Maryland man arrested for tackling brown pelican in Florida Keys

The Maryland man who allegedly posted video of himself jumping on a federally protected pelican in Florida has been handcuffed in Maryland.

State police arrested Hardesty Friday morning in Ocean City on a warrant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that charges him with animal cruelty, The Sun reported.

The Miami Herald reports the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking into the video which shows 21-year-old William Hunter Hardesty trying to capture a brown pelican at the Key West Historic Seaport. Then, he leaps directly on top of the bird and into the water, surfacing with the bird in both hands.

There are also other pictures and videos of Hardesty with other animals on his social media page including a Key Deer, another federally protected animal, according to the Sheriff's Office.

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The Maryland police said the warrant charges animal cruelty to migratory birds and the intentional feeding of pelicans. He is being held in Maryland as a fugitive, according to police. But eventually the big-billed bird is either released, or escapes the man's grip, and splashes away.

Officials in Florida have been notified of Hardesty's arrest and are proceeding with his extradition. A video of the incident was shared on Hardesty's Facebook earlier this month. The campaign pledges to donate half of the funds to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, but does not specify what the remaining $10,000 would be used for.

Troopers arrested Hardesty shortly after 9:00 a.m. today at a hotel in the 12000-block of Ocean Gateway, in Ocean City, Md.

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