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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Animal Rescue VII: Keel-billed Toucan

Tookie the Toucan was conscripted to the pet trade. His last owner, however, wanted this bird to live as close to nature as possible, so we have taken him to Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. He is a male Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), and his natural habitat includes the forests behind Estacion Biologica. Although these toucans are among the most attractive animals in Nicaragua, they have a delicate disposition and strict dietary requirements. Furthermore, they count among the endangered wildlife of Nicaragua. It is against the law in Nicaragua to capture or trade this animal. We are dedicated to keeping Tookie as close to nature as possible-the species is native to our area-and we are evaluating the possibility of releasing him to the wild.

We think wild animals should not be put in cages to humor human beings. We can learn to appreciate them in the forests by birdwatching instead of placing them in cages. Toucans are not adapted to be pets as are dogs, so living in a cage is appropriate.

We would like to release Tookie and make him part of the wildlife of the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Tookie is getting fed papayas and bananas, along with native fruits from the forest, and a supplement designed for the toucans. Keel-billed Toucans are part of the native wildlife of this area, and we often see them, particularly on the western side of the lake. Three years ago, a nesting pair of Keel-billed Toucans nested just outside Estacion Biologica, near the north shore, but generally, this bird is not found in the northern part of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. We are gauging his willingness to eat native, wild fruits, with the intention to release him if feasible.

Would you like to help us take care of Tookie? Please contact us if you would like to volunteer or make a donation to help us care for him.
wildlife animal photography in Nicaragua
Tookie is a male Keel-billed Toucan. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary
ecotours in Nicaragua
The Keel-billed  Toucan diet has a delicate disposition and must be fed a restricted diet. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary
animals in Nicaragua
Although the Keel-billed Toucan is beautiful, it can be very aggressive and does not tame easily. This species is native to the forests of Nicaragua. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.

toucans in Nicaragua
Tookie enjoys papaya! Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.

Keel-billed Toucan
The sounds of nearby wild birds enchant Tookie. The Keel-billed Toucan bill serves him well to make him a fearsome predator. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.

Ramphastos sulfuratus
Aura and Rachel admire Tookie in the first moments after his arrival to Laguna de Apoyo. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary. 
Keel-billed Toucan
Our research intern, Rachel, befriends Tookie, who enjoys taking food from his hand. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary. 
animal rescue Nicaragua toucan
Click on the  "escudo" to contact us. 

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