Target: Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General
Goal: Prosecute woman for allegedly riding on the back of an endangered sea turtle.
A 20-year-old Florida resident apparently thought it would be fun to take a joy ride on the back of an endangered sea turtle. The Brevard County resident, Stephanie Moore, was reportedly caught on videotape appearing to be sitting on a sea turtle while it was swimming. Fortunately for the sea turtle, the video went viral, and authorities arrested Moore for committing a felony. She is facing charges of harassing an endangered species, molesting marine life and/or its eggs, and possessing and selling marine turtles and eggs.
Sea turtles are a federally classified endangered species. They are protected not only at the federal level under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, but also at the state level under the Florida Marine Turtle Protection Act. It is not known why this woman, and her friend, who has yet to be arrested, felt it would alright to allegedly ride on the backs of these precious reptiles. Regardless, anyone must know that doing so could cause severe, if not fatal, harm, and as these turtles are already endangered, it is cruel and inhumane to cause them further damage.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has opened a criminal investigation. Should the commissioners find that Moore committed an illegal act against an endangered species, she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Stand up for endangered sea turtles and encourage the state’s attorney general to seek maximum punishment against Moore if she’s found guilty.
Dear Attorney General Bondi,
The alleged senseless act of Stephanie Moore could have cost an endangered sea turtle its life. There is no excuse for anyone, especially an adult who should know better, to mount and ride the back of a sea turtle. Ms. Moore could have seriously injured or even killed this protected reptile, and a legal precedent must be set to ensure that others are not tempted to do the same.
I understand Ms. Moore’s case is pending, and at this time, any charges are alleged. I am writing now instead of later, however, to encourage you to become involved in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s investigation of this matter and ensure that all facts are gathered and weighed. Should the evidence against Ms. Moore prove to be convincing, I encourage you to prosecute her to fullest extent of the law.
There is no excuse for endangering an already endangered species, particularly for some sick and twisted joy ride. Please exercise your authority and seek justice for the sea turtle Ms. Moore harmed.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region