Firefighting goats have been moved onto Howth Head in Co. Dublin, following a summer of wildfires.
25 goats have been tasked with eating their bodyweight in gorse everyday, in an effort to prevent future wildfires getting out of control.
Wildfires raged in the area for six weeks during the summer and destroyed 30 acres of land.
Hans Visser, Fingal county council’s Biodiversity Officer, told Independent.ie that it will be cheaper for the council to use goats than carry out the work manually.
“This is a far more sustainable landscape management technique,” he said. “The alternative is to go in with diggers and flailing machines, which is extremely destructive and very costly.”
“The intention is that the goats will create firebreaks by reducing it into smaller sections. If they can also reduce the height of the plants through grazing, then the fires will be easier to bring under control.”
Fingal County Council has contracted the Old Irish Goat Society to manage the project, which will be run by a herder from the Burren in Co Clare, who has extensive knowledge of nature conservation grazing on poor ground.
Last month, an orange wildfire warning was put in place as a gorse fire in Howth took hold and burned for eight days.
We're off to start our new Conservation Grazing job on Howth Head! See you soon Dublin. 😊👍 pic.twitter.com/VtwYYk1hDv
— Old Irish Goat Society (@OldIrishGoatSoc) September 8, 2021