A male Toucan from the forest of Costa Rica got beat up by local children and lost half its beak during the attack. Veterinarians luckily found the poor animal – and called her Grecia – but without a beak, life is hard for toucans. They become easy targets for predators, and it also becomes more difficult for them to eat properly. The birds use their long beaks to reach deep into trees and grap food. 3D printing will now be used to – hopefully – help the toucan to get a new beak.
Images of the maltreated toucan ended up on social media, and what followed was public outrage. People therefore started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise 5.000 dollars to 3D print the bird a new beak. Several companies are supporting the crowdfunding campaign, and according to BBC, four of those companies -Elementos 3D, Ewacorps, Publicidad Web en Grupo Sommerus – are certain that the beak can get printed properly.
According to Carmen Soto, the veterinarian who currently takes care of the toucan, the bird is recovering and is already eating on his own. However, his wounds still need more recovery time before the beak will be ready to get scanned. The idea is to scan the bird’s beak and to 3D print a new model. Usually, chemical elements are used in such cases, but as the beak – filled with keratin tissue – can’t handle this, screws will probably be used.
Nelson Martinet is the one to create a prosthetic for the bird. He says the beak needs to be designed in such a way that it can help Gracia to eat. He thinks the prosthetic needs a “fixed part and a removable part, so it can be replaced and cleaned as the toucan is still growing.” No-one knows yet when the prosthetic will be attached to the beak. In addition, it’s not yet certain whether the bird will accept his new beak of not. Nevertheless, the Indiegogo campaign is highly successful, as it already raised more than 7.700 dollars. It runs until March 10.
Image credits: AFP.