Costa Rica

Science • Animals
Scientists use false turtle eggs to track illegal egg trade
Scientists use false turtle eggs to track illegal egg trade
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Scientists have successfully used 3D-printed turtle eggs to track down the journey of robbed turtle eggs. Each of the artificial eggs had a transmitter in them to track the position, and the eggs were placed among 101 turtle nests on four beaches in Costa Rica.

Around a quarter of the fake eggs were stolen, giving the researchers insights into the trade behind the stolen eggs. Most of them remained in the region, giving them the researchers now the opportunity to do more to raise awareness among the population about the damages to the turtle species that are done by consuming the eggs.

According to the study published on the Current Biology journal, "Illegally collected clutches of turtle eggs containing a decoy transmitter enabled us to track the movements of traffickers, and thus gain a better understanding of illegal trade routes."