TISHOMINGO, Okla. – Authorities say two men were issued citations after allegedly shooting an endangered turtle.
On April 13, game wardens received a tip about someone poaching an alligator snapping turtle. The caller gave game wardens the vehicle description and tag number of the suspects.
Ultimately, the vehicle and the driver was found in Tishomingo.
After wardens questioned the driver, they found the turtle in the backyard.
“The driver of the vehicle admitted to catching the turtle on an illegal throw line in the Tishomingo Management Unit, instead of releasing the turtle the fishermen and another individual that was camping at TMU decided to shoot the turtle in the head with a 9mm pistol,” Oklahoma Game Wardens posted on Facebook.
The driver was given a citation, and was also taken to the Johnston County Jail for active warrants.
Game wardens also found and confronted the second suspect who shot the turtle with his handgun. Officials say he admitted that he shot the turtle, and was given a citation for the illegal taking of the endangered alligator snapping turtle.
“The Alligator Snapping Turtle that was killed weighed approximately 78 lbs which would indicate that the turtle would be approximately 75-80 years old,” the post says.
According to the Wildlife Department, alligator snapping turtles are classified as a species of special concern and it is illegal to trap, possess or kill these turtles.
Each suspect will have to pay $989, plus up to $5,000 in restitution.