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Akron Zoo Uses 3-D Printing to Help Better Track Its Birds

photo of bands printed by 3D printer
Bands printed by Akron Zoo's 3D printer

The Akron Zoo is using 3-D printing to keep better track of some of its animals. The zoo is using its new 3-D printer to create custom bands holding microchips for birds in the aviary.

Dr. Kim Cook, the zoo’s director of Animal Health and Conservation, says they’re using receivers in the aviary to help with research and conservation.

“We could say ‘okay, we’re going to put an antenna under this nest and we’re going to monitor how often (the birds) come back and forth in a day.’ And those are, believe it or not, some things that are not necessarily known by anybody,” she said.

In addition to tracking the birds, the bands with the microchips can be used to monitor activities like eating habits.

Cook says they’re also experimenting with their 3-D printer to create anesthesia masks for other animals at the zoo.