Conservation Department Investigates Killing of More Than 160 Turtles in SE Missouri

HAYTI, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation has asked for help after a pile of turtles was found dead in southeast Missouri.

The Hayti Fire Department personnel reported illegal poaching activity after coming across a dump site of dead turtles while fighting a wildfire, according to the MDC.

A conservation agent determined the large pile of turtles included 161 red-eared sliders and two snapping turtles.

"This dump site is, without a doubt, the most egregious turtle poaching incident that I have seen in my career," said Missouri Conservation Agent Brian Shelton. "I'm appalled that anyone would have this kind of disregard for our wildlife here in the Bootheel."

Shelton said there appeared to be no reason for someone to kill the turtles, which left him with more questions than answers.

Information about this incident can be shared anonymously through the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-392-1111. Agent Shelton may be reached directly at (573)757-8357. Information leading to an arrest may lead to a reward of up to $1,000. For more information about Operation Game Thief and The Wildlife Code of Missouri, go online to

(story by KRCG for CBS News)

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