Visitors flock to Bournemouth to see the famous clifftop goats


<em>Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images</em>
Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images
The seaside town of Bournemouth in the UK is best known for its idyllic beaches and sunny weather. But alongside the herd of beachgoers that flock to the town every summer, another hungrier group have taken to its sandy shores of late.

Wild Kashmir goats graze upon the vegetation along the steep cliffs above the beach, as part of the local council’s goat grazing scheme.

The aim of the scheme is to manage the vegetation along the cliffs in a more natural way, as the goats are easily able to graze along the steep cliffs, and have been shown to be highly effective at controlling the growth of the invasive holm oak.

In other areas where British feral goats have been grazing for 10 years, the ecosystem has benefitted from an increase in butterflies, lizards and native grassland habitats. Ten goats were initially brought to the 11-kilometre stretch of cliffs, with further plans in place to expand the goat herd to 100.

The council works with volunteers and a local goat owner to look after the animals, with extra volunteers keeping an eye on them during Bournemouth’s famous annual air show. Council ranger Tom Bennett says the hairy new inhabitants have captured the fascination of visitors to the town.

“It’s moved away from people just wanting to come to the coast and see the amazing beaches and views,” he told the BBC. “The goats are now a real tourist attraction in this area, which is really good.”


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