Battalion of goats battles weeds in Kamloops, B.C.
Published Monday, July 9, 2012 5:47PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, July 9, 2012 6:34PM PDT
The city of Kamloops, B.C. is taking a unique approach to weed removal, recruiting a small army of goats to munch away at invasive species.
The 440 four-legged eating machines have been brought in as a pilot project to deal with invasive weeds like Dalmatian toadflax and other noxious species that are crowding out native plants in the natural grasslands at Kenna Cartwright Park. Karla Hoffman of the Kamloops Parks Department says the animals are a natural alternative to herbicides.
"We have a lot of people that enjoy nature and enjoy things pristine, so we try not to use chemicals,” she told CTV News.
The goats’ digestive systems destroy weeds and their seeds, and the animals prefer to eat broadleaf plants, not the grasses that the city is trying to preserve. Each goat eats about 4 lbs. of weeds per day.
Monday was Day 1 of the pilot project, but the parks department was already thrilled by the results.
“I've only just been introduced to them, but I'm pretty excited that they are here because there's really no negative,” Hoffman said.
The work force was imported from Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control in Beaverlodge, Alta., and head herder Conrad Lindblom calls the shots from the saddle of his horse.
"We don't want to just turn them loose, ‘cause then they'll eat just anything. We want to keep them just in the areas where the weeds are,” he said.
The pilot project is set to last 10 days, and then the city will weigh the results to decide if the goats will become a part of Kamloops’ vegetation control strategy.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Kent Molgat