Woman rides manatee photos: Deputies searching for woman who went for joy ride in Fort De Soto

TIERRA VERDE, Fla. -- Authorities are searching for a woman who went for a joy ride on the back of a Manatee in Fort De Soto over the weekend.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has released a photo of the unknown woman, and once she is captured, she will face charges for violating the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, authorities say.

Authorities responded to reports of a woman riding a manatee in the waterway at Fort Desoto Park at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S. about 1:00 p.m. Sunday.

Witnesses were able to give a description, photos of the suspect and the place she was last seen.

The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act states, "It is unlawful for any person at any time, by any means, or in any manner intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any Manatee".

The suspect faces a 2nd degree misdemeanor.

No manatees are believed to have been injured.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy Charlie Tita of the Environmental Lands and Marine Enforcement Unit at (727) 582-6200.

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