13:34 07 January 2018
Sea turtles are now facing extinction because of illegal trade of sea turtle products. Their shells and eggs are sold because they are considered a delicacy and aphrodisiac in some countries. The tracking of this trade can be difficult because the transit routes and final destinations remain unknown.
In 2016, USAID issued a Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge in the hopes to finding solution to this illegal activity. Paso Pacifico, a non-profit organisation introduced an approach that uses artificial sea turtle eggs with built-in GSM GPS devices that can help authorities to detect transit routes.
These fake eggs can be placed in sea turtle nests and their movement is tracked as they are transported along the poacher’s illegal supply chains. Paso Pacifico has received the Acceleration Prize for their solution. They were also given a grant by the National Geographic Society to conduct larger scale field trials of the egg.
In order for the plan to work, the fake eggs must resemble a real sea turtle egg. The eggs must also be waterproof and do not require recharging for extended periods. They can be fitted with RFID, WiFi Triangulation and satellite based tracking.
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