A one-legged young stork is learning to walk on its new 3D-printed prosthesis at a Czech animal rescue station after the bird injured itself while taking its first flight off a chimney.
Veterinarians and workers of the ‘SOOS’ sanctuary in the western Czech Republic said they decided to give the stork a prosthesis so that one day he would be able to “fly, hunt and live a full life”.
On Wednesday (September 1), veterinarian Michal Houtke replaced the stork’s old prosthesis with a new one, carefully adjusting it and wrapping the leg stump with bandages.
The prosthesis was designed and 3D-printed by high school student Matyas Michl.
Michl said he is now working on a joint that would prevent the prosthesis from rotating and also designing a silicon sock for the bird. The original design had to be filled with foam as the plastic wasn’t comfortable for walking.
Head of the ‘SOOS’ rescue station Zdenek Soukup said 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.