Hotel housekeeping staff typically have at least one interesting story to tell, from messes that guests leave, to items left behind at checkout… but this story has to beat them all. A hotel maid made the most peculiar discovery in a room’s trashcan – and now the police are involved. What did she find that required a police investigation? You’ll never believe it.
She found six baby sea turtles! The loggerhead sea turtles are considered vulnerable on the threatened species list and, as such, there are laws prohibiting their removal from many areas. The turtles, unfortunately, are still being hunted in places where legislation to protect them isn’t enforced.
According to the Federal Endangered Species Act, people are prevented from touching loggerheads without a permit. Those found in violation of the law face a fine between $100 and $10,500.
Two tourists from Kentucky, Danielle Tosh and Michael House, were visiting Tybee Island in Georgia and ignored the warning, as the pair, reportedly intoxicated at the time, picked the turtles up from the beach and brought them back to their room.
The housekeeper at the Admiral’s Inn made the discovery in a trash can filed with water when the guests had left their room. The couple initially told police that they found the turtles in the parking lot of the hotel, but when they were further questioned, they said they saw other beachgoers attempting to “grab turtles” as the hatchlings made their way to the ocean, so they grabbed some too.
They claim they were going to take them later to the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. Once police were called, the Marine Center came to get the turtles and five were put back in the ocean. One of the turtles was taken to the Marine Center and is currently quarantined before it will be moved to the main gallery in a few weeks. It will reside at the center for two years.
Fox Carolina reports that “Loggerhead turtle nests are protected because so few baby turtles make it to the sea naturally. Human interference can make matters much worse.”
Chantal Audran of the Tybee Island Marine Science Center told WTOC that this incident is “a rarity,” adding, “This is the first time for us on Tybee Island. We also have each of our own individual nests. We have a number to call if there is any kind of activity that needs to be reported.” People are instructed to call 1-800-2-SAVE-ME (272-8363).
Among the many comments left on the story on social media was one person who noted: “Thank you to those helpers who rescued these babies and got them back to their natural habitat. No thanks to the ones that took them out of it! They need to be fined a huge amount of money for what they did!”
Another commenter agreed, sharing a similar story as a comparison: “A woman just got jail time and a fine for taking live conch shells out of the ocean in Florida. The same should be done here too.”