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Grecia the Toucan gets a new beak via crowdfunding and 3D printing

Grecia the Toucan was brought to a Costa Rican animal hospital in January, missing the top half of his beak. His injuries, which occurred at the hands of a group of children, meant he would not survive if returned to the wild. But the internet wasn’t having that outcome.

Toucans have large, colourful beaks – some being half the size of their body – which are surprisingly light as they are made of keratin, which makes up human hair and nails. Obviously toucans need their bills to eat, but a female toucan will also choose her mate based on the colour of his bill.

The tragic story and particularly the accompanying images of the Grecia’s sawn-off beak touched a nerve. Costa Ricans aren’t too happy with the children, but they’re doing what they can to help. Four local companies offered their assistance to create a new bill for Grecia through 3D printing.

Grecia’s wounds are still too fresh for the new bill to be fitted at this stage, however the vet taking care of the toucan is hopeful he’ll be ready for fittings in a month or so.

Nelson Martinez, a local designer, told newspaper La Nacion Grecia’s new bill would entail “a fixed part and a moveable part so it can be cleaned or replaced as the toucan is still growing”.

Fitting the beak will be slightly trickier, “We couldn’t use any type of adhesive with chemical components as it could compromise the structure of the beak,” Mr Martinez said. According to the BBC Martinez’s team are considering using screws instead.

As for how the new beak will be paid for, Luciano Lacayo from Rotterdam in The Netherlands saw the story and set up an Indiegogo page to help fund Grecia’s new beak. The aim was to raise $US5,000 and with funding to continue until March 10, the project has already raised $9,513 – in fact they reached their initial goal within 48 hours.

Toucan without a beak

I am blessed to inform you all that the toucan is currently being treated. Soon all donors will receive pictures of the wonderful bird and major donors will receive surprises such as t-shirts and paraphernalia!

Do not stop donating ! Our team is now building a hospital to save even more exotic animals such as ocelots and tapirs! All extra funds will be directed to construct this Animal Help Center.

A second Indiegogo campaign has been created hoping to raise $50,000 to finish an animal hospital in Costa Rica.

There are high hopes Grecia’s new beak will be a success, with doctors in having previously fitted both a penguin and an eagle with 3D printed beaks.

About the author

Joe was Junior Vice-President at Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net until it was bought out by Bill Gates. He now subedits for Conversant Media and considers it a step up.

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