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      Pair of toucan chicks on display at zoo for limited time

      Photo Credit: Richard Rokes

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- A pair of toucan chicks is now on display at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. But officials say it's only for a short time.

      Guests can watch bird keepers feed the birds every day at 11:30 a.m. in the Bird Garden near the Kangaroo Walkabout. But this will only take place through the middle of September when the birds are moved off exhibit.

      The toco chicks hatched on July 16 and have been hand-raised by staff at the zoo.

      At about 6 weeks old, the chicks begin to fly, explore their surroundings and learn the skills necessary to feed on their own, explains curator of birds Martin Vince. Because of their young age, however, we will continue to keep them under careful observation during the day and move them into the Bird Conservation Center at night.

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      After the birds are removed from the public eye, they'll be prepared for transfer to other zoos as part of a national breeding program.

      Officials say Riverbanks has been breeding toucans for the program since 1977.