Florida Man Kept Endangered Sea Turtle in Backyard, Planned to Eat It

A sea turtle named Lucky almost became turtle soup. The extremely endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle was caught by a fisherman back in May. The man decided to bring the turtle home and put it in a tank in his backyard to fatten it up and eventually planned to eat the turtle. Luckily, a neighbor ratted him out.

According to, the fisherman kept the salt water sea turtle in a fresh water tank. Fish and wildlife authorities were tipped off to the fact the man had possession of the protected species, and recovered the turtle on May 24th. Now, after months of rehabilitation at the Florida Aquarium, Lucky was finally released back into the wild yesterday.

In fact, the turtle was so endangered that the aquarium was required by law to eventually return him to sea.

The fisherman told authorities he wasn't aware of the turtle's protective status.

Conservationists estimate that their are just 2,500 nesting female Kemp's ridley sea turtle left. About 158 of the turtles turned up dead after the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010.

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Kyle Munzenrieder