Punish Men Who Harassed and Jumped on Manatees


Target: A. Lee Bentley, III, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida

Goal: Punish men who filmed themselves harassing and abusing wild manatees in Florida

Manatees in Florida are protected by both state and federal laws, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. Although these animals are endangered and their population is fragile, some people still think it’s funny to harass and abuse them in their natural habitat.

Two young men, Taylor Blake Martin and Seth Andrew Stephenson, filmed and posted a video online of them luring and jumping onto unsuspecting manatees in Florida. The Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife began investigating these men after their video was shared on Facebook. It has been suspected that the manatees in the video were a mother and her calf. In the video, one man is heard laughing while he cannonballs into the water and lands on top of a manatee. The other man filmed the harassment and urged him to jump.

Although Tampa Bay FOX 13 News reported that the men could face a fine up to $25,000, their actual sentence was much lower. Martin was ordered to pay $3,000 and Stephenson to pay $2,000. Both men are also required to serve community service hours.

Sign the below petition to urge authorities to punish these men for abusing wild manatees to the fullest extent of the law. This is not the first time that people have been reported harassing manatees in Florida. Let these men serve as an example to other potential harassers that it is unacceptable to abuse these delicate and beautiful creatures.


Dear Attorney Bentley,

As you know, Florida’s manatee population is delicate and in dire need of protection. Despite this widespread understanding, some people still think it is funny to taunt, tease, and abuse these harmless creatures in their natural habitat. Taylor Martin and Seth Stephenson are just the two most recent manatee abusers who need to be brought to justice.

I am urging you to punish these men to the fullest extent of the law to make an example out of their reckless and irresponsible behavior. An adult manatee and a calf were put at risk for no other purpose than to create a disturbing Facebook video. Please work with local manatee protection groups to make an example of this case and increase public awareness about our legal and ethical responsibility to the manatees.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit:  flickkerphotos via Flickr

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  1. Community service and a fine? WTF???!!!! These MONSTERS should be in prison … and if it were up to me they’d also be there FOR LIFE !!!!!!!!!

    Hello Fellow Animal Lovers – Please help me find justice for a helpless puppy who was murdered by being placed into a running dishwasher. His murderer has shown no remorse and the punishment was ridiculous. I Thank You All !!!!


  2. Stephanie Theis says:

    They should serve Real jail time that includes extensive education on the plight of not just manatees but of all oceans and ocean life. If we don’t educate people, youth especially, then we are doomed. We only save what we love.

  3. Yes, I agree with all the above comments. They need to deal with the consequences of their actions! If I had witnessed this I would have had a fit, and MY HEART would have cried out for the Manatees, and immediately called the authorities! I just hope that those two turn out to be much better people having a lot of respect for ANIMALS as a result.

  4. Ellis Toscano says:

    Morons. Make a good example of them and then they and others will get the message. Would be lovely if they were an endangered species.

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