Meet the firefighting goats of Queensland

These special animals are doing their part this fire season.
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A herd of hungry goats has been chomping their way to the top of the payroll to eliminate a fire hazard.

WATCH NOW: This goat was adopted by a winery. Article continues after video.

Queensland Rail wasn’t kidding when they offered the fleet of 15 goats a three-month contract to act as living lawnmowers on two hectares of inaccessible overgrown bushland near Tully station, in Far North Queensland.

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Headed by their supervisor Garth the Goat, decked out in their own hi-vis vests, the hungry herd rose up the employment ranks when they managed to annihilate the weeds within a third of the time they were given to get the job done.

Goat herders Christina and Scott Forrest, and QR’s Glenn Withers are happy with the program’s huge success. (Credit: Queensland Rail)

Herder Christina Forrest, co-owner of landscaping company Norveg that leased the goats out, says the friendly bunch had a ball but the job wasn’t as straightforward as it seemed with the site needing cameras, fencing, and daily visits.

“We visited the site daily to make sure they were kept safe and fed and watered, and they were safe from predators,” Christine says.

“The way goats chew the seeds of the weed heads and flowers and the plant itself; they destroy most of the seed. “In the long run, it is going to cut back on a need for slashing and use of herbicides consistently.”

Garth is top goat. (Credit: Queensland Rail)

While goats aren’t suited to all land clearing purposes due to environmental and animal welfare risks, Christina explains they are a good option for clearing steep areas where it’s hard for machinery and often humans to access.

And with Queensland Rail now looking at other sites the goats can mow, Christina says it could be a busy year ahead for Garth and his team.

“They are all very friendly goats and Garth is more like a dog really,” she adds. “We have more work lined up for them next year, so they are having a little break for now.”

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