Ryan Waterman, Fla. man, arrested for allegedly harassing a manatee

Ryan William Waterman, seen above, allegedly harassing a Florida manatee in a photo that was posted to Facebook.
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(CBS/AP) FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Ryan William Waterman, a 21-year-old Fla. man, is charged with harassing a manatee calf after photos he posted to Facebook showed him lifting the animal out of the water and allowing a child to ride it, CBS affiliate WPEC reports.

PICTURES: Crimes against animals (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators filed charges with the State Attorney's Office for the incident, which took place in Taylor Creek in St. Lucie County in January. Waterman was arrested Sunday.

According to the station, a citizen tipped off FWC investigators after Waterman posted images to Facebook showing him and two young children petting a manatee calf. They also show Waterman lifting the calf partially out of the water and a child sitting on top of the manatee.

"I'm really sorry for what I done. And I just tried havin' a good time with my daughters and I really would never try to harm something like that, you know," Waterman told WPEC.

Waterman told the station that although he's lived in Florida for his entire life, he wasn't aware that it was against the law to touch a manatee. He said he's done it before.

The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act makes it illegal to injure, harm, harass, capture or attempt to capture a Florida manatee.

A St. Petersburg woman was arrested in October 2012 after video showed her riding a manatee in Fort Desoto Park.

Harassment of a manatee in Florida is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail, WPEC reports.

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