Finding a Partner

Paso Pacífico also teamed up with wildlife biologist Helen Pheasey. Pheasey was willing to plant some decoy eggs.

She had three goals. Find out if the technology in the eggs would work in the field. See if the design could trick poachers. Make sure that the fake eggs did not disturb the real eggs’ health.

So far, the news has been good. The healthy ​​​​​​​eggs are not bothered by the fake eggs. The poachers have been fooled. And the tracking works!

A Paso Pacifico turtle ranger collects turtle eggs for safekeeping nearby.

Kim Williams-Guillen explains to volunteers how the fake sea turtle eggs work. 

What Comes Next

The system isn’t perfect. Some cellular networks have limited ability to track the eggs. But, it’s a good start!

Using more fake eggs is the next step. With more data, the team can make a map to show where the eggs are traded. The locations will help explain the demand for turtle eggs.

Experts believe most of the stolen eggs go to El Salvador or Guatemala. They think the eggs are being shipped overseas, too. New markets for the eggs will make trade more difficult to fight.

Still, the information gathered could help police capture poachers. Williams-Guillén doesn’t think her fake eggs will solve the problem of poaching. But it could be a powerful tool. With other conservation efforts, it could help ensure that sea turtles are safe for the future.

Protecting sea turtles also protects the environment. Healthy oceans need sea turtles.