SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — 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.
Turtle rangers will lie in wait in the dark along Latin American beaches where poaching is common, and when mother turtles emerge from the sea, plant their decoys.
“We would find a nest that we know is vulnerable to poaching, dig into the nest and place this egg,” Sarah Otterstrom with conservation group Paso Pacifico told KCBS.
Otterstrom says a Hollywood special effects artist helped make sure the 3D printed fakes embedded with tracking devices look and feel like the real thing.
“In a nest of 100 other eggs, they’re sandy and moist, they’ll be placed in a sack and they really probably will go undetected until they make it to the consumer,” Otterstrom said.
By that time, Paso Pacifico will have mapped the route of the egg and turned the information over to law enforcement.
Sea turtle eggs are a delicacy in Latin America – part of traditional celebrations according to Otterstrom.
Lately however, she’s seen evidence that the eggs travel much farther than the local market.
“A couple was caught smuggling sea turtle eggs in California,” she said.