A 20-year-old woman in Melbourne, Florida, was recently arrested and accused of illegally riding a sea turtle. According to police, it appeared as if the woman was riding the turtle in various pictures that she posted on her social media account.
The Melbourne, Florida, woman was taken into custody and charged with the felony crime of trying to possess, sell or molest a marine turtle. Stephanie Marie Moore and another woman were photographed sitting on top of the turtle in two separate photos. The pictures quickly spread like wildfire across the Internet.
Sea Turtles Are Endangered in Florida
Sea turtles are some of the oldest animals that live on earth. They have swum the oceans for approximately 110 million years, and they were even around when the dinosaurs were alive. Sea turtles have a streamlined shell that helps them swim more easily through the water. The seven different species of sea turtles range in color from yellow, to black, to greenish, depending on the type of turtle.
In the state of Florida, sea turtles are endangered species and there are stiff laws that govern their treatment. For one, individuals are not allowed to ride them, play with them or interact with them in the state.
Concerned Citizens Complained About the Photos
After the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received multiple complaints from concerned citizens who saw the pictures of the women riding the sea turtle, the commission launched an investigation to identify the women. Moore was arrested last Saturday, after police responded to a disturbance call at a Melbourne-area home. Police discovered that Moore, who was in the home at the time, had an active warrant out for her arrest on charges of violating a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation ordinance.
It is illegal to hunt, feed, touch, capture, sell, or molest sea turtles in any fashion in Florida. Those accused of doing so can face stiff criminal consequences. No doubt, the Melbourne Police Department is also seeking to find and arrest the other woman featured in the pictures.
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