Grass fire reveals bizarre turtle poaching case in Bootheel

HAYTI, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a grass fire has revealed a turtle poaching dump site in the Bootheel area of far southeastern Missouri.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that the Hayti Fire Department alerted state officials last week about the 163 dead turtles. Two of them were snapping turtles, while the others were red-eared sliders.

Missouri Conservation Agent Brian Shelton says that the turtles hadn’t been shot. He speculated that they’d been trapped and dumped in what he described as the “most egregious turtle poaching incident that I have seen in my career.”

While Missouri permits regulated hunting of some turtle species, the dump site broke state law. Shelton described the dump site as a case of wanton waste. Information leading to an arrest may lead to an award of up to $1,000.

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