CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An influx of green sea turtles out at the Packery Channel has some beachgoers trying to interact with them. It turns out that's a big no-no, and you can actually get a hefty fine.
Green sea turtles are listed as a threatened species.
Beachgoers have been reportedly been picking up the turtles and taking selfies, and kids have been playing with them. One video, in particular, has wildlife experts fired up.
The video was taken by a turtle volunteer over the busy holiday weekend out at the Packery Channel. It looks innocent enough, but the video shows a dog off of its leash chasing and harassing the sea turtles.
What you don't see on the video is the dog reportedly picked one up in its mouth before going after another one. The owner was nowhere to be found.
"That is a form of harassment. If that is your dog, you have a responsibility to keep your dog under control and not harass a threatened species," said Dr. Donna Shaver of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery.
As numbers of green sea turtles at the jetties continues to increase, Shaver said there is a significant need for increased presence of wildlife enforcement and more education for the community.
Intentional harassment can result in jail time and violators could be fined up to $100,000.
If a visitor witnesses a violation of the Endangered Species Act, they are encouraged to call 1-800-792-4263.
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