Jary’s battle with cancer

Pairing up behind the scenes

24 October 2019 - Present Back of house @ Jurong Bird Park

Jary has moved out of his exhibit to a back-of-house facility. He is accompanied by Asha, a female great hornbill. Jary’s keepers hope the move will improve his chances of pairing with Asha. We wish them the best of luck and look forward to good news.

First signs: A gash at the front of Jary’s casque

July 2018 Hornbills & Toucans @ Jurong Bird Park

In July 2018, Jary’s keepers noticed an 8cm-wide gash on his casque, exposing underlying tissue that looked unhealthy. Cancer was suspected. Jary was sent for a CT-guided biopsy, to extract a tissue sample from his casque for examination. The procedure was a first for us and possibly the first in a bird.

A high-tech plan to give Jary a chance to live

3 August 2018 National University of Singapore

Analysis of the tissue sample confirmed that Jary had cancer. The avian vets devised a plan to remove the affected part of Jary’s casque through surgery and to replace it with a 3D-printed prosthesis. 3D printing engineers at NUS and Dr Hsu Li Chieh from The Animal Clinic were roped in for this.

The perfect fit for Jary

13 September 2018, 9.00am Animal Hospital @ Singapore Zoo

In the first such surgery for a hornbill ever recorded in the world, Jary received his 3D-printed casque. It will stay with him till a new one grows back in. He was eating normally the day after the operation and after a short recovery time at the avian hospital ward, he’s now back in action in the park.

Staying well-groomed

October 2018 Hornbills & Toucans @ Jurong Bird Park

Jary has been colouring his prosthesis with yellow pigment from his preening gland, as great hornbills do naturally with their casque. This means he has accepted the artificial casque as a part of him. He’s been paired with a female and his keepers are hopeful they’ll hit it off.

First post-op medical check

30 January 2019, 1.30pm Avian Hospital @ Jurong Bird Park

An X-ray taken of Jary’s casque area showed no signs of recurrence of the cancer. The vets also saw indications of new tissue growth, and they are happy to report that Jary appears to be healing well. Blood samples were also taken to check on the health of his vital organs and overall body condition.

View Jary's journey