US wildlife officials are investigating reports of a manatee found with “Trump” scraped on its back in a Florida river.
The West Indian manatee, a species classified as “threatened” under US wildlife protection laws, was found on Sunday in the headwaters of the Homosassa River on the state’s west coast.
A US Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said the manatee did not appear to be seriously injured.
The Citrus County Chronicle published a video showing an underwater view of the slow-moving mammal, with the word “Trump” written in big letters.
It was also not clear if the act was meant to bring attention to President Donald Trump, a Florida resident.
The Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity said it was offering a $US5000 ($A6500) reward for information leading to a conviction in the case.
Harassment of manatees is a federal offence punishable by a fine of up to $US50,000 and/or up to one year in prison.
Manatees, nicknamed “sea cows”, are protected under US law.
Strikes by boats are the top cause of death for the mammal; but loss of habitat, algae blooms and disease also threaten them. There are more than 6300 manatees in Florida, up from about 1267 in 1991.
Reuters with AP