NOKOMIS BEACH, Fla. — A marked sea turtle nest was damaged on Nokomis Beach by suspected poachers, Mote Marine Laboratory said on Wednesday.
Mote says that around 1:30 a.m. on July 5, two members of Mote's sea turtle tagging team saw three individuals digging into the nest marked with stakes. As the tagging team got closer, the individuals filled their hole and ran away. They have not been able to be identified.
They are unsure of whether or not any eggs were stolen, but a broken egg was found on the surface.
Mote reported the incident to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"All species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered and are protected under federal and state laws as well as local ordinances," Mote said in a press release. "Harming sea turtles, their eggs or nests, including nest-marking materials, is illegal and may result in serious fines or even jail time."
Mote urges the public to respect and protect sea turtles and their nests. 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, call FWC’s wildlife alert hotline (888-404-FWCC (3922)) or your local sheriff’s department.