Migratory goats on the golf course

September 14, 2020

Last Wednesday, around 80 migratory goats arrived in Andermatt. After a successful pilot project that involved using goats to clear dry meadows of scrub, a herd is now protecting an area of the Andermatt Golf Course from becoming overgrown.

Is it indeed an unusual sight, but an entire herd of goats has been deployed to protect nature at the edge of the golf course. Located between mountains, streams and rock formations, the golf course, which is run in the most environmentally-friendly way possible, also comprises extremely species-rich dry meadows. As these are not used for agricultural purposes, they are at risk of overgrowing; alder shrubs, in particular, spread very quickly. By getting the goats to eat up the alder shrubs, biodiversity is retained and the fairways and greens continue to be lined by wild meadows filled with countless rare plants, butterflies and grasshoppers. The goats are accompanied by shepherds and will stay on the golf course's land for around a month.

Project by Pro Natura and the cantons

Over the last two years , Pro Natura has been testing the use of goats for maintaining biodiversity in the Alpine region together with the cantons of Graubünden and Uri. During this time, the migratory goats have cleared shrubs from more than 50 hectares of dry meadow between the Chur Rhine Valley and the foot of the Furka Pass. Now, the migratory goats are being deployed on smaller areas, such as the Andermatt Swiss Alps Golf Course. And they're only happy to do so: their favourite foods include foliage, shrubs and young trees.

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