Florida couple laughed as they destroyed sea turtle nest

Credit: handout

Credit: handout

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A couple “severely damaged” wildlife on Anna Maria Island in Florida on Saturday.

Authorities are still searching for the man and woman who destroyed five loggerhead sea turtle nests, with around 100 eggs each and killed two black skimmer chicks with their car at 10:30 p.m., People reported.

They were “heard laughing” while they ran over the barriers that protected the sea turtle nests in Holmes and Bradenton Beach.

"According to witnesses they would hit a stake, chuckle and then move on to the next stake," said Suzi Fox, executive director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, to People. "Folks were screaming at them to stop, but they didn't."

The two dead skimmer chicks were found on the tire tracks of the couple’s vehicle. One other bird was injured and taken to intensive care.

Nearly all species of sea turtle are endangered, including loggerhead sea turtles.

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"It's a miracle they didn't hit any people," Fox told the Bradenton Herald. "I'm upset about the chicks and turtles, but I am more upset that a child could have been hurt and that is unacceptable for us."

Fox said she and her team cannot determine if the turtle eggs were damaged and have to wait three more weeks to avoid “any viable hatchlings,” People reports.

“Florida law says these guys could get prison time. Plus a hefty fine. I believe it is $100 per egg,” Fox said to People.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Holmes Beach Police Department at 941-708-5804.

>>For more information about the loggerhead sea turtle, click here.