11 November 2010
One of the stars of the stage at Australia Zoo, Occa our Sulpur-Crested Cockatoo, regularly visits the Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital, bringing joy to those children in need.
We all know Occa, the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, is a star of the stage and screen at Australia Zoo, he is a star with a conscience. Occa, knows the importance of valuing his young fans and he was not about to let down fans in need. When the Australia Zoo began a program of regular animal visits to the Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital, Occa was one of the first to volunteer his time.
The hospital visits begin with preparation for the journey. Being a star, and an A-list star at that, certain travel demands have to be met. Whilst his safety is of utmost importance, comfort is a necessity for Occa. He requires a pet pack which not only fits the vehicle seatbelt, but also has perches to sit on, soft blankets to walk on and lots of toys to play with. A view is also important. He definitely demands to be able to see the scenery on the way. Someone is also required to sit in the back seat with him, after all, Occa loves a chat, and chat he does, the entire way to the hospital. The only time Occa isn't talking, is when he is singing, so having the radio on, is also a requirement.
When Occa arrives at the hospital, it is nourishment time. A star needs to keep up his energy if he is expected to perform. To this end, water, nuts and seeds (special treats for a special occasion) are supplied to Occa. Next, it is show time.
Upon meeting the children, Occa swings into action, his number one aim being to bring smiles and laughter to everyone he visits. First, he greets them by greeting himself saying, "Hello Occa". He finds this a useful tactic for making sure everyone knows his name, he would hate to be mistaken for any ordinary cockatoo. Occa also has lots of tricks, one of his favourites is to jump.
Another trick popular with his young fans is his ‘chasing the tiger' trick. When Occa is asked how he chases the tiger he begins to bark like a dog, and when Occa is asked how the tiger reacts, he makes a chicken noise. Cheeky!
Occa loves to treat his young fans so, although he doesn't sign autographs, he is more than willing to pose for any photos.
Occa and his keepers at Australia Zoo hope that through our hospital visits, we have helped to brighten the day of kids who are doing it tough.
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