Miami Beach police arrested a 41-year-old woman on Saturday for attacking a sea turtle nest with a wooden stake. According to police, Yaqun Lu, a Chinese citizen who lives in Michigan, was seen “jabbing at the sea turtle nest and stomping all over the nest with her bare feet,” the Miami Herald reported. Lu was charged with molesting or harassing marine turtles or their eggs, a violation of Florida law and the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973. She could face up to five years in prison if convicted of the third-degree felony. Lu is currently being held on a $5,000 bond.
She was seen attacking the eggs inside an area fenced-off with yellow tape and a “Do Not Disturb” sign in order to protect hatchlings. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials inspected the nest and determined the eggs were not harmed by Lu, according to the TV station WPLG. Seventy percent of the nation’s sea turtle nesting takes place in Florida. Thousands of female turtles lay their eggs on beaches, covering them with sand to protect from predators. Only one in 1,000 turtles make it to adulthood, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.