Animal Planet is set to tell the story of a toucan in Costa Rica who made headlines last year after losing part of his beak in a brutal attack by a group of vandals, sparking international outrage.
The network will air Toucan Nation, from Emmy-winning filmmaker Paula Heredia (In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01), at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Aug. 24.
Grecia lost half of his beak after a group of youths attacked the bird, who has been described as a sort of mascot for the town of the same name. The incident sparked outrage across the globe, with people donating thousands of dollars to help the bird.
Animal rescuers and veterinarians enlisted a team of volunteer experts tasked with replacing Grecia’s beak; he ultimately received a 3D-printed prosthetic. Meanwhile, Costa Ricans rallied to implement penalties for animal cruelty.
Toucan Nation will chronicle each step of the journey as the Zooaveanimal refuge center works to improve Grecia’s life. The film features Charles W. Hull of 3D Systems, known as the father of 3D printing, who collaborates with a group of Costa Rican product designers, dentists and engineers on the best design and construction for Grecia’s prosthetic beak.
“What happened to this beautiful bird was horrific,” said John Hoffman, executive vp documentaries and specials at Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel. “But this atrocity inspired people to work together to save an animal’s life. We are proud to present this moving story and hope it sparks a larger conversation about animal welfare.”
School children and a committed group of animal rights activists have waged a battle to highlight animal cruelty in their country and transform the penal code. Toucan Nation showcases the children and the activists as they created a petition for Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis to bring the Animal Welfare bill in front of Congress.
Added Heredia: “It gives me hope when I see people who believe they can change the world and take it upon themselves to right a wrong — through technology, activism and the law.”
The doc will air as part of the recently launched documentary feature franchise Animal Planet Presents, which features the best of blue-chip documentaries and films from top filmmakers that explore a wide range of topics.
Toucan Nation is presented in association with Humane Society International and H/3 Foundation. It is produced for Animal Planet by Heredia Pictures. For H/3, Spencer B. Haber serves as executive producer. For Animal Planet, Hoffman is executive producer and Alexandra Moss is supervising producer.