Md. man accused of tackling a pelican in Florida

William Hunter Hardesty was arrested at a hotel in Ocean City Md. Maryland State Police said in a news release on Friday

He bragged about jumping on a pelican in Key West. Maryland troopers bust him. | Miami Herald

The video of William Hunter Hardesty, 31, trying to capture the migratory bird at the Key West Historic Seaport went viral and also caught the attention of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office.

The warrant was a result of a video that was posted on social media showing a man in Florida luring and jumping on top of a pelican in the water.

Maryland state police said they made an arrest Friday after being told a man was bragging that he was wanted in Florida for "tackling a pelican".

The video showed a man who appeared to have a fish in his hand as he leaned over the water near the edge of a harbor.

The brown pelican species in the video is protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Florida state law, which prohibit people from feeding or molesting the bird, according to Florida wildlife commission spokesman Officer Bobby Dube. The bird then smacks the man across the face with its beak and flies away. He is now being held in the Worcester County Detention Center, awaiting extradition to Florida.

Florida authorities investigated and obtained an arrest warrant for Hardesty.

Hardesty was taken into custody without incident. The paper reported that he allegedly started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $20,000, pledging to donate half the money to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center.

Those folks called the police, and Maryland troopers arrested him at the hotel at 9 a.m., according to a Maryland State Police press release.

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