Sea turtle eggs stolen from Naples beach nests

Posted at 6:06 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 19:26:28-04

Some troubling news on the beaches in Naples - there have been at least five instances of people disturbing sea turtle nests over the past six weeks.

"From eggs being removed, to people digging them, to actually removing the stakes that are around the nests," said Naples Harbor Master Roger Jacobsen. "These are happening all overnight. They're being found by our inspectors in the morning."

The nests are clearly marked off with yellow caution tape, with signs stating that it is a federal offense to tamper with them. Jacobsen said he's only known of one similar instance in the past twelve years. 

There are more than 40o turtle nests on Naples beaches this year, and surviving female offspring are expected to return to the same beaches to lay their own eggs.

But what could someone possibly want with sea turtle eggs?

"In some cultures, they are eaten," Jacobsen said. "In some cutlures they are aphrodisiacs."

Just last week, a 49-year-old Tequesta man was arrested on the east coast's Jupiter Island for stealing more than 100 loggerhead turtle eggs. He faces charges that could land him in prison for 5 years, and cost him thousands of dollars in fines.

"Eggs are cheap enough in the store to go buy a dozen eggs," Jacobsen said. "To chance all of that to save $1.50 on a dozen eggs just doesn't seen logical to me."