A Florida man was arrested the night of July 1 for stealing sea turtle eggs, according to a statement by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The man, identified as Glenn Robert Shaw, 49, allegedly stole 107 sea turtle eggs from a beach behind a home on Jupiter Island, Florida.
Five days before Shaw’s arrest, FWC biologists received tips that someone had been poaching the eggs, the FWC said in an email.
The FWC immediately contacted law enforcement and increased patrols in the area.
On July 1, at about 10:30 p.m., FWC officers saw Shaw taking eggs from a female loggerhead sea turtle as she was laying them.
Shaw was arrested and taken to the Palm Beach County Jail where he was charged with a third degree felony for the taking and possession of the loggerhead sea turtle eggs.
Fifteen of the eggs were kept for evidence and DNA testing and the remaining 92 eggs were reburied by FWC biologists, according to the FWC.
“We’d like to thank FWC biologists for keeping a close eye out and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their assistance with this case,” FWC Captain Jeff Ardelean said. “Protecting Florida’s natural resources is something we take seriously, and we’re thankful that this individual was prevented from doing further harm to this imperiled species.”
Florida has five sea turtle species—loggerhead, green, leatherback, Kemp’s Ridley, and hawksbill—and the state is host to one of the largest loggerhead nesting aggregations in the world.
All species of sea turtles are protected by state and federal law and the loggerhead is considered endangered. It is illegal to harm, harass or take sea turtles, their eggs and hatchlings, including getting too close to a nesting female.
Shaw remains in the Palm Beach County Jail on a $3,000 bond. If found guilty, he faces a fine up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison.
The motive is yet to be determined and the investigation is ongoing.