Rare siberian crane chicks to be fed with 3D printed bills
The hatchery for rare crane species has existed in the Oksky Nature Reserve for more than a quarter of a century.
The key objective of the hatchery is to preserve and restore threatened crane species in Russia and primarily Russia's endemic Siberian white crane. The hatchery has been and still is the focal point for reintroduction of this species and recruitment of the small wildlife population.
"It's extremely important to breed young birds so that they have as little visual contact with people as possible; this way, once reintroduced to the wild, they will be able to easily adapt to their life in the freedom of the wild and avoid coming close to people, which can be dangerous," says Vladimir Krever, Biodiversity Program Leader at WWF Russia. "The hatchery personnel wearing special suits to conceal the outlines of a human figure use artificial bills imitating crane heads to teach chicks to feed in the wildlife on their own, avoid dangers, and get ready for a long-distance migration over thousands of kilometers to their wintering grounds."
The new replica bills are made of Z-ULTRAT, a durable material with low elasticity, high hardness, and minimum deformation. It takes about one week to make a replica bill. When the computer model is ready, the printing process starts. It takes 36 hours to produce one copy. After that, the blank is painted, which takes another two to three days. At the final stage, the head is assembled, the eyes are carefully drawn, and a metal clasp is inserted.
"We are confident that the future belongs to 3D technology. We are happy to see this technology in action: today, it is used for such noble purposes as saving endangered birds," says Ashkhen Ovsepyan, CEO of SIU System. "We are immensely proud of our partnership with WWF Russia and I hope that we have a lot of exciting projects ahead."
At the end of the previous century, there were less than 10 breeding pairs of
the Siberian white crane remaining in the western population. Starting from the
mid-1990s, more than 100 young birds from the hatchery have already been
reintroduced to the wild. To teach young cranes how to migrate long
distances along a flyway, engine-powered hang gliders controlled by people are
used to lead the flock.
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