ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — Every morning turtle volunteer Carol Clark walks the beach in Orange Beach looking for any sign of a sea turtle and checking on nests.
She was not prepared for what she saw Tuesday morning. “Came up to this nest and found that it had been dug into and also found a shovel laying nearby,” she said.
One of the first nests in Orange Beach had been vandalized. “I was like ‘Oh no’. Why? There is no valid reason why, it’s just stupidity,” she said.
The hole was almost a foot deep and dug at an angle to get under the screen placed there to prevent natural predators like foxes and raccoons but no match for human predators.
Sara Johnson is the director of the Share the Beach program that monitors sea turtle activity. “The decision to impact something like this whether it’s thinking it’s funny or trying to get at eggs, to all of us with the program it doesn’t make any kind of sense.” She said it’s unknown at this point if the eggs were impacted. “We are just waiting on those turtles to let us know what is going on.”
That could happen sooner rather than later. The nest is close to hatching. The unanswered question for Clark is why anyone would do this in the first place. “There is no valid reason. There is nothing you can do with a turtle egg or a hatchling. You can’t raise it in your bathtub. It’s a federal offense.”
Orange Beach Police along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, NOAA and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are investigating. Since the nesting site is surrounded by condominiums, security camera footage may hold the key to solving the case.