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Police arrest woman accused of ‘riding’ sea turtle in viral photos

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Credit: CNN

 

A 20-year-old Florida woman was arrested Saturday months after photos in which she appeared to be “sitting or riding” on the back of a sea turtle went viral on social media, authorities said. Stephanie Marie Moore had been wanted on a felony warrant since July for the “possession, disturbance, mutilation, destruction, selling, transference, molestation, and harassment of marine turtles, nests or eggs.”

A Florida woman was arrested on Saturday, months after being captured in a picture where she appeared to be “sitting on or riding” on a Melbourne Beach sea turtle.

Authorities said the images went viral on social media, capturing the attention of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She had been wanted on a felony warrant since July for the “possession, disturbance, mutilation, destruction, selling, transference, molestation, and harassment of marine turtles, nests or eggs.

Melbourne Beach is home to the most important sea turtle nesting habitat along with 90%  of the creatures in the United States.

“People can live and play on important sea turtle nesting beaches without significantly affecting nesting success,” it says on the conservancy’s website. “But it requires a well-informed public that is committed to behaving in a manner that doesn’t harm nesting turtles or their nests.”

According to the police, the other woman who captured the image still remains unidentified. The woman was being held at the Brevard County Jail on a $2,000 bond and is unclear if she attained a defense attorney on her behalf.