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How 3D printing saved a toucan.

When police spotted a female toucan at an animal fair in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, earlier this year, they noticed she had only half a beak. It had likely been hacked off by animal traffickers, making it hard for her to eat. The toucan, named Tieta, was malnourished and faced an uphill battle to survive if not for the wonders of modern technology. The police handed her over to a wildlife management group, which worked with three Brazilian universities to design and 3D-print a new prosthetic beak for Tieta. Three months later, the 0.14-ounce prosthesis was screwed into the remaining part of her real beak. It took her three days to learn how to use it, but she can now eat by herself. The plan is to put her in a zoo, where researchers hope to highlight the uses of 3D printing and the threats of animal trafficking. (Toucans, native to Central America and South America, are often trafficked to be sold as pets for as much as $3,000.) Says researcher Roched Seba, who helped create the new beak, "[Tieta] is an example of how we can use technology for helping animals, the same way we use it for helping people."

Print Me a Beak

Tieta's 3D-printed beak is made of plastic and coated in a special waterproof resin.

It took researchers three months to design the new beak, two hours to 3D-print it, and 40 minutes to attach it to Tieta's body.

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Title Annotation:THE BIG PICTURE
Publication:New York Times Upfront
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Nov 23, 2015
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