Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Alexandra Carthey

Protecting wildlife after bushfires

Sustainability

Post-bushfire conditions are dangerous for animals due to exposure and predation – one solution is trying to change this

Spotted: Research following the Australian bushfires of 2019-2020, which killed or displaced around 3 billion animals and burned over 29 million acres of forest, showed that intense fire weather has become 30 per cent more likely since 1900 because of human-induced climate change. However, contrary to popular belief it is not just the fires themselves that pose a risk to animals. Instead, the devastation caused leaves creatures without habitats and without protection, rendering them vulnerable to predators and exposure even once the fires have been put out.

A solution providing essential protection to land-dwelling creatures who are left especially vulnerable after natural disasters is therefore essential, and this is why Dr Alexandra Carthey of Macquarie University created Habitat Pods. The flat-pack pyramid-shaped pods are easy-to-assemble, and are designed to be deployed immediately after devastating weather events to protect various creatures like possums, bandicoots, and bush rats, as well as smaller animals like beetles, cockroaches, and lizards. The pods contain holes for both animals and light to enter, helping the covered vegetation to regenerate outside of the harsh exposure to sun. Because the pods are cardboard, they will eventually biodegrade when no longer needed, without harming the environment and without a need to be collected.

The pods are still being tested with 20 being deployed at the North Head Wildlife Sanctuary in Manly, which suffered from bushfires last year. The pods are going to be monitored every month to see where improvements can be made and how well they perform.

Springwise has also spotted similar animal conservation innovations like this 3D-printed brick that is being used to help conserve and repair reefs, as well as this robot forest ranger that helps control bushfires.

Written By: Archie Cox

Email: alexandra.carthey@mq.edu.au

Website: mq.edu.au

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