The Phoenix Zoo’s Harmony Farm Petting Zoo welcomed a new addition to the Red Barn in June: A family of six San Clemente Island goats. San Clemente Island goats are a rare breed with less than 500 goats remaining on their native island, according to the San Clemente Island Goat Association.
The family of six is comprised of one adult male, two adult females, and three baby goats. Of the three baby goats, one is a girl born to one of the adult females, and the other two are a set of twins, one male and one female, born to the other adult female goat. The babies were about three weeks old when they arrived at the Zoo’s Animal Care Clinic (ACC) in mid-May.
The San Clemente Island goats were kept at the ACC in a standard quarantine for 30 days. New animals arriving at the Zoo spend a quarantine period in the ACC to ensure that they are healthy before they debut on exhibit. The Zoo’s Joyce Corrigan Memorial Care Center is a large facility with a variety of enclosures to ensure the Zoo can properly care for any animal that may need it. While staying at the ACC, the goats were housed on a sand substrate.
“We selected that as a substrate because it’s better for their feet than something like cement,” says DeLaura, the Hospital Keeper who cared for the goats. “With the little babies, we wanted to make sure their feet were on something soft. We housed them on sand in a large pen that had misters so they could hang out in the cooler area if they wanted to.”
The particular type of pen that the goats lived in is referred to as the “cheetah pen” because it is large enough to house even one of the Zoo’s big cats. The cheetah pen has both a shaded area and sunny area, so that the goats had the option to lie out in the sun or cool off in the shade. The enclosure also had wooden hutch “hides” that the baby goats enjoyed crawling under.
The San Clemente Island goats made their debut at the Red Barn on June 25th. Zoo guests will be able to identify the new goats quickly: they’re the ones with horns! According to Senior Keeper Eric, the Harmony Farm Petting Zoo has 20 goats spanning six breeds, including Nigerian dwarf, Pygmy, Boer, and La Mancha. The Zoo hopes to start a breeding program for the San Clemente Island goats.
“I think they’re going to be a nice addition,” says DeLaura. “The managers make an effort to try to get a big variety of domestic animals in.”
Guests can view and pet the goats at the Harmony Farm Petting Zoo daily.