A large number of wild animals have died from the many bush fires in Australia, but many more can die. Those who survived, in fact, have nowhere to hide from predators.
For this reason, cardboard "habitat capsules" were created, biodegradable and inexpensive, which could provide shelter for these animals.
The cardboard capsules were designed by the doctor Alexandra Carthey from Macquarie University. Each of them takes the shape of a six-sided pyramid (well, a kind of pyramid) 60 cm (23,6 in) high.
A series of different sized holes allow small animals such as possums, bandicoots and lizards to access the interior, which is itself divided into six compartments. The holes in the cardboard walls also allow some sunlight to pass through, favoring the regrowth of vegetation under the structure.
Since the pods fold flat, they should be easy to transport. They can be anchored to the ground by placing stones or sandbags on a "skirt" that runs around their base. Wooden pegs can also do this.
Dr. Carthey believes that instead of building permanent burrows, most animals will use these cardboard shelters as a means of escape, perhaps moving from one capsule to another. So much the better. This solution will give the animals time to reorganize their lives, and when the vegetation has regrown around them, the cardboard will biodegrade.
The plan calls for around 200 cardboard pods to be distributed and monitored in the North Head Sanctuary, an Australian region where 62 hectares (153 acres) of bushland had previously been cleared with a controlled burn, to prevent the spread of fires. Motion and heat activated wildlife cameras will track creatures using the cardboard structures for a year.
The structures will also be used along with special 3D printed boxes resembling tree hollows, to replace bird nesting sites that have been destroyed by the fires.