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Monday 25 September 2017

Secretary bird at German park gets new leg from 3D printer

German Alonso straps a leg prosthesis to the left leg of secretary bird Soeckchen at the bird park in Walsrode, northern Germany (Philipp Schulze/dpa via AP)
German Alonso straps a leg prosthesis to the left leg of secretary bird Soeckchen at the bird park in Walsrode, northern Germany (Philipp Schulze/dpa via AP)

Soeckchen the secretary bird is now strutting around her home in northern Germany with an artificial leg produced by a 3D printer.

Keepers at the Weltvogelpark bird park in Walsrode found two-year-old Soeckchen (Little Socks) in her aviary with a broken left leg.

Her lower leg had to be amputated.

Zookeepers turned to Lars Thalmann of e-Nable, which makes free prosthetic hands for children.

The dpa news agency says it was the first time the organisation had made a prosthesis for an animal.

Park spokeswoman Janina Buse says it took two attempts to get it right.

A first prosthesis, which mimicked the leg's form, turned out too heavy.

Ms Buse said Mr Thalmann built a second leg without talons, adding: "It looks much simpler, but the bird is managing brilliantly with it."

AP

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