20 September 2010
Occa, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, is certainly a star here at Australia Zoo. Like all Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, he is very intelligent, extremely social, somewhat cheeky, and, loves nothing more than to put on a show for people who visit. In fact, Occa has been an entertainer his whole life. Prior to coming to the Zoo, Occa was thrilling visitors to Brisbane's Expo '88 with his bike riding talents as part of a cockatoo show. Since arriving at the Zoo, however, Occa has expanded his resume past the stage to both the big and small screen. That's right; Occa is both a movie and a television star!
Occa's star began to rise when he and Lady (another Sulphur-crested Cockatoo at Australia Zoo) were asked to appear in Wiggly Safari with Steve and the Wiggles. They helped with the song 'Cocky Want A Cracker'. Although both cockatoos are in the song, Occa would like to point out that it is in fact him, and not Lady, who does all the dancing!
With his obvious star quality hard to deny, Occa's star really soared to new heights when, after shaking off Lady, he was cast as a supporting actor alongside Bindi Irwin in Bindi the Jungle Girl. For the show, Occa was even given his own stage name - Ocker! Of course, Occa likes to think of himself as the star and Bindi the support - but we know better. He lives in the tree house with Bindi and works very hard on his poses as they film cut-away shots for the show.
This year too, with Australia Zoo celebrating its 40th birthday, who was called on to help - Occa of course. When animals were required to ‘strike a pose' in front of a giant 40 sign at a photo shoot, Occa, the born entertainer, was the obvious ‘turn to' animal. After all, posing for cameras is all part of a day's work for him here at the Zoo. He did not mind leading the way and lending his star power to such a cause.
Occa, then, divides his time between entertaining visitors to the Zoo with his antics, and his photo and filming commitments. Whilst this may sound fun (and it is) it is so much more. The stimulation Occa receives (from learning new words and performing new tricks as well as interacting with all sorts of different people) is vital for the mental health of such an intelligent and social species of bird.
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