HAILSHAM: Goose Garcia goes under the knife for a special beak-job

Garcia before the lifesaving operation
Garcia before the lifesaving operation

GARCIA the goose has undergone a nose job with a difference after a life-saving operation to replace its torn-off beak with a fibreglass replica.

The bird, which lives at the Happy Endings animal rescue sanctuary in Hailsham, was unable to fend for itself after its beak was torn off in a freak accident.

Garcia sporting her new beak

Garcia sporting her new beak

But Garcia is now facing a healthy future after bird expert Alan Jones carefully crafted a new prosthetic beak from fibreglass putty.

The unusual operation took about an hour to perform and was carried out under full anaesthetic.

Because the base of the goose’s original beak was undamaged in the accident, it will grow back from the root, slowly pushing the prosthetic off.

Garcia and her mate Morgan were taken in by Happy Endings four months ago. Terry Kemp, a veterinary nurse and founder of Happy Endings Animal Rescue Sanctuary, said Garcia’s beak was ripped shortly after she was taken in.

“She’s a very inquisitive goose and likes waddling around seeing what is going on,” he said. “I can only think she got her beak caught on some fencing in her enclosure and it got torn off.

“She couldn’t eat anything so we soaked her food in water and syringe it into her mouth a little at a time.”

Bird expert Alan Jones, who is based at Eynsford in Kent, agreed to take on the challenge of building Garcia a new beak to save the bird’s life.

In a painstaking operation at the British Wildlife Centre at Newchapel in Surrey, he carefully attached wires into the goose’s skull and built a framework for the new beak before filling it with a fibreglass paste.

Chris Johns, co-founder of Happy Endings, said, “Garcia’s old beak was orange, her new one is black and a bit bumpier but it absolutely fantastic. She can eat and drink with it perfectly.

“When we brought her home from the vets Morgan recognised her straight away, he was flapping around her, checking out her new beak. I think he was as thrilled as us.”