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Florida man faces felony charges for poaching turtle eggs

In the United States, loggerhead turtles are a threatened species. However, in other countries, these sea turtles have a conservation status of endangered, which means they are at high risk of becoming extinct. Imperiled species are carefully protected in Florida, and wildlife agencies work tirelessly to keep them from being mistreated. Anyone suspected of harming them may risk felony charges.

Recently a man was charged with violating the marine turtle protection act, which is a third-degree felony. The charges stem from an alleged tip from local biologists who suspected someone was stealing eggs from a beach where the threatened turtles were known to lay them. Acting on the tip, police increased the number of patrols in that area. Officers claimed to have observed the man around 10:30 p.m. one night taking the eggs from the sand as a turtle lay them.

The man was subsequently arrested. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission reportedly found over 100 eggs in the man's possession. While 15 of the eggs will be used for DNA testing, the rest will be re-buried in hopes that they will still hatch this year to improve the chances of preserving the species.

The man, however, was jailed in lieu of $3,000 bail. If convicted, he faces a fine of $5,000 and up to five years in prison. Like many facing felony charges in Florida, this man may benefit from the counsel of an experienced attorney. A criminal lawyer will determine what legal options are available in this situation and will work to defend the rights of the accused.

Source: NBC News, "Florida Man Charged With Taking Over 100 Sea Turtle Eggs", Eli Panken, July 5, 2016

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