It’s a very special day for our feathered friends today, National Bird Day*. A perfect opportunity to introduce you to two of our ambassador birds, Pepe and Vic.

They are both around 13 years old and were hand raised at Perth Zoo. Pepe is a Baudin’s Cockatoo and Vic is a Forest Red tailed Black Cockatoo.

Our Zoo, along with our conservation partners, is committed to protecting black cockatoos. Over the years our vet department has treated hundreds of wild black cockatoos. Many of them have gone on to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

Pepe and Vic are two cockatoos that love being around people and have built strong bonds of trust with their keepers.

Over the last twelve months the keepers at Perth Zoo started behavioural training with Pepe and Vic to be able to introduce them to school students that visit the Discovery and Learning precinct at the Zoo.

The training is focused around the natural skills and behaviours of the birds, allowing students to appreciate an animal they would not normally see up close.

Perth Zoo Keeper, Emily Trainer said: “Quite often when they see these animals in the wild they see them in the distance, they see a flock of cockatoos flying over.”

“This gives them an opportunity to see them up close and how amazing they are!”

Another benefit of the behavioural training is that it has made health checks much easier.

“We can weigh them and whenever we have vets come down that need to check on them, they can check under their wings, feet and get a good look at their bodies to provide a high level of care,” Emily said.

“Working so closely with Pepe and Vic we have gotten to know them very well, it’s a very special bond and I feel very privileged to have been able to build that.”

See Emily training with Pepe in the video below.

*National Bird Day originated in the USA, but with so many incredible native birds of our own, Perth Zoo has joined the occasion!