A toucan with a damaged beak "printed" with a prosthesis

Toucans are birds that live in the jungles of South and Central America, known for their exotic appearance, bright unique color and unusual large beak. Recently, these beautiful birds have often become the prey of poachers involved in the illegal sale of rare animals. Specifically, the black market toucan beak is priced at $ 5, 000.

There are frequent cases of cruel treatment with them. One sad example happened recently in Brazil. At an animal fair in Rio de Janeiro, a female toucan, Tieta, was found with a broken upper beak. Helping the unfortunate bird is a collaboration between the conservation group, three Brazilian universities and hundreds of volunteers who have raised $ 10, 000.

It was decided to make, or rather to print, a prosthesis made of plastic and a special polymer from castor oil plant on a 3D printer. The size of the prosthesis is 4 cm, weight is 4 grams. According to designer Gustavo Kleinman of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the biggest challenge was to create a lightweight and strong enough prosthesis. The model for the prosthesis was the beak of a dead toucan.

Tieta is perfectly comfortable with the new beak. She feeds on her own and, according to experts, in the future, she will even be able to feed chicks.