LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - A one-legged young stork is learning to walk on its new 3D-printed prosthesis after the bird injured itself while taking its first flight off a chimney.
Veterinarians and workers of the SOOS animal sanctuary near Frantiskovy Lazne in the western Czech Republic tell Reuters they decided to give the stork a prosthesis so that one day he would be able to "fly, hunt and live a full life."
Employees of the animal rescue station were alerted to the injured cub thanks to a webcam aimed at one of the chimneys in Cheb, through which people can watch stork nests on social networks, according to Czech news website Novinky.cz
Veterinarian Michal Houtke replaced the stork's old prosthesis with a new one on Sept. 1, carefully adjusting it and wrapping the leg stump with bandages.
The prosthesis was designed and 3D-printed by high school student Matyas Michl.
"I photographed the stump from different angles and used it to make it in digitized form. Accordingly, I made a prosthesis, which I wrapped around the stump," he tells Novinky.cz. "Part of the prosthesis is filled with foam for wearing comfort. Velcro straps are attached to the leg of the prosthesis."
Michl says he's now working on a joint that would prevent the prosthesis from rotating and also designing a silicon sock for the bird.
Zdenek Soukup, who heads up SOOS, says the sanctuary would try to find a new home for the stork, preferably at a zoological garden, as the prosthesis would need maintenance from time to time.
But for now, the stork will stay at the sanctuary, getting used to its new plastic leg.
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