USAID'S wildlIFE Crime tech cHALLENGE

In January 2016, USAID announced the Prize Winners for the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge. Paso Pacífico was a winner in the "Detect Transit Routes" category and received $10,000 and technical assistance to further their solutions. The InvestEGGator then competed with other winning projects for three Acceleration Prizes of $100,000, awarded to those who made “truly remarkable progress in turning promising ideas into viable solutions positioned for scale and impact on the ground.” In September 2017, we won!



Wildlife traffickers often use complex transit routes that involve moving illicit material through several ports en route to the final destination. Solutions that detect, monitor, and predict these transit routes are extremely valuable to law enforcement.


Paso Pacifico, USA - $10,000 and program development assistance

Science and Tech TypeSensing and Remote Sensing Technologies

Paso Pacifico plans to construct artificial sea turtle eggs that contain covert GSM-GPS tracking devices and forensic markers. These will be placed in nests at high risk of poaching. Once the eggs are poached, their movement can be monitored and mapped, revealing trafficking routes.

The Problem: poachers regularly steal and sell the eggs of four sea turtle species that nest on Central American beaches: Leatherback; Hawksbill; Green; and Olive Ridley. However, little is known about the transit routes that poachers use or where the stolen eggs end up.

The Team: project leader Dr. Kim Williams-Guillen directs Paso Pacifico’s conservation science program and is a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan.

Solution Partners: Wayra-Mexico and NFCGroup will supervise development of tracking devices; the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Dr. David Bothman will provide engineering expertise; Goodnight & Cowill help create the artificial eggshell; and Nicaragua’s Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Mexican Center of the Turtle, the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative, Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Conservation Area, and the Turtle Island Restoration Network will provide additional support.