A dead sea turtle with a spear shaft through its head was found in Biscayne National Park recently, according to the National Park Service.
Federal investigators are seeking the public’s help in finding who’s responsible for killing the federally and state-protected animal.
The turtle was spotted by anglers fishing the flats on the ocean side of Elliot Key Friday afternoon, said a park’s service law enforcement ranger, and it appears to be a green sea turtle.
All species of sea turtles are considered threatened or endangered and are protected by the state of Florida and under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973, according to a fact page on Nova Southeastern University’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography’s website.
Someone killing a sea turtle can be tried both criminally and civilly, according to the park ranger. If criminally convicted, the person faces up to one year in prison and/or a maximum fine of $100,000. The maximum civil penalty is a $10,000 fine.
Biscayne National Park, encompassing coral reefs and islands, is off the southern end of Miami-Dade County and the northern part of the Florida Keys.
National Park Service investigators are asking anyone with information about the dead sea turtle to call 305-242-7740.