Sea turtle nests run over by vehicle in south Siesta Key, Florida, 22 June 2018. Photo: Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

NOKOMIS, Florida, 11 July 2018 (WWSB) – Mote Marine Laboratory says a sea turtle nest was damaged on 5 July 2018 by suspected poachers.

According to Mote Marine, three suspected poachers dug into the nest and left one broken egg on its surface.

Two members of Mote Marine Laboratory’s nighttime sea turtle tagging team say they saw the perpetrators digging into the nest around 1:30 a.m. As the tagging team got closer, the suspected poachers ran away, and could not be identified.

Mote reported the incident to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

According to Mote Senior Biologist Melissa Bernhard, intentional poaching of sea turtle nests is rare in Mote’s monitoring area, Longboat Key through Venice, but accidental damage and vandalism are more common.

Last month Mote’s Sea Turtle Patrol found eight sea turtle nests damaged by an all-terrain vehicle or golf cart on Siesta Key.

If you suspect that someone is tampering with a sea turtle nest, harassing a sea turtle or has possession of a sea turtle or any of its parts, please call FWC’s wildlife alert hotline (888-404-FWCC (3922)) or your local sheriff’s department.

Suspected poachers damage sea turtle nests


A sign reads, 'Do not disturb sea turtle nests' on beach in Nokomis, Florida. Photo: Conor Goulding / Mote Marine Laboratory

By Erika Jackson
26 June 2018

SIESTA KEY, Florida (WWSB) – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating after receiving a call of a vehicle riding through several protected sea turtle nests.

The incident happened behind 8550 Sanderling Road, in south Siesta Key. FWC officers received a call about the incident around 8 a.m. on Friday, 22 June 2018, but believe the crime took place the night prior.

Mote Marine Laboratory, based in Sarasota, says one of its researchers discovered the damaged nests and reported the incident to FWC and the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. According to FWC, at least 8 nests were vandalized.

According to FWC, an ATV or golf cart rode through multiple sea turtle nests. The stakes were also torn down on some of the nests. FWC believes the person or persons involved deliberately vandalized the nests.

Sea turtles, nests, and hatchlings are federally protected. FWC reports the incident is a criminal violation. The person or people responsible could face jail crime or be fined.

No suspects have been named. Anyone with information is asked to contact FWC at 888-404-FWCC.

FWC investigating vandalism of sea turtle nests on Siesta Key

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