Turtle Vigilantes Out for Justice - NBC 6 South Florida

Turtle Vigilantes Out for Justice

Stakeouts and dawn patrols in an effort to keep turtle nests safe during breeding season

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    Turtle Vigilantes Out for Justice
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    We wouldn't want a drunk guy from Mansion bothering us, either.

    Forget those lady cops in Broward County - someone should make a reality TV show about Miami Beach's turtle vigilantes.

    The thongs - sorry, throngs - of beachgoers are posing an increased threat to sea turtles and their eggs, according to the New York Times.

    Turtle conservationists have tried to protect turtle nests by roping them off and posting signs, but vandals and turtle poachers are still a problem, and last year Miami Beach imposed a law as to how much light can be shown on the beach at night, as the baby turtles make it to water via moonlight.

    "These sea turtles are under constant threat," Bill Ahern, a conservation specialist for Miami-Dade County Parks, told the Times.

    During breeding season, you can find Ahern driving up and down the beach at dawn, looking for anyone who poses a threat to the turtles and looking for new eggs, some of which are taken to a hatchery.

    Cliff Buchanan, a photographer who calls himself the Turtle Dude of Miami Beach, patrols one strand of the beach. During breeding season he camps out next to nests with eggs ready to hatch.

    He says it's the nightclubbers who stumble, drunk, to the beach after a night of partying who have no respect for nature.

    "I've seen drunks pulling up stakes roping off nests and kick the sand inside," Buchanan said. "I don't carry a gun, but sometimes I wish I did."