The world’s Vulture and Sea Turtle populations are dwindling. These results from the fact that their environments are infringed upon and their eggs are stolen by poachers seeking to make pretty penny out of it. The future of these birds and reptiles are not looking promising and are increasingly becoming endangered species. It has been reported in different areas that hundreds of Vultures’ and Sea Turtles’ eggs are stolen by poachers who then sell the eggs to international market for more than $150 a piece.
In an effort to deter poachers and save the bird and reptile species from nearing extinctions, researchers are coming up with 3D printed, GSM equipped, fake vulture and Sea Turtle eggs. The 3D printed Vulture and Sea Turtle eggs will help track and prevent poaching. The 3D printed eggs will also be used to find crucial information about the Vultures and Sea Turtles’ breeding behaviors and conditions.
The 3d printed eggs are equipped with GSM systems that allow tracking wherever they go and made on common 3d printers that can be found in the average household. They are also equipped with different sensors that allow scientist to measure different environmental conditions remotely. While the designs are still in development stage, once fully implemented, the fake eggs will be added to Vulture and Sea Turtle nests respectively. And when the poachers invade the nest and take the eggs, the law enforcers and conservationist will be able to track the eggs and determine where the eggs are taken and where they end up. Scientist will also be able to measure the nest’s temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, carbon dioxide levels, eggs’ movement and rotation and even the temperature outside the nest.
The 3D project was founded by the US and Nicaragua and is handled, specifically, by Pacifico. Pacifico is a non-profit organization dedicated in restoring and conserving natural ecosystem of Pacific slope of the Central America. The 3D printed eggs project is the winner of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, which leads in innovative wildlife conservation solutions. In this challenge, Paso PAcifico’s project was awarded $10,000 along with other technical support as a way of supporting them to continue in the development of the eggs project. Interestingly this isn’t the first time 3d printing has helped these animals, turtles especially.
Implementing this project is not easy, especially when you consider its requirement of equipping with enough sensors to measure the nest’s temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, carbon dioxide levels, as well as eggs’ movement and rotation. Such eggs also need GSM system to allow them transit information remotely and be able to be operated without human intervention for 70 days.
Complete 3D printed eggs, equipped with GSM and the different sensors, will make it easy for conservationist to find out important information about Vulture and Sea Turtle eggs trafficking routes as well as the locations of smuggling networks. Conservationist will also find breeding information about the most critically endangered species. This information is not only likely to save the dwindling vulture populations but also help in environmental conservation.
Using the 3D printing technologies to create the fake Vulture and Sea Turtle eggs, the researchers are also aiming at distributing the products to governments and nonprofit organizations around the world at an affordable cost. This will encourage the said organizations to prioritize conservation of the endangered species.