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Zoo launches new web series about "Tiny Goat Visits"

May 29, 2018, 4:49 p.m.
Topic: Animal well-being
pygmy goat

In new show on Facebook Watch, baby goats visit the animals of the Oregon Zoo

In the Oregon Zoo's new web series, the kids stay in the picture. Each episode of Tiny Goat Visits, which premiered last week on Facebook Watch, follows pygmy goat kids Ruth and Sonia as they meet different animals around the zoo. The second episode, "Tiny Goat Visits Porcupine," is out this week, and a new episode will be posted each Tuesday to the show's Facebook Watch page.

The idea for the new series came from the kids' daily walks around the zoo for exercise. They often stop to see the other animals or to practice jumping and head-butting, and visitors to the zoo love meeting the two energetic kids, who were named for Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor.

"Ruth and Sonia are naturally very curious," said Brianne Zanella, a keeper at the zoo's Family Farm who appears in several episodes of Tiny Goat Visits. "They enjoy new experiences, and so far, all of the animals we've met have been really interested in them too."

Those animals include Kaya the harbor seal, Sharpie the African crested porcupine, and — in an upcoming episode — Chendra the rescued Borneo pygmy elephant. In every instance, a team of keepers makes sure all of the animals are safe and sound.

"Each encounter requires some planning because we want to keep the experience really positive," said Tanya Paul, who oversees the animals at the zoo Family Farm. "When the kids met Sharpie the porcupine, that meant keeping them on a leash at a safe distance — and having several porcupine and goat keepers on hand to observe body language. That way we make sure it's enriching for both the porcupine and the goats."

Along with Tiny Goat Visits, the zoo is readying second season of its original Facebook Watch series, Second Chances. Profiling the lives of orphaned, injured or displaced animals that found a home at the Oregon Zoo, the show is an unequivocal success — the episode on Tilly the orphaned river otter has 11.3 million views and counting.

Future episodes of Tiny Goat Visits will follow Ruth and Sonia as they meet flamingos, bears and even big cats.

Ruth and Sonia were born Jan. 20 at a local farm and adopted by the zoo. Keepers bottle-fed the kids for the first two months, then weaned them onto vegetation to prepare them for life with the adult goats. Eventually, they'll spend part of their time on Metro-owned open land in rural Clackamas County, assisting with brush control at the zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation.