I was out tonight on a mission to do some turtle nest protecting. I trained in a volunteer on what to do. It started out pretty cool.
Around 8 o'clock we find the first turtle of the evening. Sweet! This turtle has been out the last two nights digging around the side of the road looking for a place to lay her eggs, so I thought, "Tonight's gonna be the night!" And I put a bobber light on her so we could find her easily after it got dark.
Then I told the volunteer that since she was watching the road that I would like to check out another location where we haven't had a chance to search yet. I didn't make it 800 ft before I found another turtle on the side of the road. This turtle had been out on Thursday and Friday looking for a place to nest, but hadn't succeeded as far as we know. So I parked my car on the side of the road, far enough away that I didn't think I would disrupt her, but close enough that I could still see what she was doing.
So I watch this turtle cross the road, then go back across the road, then again. She probably went back and forth across the road at least 5 times. Why couldn't she just pick a side? I think I might never understand what goes on in a turtle's mind.
I'm parked on the side of the road watching this turtle. Then a jeep drives past with 3 teenagers (a girl driver, and a boy and girl passenger). They drive past the turtle. Stop the car. Back up to the turtle. Then the boy gets out of the jeep, goes over to the turtle, and kicks it.
WHAT THE FREAKING #@!$#%*@#!!!!!
I get out of my car and yell, "Hey! Please don't kick the turtle!"
So what does the kid do? He kicks the turtle again!
I run over there and yell, "Hey! Please don't kick the turtle!"
He says, "I didn't kick the turtle."
I respond, "Really? Because I saw you kick the turtle."
He replies, "I was just rolling it."
You have no idea how much control it took for me not to smack that kid up the side of the head.
Then I tried to explain that this is a Blanding's turtle. A species that is threatened in Minnesota and that she just wants to lay her eggs. And that he really shouldn't bother it. Which I'm sure sounded high pitched and shrill because I was so irate.
And then the kids laugh and drive away.
AND!!!! The jeep has vanity plates. Frickin' figures. And yes, I took note. And yes, I filed a report on the DNR tip line. Not sure if it only works for poachers, but I think that deliberately harassing a threatened species is a bad enough offense that, at the very least, the biggest bad-ass conservation officer should go knock on their door and scare the poop out of those kids.
Seriously! When did it become okay for kids to grow up without respect for what's around them? Remember when people didn't raise their children to be jerkwads? It wasn't that long ago.
I really hope something bad happens to those kids. Not like disfigurement or anything like that, but definitely something to teach them a lesson. Bunch of jerks.