Trunkline Magazine (Louisville Zoo) June 2018 | Page 22

The Boma African petting zoo STORY As you adventure through the Africa Zone, you will see lots of awe-inspiring wildlife like zebras trotting, addax lazing in the sun, a roaring lion and even elephants playing in the sun. Just beyond the elephants, a small structure appears on the path, resembling a hut in a Kenyan village — and inside you can meet and touch the animals! This area is called “Boma,” which is another word for a village (specifically one that has livestock enclosures) in Kenya. Learn more about the animals and people who bring our Boma to life, as well as some of the inspiration for the exhibit. A Very Special Animal Ambassador If you’ve ever watched the morning news, you may have been introduced to one of the Zoo’s most popular animal ambassadors. It’s not a crane, or a meerkat or even a wallaby… It’s a goat! Jenny Perkins with Titan the Goat T itan the goat is 4 years old. You may recognize him as the smallest goat in the herd at Boma, our pet- ting Zoo in the Africa Zone. Titan is black with a white spot on his head, white patches on his front hooves and white hair at the base of his ears – just like his mother, Mabel, who also lives in Boma. Titan is described by the staff at Boma as a spunky goat who is as curious about his guests as they are about him. “Titan is nosy and smart,” said Boma Supervisor Jenny Perkins, who has been working in the area for 7 years. “He wants to see what his guests are up to, and sometimes he may even take a nibble of their clothing.” When Titan isn’t hanging out with people, he’s lounging in the shade, playing with a puzzle ball or just having an afternoon mosey around the yard, hopping on and off logs. You may be wonder- ing, “what’s so interesting about this goat?” You’d never imagine by looking at Titan that this friendly goat actually has a rare condition. Louisville Zoo Senior Veterinarian Dr. Zoli Gyimesi explains, “he was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus in his first year of life. The main outward clinical sign he demonstrated was stunted/poor growth. Diabetes is rare in small 22 • Louisville Zoo Trunkline • Summer 2018 ruminants like sheep and goats — there are very few case reports de- scribing successful medical manage- ment. The anatomy and physiology of a goat is unique and very differ- ent from other species that can be diabetics (like dogs, cats, humans) which complicates treatment and management. Titan’s medical condi- tion is managed with twice daily insulin injections and periodic blood glucose monitoring.” This insulin is injected by his keepers every morning and evening. Jenny, who was trained to admin- ister the morning injection, also talks to the guests about his condi- tion—hoping to bring awareness to the health challenge of diabetes. “The thing that is really touching to me”, Jenny explains, “is seeing kids and families who come in and hear about Titan’s condition, and they are so excited because here is a goat that has shots and sugar issues just like they do — and he’s still