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Harpy eagle gets new 3D printed beak

"Queeny has made a complete recovery and is exhibiting normal harpy eagle behaviors. She is using her beak normally, able to chew, eat, swallow, vocalize."

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By Leo Black via SWNS

A magnificent eagle at risk of losing its beak to infection is now well on the mend after specialist vets formed a new one - on a 3D printer.

27-year-old Harpy eagle Queeny was suffering from erosion on the upper part of her beak, which could have led her to lose it and make it impossible for her to feed.

Vets at Fort Worth Zoo, Texas discovered she was suffering from a bone infection and while they could treat this, could not restore the erosion.

Zoo representative Avery Elander said: "Once the defect was present, there was concern that without a protective covering, she could have accidentally injured her beak more."

The zoo contacted the University of South Florida (USF) group USF Health, which had previously 3D printed a beak for a Great Hornbill that was suffering from a tumor.

Queeny underwent a CT scan and the results were sent to USF, where a digital model for the prosthetic beak was made and 3D printed.

Amazing footage shows vets grinding down some of the eroded areas on the sedated eagle's beak and gluing on the new prosthetic.

The finished prosthesis was fitted in less than an hour with a long-lasting adhesive.

Avery said: "Without the initial treatments, the infection may have continued to spread and likely would have resulted in the loss of more beak.

"What started the initial infection is unclear, but it required extensive treatment to get the beak stable enough for prosthetic placement.

"Unfortunately, because the infection impacted the bone itself, we don’t expect that part of the beak to regrow.

"Queeny has now made a full recovery and is back in her enclosure.

"Queeny has made a complete recovery and is exhibiting normal harpy eagle behaviors. She is using her beak normally, able to chew, eat, swallow, vocalize."

Harpy eagles, native to Latin America, are a globally vulnerable species and listed as critically endangered.

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