Debbie Harry the Chicken

Some of the most heartwarming stories we get to write are the ones where an animal gets a new lease on life thanks to a 3D printed prosthetic. The veterinary field has definitely been increasing its use of the technology over the last few years, and all sorts of animals, from dogs, cats, and goats to turtleslizards and birds, have been the lucky recipients of various 3D printed prosthetic limbs, beaks, and other medical devices.

However, based on the evidence at hand (all of the stories we publish), it seems to me that our feathered friends have been receiving the most 3D printed assistance. In just the last six months, Gumpy the seagull, a baby chick and an adult chicken, a beautiful peacock, and a lucky duck named Peg each received new 3D printed feet or legs. Over the years, multiple other birds, from a macaw, a crane, and a duck to a cockatoo, a toucan and an eagle, have an increased quality of life due to 3D printed bills and beaks, which birds require to drink, eat, preen, build nests, feed their young, and complete other necessary tasks to survive.

While it’s true that most of these 3D printed animal prosthetics come from veterinarians and animal hospitals, sometimes people without a medical degree are the ones who spend their time and energy helping injured animals. Two years ago, 16-year-old Nikita Krishnan learned 3D printing and CAD skills and set up her own nonprofit, all so she could design and fit 3D printed prostheses and splints to injured animals at no cost. 23-year-old Hasan Kızıl, a resident of Derik village in the Mardin province of southeastern Turkey is also one of these amazing animal saviours.

Mardin province of Turkey [Image: TUBS, Wikimedia Commons]

Kızıl is known by the locals around town as “the life repairer,” as he creates his own makeshift prosthetic limbs and walkers for injured animals for free. He said that he’s treated close to 300 disabled animals so far, and his most recent patient was an eagle, a species of bird that has received 3D printed medical assistance in the past. A child brought the eagle to Kızıl after finding it in, as the Daily Sabah Turkey put it, “an exhausted state.”

After an examination, he realized that the eagle was missing the claws on one of its feet, which meant that it would not be able to fly.

Kızıl explained, “Eagles take off with support from their feet and the eagle was not able to fly as it couldn’t take off without a foot.”

[Image: Daily Sabah Turkey]

Kızıl said that an electric fence was the culprit behind its missing claws. So he set out to help the eagle and decided to use 3D printing to create a prosthetic limb. After plenty of calculations and modelling work, Kızıl was successful in his efforts…for which it seems the great bird was very grateful. Not long after the eagle received its 3D printed prosthetic, it started trying to take off into flight; after several tries, it succeeded and flew off.

While eagles don’t generally stick around to say thank you, Kızıl said he was happy to help it get back to the skies again. But there are others who appreciate his efforts – this March, he was the proud recipient of a Benevolence Award by Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs for his continued efforts and hard work helping to treat and save the lives of disabled animals. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan presented him with the award.

Do you know of any other 3D printed animal prosthetic stories? Let us know! Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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