Recently I wrote about the wildfires in Brazil and how they could have been prevented by perma-culture techniques. I mentioned about the loss of animal life and habitat and now we are seeing examples of the damage, as well as examples of how people are using new technology to solve these problems.
A tortoise, named after Freddy Kruger because of the fact that she lost 85% of her shell to wildfire in Brazil, has received the first ever 3D printed tortoise shell, being a model for the future of prosthetics for animals and humans alike.
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The group responsible is a team of specialists in Sao Paolo, Brazil called the “Animal Avengers”. It consists of 4 veterinarians, one dental surgeon and a 3D designer. This group has gained some esteem by developing beak prosthetic beaks for tucans, a parrot and a goose. After doing some research on what makes a tortoise shell what it is, they set out on making it happen.
A typical tortoise shell consists of two pieces and if it loses it’s shell there’s no going back from that, unless of course a team like Animal Avengers takes notice. This tortoise had pneumonia and was dealing with hunger and facing death but now will likely go back to living a normal life. It was a fairly simple surgery and the tortoise is adjusting well to it’s new shell.
After doing research, Animal Avengers determined it would be possible to make a shell. They set out doing so in multiple pieces, each piece taking about 50 hours to print. They used a corn based plastic for the material. Once it was finished, artist Yuri Caldera offered to give it a paint job, something to make it look a little more natural. You can definitely tell the shell is different, but at least it’s not bright 3D printed white.
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This is not only a highly effective solution but efficient as well. The cost of the materials for this is about 136 USD which is pretty cheap when you consider how much people spend on their dogs and such at the vet.
Freddy now lives with Animal Avenger Dr. Rodrigo Rabello and will likely live a long happy life despite her hardships.
‘We first came together as friends because of our common love of science and our love for animals. We soon realized we could do some extraordinary work using cutting-edge technology to push back the boundaries of life-saving care for mutilated animals by giving them customized prostheses.”
This is an excellent example for how to respond to crises like the wildfires in the future. It’s true that damage will always be done but some of the damage is fixable if you’re willing to get creative. If there’s one thing the Animal Avengers have shown, it’s that they’re creative.
More on this tortuga: Injured Tortoise Who Lost Shell in Fire Receives Worlds First 3D Printed Shell
Here’s a video of Freddy with her new shell!