Dave Bautista offers $20,000 reward after manatee has 'TRUMP' scratched into its back

Ben Arnold
·2-min read
Actor Dave Bautista attends a premiere of the film "Guardians of the galaxy, Vol. 2" in London April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Dave Bautista attends at the premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

Drax The Destroyer – aka Dave Bautista – has thrown his heft into the shocking story of a manatee in Florida which has had the word 'Trump' scratched into its back.

The mammal, an endangered West Indian manatee, was spotted last week swimming in the Homosassa River in Citrus County.

Taking to Twitter, Blade Runner 2049 and Guardians of the Galaxy star Bautista said: “If there’s not already a reward for the arrest and conviction of the low life scummy MAGATs that did this I’ll throw in $20,000.

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“And I promise there will be bonuses to that reward!”

There is already a reward in the offing, of $5000, which is being offered by the Centre for Biological Diversity.

While the animal appeared not to be seriously injured – the 12-inch tall letters were scored into algae growing on the creature's skin – officials from US wildlife authorities have confirmed that the creatures are protected.

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Anyone found to be interfering with the animals could face a year in prison and a $50,000 fine (around £37,000).

Images of the manatee began emerging last week, after first being shared by the Citrus County Chronicle newspaper.

According to reports, an investigation into the incident is being undertaken by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Jacyln Lopez of the Centre for Biological Diversity said in a statement: “It's heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act.

“It's clear that whoever harmed this defenceless, gentle giant is capable of doing grave violence and needs to be apprehended immediately.”

The creatures are said to be vulnerable to attack as they congregate around shallow waters, and have seen their numbers fall in recent years to both loss of habitat and being struck by boats.

Watch: Authorities investigate defaced manatee