An exciting task awaits six Girgentana goats that were born at Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo in 2015 and 2016. The six will participate in a grazing project with other goats to maintain a sprawling area of open green space in and around Leipzig, the Zoo announced last week.
Hellabrunn Zoo has lent its support to a grazing project by the Forestry Commission Leipzig since 2013 and regularly sends Bulgarian goats to participate in the project. Now, for the first time, the zoo will also send Girgentana goats to eastern Germany. The goats will graze in Cospuden Nature Park, a former mining region in the district of Cospuden on the outskirts of Leipzig that is currently undergoing rehabilitation. In addition to the targeted reforestation of former forest land, the Forestry Commission Leipzig also plans to create open green spaces where meadow flora and fauna can return and thrive. Many of the former species have become rare or even endangered. The Forestry Commission Leipzig estimates it will take up to 150 years for the overburden land at the former mining site to be fully rehabilitated. To achieve this, the land must be maintained and kept free of high growth. This is where the Hellabrunn landscapers come into play.
The Bulgarian goats already grazing on the land belong to an endangered breed of domestic animal. Due to the increasing demand for milk and meat production they were eventually displaced in agriculture by other breeds. Bulgarian goats are very robust and easy to maintain, making them ideal for grazing open land that needs to have the grass kept low all year long.
So far, Hellabrunn Zoo has sent a total of 10 animals to participate in the project, which has proved very successful. The zoo will now also integrate Girgentana goats into the joint project. Girgentana goats originate from Sicily. They are also highly endangered with only about 700 individuals still surviving worldwide.
"We are delighted to have the opportunity to offer our animals such fantastic conditions, as well as to actively support this ambitious rehabilitation project and contribute to the preservation of these endangered breeds of domestic animals," says zoo curator Carsten Zehrer.