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Ventura county-based nonprofit creates decoy sea turtle eggs to stop illegal poaching

Sea turtles are threatened with extinction. One of the biggest threats to their survival is illegal poaching of their eggs in Latin America.

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A Wilde Make-up Journey

“The design of the eggs went through many, many phases,” says Wilde. “Originally, we were sculpting and taking a mold of an egg, using resin, plastics, epoxies—just playing with materials and trying to figure out the best and easiest solution. Then Kim had the idea to use a 3-D printer to print out the eggs.

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One of the world’s most endangered species, the sea turtle, is under threat from human encroachment and poaching. But a conservation biologist has developed a strategy that could help save them.

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Cracking down on poaching with 3D-printed fake turtle eggs

One of the world’s most endangered species, the sea turtle, is under threat from human encroachment and poaching. But a conservation biologist has developed a strategy that could help save them.

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Reporter’s Notebook
Waiting in the dark for sea turtles to nest

Across Central American beaches, poachers destroy more than 90 percent of sea turtle nests each year.


these fake gps-implanted sea turtle eggs will help track poachers

The eggs of the endangered animal are considered a delicacy and an aphrodisiac. But now when someone grabs a handful from the sand, people will know.



‘Spy Eggs’ Track Illegal Sea Turtle Egg Trade

Williams-Guillén is an ecologist and director of conservation science at Paso Pacífico, a nonprofit organization focused on preserving biodiversity in Nicaragua. In 2015, she and her colleagues entered a competition called the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, overseen by USAID, which called for ideas to fight illegal wildlife trafficking


USAID Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge awards Acceleration Prizes for rapid tech developments


The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge announced three winners of a $100,000 Acceleration Prize for rapid progress in developing a wildlife crime solution system.

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Wildlife crime tech challenge acceleration prize winners announced

Paso Pacifico started with an idea for an artificial sea turtle egg that contains covert tracking devices to reveal illegal trafficking routes.


Taking on Turtle Egg Poaching With Hollywood Decoys

In many parts of the world, sea turtle eggs are a prized delicacy, but illegal poaching and a hungry black market trade have taken a toll on global turtle populations.

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Paso Pacifico is changing wildlife surveillance

The illegal trade in sea turtle eggs is threatening the survival of all seven species of the world’s sea turtles. However, because the transit routes that poachers use to move their illegal cargo are not known, it is difficult to intercept traffickers and better protect the sea turtles.



Every year, millions of turtle eggs are stolen from the beaches of Nicaragua and sold on the black market and eventually consumed in bars and restaurants. 



Knowing what lies beneath the surface, one poacher crouches down and begins to dig. The other holds a large burlap sack. After several minutes of pilfering, they slip back into the night with a sack full of golf ball-sized eggs, leaving nothing behind but a sandy hole.

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Saving Nicaragua's Sea Turtles

I joined Paso Pacifico on the coast of Nicaragua to see what it takes to protect sea turtles as they lay their eggs.

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Inside A Covert Mission
To Defeat Poachers In Nicaragua

Under cover of night—and the threat of a hurricane—a high-stakes attempt to beat turtle egg thieves at their own game gets scrambled


How A Hollywood Prop Artist Could Help Stop Poaching At Its Source

Prized as a delicacy and aphrodisiac, a single sea turtle egg can fetch $300 on the black market

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Cracking the bad eggs of the turtle trade

An ingenious project in Nicaragua has hatched a plan to thwart the illegal trade in sea turtle eggs by combining state-of-the-art printing with cell phone technology. Could it work?


These 3D-printed sea turtle eggs are a Trojan horse to catch poachers.

Paso Pacifico recently won a challenge to fight wildlife crime with technology.

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Conservationists and law enforcement have struggled to catch the Walter Whites behind wildlife trafficking. Could some plastic eggs and GPS trackers change the game? 

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‘Turtle Rangers’ Planting Decoy Eggs To Track, Catch Latin American Poachers

The same tracking devices that help you find your keys and navigate with a smart phone could lead law enforcement to the profiteers in the expanding global trade of endangered sea turtle eggs.

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These 3-D Printed Decoy Turtle Eggs Could Help Take Down Poachers

The Californian conservation group Paso Pacífico plans to plant the GPS-tracked fake eggs, which look like ping pong balls and could be easily picked up by a poacher, during a mass nesting period in Central America this fall.


These fake turtle eggs could crack a black market in animal poaching

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.

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paso pacífico's 3d printed sea turtle eggs to help track adn deter poachers

As the ancient creatures’ environments are infringed upon and their eggs are stolen by poachers looking to make a pretty penny, the future is not looking so bright for the aquatic and increasingly endangered species.


Faking Out Poachers With 3-D-Printed Sea Turtle Eggs

Conservationists hope to track the black market in eggs by tricking traders with artificial ones that contain wireless transmitters.

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Five Ways to Fight Wildlife Crime in the Digital Age

From GPS-tagged eggs to smartphone apps, these emerging technologies could help give endangered species a chance at survival

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16 Ways Technology Will Fight Wildlife Crime

From GPS sea turtle eggs to an electronic 'sniffer,' a look at some of the winners of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge.