Endangered Species

On this week’s newsdesk: Kakapos break breeding records, an unbreakable guitar, and a drone delivers transplant organs!

Breeding kakapos breaking records!

On some of New Zealand’s remote islands lives the world’s heaviest parrot: the kakapo! Kakapos can’t fly, so instead they walk. Threats posed by humans, such as deforestation and the introduction of new predators, mean there are now only 147 adult kakapos left in the wild. But there’s good news. Around 80 kakapo chicks are expected to hatch during this year’s breeding season – a record number.

Since the 1970s, conservationists have helped the birds by moving them to islands with no predators, setting up feeding stations and studying their behaviour. As well as increasing kakapo numbers, they hope to make the birds as well-known as elephants or lions! So why not tell a friend about the kakapo?

An unbreakable guitar

It can be difficult to design objects that are both light and strong. But engineers in Sweden have created a guitar they say is lightweight and unbreakable!

The guitar’s body was made using additive manufacturing – also known as 3D printing. Metal powder is built up in layers, each one thinner than a human hair. This makes it possible to create extremely detailed designs that are both light and flexible. The engineers tested the guitar by smashing it against different objects, before putting it to the ultimate test, in the hands of a rock musician! It stayed in one piece, showing you don’t always have to choose between light and strong!

Delivering organs

If someone’s organs, such as their kidneys or heart, stop working, a transplant can save their life. The damaged organ is removed, and replaced with a new, healthy one. But the new organ has to reach the patient quickly and safely.

Now, for the first time, a drone in Maryland, in the United States, has delivered a kidney for transplant! The drone carries a box which keeps the organ at the right temperature, and it has lots of motors so if one breaks, it can keep flying.

Once it was delivered, the kidney was successfully transplanted into a patient. In the future, drones like this could help quickly deliver new organs to people that need them wherever they are.

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From the kakapo to the blue whale, thousands of animal species are under various levels of threat. Find out what we can do to protect them with our Twig film Endangered species.