Veterinaries Helped A Mutilated Hornbill With A 3D Printer

Veterinaries Helped A Mutilated Hornbill With A 3D Printer

An injured hornbill was found in Thailand with severe wounds, as one of its wings was broken, and a part of the lower side of the beak was missing. It is believed that the bird may have been attacked by poachers who tried to hunt it for profit. The researchers used a 3D printer to help it.

The bird was found by chance on the ground, in Kanchanaburi, a region located on the western side of Thailand. According to wildlife officers, the bird managed to withstand an assault caused by hunters or poachers, being one of the few creatures that managed to escape with its life. Veterinarians managed to stabilize it but did not succeed in finding the missing bill part.

Since the bird could not eat without the lower side of the bill, the veterinarians decided to employ an innovative solution. They scanned the body and resorted to 3D printing to produce a prosthetic beak segment. A first version of the prosthetic failed after less than an hour, but the team persevered and managed to provide a replacement that has withstood intense usage.

3D Printer Helped Scientists Save A Mutilated Hornbill

Coco, as the bird has been nicknamed, is now able to enjoy fruits and other foods without problems, but remains under intensive supervision as prosthetic may become unstuck due to the force used by the bird to peck food.

A superior prosthetic could be made with the help by using a mixture of several materials. The resulting alloy may withstand the impressive pressure which can be generated when Coco eats. Sadly, the injury to the wing might be very severe as some of the muscles and nerves could be compromised, even though no fracture has been observed.

One park officer has stated that the hornbill might have been shot, and an investigation has been started. Coco will remain under supervision for a while, and if the wing stays in the current state, it will be kept in captivity for the rest of its life. The 3D printer, however, was useful to help the bird.

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