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Old Irish Goats Recruited For Fire Prevention Duty in Hills Around Dublin – And They’re Loving It


Diego Cue, CC license

After the Howth’s Head peninsula caught fire last year, pouring clouds of black smoke over the financial district of Ireland’s righteous capital, city planners knew they had to take a tougher stance on runaway weeds.

So they hired an excellent team of landscapers led by a dedicated foreman to manage the weeds that quickly began to grow over the firebreaks.

Surprisingly, the old Irish goat is not the name of a pub, but rather a critically endangered species that was Ireland’s naturally adapted breed; it is their incessant chewing of local species that makes them ideal for weeding work.

The goat has been bred in captivity and roams remote slopes in small numbers. An organization dedicated to keeping their DNA free of inland domestic goat genetics has provided a herd take over as Howth’s Head new “firemen”.

The old Irish goat has short legs, large horns, and thick fur. They are perfectly adapted to life in the Irish hills.

PLUS: Wombats hailed as heroes for digging underground, revealing well of water during drought

“Our goats come from the mountains and eat everything there is, bushes, heather, gorse. They are the most suitable for this task ”, Pádraic Browne, the Old Irish Goat Society’s chair, he told The Guardian.

“We are giving our beautiful creatures a job to do, and they are doing it. They are not just a tourist attraction, they can make a living. “

Today the firefighters consist of 14 nannies and 11 children, joined by adult males until they grow to about 100 goats, a necessary reinforcement as the strength of the Irish wildfires in Howth and elsewhere has been growing in the last years.

RELATED: The fires have helped these endangered woodpeckers return, and it’s a reminder of nature’s resilience.

As strange as it may seem in a seemingly humid and cloudy country like Ireland, having multiple fire units for a single city gives a largely forgotten piece of wild natural heritage a chance to raise awareness in its own name.

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