Photos show man disrupting a turtle's nest
CASEY KEY- Pictures of a man digging into a turtle's nest has wildlife officials shaking their heads. The photos were taken about 2 weeks ago and now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is looking for the man in the pictures.
"When we see photos like this, of course, it sends all sorts of red flags we immediately take action and assign an investigation to a situation like this," said Gary Morse, Florida Fish and Wildlife.
The pictures were taken on Casey Key in Sarasota County. Someone snapped the photos of a man disrupting the turtle's nest. The photographer who snapped the photos confronted the man and the man in the pictures said he was collecting turtle eggs to be released later when they hatched. FWC is not buying that explanation and says no one had a permit to collect turtle eggs.
"It's against state law to disturb a sea turtle nest because those disturbances can cause the nest to fail and the eggs not to hatch."
FWC says disrupting nests on Casey Key is way too common. Casey Key often has many tourists and others at the beach during the daytime and even at night.
"We have had a rash of sea turtle nest disturbances at Casey Key and that place in particular seems to suffer a lot of damage from people illegally disturbing nests and taking eggs."
FWC says turtle eggs can often be stolen and their shells can be used for jewelry and other luxury items.
"Somebody who has illegally taken sea turtle eggs could sell them on the black market for a considerable amount of money," said Morse.
Anyone having information about the individual in the photo is urged to call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922, anytime, day or night. Those reporting wildlife and fisheries law violations may remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward upon arrest of a violator.