TYBEE ISLAND — Tybee Island officials have heeded a request and banned the removal of living sea creatures such as hermit crabs, sea stars and sand dollars from the beach.
The Savannah Morning News reported that Maria Procopio, director of the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, said the invertebrates are part of a delicate ecosystem that could be disrupted if too many tourists decide they want to take them home as decorative trinkets.
Procopio pushed for the city to adopt a law that would prohibit the removal of such species from the beach, and the council did so.
Science center employees say they commonly encounter visitors who have collected bags and buckets of shelled organisms, according to Procopio.
The law does not apply to empty shells or dead animals.