Early on the morning of Sept. 16, 2018, an olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) hauled herself out of the ocean along a beach on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. Moving slowly, methodically, she started a task she had likely done dozens of times before: excavating a nest in which to lay her eggs. But then something new happened. Just before 5 a.m., a team of scientists walking the beach crouched beside her, as the nest filled with eggs, and added something to it: a fake egg, fitted with a GPS tracking device that would follow the decoy if a poacher removed it from the nest. A little over 24 hours later, that’s exactly what happened. The clever egg decoy unearthed that day is a project of a team led by Helen Pheasey, a Ph.D. student at the University of Kent, U.K., studying the sea turtle egg trade in Costa Rica. With the help of Pheasey’s team, Mongabay traced the hour-by-hour trip of the furthest-traveled of five decoys taken by poachers, in an effort to understand why sea turtle egg poaching still happens — and what experts think can be done to stop it. A 3-D printed sea turtle egg decoy, which looks and feels like the real thing thanks to a substance called Ninja Flex. The eggs’ creators have since developed newer prototypes with even more realistic exteriors, and more reliable GPS trackers. Image courtesy of Helen Pheasey. Olive ridley’s sea turtle laying eggs. Image via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer