A family surfing off the Florida coast captured video when a curious manatee swam up and placed a flipper on a child’s board.
Leesa Blais, who posted the video to Facebook, said she and her family were surfing off the Fort Pierce Inlet in St. Lucie County when they spotted a pair of manatees nearby.
“Evan and Logan were out surfing when two manatees appeared. It was a relatively calm day, and the water was clear,” Blais told WKMG-TV. “The manatees kept swimming around the boys despite their best efforts to avoid them.”
Blais’ husband used a GoPro camera to film as one of the manatees swam up to one of the boys, Evan, and placed a flipper on his surfboard.”Evan was definitely scared in the beginning — he thought it was a shark,” Blais said. “I think he was a little intimidated by how big the manatee was and how it grabbed his board. Evan thinks he just wanted to surf, too.”
The manatee is protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which makes it illegal to harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine mammal. The manatee is also protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978, which states: “It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee”.
The thing is, as this little boy found out, someone forgot to tell the manatees. They are very curious about humans and THEY approach us! We’ve had a number of encounters – us on docks and manatees coming to say hello. Beautiful creatures.