These Wired, Fake Turtle Eggs Could Track Down Poachers and Crack Illegal Trade
Almost identical to a real turtle egg, the one on the left has a GPS location tracker that could lead investigators to poaching rings on tropical and semi-tropical shores. (Dave Bothman/Paso Pacífico)
Smooth to the touch and perfectly round, these ping pong ball-size eggs could easily pass for any of the millions laid and buried every year by endangered sea turtles on the beaches along the North and Central American coasts.
That’s the hope, anyway. Except in this case, they were laid by a 3D printer, and their silicone shell carries a GPS tracking device. They may just help solve a turtle-egg poaching problem that has plagued Central America and, more recently, U.S. shores.
“We want to sneak them into nests that are most vulnerable to poaching,” says Kim Williams-Guillén, director of conservation science at Paso Pacífico, the California conservation group that has created the egg that it hopes will fool poachers. “It would be really easy for them to grab one of those eggs and not even notice it.”
Paso Pacífico’s phony turtle egg, set to be deployed this fall in Central America during a mass nesting event, is just one way law enforcement and activists have tried to crack down on the egg poaching of sea turtles, nearly all of which are endangered.
Read the rest at Portland Press Herald
Related: More Kemp's Ridley Turtle Nests Found Along Gulf of Mexico Coast But Conservationists Still Concerned (Texas Public Radio)
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