Protecting sea turtles during each life stage is important to the conservation of these amazing species. Especially outside the United States, a big threat to sea turtles in their earliest stage of life is poachers.
Nesting sea turtles in Central America
A California group called Paso Pacifico is making decoy eggs with GPS inside to allow poachers to be tracked. The eggs are made with 3D printing to look and feel like real sea turtle eggs.
Decoy sea turtle eggs vs. real sea turtle eggs. Decoy sea turtle eggs are used to catch poachers.
When poachers take eggs from a nest, they’re not just getting a handful of eggs. Sea turtle nests can often have in the neighborhood of 100 eggs. With so many eggs, the poacher is unlikely to notice that one of the eggs is not an egg at all.
Law enforcement can use this GPS data not only to apprehend the individuals who take the eggs, but also to identify broader patterns about how, where and to whom eggs are being sold.
The artificial eggs have been successfully tested in Costa Rica. Soon, the eggs will be in mass production and able to help protect sea turtles around the world.