A woman was arrested in Miami Beach, Fla., after she was caught stomping on a protected sea turtle nest, police said.
An arrest affidavit says witnesses and Miami Beach police officers saw Yaqun Lu, 41, on Saturday “jabbing at the sea turtle nest” with a wooden stake and “stomping all over the nest with her bare feet,” CNN reports.
The nest was in an area closed off with yellow tape and a “Do not disturb” sign.
Lu, a Chinese citizen reportedly living in Michigan, faces a charge of marine turtle or egg molestation or harassment. She’ll be represented by a public defender, according to CNN.
“Thankfully, it appears the eggs were not damaged” in the incident, the Miami Beach Police Department wrote in a tweet.
POLICE: MBPD arrested a woman this morning seen “jabbing at a sea turtle nest and stomping all over the nest.” Thankfully, it appears the eggs were not damaged.
Sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1 through October 31. #MBShareTheShore
— Miami Beach Police (@MiamiBeachPD) June 15, 2019
Sea turtles are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 and in Florida under the state’s Marine Turtle Protection Act.
The state law bars individuals from mutilating, destroying, disturbing and harassing marine turtles, nests or eggs.
Between April and November of each year, sea turtles come to nest on Miami Beach.