Yaqun Lu: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Yaqun Lu mugshot

(Getty) Yaqun Lu

Yaqun Lu is a 41 year old Chinese citizen who was arrested in Florida after she allegedly stomped all over a sea turtle’s nest full of eggs. Witnesses and police officers said they saw Lu in Miami Beach on Saturday, June 15 “jabbing at the sea turtle nest” with a wooden stick and “stomping all over the nest with her bare feet,” according to KTLA.

None of the sea turtle eggs were damaged, according to Miami Beach police.

Here’s what you need to know about Yaqun Lu:


1. She Gave Police an Address in Hudsonville, Michigan

hands holding 2 sea turtle hatchlings

Sea turtle hatchlings being released into the sea in Indonesia

Yaqun Lu is a Chinese citizen. But when she was arrested on Saturday, June 15, Lu gave police an address in Hudsonville, Michigan. The 41 year old was detained in Miami Beach, Florida after witnesses said they saw her stomping all over a sea turtle’s nest. Police and bystanders said that Lu was poking the next with a wooden stick and that she stepped on the nest with bare feet.

The nest was surrounded by yellow police tape and had warnings on it telling the public that the area was protected. Sea turtles are protected by federal law. Under Florida law, it is illegal to harm either sea turtles or their young.

Police said that none of the sea turtle eggs appeared to be harmed after Yaqun Lu stomped all over the nest. They said that Lu, 41, took one of the stakes that had been set up to create a perimeter around the sea turtle nest and that she used the stake to poke at the nest, before stomping all over it with her bare feet.


2. Sea Turtles Are Protected Under Both Federal Law & Florida State Law

sea turtle on the beach in india

A sea turtle returning to the sea after laying eggs on a beach in India

Three different species of sea turtles make their nests in Miami Beach. The Loggerhead, the Green, and the Leatherback all use Miami Beach as a nesting habitat between April and November. Both the turtles and their young are protected under both US and federal law. The 1973 US Endangered Species Act protects sea turtles, and Florida law also makes it illegal to touch the sea turtles or their eggs. It’s also illegal to do harm to either sea turtles or their eggs.

The World Wildlife Fund says that nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as endangered. The WWF warns that because of human activities, sea turtles are at risk of extinction. They suffer from poaching and are also slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells. Human activities have also devastated sea turtle habitats. The WWF warns that climate change also has had a devastating impact on turtle nesting sites. That’s because climate change alters sand temperatures, which, the WwF says, then affects the gender of hatchlings.


3. Yaqun Lu Is Facing a Felony Charge for Disturbing a Sea Turtle Nest

sea turtle swimming in france

A sea turtle swimming in the Ocearium in Le Croisic, western France

Yaqun Lu, 41, is facing a felony charge after she allegedly molested a sea turtle nest. Police say that Lu, a Chinese citizen, was seen poking a sea turtle nest with a stick and stamping all over the nest with her bare feet. Most species of sea turtles are classified as endangered and are protected under both state and federal law.

Lu gave police an address in Hudsonville, Michigan. She is a Chinese citizen and the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas was notified after her arrest.

Authorities say that the sea turtle eggs were not harmed after Lu allegedly stomped on them. At least three different species of sea turtle make their nests in Miami Beach. The nest that Lu allegedly disturbed was surrounded by yellow police tape and had a sign on it warning people not to disturb the nest, authorities say. They say Lu pulled up one of the fence stakes that surrounded the nest and used it to poke at the nest.


4. Lu Is Being Held on a $5,000 Bond

baby turtle in France

A turtle is released into the sea by members of the Centre for Sea Turtles (CESTM) of the Aquarium of La Rochelle, France

Police arrested Yaqun Lu on Saturday, June 15 and took her to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. She is being held on a $5,000 bond and faces a felony charge for molesting a sea turtle habitat. Lu, 41, is a Chinese citizen but gave police an address in Hudsonville, Michigan as her permanent address. The Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas was notified when she was arrested.

Authorities say that the sea turtle nest was in the 500 block of Miami Beach. It had been closed off and surrounded by a double perimeter made up of eight wooden stakes. It was surrounded by yellow tape and there was a sign posted reading “Do Not Disturb.” Police say that Lu took one of the wooden stakes meant to protect the sea turtle nest and used it to poke at the nest. They say she also entered the protected area and stomped all over the nest in her bare feet.


5. Sea Turtles Make Their Nests on Miami Beach Between April and Early November

sea turtle swimming in france

A loggerhead sea turtle, born in captivity, swims past after being released into the sea by employees of the French marine park Marineland

These native sea turtles nest on beaches starting in April through early November. Three species of protected sea turtles make their nests on the City of Miami Beach: the Loggerhead, Green, and Leatherback. Nesting season begins in April and lasts through early November. Sea turtles lay around 100 eggs in a nest and lay between 3 and 7 nests during the summer nesting season. It is illegal to disturb the nests or to dig into them. It’s also illegal to disturb a nesting female turtle or to take flash photographs of nesting.

Experts say that bright lights in a nesting habitat can endanger sea turtles, since hatchlings are instinctively attracted to bright lights. The city recommends that artificial light should be minimized, as far as possible, on the beach during nesting season. Installation of oceanfront exterior lighting that is disruptive to sea turtles is also prohibited by Florida state law.