Meet Bella, or as her Keepers like to call her, Bella Bananas!
Bella is a five year, 11-month-old Southern cassowary who arrived at the Zoo in late June from the White Oak Conservation Center in Florida. Bella comes to the Virginia Zoo as part of the Cassowary Species Survival Plan and will be introduced to her potential mate, Boris, once she completes a routine quarantine period. Although she has not bred in the past, Keepers are optimistic about Bella and Boris breeding.
Keepers have started training and bonding with Bella daily and have discovered she is quite the diva. Cassowaries can be dangerous and Bella is just like her counterparts. She is considered to be feisty and can only interact with her Keepers through protected contact, which is a barrier between people and animals.
Keepers have been figuring out what Bella likes to eat and so far they have discovered she is a very picky eater and although she is offered all types of produce, she particularly enjoys one type of food: bananas. Bella can eat up to 23 bananas a day! She is fed twice daily and likes for her bananas to be broken into particular sizes. If a Keeper gives her a piece that is too big she will spit it out.
Bella is currently behind-the-scenes at the Australia Walkabout, but she may be seen periodically in the adjacent exhibit while walking through the Australia Walkabout. Are you bananas for Bella? We love her already!