NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s time for the Central Park duck to move over, because it seems New Yorkers have a new animal obsession.
A tribe of goats is calling the Big Apple home for the summer to rid one local park of invasive weeds, and they’re already attracting huge crowds.
Riverside Park‘s newest residents were cheered by hundreds of people as they arrived at their temporary West Side home.
Passersby might have thought the latest boy band was making an appearance, but all the fanfare was for the literal “running of the goats” Tuesday.
“It was fun,” said 6-year-old Avan Kachoui.
“They were eating a lot. They were really hungry,” said 6-year-old Sienna Paacheco.
That’s exactly the point. The 24 hollow-horned animals have been brought in to rid the park of invasive plants.
“There’s vines and grasses. We’ve got porcelain berry and mugwort and multi-flora rose and poison ivy. The goats like to eat poison ivy” said Dan Garodnick, president of the Riverside Park Conservancy. “Because of the slopes in the park and because there’s so much poison ivy, it’s very difficult for gardeners to go in and take care of this.”
“We view this as both a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and also a fun way to care for the park,” Garodnick added.
MEET THE HERD:
The Riverside Park Conservancy spent nearly eight months planning this and raising the $45,000 necessary to make it happen.
Park goers CBS2’s Elise Finch talked say it’s worth it.
“I think it’s a fantastic solution,” said Upper East Side resident Sara Beaudry.
Each of the goats can eat about 25 pounds of plants every single day, Finch reported. That’s exactly what people are hoping they’ll do.
“They eat as much as they can in about a half an hour, and then they go lay someplace,” said Larry Cihanek, owner of Green Goats. “It looks like they’re chewing gum, but they’re chewing their cud.”
Cihanek says the animals are properly fenced in and they’ll be checked on daily.
With this much food to feast on, all they really need is water and rain shelter.
With names like Skittles, Specs, Cheech, Chong and Chalupa, the eco-friendly weed whackers are already proving to be quite effective and charming. But it’s crucial that people refrain from touching or feeding the goats when they visit them.
If you want to check them out, they’ll be here until the end of August.