The Daily Telegraph
Sea turtle poachers tracked down using ‘spy eggs’
Decoy sea turtle eggs loaded with tracking devices inspired by the television drama Breaking Bad have been used to catch poachers.
Researchers at the University of Kent equipped the 3D-printed eggs with GPS trackers and planted them in 101 nests on beaches in Costa Rica. One in four were taken, the researchers reported in the journal Current Biology. Scientists tracked the eggs as far as 85 miles as they were handed off to traffickers to be sold to restaurants and bars.
Co-author Kim WilliamsGuillen, of US conservation non-profit organisation Paso Pacifico, said she had been inspired to invent the device, dubbed the Investeggator, by the tactics of narcotics police in programmes such as Breaking Bad and The Wire.
In one episode of Breaking Bad, which chronicles a chemistry teacher’s transformation into a drug smuggler, the US
Drug Enforcement Agency places a tracking device on a tank of chemicals to catch traffickers.
She said: “Turtle eggs basically look like ping pong balls, and we wanted to know where they were going – put those two ideas together and you have the Investeggator.”