turtle stomper
Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections

Looking Back on the Woman Who Was Arrested for Stomping, Stabbing Protected Sea Turtle Nest

A woman was arrested for attempting to destroy a sea turtle nest in Miami.

Typically, a closed-off, protected area of a beach, surrounded by yellow tape and signs indicating the presence of sea turtle nests, is enough to keep respectable people safely away. Unfortunately, this news story isn't about any sort of respectable person.

Miami's ABC affiliate WPLG reports that Yaqun Lu, a 41-year-old Chinese citizen who lists a Michigan home as her permanent address, crossed into the protected area and violently disturbed a nest.

According to the Miami Beach Police Department, Lu used one of the wooden stakes to stab at a nest of eggs, and was witnessed by police officers stomping on them with her bare feet.

She was was taken into custody and charged with marine turtle or egg molestation/harassment.

Luckily, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers were asked to check on the nests, and determined no eggs or hatchlings were permanently destroyed.

Sea turtle nesting season has turned into an interesting phenomenon in the United States, especially since the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 placed specific protections on the species.

For some reason, each season brings about a few cases similar to this, in which humans feel the need to not just interfere with, but outright destroy a clutch of hatchlings and their chances at survival.

Loggerhead, green, and leatherback sea turtles are all known to lay eggs on Miami Beach, says the Washington Post, and it's where the highest percentage of turtle nesting areas in the U.S. occurs. The Miami Beach nesting season runs from May 1 through October 31.

Lu's alleged crime comes with a third-degree felony charge under Florida laws, and she could face a severe fine if found guilty. When last reported, she was being held on a $5,000 bail.