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Beauty And The Beak

This is Beauty the bald eagle. In 2005, Beauty was shot in the face by a poacher, causing the damage you see here. Her beak was so badly damaged it was impossible for her to eat or hunt on her own. Fortunately, she was rescued by volunteers at Birds of Prey Northwest before she starved to death. They nursed her back to health by hand feeding her, and hoped that she would recov

er. Sadly, it soon became apparent that she would never be able to be self sufficient and they considered euthanizing her.

However, raptor specialist Jane Cantwell had other ideas. She teamed up with mechanical engineer Nate Calvin as well as several other scientists, engineers and dentists to model a nylon polymer beak that would replace Beauty’s damaged upper mandible. The beak was then printed on a 3-D printer, and attached to Beauty.

Thanks to their hard work and the 3-D printer, Beauty can once again eat, drink and preen herself. Unfortunately, the beak is not secure enough for her to be able to be returned to the wild, but it has meant a whole new lease of life for this magnificent bird.

For more info, watch this video:

Oh man, I’m all teary-eyed after watching that video…

(via alice44)