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On display at ZooAve Animal Rescue in Alajuela, Costa Rica, Grecia, the chestnut-mandibled toucan, can now eat on its own and sing with the new beak. Grecia was in rehabilitation for months after receiving a 3-D-printed nylon prosthesis. Carrie Kahn/NPR
On display at ZooAve Animal Rescue in Alajuela, Costa Rica, Grecia, the chestnut-mandibled toucan, can now eat on its own and sing with the new beak. Grecia was in rehabilitation for months after receiving a 3-D-printed nylon prosthesis.
Remember the toucan in Costa Rica who had its upper beak hacked off by a perpetrator who was never found?
Well, here’s an update to a story we first told you about last year. And, spoiler alert — it has a happy ending.
Local residents brought the bird to a nearby animal rescue center. And thanks to its dedicated workers, amazing doctors and engineers, the toucan now has a prosthetic beak.
That new beak and Grecia, as the bird’s called, went on public display just this last week at ZooAve, a private animal rescue center about 30 minutes outside Costa Rica’s capitol.
Nine-year-old Leonardo Jimenez was thrilled to finally see the bird.
“This is the third time I’ve tried to see Grecia,” he says.
Jimenez started following Grecia’s plight ever since the bird was brought here in January, 2015. Nearly its entire top beak was cut off.
“She was really bad off,” says ZooAve caretaker Ronald Sibaja. “All that was left of the top beak was a jagged bloody stump”.
Sibaja refers to Grecia as “she,” although no one knows its gender. It would have to take a blood test to determine its sex, an added stress Sibaja says the injured bird didn’t need.
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Visitors enter the front gate of ZooAve Animal Rescue, Grecia the toucan’s permanent home. Carrie Kahn/NPR
toggle caption Carrie Kahn/NPR
Visitors enter the front gate of ZooAve Animal Rescue, Grecia the toucan’s permanent home.
“When the veterinarian did that first exam we all thought she would have to be euthanized,” says Sibaja.
Toucans need their beaks for everything from eating to regulating body temperature. But he says you could tell Grecia wanted to live. She sang as best she could and would try to eat.
Sibaja says he had read about eagles and ducks getting prosthetic beaks and suggested one for Grecia.
When the decision was made to get the bird a new beak, news of Grecia and her prosthesis campaign went viral. A 3-D printing company from the U.S. with partners in Costa Rica signed on to make the beak.
Filmmaker Paula Heredia documented Grecia’s year-long recovery for Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet.