Somewhere In This is A Joke About Poached Eggs, But I'm Not Laughing

Remember the other day when I waxed philosophic about the chances of late-season turtle nests producing any viable hatchlings? Well, if the nests were laid in Palm Beach County, we could’ve added poaching to the list of potential harms. A man in Juno Beach lifted 120 eggs from a single nest for the purpose of selling them in the illegal trade. Eggs sell upwards of $30 a dozen, which seems an insultingly small amount of money to pay to gut the next generation of these incredibly important animals.

Thankfully nearly all the eggs were returned to a nest cavity and the man faces several charges, not the least of which include those at the federal level.

There is one line in this report that causes me great unease: other nests, monitored by the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, had been tampered with in the past week. Biologists routinely mark out nests with stakes, wildlife-proof fencing, and tags to flag them for tourists and locals alike to avoid damaging the nests. It would appear that sometimes, if poachers cannot follow actively nesting females to their quarry, they simply use the markers as a target for buried treasure.

One more point of issue for turtles, and especially our Florida loggerheads – NMFS has their ESA status on the docket and may upgrade them to “endangered” in the near future. You can encourage this move to better protect the turtles by submitting comments via Oceana. They’re due by September 13th, so get cracking!

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