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Rare sightings When the city makes space for goats

Julia Hofstetter and friends guide the goats towards their home for the next two weeks.

Julia Hofstetter and friends guide the goats towards their home for the next two weeks.

(NZZ/Simon Tanner)

Since 2015 seven ‘Stiefelgeiss’, or booted goats, so called because of the dark colour of their legs, have been living in a field in Zurich. Last week, the local authorities deployed them to trim roadside grass and weeds.

Well adapted to the local climatic and geographical conditions of eastern Switzerland, their ruggedness and resilience makes this kind of mountain goat very useful for landscape maintenance. The goat adapts well to its surroundings in order to find food.

The breed was common in the mountains of St Gallen and canton Glarus until the 1920s, when it went into decline and almost became extinct.

In the 1980s, the ProSpecieRaraexternal link foundation took an interest in the breed and reintroduced it to these areas. The foundation was established in 1982 with the aim of preserving traditional species of farm animals, crops, fruit and vegetables, making sure they do not die out.

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