May 6, 2016 | By Tess

One of the most pressing issues of our time, in line with global warming and environmental crises, is the disappearance of a wide range of animal species all across the globe. Earlier this year, for instance, the West African black rhino, which was once a thriving and widespread species was declared extinct due primarily to poaching. Other species, such as the Asian and African elephants, blue whales, and a number of other wildlife species are also reaching critical numbers as they sadly come closer and closer to extinction. Government policies, destroyed environments, and poaching have all been factors in dwindling animal populations, and with not enough support behind making animals’ lives a priority, the decreasing numbers are sure to continue.

To remind people of the importance of animal life and the threats that they face, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) launched an ad campaign in collaboration with French ad agency Young & Rubicam. The eye catching campaign, which uses 3D printing as a motif in each of the images, is hoping to highlight the irreversibility of killing wildlife, and the difficulty in restoring animal life.

Each image of the campaign depicts a different animal, including an elephant, whale, and orangutan, whose bodies are sectioned almost in half, revealing their insides. Posed slightly above the sectioned animal bodies is a 3D printer printhead, which is attempting to rebuild the animal layer by layer. The technology, which is known for building objects layer by layer, and which has posed unique opportunities for restoring or recreating ancient artefacts, draws attention to the fact that animal lives, just like human lives, cannot be fixed so readily, no matter how advanced the technology.

The short line of text that accompanies each of the images, which reads “If only they were this easy to reproduce” further reinforces the importance of maintaining existing animal populations and taking extra care of those that are already endangered or critically endangered because in reality they cannot be reproduced through technologies like additive manufacturing.

The ad campaign that featured 3D printing technologies not as a medium, but rather as a theme, was a success and was shortlisted for a number of awards at Cannes Lions, the international advertising festival.

3D printing has also been used more concretely in conservation efforts. For instance, nonprofit organization Paso Pacifico has been using the technology to create 3D printed decoy sea turtle eggs to track and take down poaching rings, and scientists at the International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP) have 3D printed vulture eggs embedded with micro-sensors to learn vital information about vulture nesting habits.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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