale. The 35-foot (10.6-meter)-long creature was reported to be flapping its tail at the time of the incident and eventually washed ashore dead.
And last October, a woman turned herself in after photos surfaced showing her riding a manatee at Florida's Fort DeSoto Park near Tampa. At the time, reports suggested she could have faced up to 60 days in jail and a possible fine of $500 for her crime.
There are estimated to be just 3,800 manatees in Florida, and each year, about 87 are killed by humans, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, most of them dying in boat collisions. Coastal development, which has altered and destroyed manatee habitat, also threatens the species.
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