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Scientists Use 3D-Printed Shells to Ward Off Ravens, Save Desert Tortoises

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Said wildlife biologist Tim Shields, “There’s a lot of threats to tortoises, but raven predation seemed to be the one we could do something about."

Credit: Hardshell Labs

Researchers at Joshua Tree, CA-based Hardshell Labs, in collaboration with software company Autodesk, have developed a Techno-tortoise that eventually could help curtail a decline in the desert tortoise population.

The Techno-tortoise shell is produced using a three-dimensional (3D) printer; looking much like a baby desert tortoise, it features sensors to detect a raven attack and can emit a blast of bird repellent when threatened.

Five such shells were tested in the field last year, and were found to successfully frighten off ravens.

The researchers hope the shells can facilitate a reduction in raven predation on tortoises, with the birds learning from the decoys and teaching their young to avoid tortoises.

From Victorville Daily Press (CA)
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