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Ferral Goats

John Cousins (February)

Ferral goats have been part of Snowdonia since the last ice age and while they were once semi domesticated they are seen these days as part of wild Wales. I saw this pair on the Llechog ridge of Cwm Glas in their traditional role, exploring the crags for vegetation and keeping out of the way of human beings. There is a suggestion that as the goats graze the more inaccessible ledges they help to keep the less able sheep out of harms way so helping mankind.

Unfortunately in recent times goat numbers have swelled to as many as five hundred, double that of a few years ago, and this has driven them into the valleys, roadsides and even peopleâÂ.Â.s gardens. In some cases farmers put out food for the sheep and the goats eat it. They are being paid to reduce sheep numbers and restore native vegetation but it appears that the goats are not allowing it to respond. Consequently Gwynedd Council has recently hired a marksman to cull the herd starting last December in the woods opposite LLanberis so maybe this pair have realized that the hills are the best place for them.

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