A new initiative located just outside of the city of Dublin, Ireland is getting creative with conservation and wildfire mitigation by using the country’s only indigenous goat species to manage a fire-prone hillside in Howth.
Overlooking Dublin city centre, the hillside is now home to 25 Old Irish goats, provided by the Mulranny-based Old Irish Goat Society. The tough mountain-dwellers evolved to roam on Ireland’s rugged terrain, but are at risk of extinction due to cross-breeding with imported species. This herd is thriving as the goats eat their way through overgrown vegetation.
Overseen by goat herder Melissa Jeuken, the goats are working to prevent a fire like that in July of this year which burned 65 acres near the Irish capital, blanketing the city in smoke.
The goats are a perfect alternative to using emissions-producing machinery to cut down flammable vegetation. The Fingal County Council plans to grow the herd to 100 animals through their long-term conservation initiative.
Pádraic Browne, the Old Irish Goat Society’s chair, told The Guardian, “We’re giving our beautiful little creatures a job to do, which they’re doing. They’re not just a tourist attraction. They can earn their keep.”