Orange Beach Police Officers were dispatched to the beach June 24 after receiving reports of juveniles harassing a sea turtle that was trying to nest. When officers arrived on scene, they found several juveniles and a sea turtle nearby.
During the investigation, it was determined the juveniles were in possession of alcohol and had poured alcohol on the sea turtle. Several arrests were made for underage possession of alcohol and the investigation into the harassment of the sea turtled was turned over to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The names of the juveniles will not be released due to their age.
In the United States, all sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. According to NOAA, fines range from $1,000 to $10,500 for the harassment of a sea turtle in the first offense.
Orange Beach Police did not release the location of the incident to protect the sea turtle nest. Orange Beach Wildlife Center interns on patrol with the Share the Beach Program determined the sea turtle did not nest due to the harassment. This is called a false crawl. A false crawl occurs when a sea turtle comes to shore to nest but decides not to for one reason or another.
If you think you have found a sea turtle nest, a turtle crawl (tracks left by the female sea turtle as she pulls herself across the sand), or if you see an injured or dead sea turtle, call 1-866-SEA-TURT (1-866-732-8878). In the event of a sea turtle being harassed or injured, call the police non-emergency number. In Orange Beach call 251-981-9777 and Gulf Shores call 251-968-2431.