‘Do not interfere:’ Myrtle Beach says nesting sea turtles being scared away by people

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Sea turtle markings on the beach. (Photo: Myrtle Beach City Government)

Do not interfere with sea turtles!” said the Myrtle Beach City Government on Friday.

Sea turtle nesting season is underway and the Myrtle Beach Police Department said they previously had several reports of people shining flashlights on sea turtles trying to come ashore at night to nest in the sand, according to the MBCG.

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Other reports said people on the beach have scared away nesting sea turtles. This is nesting season for sea turtles, which are protected by federal law.

“If you see a sea turtle in the ocean or on the beach, stay away from it. Do not shine a light on it or otherwise disturb it. Respect sea turtles by viewing these protected animals responsibly. Do not harm, harass, pick up, ride, straddle, restrain, jump over, injure, kill or otherwise disturb sea turtles,” said MBCG in a Facebook post. “Feeding or touching turtles in any way, including shining a light on them, is considered a disturbance and is illegal. Federal penalties include jail time and fines up to $15,000 for each offense.”

Sea Turtles are protected under Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973.