Cocoa Beach residents upset after artist's Earth Day beach art doubled as sea turtle death trap


An example of Brittingham's work. "Sun & Moon" 2011, Cape Canaveral - PHOTO VIA EARTHART12.COM
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  • An example of Brittingham's work. "Sun & Moon" 2011, Cape Canaveral
Residents of Cocoa Beach, Florida, are upset after an artist's Earth Day sand sculpture created a deadly obstacle for endangered sea turtle hatchlings. 

As part of the 28th Annual "Earth Work," sand artist and Fort Lauderdale resident Todd Brittingham created a giant "Ouroborus" by digging trenches in the sand in front of the International Palms Resort," reports Florida Today

Brittingham's "sky message," which is art designed to be seen from above, was only meant to last over the weekend. However, on Monday morning, Cocoa Beach residents began posting photos to Facebook showing the art work's deep trenches had not been refilled.  

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, nesting seasons for both leatherback and loggerhead turtles began on March 1 and an indentation in the sand or only a few inches deep can entrap both types of sea turtle hatchlings. 

Currently, it is against Cocoa Beach's municipal code to dig trenches that are more than 18 inches deep. It is also against ordinance to " ... depart from the area of digging without having first completely filled such hole, trench or depression," reports the Brevard Times

According to the Times the event was not sanctioned by the City and the International Palms Resort now faces fines by both Cocoa Beach and the State of Florida.

Brittingham told the paper that he thought his sand art was dug below the high tide mark and that the tide would take care of it. "I'm very sensitive to people's concerns about the sea turtles," Brittingham said.