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Goats deliver helping hand to a quarry

In need of vegetation clearing? Some may look to tools and equipment but one enterprising Irish company is clearing a quarry in Cork with goats. 

Beaumont Quarry is considered a major part of Cork but ceased operations in the 1960s before becoming an ecological site that has been seriously worked on since 2015.

Previously, the quarry produced limestone for local industry and is thought to have established operations from 1830 to 1850 before its closure.

The area is an important grassland with fossil shells and crinoid stems have been identified in some of the cave wall passages.

According to a GeoData report, the site was extensively quarried for its high-quality, easily worked building stone, known as ‘Beaumont dove’. This Little Island Formation rock is thought to have been used in the construction of Cork City landmarks including St Fin Barre’s Cathedral (1865-79), The Courthouse on Washington Street (1835), and the Berwick Fountain.

As a naturally rehabilitated grassland, the local council and associations working together for a natural clearing solution.

That has come in the form of eight goats named Johnny, Snooky, Zeus, Nico, Cyberus, Willow and brothers, Luigi and Mario according to the Irish Examiner.

“Beaumont Quarry is a unique site that is a significant area of conservation concern,” Gill Weyman, CNN chairwoman and director told the Irish Examiner.

“Bringing in these goats like this is an opportunity to educate and demonstrate the implementation of essential conservation practices. Cork Nature Network firmly believes that educational initiatives, centered around the preservation of urban green spaces, hold significant importance in improving biodiversity protection within our cities.”

Together, the goats eat non-native vegetation such as old man’s beard while leaving behind fertiliser.

It’s not the first time goats and quarries have combined after nearly 100 goats were housed at the Graniterock Company in Santa Cruz, California.

Similar to the Irish experiment, the goats in Santa Cruz were used to help take out non-native species of grass as the first step in a project to transform a former sand quarry into native California grassland.


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