HONOLULU (AP) —Federal officials are examining a photo circulating on the Internet of a man who appears to be straddling or riding a threatened green sea turtle.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Endangered Species Branch on Friday said the photo is troubling because no one should even touch the protected animal.
KHON identified the man in the photo as Hawaii pro surfer Jamie O’Brien.
The underwater photo captures a man on top of a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, grasping its shell with both hands. O’Brien and the photographer could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
The photo has been referred to NOAA’s enforcement group. Violating the Endangered Species Act can result in a maximum fine of more than $13,000.