WW presents “Distant Voices,” a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they’re doing during quarantine.
In mid-December, the Oregon Humane Society got an unexpected call for help—a Eugene resident had become overwhelmed with more than 250 guinea pigs.
"Guinea pigs can reproduce quickly. Their gestational periods are short," says Laura Klink, a spokesperson for the Humane Society. Still, "this was definitely an unusual case."
Over the course of only a few years, just one male and one female guinea pig bred an exponential family tree. Eugene's Greenhill Humane Society had been working with the resident but lacked the space to house hundreds of beady-eyed rodents in need of new homes.
So a few weeks ago, a team from Oregon Humane Society drove from Portland to Eugene, armed with vegetable sticks to lure the hundreds of tiny animals into transport cages.
The Humane Society has already adopted out almost 100 of the guinea pigs. An additional 76 animals—most of which were born after the transport and the initial count of 250—are in foster care. The rest are being cared for at a Portland-area facility that's usually an intake center for cats, and has now been converted into what Klink calls "Guinea Pig Kingdom."
"It's a whole lot of cute, I'm not going to lie," she says. "There's really nothing cuter than watching a guinea pig chomp on a piece of lettuce."
WW talked to Klink about the logistics of caring for hundreds of domestic rodents and what it's like on the grounds of the Guinea Pig Kingdom.
See more Distant Voices interviews here.