The Maryland man accused of trying to catch and tackle a federally protected pelican in Florida is now wanted by the police.
Authorities issued a warrant for 21-year-old William Hunter Hardesty, who is accused of spending 12 minutes trying to capture the migratory bird while at the Key West Historic Seaport on March 5.
Hardesty, who has a criminal history of assault in Maryland, posted a Facebook video of the incident on March 8.
In it, he appears to have a fish in his hand as he leaning over the water near the edge of a harbor geotagged to the Florida Keys. He then jumps off the harbor and lands on top of the pelican. He wrestles with the bird for a moment before holding down its wings. The bird gets the last laugh though when it slaps the suspect across the face with its beak and flees.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers investigated the incident, detailing the allegations in a 10-page warrant.
Monroe County Circuit Judge Timothy Koenig signed the warrant and set a total bond of $80,000 upon Hardesty’s arrest, The Miami Herald reported.
“He’ll be arrested on the charges in the warrant and he’ll be formally charged at an arraignment when he comes before the court,” Monroe State Attorney Dennis Ward said Thursday, adding that the charges amount to five misdemeanors.
Ward said Florida residents are “very protective” of all of their natural resources and “they’re all very valuable to our environment down here.”