A PhD candidate at the University of Kent has come up with a novel way of saving endangered turtles using 3D printing. Helen Pheasey is the driving force behind Turtle Tracks, an initiative that will use 3D printed replica turtle eggs equipped with GPS technology to track poaching in Central America.
“For the last few years I have been working in Central America with sea turtles,” she explains on the crowdfunding page . “I have witnessed first-hand the miracle of them coming ashore, using their back flippers to dig a nest and then lay their eggs. But I have also seen for myself the number of nests lost to poachers as well as the carcasses of turtles that they leave behind.”
In response, Pheasey has launched Turtle Tracks. The project will see 100 3D printed decoy eggs placed among turtle nests on Central American beaches vulnerable to poaching. Embedded with GPS transmitters, the dummy eggs will be tracked in order to see where the stolen eggs end up.
The project is currently still in its crowdfunding stage, with two weeks left to go in the campaign. Pledges of £35 will buy one egg, which donors will get to name. Reports on the eggs’ movements will also be provided to backers of the project. Turtle Tracks will take donations until February 17th. Approximately £1,300 has already been raised of the £3,500 target.