The New York Times reports that the Center for Biological Diversity is offering $5,000 for information that would lead to a conviction “for the cruel and illegal mutilation” of the manatee. Fish and Wildlife says that there are around 6,300 manatees in and around Florida. More importantly, the slow-moving creatures are very prone to scarring, as run-ins with boats and other scarring occurrences have long been used by marine biologists and others to identify different manatees when researching and counting them.
By the time they are adults, many, maybe most, manatees have at least one permanent identifying mark, primarily a scar or mutilation from being hit by a boat. In clear waters like Crystal River, the evidence of repeated strikes [boats] is especially apparent.
However, while there have long been environmentalists working on creating safer speed laws for boats in the areas animals like manatees use, there is no work-around for some worthless vandal who decides to attack them to promote a failed dictator.