FL: Man in viral video could be harassing manatees

Manatee harassment
Manatee harassment
Posted at 2:07 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 14:07:00-04

FLORIDA (CNN NEWSOURCE) - Video of a Florida man throwing an unknown substance into a river, and appearing to startle manatees, has gone viral.

That man is now under investigation for possible harassment.

"The FWC wants to find out if the man in that video was trying to harass those manatees because they're an endangered species. In fact, here at this public boat launch, they have a sign that says be friendly towards those manatees. And those who are cruel, well, they could face charges."

Smiling and holding a bucket, Scott McCormick of Debary, appears to be tossing something in the St. John's River… As wildlife then suddenly starts splashes around.

The video, posted on his Facebook page Friday, has been viewed more than 2 million times, with more than 7,000 comments.

Many people are upset McCormick may be disturbing manatees mating in the river.

"If he's throwing something that's getting them excited or startling them, then he needs to stop," said Tim Biers of Volusia County.

In the sunshine state, the Florida Wildlife Commission says it's a second-degree misdemeanor to harass a manatee.

Agitators could also face federal charges because manatees have been labeled a nationally endangered species since 1966.

In the Facebook post, McCormick asks, "Is it safe to swim in the St. Johns River?"

Now many people are left wondering just what McCormick was doing after throwing something into the river.