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CNN 10

Bushfires Force Evacuations in Part of Australia; The Last Male of a Rhino Subspecies Dies; A 35-Year-Old Scientist Aims to Transform Prosthetic Limbs

Aired March 21, 2018 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: For CNN 10, I`m Carl Azuz. It`s great to see all of our viewers around the world today.

For our first report, we`re taking you to the nation and continent of Australia. In the southeast part of the country, the Australian state of

New South Wales, a massive bushfire recently roared up to Tathra, a small town on the Australian coast. It spread so fast that hundreds of people

had to run to the beaches or take refuge in other towns nearby. One resident said she walked the beach for three miles with more than 200 other

people to get away from the heat.

People who live in Tathra say its cellphone reception is notoriously bad, even when there`s not disaster. And the lack of dependable information

reportedly left some folks in the dark about how serious and how close the fire was before it hit.

But while local officials say a number of people needed to be treated for smoke inhalation, no one is missing and no one seriously injured. The

bushfire destroyed around 70 homes, about 40 others were damaged, and that`s in addition to dozens of caravans or cabins that burned.

Firefighters were able to save 400 houses.

They were hoping to have the fire contained yesterday afternoon. That means they have walled off so that it doesn`t spread further. The next

step for residents will be to return to their homes and see what needs to be done.

Bushfires and forest fires are common disasters in Australia.


AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

What is the second-largest land mammal on Earth after the elephant?

Common hippopotamus, white rhinoceros, American bison or polar bear?

With the weight of between three and five tons, the white rhinoceros checks in as the planet`s second largest land mammal.


AZUZ: And the sub species of the white rhino known as the northern white rhino is now just two animals away from complete extinction and both of the

living ones are females. The last male who was named Sudan lived on a conservancy in the African nation of Kenya. He was 45 years old, which is

elderly for a rhinoceros and he had a lot of health issues related to his age. So, a conservation group announced yesterday that Sudan had been put

to sleep.

As Sudan lived out his last years, he was protected 24 hours a day by armed guards. Just as conservationists prized Sudan for being the last male

northern white rhino, poachers, people who illegally kill animals, prized rhinos for their horns because especially in Asia, they`re believed to cure

different problems in humans.

Researchers have saved some of Sudan`s DNA and they`re hoping to use it to keep the sub species alive. If they`re unsuccessful, they say the two

remaining female northern white rhinos will probably die over the next decade, making these unique animals extinct.


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He just couldn`t carry his weight anymore. I mean, these beasts you use behind me, one of them is his

daughter, Fatu, his granddaughter, I beg your pardon, and his daughter, Najin, are over there. They`re the two only northern white rhinos, which

is distinct from the southern white rhinos because they have shorter legs, heavier ears.

But basically, Sudan was the last male rhino. And because of crippling old age, he could no longer carry himself. And we`ve spoken to the vets here

and the feeling, while you`re asking, is one of sadness, as if they really lost someone they knew for a long time and they did know him for a long


Born in 1973, many of his relatives were massacred and killed mainly for their horns in poaching, in this part of the world. And at the moment,

they`re trying, the scientists and the conservationists, to find some way of conserving Sudan`s lineage by an incredible, fascinating system of

harvesting the eggs of the last two females here. This is absolutely sort of cutting edge of science and conservancy.

So, all is not lost, but, of course, the blame has to go to us, as people and mankind. Remember, rhinos have been on this earth for 55 million years

and it took out two centuries to wipe out a complete sub species of the northern white rhinos.


AZUZ: A treasure hunt factors in to our next report this Wednesday, but it may concerned more legend than fact. Here`s what we know for sure: last

week, FBI agents and state officials were seen digging in the ground in part of rural Pennsylvania, in an area called Dents Run. The FBI would

only it was, quote, carrying out court authorized law enforcement activity in Elk County.

But news affiliate WJAC says their cameras also observed the owners of a lost treasure recovery service at the site, and that brings us to the


In 1863, during the U.S. civil war, the story goes that a Union wagon train packed with gold was lost near Dents Run. Some accounts say it had 55 bars

of gold, which would be worth $54 million today. But despite decades of treasure hunting in the area, no gold and nothing other than a few

historical artifacts has been found. And a local historian who`s investigated himself says he found no credible evidence there was ever gold


Still, with rumors swirling that metal detectors indicated something was at Dents Run, an FBI seen excavating in the area, the lore has taken on new


The skin is the largest organ in a human body. It`s like a climate control jacket we all wear. It keeps our inside warm when it`s cold, it helps us

cool off when we`re hot.

But if someone loses a limb, they lose the ability to feel what the skin there could feel, even if they have a prosthetic limb replaced it.

Meet a scientist who`s working to change that.


BENJAMIN TEE, SCIENTIST AND INVENTOR: My name is Benjamin Tee. I`m from Singapore and I`m 35 years old. I am scientist and innovator in the field

of electronic skins.

So, electronic skins are really a recreation of some of the amazing (INAUDIBLE) abilities that human skin offers us. Basically, it`s a

substrate that can sense the environment really well, just like your own skin, and the whole is to be able to advance robotics and provide them with

the sense of touch. It allows us to be so dexterous and creative.

When I was a kid, about 7 years old, I was really inspired when I watched the "Star Wars Trilogy" and head of robotic assistant fixed back Luke

Skywalker`s hand that he lost in a Jedi fight. And the hand will have complete sensation and the robot pokes it. He`s able to react, and this is

something that today`s prosthetic hand is unable to achieve yet.

If you talk to patients or people that have unfortunately lost their hands or even their legs, when they use a normal prosthetic, they`re unable to

feel. And this really affects the daily activities. It`s been a decade actually thinking about this problem.

(INAUDIBLE) it`s not easy in a way I first started, I think it was in 2008. A few was just starting -- people are just starting to think about how you

can solve this problem and we had to look at very new materials. We have to develop new materials.

The grand challenge is, can we create an artificial version of skin? And, you know, we have multiple brainstorming sessions to see how we can achieve


I really think we`re very close. We have now developed a platform technology that can enable sensors to be built on any skin you want. So,

it could be over the entire body of a robot, or it could be as small as in the area of your finger tip.

What we`re trying to do is to change scientific -- science fiction into scientific reality. Quite frankly, kudos to the science fiction writers,

you know. They`ve done an excellent job of envisioning a future. But we are the ones putting (ph) how to make that a reality.


AZUZ: Super monster wolf gets "10 out of 10". What sounds like your little brother`s description of something scary, super monster wolf is

actually sort of scare crow, except of warding off birds, this thing in Japan is meant to scare off deer and wild boar. Its eyes glow, it can

growl or howl or make gun shot sounds.

The solar-powered super monster wolf costs $4,800. But farmers say it has helped pests away.

Even if it`s more likely to growl than prowl, to glow than grow, to stick than stalk, to make noise than show poise, to light up than light out, and

to be more sensory that intent-sory. It might not monster up fear in humans, but at least it wolfed up our last segment on CNN 10. I`m Carl