In many parts of the world, sea turtle eggs are a prized delicacy, but illegal poaching and a hungry black market trade have taken a toll on global turtle populations. Enter Kim Williams-Guillen, an ecologist with the conservation group Paso Pacifico. After realizing that the only way of stopping the illegal trade was to find where the eggs go once they’ve been plucked from their nests, her team devised an ingenious solution: GPS-enabled decoys that are able to track the eggs from beach to market. But how do they get these doppelgängers to look and feel like the real thing? Hollywood, baby. With the help of special effects artist Lauren Wilde, the team can employ movie-quality prosthetics and professional tricks of the trade. Working together with law enforcement, they will be able to use information gathered from the fake eggs to focus on outreach and help put an end to an illegal poaching network.
This story is a part of our Planet Earth series. From mammals to insects and birds to reptiles, we share this great big world with all manner of creatures, large and small. Come with us to faraway places as we explore our great big planet and meet some of its wildest inhabitants.
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