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Heartbreaking! Grecia the Toucan from Costa Rica Gets 3D-printed Beak After Tragic Abuse

Aug 29, 2016 05:53 AM EDT

After losing half of its beak due to abuse, a toucan named Grecia in Costa Rica gets its own happy ending after receiving a 3D-printed beak from Rock Hill company.

According to a report from NPR, last year, the upper part of Grecia's beak was hacked off by some youths. Local residents rescued the toucan and passed it to the care of an animal rescue center.

Washington Times notes that toucan's beak is vital for the species' survival as it is used for regulating body temperature, defense from predators, preening and mating. Thus, without a complete beak, Grecia the toucan has a little chance to survive in its natural environment.

To make the 3D-printed beak possible, 3D Systems, in partnership with Grupo SG in Costa Rica, scanned Grecia's damaged beak to for sculpting using the company's Geomagic software. The team of engineers also cross-checked the scans to other beaks of toucans to ensure that everything fits.

The beak was then printed using a Pro X SLS 500 3D printer and is made of Duraform PA nylon. Finally, Grecia was outfitted with its new beak, which went on public display last week at ZooAve.

“We strongly support our partners who embark on projects that make a difference. If our technologies can be used to help anyone in need -- a bird, a pet, a person, we are all for it," Rachael Dalton-Taggart, 3D Systems director of marketing and software products, told Washington Times.

Grecia the toucan's story has instagated a public outcry from Costa Rica and throughout the world. The bird's tragic abuse even resulted to the formation of an animal cruelty bill by Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis.

Ronald Sibaja, a caretaker at ZooAve, told NPR that Grecia's case is an eye-opener to the world. It could raise awareness about animal cruelty and abuse in Costa Rica.

"What happened to Grecia was terrible. But it brought awareness of animal abuse in our country," he said.

To learn more about Grecia the toucan, check out the video below.

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