ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — A video posted on social media shows a Loggerhead sea turtle making her way onto an Alabama beach over the weekend in search of a nesting site only to be greeted with people gathering around, shining white flashlights eventually causing the turtle to return to the Gulf.
“We have seen so many more people on the beach at night. So many more people at all hours of the night with bright white lights and it looks like it is lit up runway at night,” says Elizabeth Bevan a biologists with Share the Beach.
Another video posted showed a group of what appears to be teenagers dancing around a sea turtle, throwing sand and almost sitting on the turtle. “It was nauseating and disgusting all at the same time,” says Bevan after watching the video. “It’s a lack of respect and it’s a lack of regard for what you come down here to enjoy.”
Not to mention it is a federal offense. Harassing or harming a sea turtle in any way carries jail time with hefty fines attached.
Experts say ignorance of the law is no defense. Already this season there are two active investigations after nests were vandalized.
Seeing a sea turtle in it’s natural environment is an amazing and rare event, one Bevan says should be admired not attacked. “Why would you dance around it screaming and throwing sand? Why would you do that?”
Beach ambassadors patrol the beaches every night trying to limit contact with the turtles and educate the tourists. So far this season there are 83 turtle nests from Orange Beach to Dauphin Island.
For more information on Share the Beach and the sea turtles go to www.alabamaseaturtles.com
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