Crisis: NYC Sends in the Goats
More than a dozen goats journeyed to Riverside Park in New York City on Wednesday to feast on weeds, a chemical-free way to remove invasive species while adding to the joys of nature.
The furry visitors arrived in Manhattan from Green Goats farm in Rhinebeck, New York, earlier in the day to gobble up overgrown brush – even species dangerous to humans, like poison ivy.
“Have you seen this slope over here? I am told it is the steepest river bank east of the Palisades,” said John Herrold, interim president and chief executive of the Riverside Park Conservancy.
“Imagine trying to keep your balance while you’re pulling out invasive plants so that you can plant native species that will better hold the soil and provide better habitat for the wildlife.”
Goats are an ingenious approach to weed removal, harnessing their natural hunger for leafy greens as the primary mechanism behind the task, which traditionally involves pollutant chemicals.
“They love this stuff,” said Herrold. “They eat poison ivy, they eat the porcelain berry, they eat the multiflora rose and that’s what we’re trying to get rid of.”
Of the 20 goats, four will call Riverside Park home through the end of summer, eating their way through two acres of the park.
Officials said five of the goats will remain for the entire summer eating invasive species, such as vines.
Goats have the ability to consume 25% of their body weight in vegetation, so these hungry herbivores can rid the area of plants without using harmful chemicals.
And their fecal matter adds rich nutrients back into the soil.
The conservancy said the goats will be campaigning to be the G.O.A.T. as voted on by the public using the park’s ranked choice voting system, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the recent New York City mayoral primary.
“Our ranked choice voting system will go off without a hitch and the GOAT will be crowned without any confusion or controversy by the end of the summer,” Riverside Park Conservancy President & CEO Dan Garodnick said. “We encourage New Yorkers to come meet the “Fabulous Five” in person and to pay attention to our social media channels as the goats roll out their platforms.”
The goats are:
– Skittles, a seasoned park veteran, finalist for the G.O.A.T. title in 2019
– Buckles, a popular cheerleader for the Park, sometimes struggles to distinguish porcelain berry from mugwort
– Chalupa, keeps his head down, ate through the park in 2019, some say not exciting but works hard to get the job done
– Mallemar, known to be truly idealistic, a booster of all goats, lover of all park visitors
– Ms. Bo Peep, newcomer to the scene, a wildcard