Beauty, a marvellous bald eagle, is the recipient of the world's first prosthetic beak.
The Bald Eagle is a well-known and revered species of bird in the United States. Not only were its iconic features chosen to be proudly displayed on the US emblem, but it has been protected by the the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act since 1940.
This is largely because the bald eagle was once considered to be an endangered species, though it has since been taken off the endangered species list (2007) after numbers naturally rebounded in all 48 states. It remains, however, illegal for one to “take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle … [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof” according to federal law.
After a ruthless poacher shot her in the face, a large part of her beak was obliterated – making it almost impossible for the gorgeous bird to hunt, eat, or even preen herself. Without the ability to survive in her natural habitat in Alaska, the bird was close to death.
Luckily conservations found her and nursed her back to health. But without a beak, they knew Beauty still could not survive in the wild – let alone captivity.
Which is why when mechanical engineer, Nate Calvin, heard of her predicament, he enlisted the help of a dentist and both got to work on designing her a new beak. After 18 months of labor, the pair finally created a 3-D printed beak for Beauty.
Watch the video below to see how Beauty’s beak was reattached, and how she can now thrive thanks to a prosthetic.
This is just one example of how technology has the potential to change lives.
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