North Carolina

Vandals who dug into sea turtle nest on NC beach may face $50,000 fine, officials say

A sea turtle nest was disturbed on a North Carolina beach, and the vandal could face a hefty fine or even do time behind bars.

Someone dug into the loggerhead turtle nest on Oak Island during the day on Monday, according to the Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program.

Luckily none of the eggs were broken or harmed, the program said.

But the group wants to remind all beachgoers that people caught disturbing sea turtle nests could face a $50,000 federal fine, prison time or both.

On Saturday, police say a woman was arrested in Miami for jabbing at sea turtle nests with a wooden stake and stomping on them, the Miami Herald reported.

The Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program said loggerheads are considered endangered or threatened by the Endangered Species Act.

“All nests and hatchlings are vital to the species,” the group said on Facebook.

The group is asking for the public’s help with finding out who is responsible for Monday’s incident.

It asks anyone who saw anything to message the group on Facebook.

“We appreciate your help in making sure all of our nests and Momma sea turtles are protected,” the group wrote on Facebook.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.