A Michigan woman was arrested by Miami Beach police Saturday morning and charged with molesting or harassing marine turtles or their eggs.
According to police Yaqun Lu, 41, was seen by officers and bystanders with a wooden stake in her hand “jabbing at the sea turtle nest and stomping all over the nest with her bare feet.”
The nest was in a closed-off, protected area in the 500 block of the beach, ringed by a double perimeter of eight wooden stakes and yellow tape along a double perimeter and a posted “Do Not Disturb” sign as a warning.
“Thankfully, it appears the eggs were not damaged,” Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, sea turtles are federally protected by the U..S Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Florida statutes that makes it illegal to harm or harass sea turtles, their nests or hatchlings.
Miami Beach is a nesting habitat for three species of protected sea turtles; the Loggerhead, Green, and Leatherback. These native sea turtles nest on beaches starting in April through early November.
That’s why the city had the area in a perimeter.
Lu was taken to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center and is being held on a $5,000 bond.
Miami Beach police said the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the Consulate-general of the People’s Republic of China in Houston was notified of Lu’s arrest. Lu is a Chinese citizen who lists a Hudsonville, Michigan address