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

Associated Press logo Associated Press 10/04/2017
In this April 4, 2017 photo keeper German Alonso straps a leg prothesis to on the left leg of secretarybird Soeckchen (Sagittarius seprentarius) at the bird park in Walsrode, northern Germany. The prothesis was made in a 3D-printer after his left leg was amputated. (Philipp Schulze/dpa via AP) © The Associated Press In this April 4, 2017 photo keeper German Alonso straps a leg prothesis to on the left leg of secretarybird Soeckchen (Sagittarius seprentarius) at the bird park in Walsrode, northern Germany. The prothesis was made in a 3D-printer after his left leg was amputated. (Philipp Schulze/dpa via AP)

BERLIN — Soeckchen the secretary bird is now strutting around her home in northern Germany with an artificial leg produced using a 3-D 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 organization 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.

Buse says Thalmann built a second leg without talons — "it looks much simpler, but the bird is managing brilliantly with it."

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