Bagpipes the penguin gets new prosthetic foot after nine years waddling with a stump. pic.twitter.com/8CqzL1DMgU
— Georgina Campbell (@GeorgeKCampbell) May 31, 2016
Bagpipes the Penguin, who lives at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, had his leg amputated back in 2007 because it was caught in a fishing line. While Bagpipes can get around, the uneven weight distribution has worn his inner toenail down and he still struggles. “He is using parts of his body that he shouldn’t, like his beak and flippers,” Kepper Mal Hackett says.
Recently, Don Clucas, a senior lecturer in design and manufacturing at the University of Canterbury worked to 3D print a foot for Bagpipes (for free!). The staff at Antarctic Centre believe Bagpipes is the first wild animal in New Zealand to receive a prosthetic.
The task took around 3o hours, from scanning Bagpipe’s right foot—a task Clucas said was a bit difficult “because he is quite wriggly”—to refining and fitting the prosthetic. The foot is made of plastic and rubber material, with more flexible material for the webbing. While Clucas says they still need to make a few adjustments, it seems like Bagpipes is getting used to the foot.
“He’s our resident bad boy with a soft streak.” Bagpipes gets his name from the Scottish vet who found him back in 2007, though he originally wanted to name the penguin Haggis. “We thought that was a bit cruel,” Hackett says.
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