Today’s Solutions: January 28, 2023

Australia’s recent bushfires took a great toll on the populations of hundreds of species of animals. With their habitats now destroyed, many of these animals remain very vulnerable in the aftermath, as they have nowhere to hide from predators.

In a bid to offer a sheltering solution, a researcher from Macquarie University has developed affordable, biodegradable “habitat pods” which could give smaller animals the hiding places they need.

Dr. Alexandra Carthey, the author of the idea, came up with the solution after witnessing ground-dwelling animals falling victim to predators, as bushfires burned tall grasses, bushes, and other vegetation that would usually provide them with cover.

The pods take the form of a hexagonal pyramid and measure 60 cm (23.6 in) in height. At the bottom, the pods feature holes small enough for creatures like possums and bandicoots to get through.

Each pod is then divided into six compartments, which are also connected via holes, allowing the animals to easily move between them. What’s more, smaller holes in the exterior of the pod let sunlight in and allow for the regrowth of some vegetation beneath the structure. The pods can also be flat-packed, allowing for easy transportation from the factory to the wilderness.

Rather than making permanent homes for the animals, the pods are envisioned more as a means of escaping predators, perhaps running from one pod to another during the pursuit, explains Carthey. Once the vegetation has regrown, the pods will easily biodegrade since they’re made out of nothing but cardboard.

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