Wild Inside: Meeting Zoo Knoxville’s newest ‘kids’

These goats may seem ordinary, but Zoo Knoxville is helping the breed survive.
These goats may seem ordinary, but Zoo Knoxville is helping the breed survive.
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 8:51 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - At Zoo Knoxville’s Clayton Family Kids Cove, you can get hands-on with goats and sheep, just like on a farm. Franklin B. Moose Munch and Captain B. Crunch are Oberhasli goats, and at just two and a half weeks old, are the newest additions to the zoo.

While they may look like your average baby goat, also known as a “kid,” these little guys are special.

“They are actually a recovering species,” said Zookeeper Lori Meyers. “They were actually critically endangered and there’s only a couple thousand of them in the United States right now.”

Meyers said people are surprised when they hear about Oberhasli goats and how few there are.

“A lot of people don’t think of farm animals as being an endangered species,” said Meyers. “So we’re really excited to not just have mom and dad here, but we also have four offspring.”

The Oberhasli goats live right next door to the other goats at Kids Cove, but they are still kept separate from the other goats and the public while they are young.

“These guys are going to be petting zoo goats,” said Meyers. “Whether they’re in our petting zoo or another zoo. So we do work really hard to make sure that they’re going to be nice to the kids outside and the petting zoo and the adults.”

The goats feed five times a day, with zookeepers working around the clock to care for the newcomers.

“Right now we even have a keeper that comes in at 2 a.m. to feed them, but that will end Sunday when they hit three weeks,” said Meyers. “Then we only feed them four times a day.”

To learn more about the conservation efforts and programs at Zoo Knoxville, or to see what animal you want featured next, click here.