Goats clearing weeds in Prospect Park

Image 1 of 3

Prospect Park in Brooklyn has some new residents. A herd of eight goats has moved into the northeast corner of the park damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

"This area was devastated by Sandy. We lost over 50 mature trees," said Sue Donoghue, the president of the Prospect Park Alliance. "The grant is helping us to restore that area, and the goats are a key part of that effort."

The Prospect Park Alliance has received over $1.2 million in funding to restore the damaged woodlands. The first step in the renovation is the removal of invasive plants like poison ivy and knotweed. That's where Diego, Max, Zoya, and their friends come in.

"The landscape behind me is quite hilly. It's difficult for staff and machinery, actually, to get to this area," Donoghue said. "Goats will eat anything and everything. And so it's a very green and environmentally friendly approach that we're taking to this restoration."

The goats were chosen from a farm in Rhinebeck, New York, owned by Larry Cihanek and his wife Ann.

"Ann selected eight goats for this job that were particularly friendly and of five different breeds because part of what they're going to do is people want to know what kind of goat is that, what kind of goat is that," Cihanek said.

So, now visitors will learn about goat species like Nubian, Toggenburg, and La Mancha.

Goats are in their element in the hillsides they are working on. They are also quite social and like to congregate in a pack right on top of the rugged terrain. They also have four stomachs and can consume 20 percent of their body weight in vegetation each day. At that rate, the herd is expected to clear the 1.5 acres of parkland for new trees by September.