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Giant Toucans at Taipei Zoo Finally Successfully Bred, and They’re Protective Parents Now

Inside the Pangolin Dome of Tropical Rainforest Area at Taipei Zoo, even though it’s an artificial natural environment, we can still spot an eye-catching pair of husband and wife with colorful beaks. The husband and wife are Bei-Bei and Wai-Wai, they are giant toucans and they just gave birth to their first kid on July 1st, 2022, and it was the first giant toucan to get hatched successfully.


There were breeding records of giant toucans before, but none of the eggs were successfully hatched. The zookeepers took the experience of zoos from abroad for example and finally successfully hatched the first nestling. So what did Taipei Zoo do to finally succeed to breed? First, to prevent the parent birds from stepping on their eggs and cracking them, they replaced the wild-alike narrow nest box with a larger L-shaped nest box to keep the birds from entering the box directly. Second, the instinct of parent birds is to dig holes inside the trunk to build nests. If zookeepers provide the parent bird with a ready-to-use nest, the parent birds would treat it like trashing throw it away. As the result, zookeepers started to give them soft cardboard so that once parent birds destroy it, the debris of cardboard can remain in the nest and protect the eggs from rolling. Third, increase the protein intake during the breeding season by changing boiled eggs to steamed eggs, with egg shells, egg white, and egg yolk all stirred together so that the birds can’t be picky with foods.


Bei-Bei and Wai-Wai are a pair of really protective parents. During the hatching period, Bei-Bei and Wai-Wai fought over whom to lay the eggs a lot. After the baby got hatched, the camera even captures the scene of them queued up in the tiny box just to feed their baby with cud right after they finished their food. They treated the newbie like a treasure, or you could say, the newbie is their treasure. Other than incubating the eggs and feeding their kid, they are also their baby’s bodyguards. Whenever zookeepers approached the nest, they would make noises and act like they were attacking invaders. Some tourists noticed that giant toucans often fly to the window and stare tourists in the eyes. It's not an expression of curiosity or goodwill to tourists, but an act of alert and they’re watching you just in case anything happens to their kids.


The baby bird has experienced the process of breaking its shell, growing quills, trying to stand up, and opening its eyes since July, and zookeepers estimated the baby will leave the nest box and start exploring the world soon. Please remain quiet when you’re observing the baby practicing how to fly and do not make noises or hit the window.