WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - An animal at the National Zoo was struggling to pick up food because of a problem with his beak.
Karl, the Zoo’s Abyssinian ground hornbill, faced challenges eating due to his worn down lower beak.
Hornbills eat by picking up prey with its beak, tossing it into the air and swallowing it whole.
Zoo keepers said if Karl’s problem were to happen in the wild, he could die.
Karl had been eating by tilting his head to the side and scooping the food into his mouth, but that method did not allow him to consume his full diet.
The zoo tried making several prosthetics, but they kept falling off.
A team later turned to newer technology using a 3D printer and old skull.
It took months and a lot of work to pull off the 3D beak.
The zoo said Karl is loving his new beak and able to eat like normal.
© 2018 WUSA-TV