A woman from Michigan was arrested this weekend for attempting to destroy a sea turtle nest in Miami Beach.
According to authorities, 41-year-old Chinese national Yaqun Lu entered a protected area of the beach that has been surrounded with wooden stakes and tape before “jabbing at a sea turtle nest and stomping all over the nest.”
Miami Beach is home to a number of sea turtle species such as the loggerhead, green and leatherback marine turtles which lay eggs on its shores.
Lu allegedly used one of the stakes to begin digging at the nest, the Miami Beach Police Department told WPLG.
POLICE: MBPD arrested a woman this morning seen “jabbing at a sea turtle nest and stomping all over the nest.” Thankfully, it appears the eggs were not damaged.
Sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1 through October 31. #MBShareTheShore
— Miami Beach Police (@MiamiBeachPD) June 15, 2019
Jail records revealed that Lu was arrested and is being held on $5,000 bond. She has since been charged with “harassing/molesting a marine turtle or eggs.”
Lu could face a hefty fine if proven guilty as the offense is a third-degree felony in Florida.
Fortunately, the sea turtle eggs were not damaged, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials who inspected the nest after the attack.
Some species of sea turtles are listed as either endangered or threatened and are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida’s Marine Turtle Protection Act.
Handling sea turtles or their eggs, either for scientific or educational purposes, requires permission from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.