Taronga Western Plains Zoo is home to hundreds of rare and endangered animals from across the globe, including Asian Elephants, African Wild Dogs, Sumatran Tigers, and Przewalski’s Horses, to name a few. Just recently, Zoo Keepers welcomed a species of a different kind.
The Zoo is now home to a breeding group of 10 Australian Miniature Goats; a friendly bunch that arrived in late January. They came to the Zoo from goat studs in the Southern Highlands and the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, and are currently settling in behind the scenes.
The goats will soon embark on the next chapter of their lives as an integral part of the Zoo’s up and coming African Lion Pride Lands exhibit, opening in late March! The group of nine females and one male have been halter-trained and range from 15 months through to nine years of age. They will likely breed in the near future, and there are already some babies on the way with a number of the females confirmed pregnant.
Visitors can expect to meet the goats in the goat kraal walk-through feature of the exciting new Lion Pride Lands visitor precinct. The goats will have ample time to settle in before the official opening of the exhibit in late March as they roam in the safety of the kraals – away from the African Lions that take main stage at the new exhibit.
But Pride Lands isn’t just about the Lion pride. The presence of goats in the kraals represents an important mainstay of African Masai village life, which Pride Lands has been modelled against. The visitor experience will provide a true sensory experience of being in Africa and the plight of Lions in the wild – as well as their co-existence with humans and their domestic livestock like goats. Lions play an important ecological role as apex predators, and in many African villages their presence means some very real challenges for the community as a whole; a story that is told through an engaging visitor experience at African Lion Pride Lands.
Rest assured though - the Zoo’s goats have their very own area of the exhibit, and are safe from the threats livestock would normally face in an African Masai village setting.