Keeper Stories – Tuesday, February 21
Hello from Outback Station! The keepers here in Outback work with a number of different species, but my personal favorites are the petting zoo animals. We have 14 goats, four sheep, and two pigs that spend time in the petting zoo. We spend a large portion of our day interacting with guests and telling them about our animals, which means we are also spending time with the animals. All of the time we spend with them allows us to know their personalities pretty well, while also giving us a good look at the herd dynamic. Every goat herd has a social hierarchy, with dominant and submissive animals. Here at Zoo Atlanta, our most dominant goat is Nessie, a 7-year-old female Nubian. Now you may be wondering, how do we know? Well, the other goats typically move out of her way. For the past several years, the hierarchy in the herd has been fairly stable with Nessie as the most dominant goat. We currently have a group of 2-year-old goats who are nearing maturity, however, and they are starting to challenge some of the older goats. It will be interesting to watch and see what happens over the next year as they continue to mature and reestablish their hierarchy!
Keeper I, Outback Station