Collier County says sea turtle nests meddled with at Naples Beach

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
A sea turtle nest on Naples Beach is surrounded by wooden stakes and caution tape. Credit: WINK News.

Monday, Collier County officials says four sea turtle nests were meddled with at Naples Beach. It’s a crime that could land people in jail and bring fines against them.

Collier County says, with July 4 nearing on the calendar, officials are going to be putting extra signs on the front and back of all of the nests to make sure people know not to touch them. County officials don’t want something like this happening again.

“That’s messed up. They are cool animals,” Robin Bies said. “They already have so much to worry about when they get out of the egg.”

“You wouldn’t want someone invading your space, so why invade their space?” Cheryl Bettmeng said.

Many on Naples Pier Wednesday were worried that people have been harming our ocean friends after hearing multiple sea turtle nests in the downtown Naples area were taken down and messed with.

“To take away from the sea turtles or anything for that matter is tragic,” Bettmeng said.

Collier County says it places warning signs on the nests to make sure everyone knows it’s a crime to harm the sea turtles. You can face jail time and up to $100,000 in fines.

“It’s part of the education that has to happen as more people move into Florida,” said David Godfrey with Sea Turtle Conservancy. “They need to be aware it’s illegal, and the penalties are pretty severe.”

Nesting season is currently in progress. It typically occurs from March through October annually in the state.

At night, to protect turtles from getting disoriented, you are not supposed to shine lights on the beach. If caught you could face fines as well.

Godfrey says they have seen an uptick in people disturbing nests for many reasons, including eating the eggs. They hope to teach more people about the endangered species.

“Sea turtles are really important to people. They are beautiful, and a lot of us care deeply about their fate,” Godfrey said.

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