When it comes to sea turtle nests, Florida law is plain and simple: you can look, but you can't touch.
That didn't stop one man from tampering with a nest on Sarasota County's Casey Key. A concerned beach-goer snapped pictures of a man digging into a marked sea turtle nest, on August 13th.
Now, Florida Fish & Wildlife officers are asking for the public's help in identifying him.
After taking the two photos, the concerned citizen approached the man about his alarming behavior.
"The person indicated that they were taking the eggs to have them hatch and release at a later date," FWC Officer Baryl Martin said Wednesday.
Tampering with sea turtle nests is against both federal and state law.
FWC suspects the man may have had a motive. They say sea turtle eggs are valuable on the black market.
"People do things for various reasons. It's used for different medicinal reasons in different cultures," Martin said.
If you have any information about the suspect or his whereabouts, you're asked to call FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922. Callers can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward.
Florida law classifies tampering with a sea turtle nest as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to a $5,000 and five years in prison.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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