A Brazilian toucan gets 3D-printed beak prosthesis - BNA iTech

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Friday, August 28, 2015

A Brazilian toucan gets 3D-printed beak prosthesis

Tieta with part of her beak missing

A Brazilian toucan which lost the upper part of its beak while being trafficked has been fitted with a prosthesis made with a 3D printer.
The female bird, named Tieta, was rescued from a wildlife animal fair in Rio de Janeiro.
It is not clear whether she lost the upper part of her beak after being mistreated by animal smugglers or in a fight with a bigger toucan she was locked up with inside a small box.
Black-beaked toucans like Tieta, which are native to Rio and not endangered, can cost up to $5,000 (£3,180) when sold legally.
(Plastic replacement)
The prosthetic is made of plastic, covered with nail polish and sealed with a special polymer made from the castor oil plant.
Researchers used the latest technology to design and produce the prosthesis.
She only succeeded once in every three attempts.
"It took her three days to realise she had it again," says Instituto Vida Livre Director Roched Seba.

"We were feeding her fruit and she was ignoring the new beak. But when we gave her live animals, like maggots and cockroaches, she ate normally immediately," he explains.

"I believe she had that kind of food when she was free, before losing the beak. So it activated a core memory," he adds.

It took researchers three months to design the beak but it took only two hours for the printer 
to print it. - the beak weighs approximately 4g and it is 4cm (1.6in) long.
(The beak is made of plastic and only weighs 4g)



(Hope for mating)
The team was breaking new ground with this project.
Although another group of researchers was creating a prosthetic beak for another injured toucan in Sao Paulo, the two teams were unaware of each other's work.
In Costa Rica, a charity has raised $10,000 for a prosthesis for a toucan which also lost the upper part of its beak, but the surgery has yet to be performed.
Tieta's surgery only took 40 minutes to perform but was not without risks, veterinarian Thiago Muniz says.

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