A woman who was photographed riding a protected manatee off the Florida coast has handed herself in to authorities.
According to Sky News, officials at the Pinellas County Sherriff's Office tried to track down Ana Gutierrez after she was seen in the water with the marine animal on Sunday.
Gutierrez, 52, was spotted touching and climbing on top of the manatee at For De Soto Park, near the city of St Petersburg.
When police arrived at the scene they were unable to locate her but witnesses in the area gave them a description of her and photos of the woman climbing the animal.
Manatee, stock image. Rex
After Pinella's County Sheriff's Office put out wanted notices for the woman in the picture, Gutierrez turned herself in to the police and explained she was new to the area so was unaware that hitching a ride on a manatee was prohibited.
Florida State Statute states: 'In the state of Florida 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.'
Police explained the law to Gutierrez and forwarded her charges to the State Attorney's Office for prosecution.
The offence could result in a maximum prison sentence of 60 days, although it is believed the manatee was unhurt.
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