October 29, 2021

SA Vets Fit Macaw with 3D-Printed Beak

South African vets have broken new ground after fitting a macaw with a 3D-printed prosthetic beak.

Several years ago, a blue-and-gold macaw named Max got involved in a fracas with his fellow macaws at a sanctuary in the Western Cape. The top of his beak was damaged and ultimately ripped off, leaving him with a stump.
As a result, he was reduced to eating soft food. Soon, however, his bottom beak grew longer than his tongue, making it difficult for him to eat food at all.

Now, Max feels like a brand new bird after the University of Pretoria’s Veterinary Science department recently performed surgery on him in Plettenberg Bay, whereby he was fitted with a titanium-printed beak.

Printed by the Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing at Central University of Technology, the beak was attached on Max’s face with the aid of specially designed “anchors” or screws, which kept it locked in place.

The one-hour procedure was led by Professor Gerhard Steenkamp, who lauded the benefits of 3D-printing: “I am happy to have been part of the team that has given Max a second chance in life and would like to thank our industry partners.”

Since then, Max boasts a clean “bill” of health – according to sanctuary owner Trevor Glover, the macaw is back to eating solid foods, flying and climbing normally.

Glover said: “Max has been given a new lease of life … my heartfelt thanks to [Professor Steenkamp’s team].”

Image Credit: Source