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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

To the Rescue

To the Rescue

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, February 14, 2015/Categories: wildlife conservation, birds

For anyone who has been a teenager knows they can often be 'out of control'. Raging hormones, awkward and uncoordinated, peer pressure, and brains not fully developed to think thru actions, can lead to stupid decisions.

The abusive act of several teenagers in Costa Rica taking out their immaturity and lack of compassion on a  toucan , one of the country's iconic wildlife species, is a sad illustration. Using a stick to beat the defenseless bird, the kids broke off the toucan's upper beak that is used not only for eating but also in defense, for vocalizations, and potentially to attract a mate. Attention to this individual act of animal cruelty has been widespread but here is early BBC  coverage. The toucan was rescued and sent to the  Rescate Animal Zoo , a rehabilitation center in Costa Rica's capital, San Jose where it is being cared for.

                                   Injured Toucan  (credit: Rescate Animal Zoo, Costa Rica)

Besides the efforts of the center's vets, companies and individuals have offered support in uniquely technological ways. Two new approaches have been employed for a longer term rescue effort. An international  "crowd sourcing"  campaign  has been launched to help pay for the birds rehabilitation, to construct an artificial bill, and support the rehabilitation center in its ongoing rescue operations. A video shows how cutting-edge 3D Printing will be used to construct the artificial prosthetic beak that will allow the toucan to eat even if can't be released back into its forest habitat.

The injured bird is a "poster child" for animal cruelty, lack of compassion, and the need to provide better education of environmental responsibility. Costa Rica, as well as many other countries, lacks a law protecting wildlife from abusive acts so the teenagers haven't been charged. Perhaps they should be requited to so a service project to help out at the animal rescue center.


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