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Officers shocked to catch people harming local turtles

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 19:39:32-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Sea turtles are some of Corpus Christi's most beloved animals, but many of them are being found dead and injured.

Parks and Wildlife officers were shocked after they caught several folks in the act of harming the turtles.

Green turtles are some of the most endangered species in the ocean. The month of May brought a lot of high tides and winds; causing a large tide pool which swept in over a hundred green turtles. Sadly, some of these turtles that have washed ashore have become victim to human contact and there are reports they have been physically harmed.

Chief of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery of Padre Island National Sea Shore, Texas and coordinator of the Sea Turtles Stranding and Salvage Network, Donna Shaver, is no stranger to this alarming behavior.

"Some people are doing things that they should not be doing. harming the turtles, hitting them, playing games with them and intentionally catching them and leaving them to die." said Dr. Shaver.

Dr. Shaver says she has never seen this many stranded turtles together at once. The groups average 8 to 13 turtles and the largest number of turtles is found at Packery Channel.

Officers from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, alongside city police, are monitoring the beaches closely. Law enforcement officials are very aware of the ease of accessibility of these turtles so perpetrators can face up to $100,000 in federal fines.

Dr. Shaver says if you see green sea turtles while at the beach, do not touch them and report the stranded animal.

If you happen to find a sea turtle, call the National Seashore hot-line at (361) 949-8068. The stranded sea turtles are taken to Padre Island National Seashore's rehab facility for care.