Toucan Disfigured By Teenagers Gets Incredible New Start Thanks To 3D Printer

Andrea A.

His name is Grecia and he's travelled a long long way.

In February 2015, the toucan from Costa Rica was rushed to the veterinary clinic at the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center, a few kilometres outside of capital San José.

The poor animal was the victim of terrible cruelty: a group of teenagers locked him up and abused him, savagely disfiguring the toucan. Though he managed to recover from his injuries, Grecia tragically lost half of his upper beak, leaving him unable to live a normal life.

Source : @AFP

Toucans rely on their beaks not only for feeding themselves, but also to defend themselves against predators.

Grecia's touching story quickly made it all over the media in Costa Rica, provoking rage and anger but also an incredible show of solidarity. Just a few days after he arrived at the centre, his rescuers came up with the idea of a fundraiser to offer the toucan a second chance at life.


Source : @AFP

With enough money, they would be able to develop a prosthesis for his beak using a 3D printer.

By some lucky chance, the fundraiser was a huge success, raising 10,000 dollars. But this was just the beginning...


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The project would be a real technical challenge and many businesses specialising in 3D printing put themselves up to it.

The engineers faced many difficulties. Toucans' beaks don't just allow them to feed themselves and to sing: they also play an important role in regulation of body temperature. The choice of material and design is therefore crucial.


Source : @AFP

Nelson Martinez, one of the team behind the creation of the prosthesis, explains to the magazine 3D Print:

We couldn’t use any type of adhesive with chemical components as it could compromise the structure of the beak.

In January 2016, after long months of work, Grecia finally received his new beak: it was time for this toucan to return to a normal life!


Source : @AFP


Source : @AFP

But the good news doesn't end there. Grecia is doing really well with his new prosthesis and can finally sing and eat to his heart's delight, living out the rest of his life in perfect health.


Source : @AFP

Scientists have agreed that female toucans choose their partner according to the colour of their beak. There's no doubt that Grecia will have great success compared to his other toucan counterparts!


Source : @AFP

Watch Grecia's transformation on video: