A Michigan resident was arrested after she stomped on a protected sea turtle nest at Miami Beach. The woman identified as 41-year-old Yaqun Lu by the police is said to have used a wooden stake to disrupt the turtles, who are protected by the law. She is a Chinese citizen who has an address at Hudsonville. She was reportedly seen by officers and bystanders "jabbing at the sea turtle nest and stomping all over the nest with her bare feet," reported Miami Herald.
She was found in the protected area of the beach, which had been taped off and is facing felony charges. The Miami Herald reported that the area was cut off from the rest of the beach and was in a protected area in the 500 block of the beach. It had been marked by eight wooden stakes and yellow tape along with a sign that said "Do Not Disturb" the report said. She used one of those very wooden stakes protecting the area to disturb the nest.
She was taken to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the Republic of China Consulate in Houston was made aware of Lu's arrest. She is reportedly being held on a $5,000 bond.
Lu has been charged with molesting or harassing marine turtles or their eggs and could potentially face up to five years in prison if convicted of the third-degree felony. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, sea turtles are federally protected under the U.S Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the law makes it illegal to harm or harass sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings in Florida.
As for the turtles, she stomped, they have not been harmed. "Thankfully, it appears the eggs were not damaged," the Miami Beach Police Department tweeted after the incident, adding, "Sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1 through October 31."