Bullying is a major problem in society, but as it turns out, it’s not just limited to humans. Animals are just as capable of rejecting and mocking their peers for their differences in the cruelest ways imaginable.
That’s what happened to Huizai (Chinese for “Grey Boy”), a parrot living in the Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo in Jiangsu, China. After a fight with another parrot, Huizai’s beak started to crack and eventually fell off, resulting in severe bullying from the other parrots. But Huizai’s keepers just weren’t going to let that happen.
Huizai the parrot lost his beak after a fight with another parrot, and the injury affected both his appetite and confidence.
The loss was so unbearable that Huizai would sometimes refuse to come out of his cage, preferring to be alone.
According to Chen Wei, one of Huizai’s keepers, a parrot’s beak is “very important to a parrot’s appearance.”
Huizai’s keepers were worried that he was seen as “less of a bird,” not to mention their concerns about his health. So to help him, they approached researchers and vets at the Nanjing Research Institute of Additive Manufacturing. That’s how they found a 3D printing company that offered to build a beak Huizai free of charge.
They used another parrot with the same health status and in the same species as Huizai for reference.
The doctors put Huizai under anesthesia before performing surgery, where they connected what remained of Huizai’s original beak with the resin prosthetic, using 11 bone nails.
After a successful recovery from surgery, Huizai started using his new beak to eat and drink like any parrot would. Better yet, the other parrots accepted him as one of their own again!
Who would have thought that just a simple 3D-printed object could save a parrot’s life? Surely Huizai is more than happy to have his beak—and his friends—back!